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Dead of the Day: July 11, 1981

Alpine Valley Music Theater
East Troy, Wisconsin

For our Dead of the Day, we head back to a 1981 night out in Wisconsin at Alpine Valley. The show gets rolling with an exciting Alabama Getaway, touched off by Jerry’s runs. It is followed right up with an up-tempo Greatest Story Ever Told. Peggy-O comes next, slowing things down in super lovely form. Bobby comes back with a Little Red Rooster that is the perfect answer to Peggy-O, just as hot, but with a salty edge that keeps ramping up in the latter half. The highlight of the first set, though, is the Bird Song, The tune is rarely a stinker, but it launches into a special space on this night, with Jerry streaking off and the drummers keeping everything together in tight formation. A fun Me And My Uncle comes on its heels with a short Big River and Tennessee Jed afterwards. Then China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider sees out the set. The China Cat is a mix of noodling and downright rock and roll, leaving the psychedelic origins of the tune way behind. Some fiery picking gives way to an easy, smooth and so quick transition into a smoking Rider. Out of halftime the Dead burst forth with a tasty Lost Sailor> Saint of Circumstance. Ship of Fools keeps the contemplative experience going, leading up to a slow, but heady He’s Gone. Then a rocking Truckin’ breaks things open, jamming off into some familiar, but no less face-melting territory, dropping bombs and nasty strafing guitar and teasing The Other One. After a spacey interlude, The Other One finally emerges in earnest, getting rich and luscious, with a beautiful combination of rushing drums and headlong guitar. The segue into Stella is slow and seemingly aimless, until they suddenly arrive at the first shadowy notes. Jerry keeps the magic going, practically making love to the lyrics as the band comes together to deliver a rich musical accompaniment. A short I Need A Miracle comes next, providing the segue into a Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad> One More Saturday Night closer. After those ripping tunes, the boys come back with an awesome Brokedown to send the crowd home on a special note.

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