The Grateful Dead – The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 10/9/80 & 10/10/80

Grateful Dead – The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 10/9/80 & 10/10/80
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz |  Art scans at 300 dpi
Grateful Dead Productions / Rhino Records – R1-585396

This is a gorgeous collection of acoustic music from The Grateful Dead.  The Dead were  doing “unplugged” sets before anybody called them that, but in grand total of their hundreds of recorded shows, live acoustic music from the whole band was relatively rare apart from side projects.  The shows captured here, along with others at Radio City in New York, would be drawn on to produce the all-wooden live album Reckoning.  This is them at their most intimate, minimal, and parsimonious; well, as much as any group which brings a harpsichord on stage for just one song can ever be called minimal. Dead shows were famous for a wild crowd and scene that would eventually come to overshadow the actual music, but you could hear a pin drop during many of the tunes here.  Elizabeth Cotton’s “Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” is a poignant highlight of the first night, while the Garcia/Hunter original “To Lay Me Down” from the second night cuts wide and deep.  What has always set The Grateful Dead apart for me from their ‘jam-band’ imitators was their ability to play soulfully, and to un-self-consciously tap so many distinctly American musical traditions.  Those two qualities are in abundance in this special Record Store Day release.

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