The boys come out swinging on a splendid night in Maryland with a fun Dancing in the Streets. Jerry is playing his guitar to the likes of the original recording of the tune, which is different from the more experimental and disco versions of the song from the Pig and Keith eras. Nevertheless, the song absolutely rips, and everyone is playing at their best, especially Brent, who has some delicious vocal fills that add the perfect amount of zest to this bouncy tune. After that, the boys swap their disco bell bottoms for some gunslingin’ leather chaps and take us to the Old West with Dupree’s Diamond Blues and Walkin’ Blues, as well as a superbly jaunty Jack-A-Roe. The energy from this show continues to blow all the scales with a heady and lively Brother Esau, with Bobby playing some slide alongside Jerry’s paramount soloing. Succeeding Stagger Lee is Let It Grow, one of the highlights of not only the first set, but the entire show. A great upbeat version, the song comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders, especially Jerry’s playing, which is sharp and intense. His fingers glide across the neck of his guitar and create such exquisite sounds with effortlessness and ease. The song then transitions into a set-closing Keep Your Day Job that will, if you can countenance the tune, put a massive smile on your face and keep your foot tapping until it eventually falls off.
Returning to the stage after such a stellar first set might be difficult, if this was not the Grateful Dead. And from the first notes of Scarlet Begonias, it is clear the second half will be all the match and more for the early going. The playing on the Scarlet is off the charts. Phil drops some meaty bombs, Billy and Mickey add sublime fills, and Jerry’s guitar guides us all on a journey towards “the light in the strangest of places.” The transition into Fire keeps the vibe going, and then Fire takes off with a storm of reggae-infused rocking and creamy licks. Even though Jerry has some vocal flubs, the song is still other-worldly. PITB comes next which is, as you know, always a ripper. And on the heels of that, Uncle John’s is just as ravishing before heading into Drums. Out of Space emerges a classy Dear Mr. Fantasy, with Brent’s powerful, steamy vocals leading the way. The next two tunes - GDTRFB> Good Lovin’ - are an absolutely radiant way to end a show. Afterwards, they encored Satisfaction into It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, capping off a magnificent night of music and one of the best nights of the nine-show East Coast swing.
As with the previous night at Merriweather, Hunter Seamons treats us to another stellar matrix. Building on Charlie Miller’s soundboard upgrade, Hunter moves the bar a notch further. The tinniness of the original board is one more step removed. And Hunter’s matrix includes all of the crowd’s intensity, including the non-stop roar between Good Lovin’ and the encore. We included Hunter’s workmanship here above Charlie Miller’s soundboard so you can compare the two or simply listen to the fabulous show twice in a row.
In 2020, Hunter's Trix Reseed Project is making this matrix and fifteen others available on etree. You can get your own copy of this Dead masterpiece by downloading the show with BitTorrent from etree: http://bt.etree.org/details.php?torrentId=610021
Read our introduction to the Hunter's Trix Reseed Project: https://gratefuldeadoftheday.com/blog/introducing-hunters-trix-reseed-project