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September 13, 1983

Manor Downs
Austin, Texas
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A hot Bertha gets things going on a lovely late summer evening at the horse track on the edge of Austin. The boys then roll into a solid Rooster with a little of the blues feel carrying over into the Loser that follows. Brent’s soulful keys and heartfelt backing vocals crank things up a notch further in the Cassidy. And Don’t Ease Me In and Brother Esau roll out afterwards before a ripping Brown-Eyed Women. Then the set ends on an upbeat Music Never Stopped into Might as Well. Though the playing is solid, there is nothing revelatory in these first nine songs. But all that will change in the latter half.

The second set is off the hook from the opening notes of Scarlet. The playing throughout the tune is exceptional, and the band creates a bright, exuberant atmosphere in the latter half that Jerry just tears through, throwing off sparks with his lightning quick licks. In the midst of a lengthy, spirited transition into Fire, Phil points the way forward with a few bombs. And when the band finally settles into the Fire proper, the crowd lets out a joyous cheer, which they reprise when Jerry starts into the first verse. The Fire on the Mountain itself is epic as Jerry goes off, sending out these soaring tracers of guitar goodness while Phil and the drummers bring the heat. All told, the combo is thirty minutes of sensational music. After a little tuning - and perhaps a bump to recuperate - they charge right back out with Truckin’. Mickey and Billy slowly take more control of the rollicking jam at the end until they finally have the stage to themselves. And the Space track that comes after that Drums is more or less tuning before they slowly - and rather creepily - gather into a Spanish Jam. But once the Dead get onto the playa, the rendering is absolutely enchanting. Like a new day breaking, the Wheel rises from the Spanish Jam, stretching and awakening into a rocking Throwing Stones> NFA to end regulation. A gorgeous Brokedown encore then puts the cap on the show.

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