You are here

October 2, 1981

Rainbow Theater
London, England
Click stars to rate

A warm and gooey, fully jammed out Minglewood opens the action. And the Sugaree that follows is no slouch, with Jerry’s guitar licks pleading even more than his vocals. Afterwards, a solid CC Rider and smoky Cumberland, dominated by Jerry’s gobsmacking solos, roll out, leading the way to a gorgeous Cassidy. Short, but sweet versions of Dire Wolf and Mama Tried along with a Mexicali come on Cassidy’s heels before a superlative - other than Jerry’s lyrical flubs - Althea. A top-shelf Sailor> Saint then sees the set out. Jerry blisters a solo in the middle of Saint that is not to be missed, and the entire pair of tunes is so good. But Bobby’s guitar is low in the mix throughout the evening and particularly missing on these two songs.

Playin’ opens the second set, and what a treat it is. The Playin’ ranges over a spacey distance before a couple feverish sections in the latter portions, on its way to a nifty transition into Shakedown. It is just the third of four times the band played the combination. The Shakedown itself, which Brent is all over, has a number of funky jams, including some vocal-heavy riffing in the middle. Shakedown eventually rolls into a full-throttle Bertha that, after a dozen anymores, shifts into a neat little jam that, though it never regains the theme, could be considered a return to the Playin’. Eventually, the drummers take over, and a Space straight from the outer rim suddenly shifts into a quiet interlude that builds into a lucid and beautiful Spanish Jam. With someone on the whistle leading the way, Truckin’ takes over from there. Unfortunately, the mix gets particularly poor for most of the song, leaving us with a clear sense of the vocals, but wanting for more of the music. Things do get better in the last few minutes, allowing us to clearly hear Jerry’s magnificent runs before the band heads into a strong Black Peter (just listen to that jam in the latter half!). The set finally ends with a rocking Sugar Mags before an equally classic US Blues.

Earlier in 1981, the Dead had already been across the pond, playing four shows at this same venue and another for the TV show Rockpalast. But this fall trip to Europe was an actual tour. It had started three days prior in Edinburgh, and then moved on to London for this show and three more, which, just like back in March, were at the Rainbow Theater. All the ’81 European dates are quite good, including this one, though the highlights are probably the third night of this run and the offering at Club Melk Weg two weeks later.

Search for shows