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Dead of the Day: November 30, 1980

Fox Theater
Atlanta, Georgia

On this date back in ’73, the Dead continued their incredible November run with another fabulous show. But for our Dead of the Day, we head down to Atlanta’s fabulous Fox Theater for a stupendous rocker of a night back in 1980. The show starts off with Feel Like A Stranger, which is highlighted by Phil’s restrained bass lines, which pepper the song alongside both Jerry’s and Brent’s short, tasty runs. As the set goes on, it is interesting to hear how the boys approach some of the tunes - Cassidy, Ramble On Rose, and Must Have Been The Roses, among others - that had been in heavy rotation during the acoustic sets back in October at the Warfield and Radio City, now that these songs are back in full electric. But nowhere is that more fun than with the somewhat reserved playing on Bird Song, which seems a direct carryover from October and makes the song feel spacious and luxuriant. The jams are all there, but they feel sparser and more precious, as the best of the acoustic songs had the month before. Towards the end of the set, Bobby pulls out a nice Sailor> Saint, which we always enjoy late in the first half, especially when it comes right before a characteristically nimble and fresh Deal set closer. Out of the break, the boys come with a Scarlet> Fire for the ages. So much praise - all deserved - is heaped on the Scarlet that opens the second set, but the Fire is a thing of beauty in its own right. Jerry sends up these searing patient strokes while the rest of the band is hammering a barely restrained, up-tempo counterpoint, almost trying to entice Jerry to race headlong into the tune like they were doing. But Jer never takes the bait, teasing them, yet always keeping a steely deliberateness in the face of such temptation. Afterwards, they head into Samson, which everyone - Brent especially - quickly ignites into an amazing inferno of sensational music, followed up by a somber Ship of Fools that could not provide a more total contrast. From that, Playin’ erupts into a sensationally charged jam that swirls and spins on top of itself, making for a flowing, tumultuous piece of music before heading into Drums. Out of Space, The Wheel rises organically - and majestically - out of a short Space. When they leave The Wheel it is for a delicate, textured China Doll that is haunting, but beautiful. Then the boys rock it out with an Around And Around> Johnny B. Goode, which has Jerry playing some interesting little riffs and Brent just killing it on the keys. 

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