By my man Swami.
On Thanksgiving 1978, disco was still in full swing, Leif Garrett was a [CENSORED] idol, and “Hot Child in the City” by Nick Gilder was burning up the charts. The Grateful Dead brought Thanksgiving home to the folks at the Capital Center with an inspired show despite a cold that threatened to make Jerry hoarse. The opening songs are quite solid and Jerry’s inspired playing definitely helps overshadow his shaky vocals (which do kill a few of the songs), and the Shakedown centerpiece is awesome. This show sounds really good for an AUD, seems like a great crowd.
11/23/78 Capital Center Landover Maryland
Mississippi Half Step->
Looks Like Rain
Brown Eyed Women
The Music Never Stopped
Samson & Delilah
Friend Of The Devil
Dancin' In The Streets->
Playin' In The Band->
Ollin Arageed Jam->
Playin' In The Band->
Around & Around
E: U.S. Blues
First the Half-Step. Starts off a little slow, Jerry’s voice is a little creaky - “…finally on my way…” is not one of the finer moments of Jerry’s vocal career. Amazing that he is still willing to shred the stage when he’s obviously a little under the weather. This song gets better and better, at 8:20 Jerry puts on a short clinic on how to shred. Into Franklin’s Tower, smoothly, we go. Jerry kicks it in the ass about halfway through and this show is starting to show real promise because his soloing is starting to sound sick. Some nice Phil action, the bass presence is nice too.
Nice countdown to Minglewood. I usually am not a big fan, but this version is surprisingly good, with some good slide guitar highlights, and great band energy that spills over into Stagger Lee, which features more great solos by Jerry, one in a really high register at 5:50. Then Looks Like Rain. Did you ever waken to the sound of street cats making love? Sounds like women screaming bloody murder. I’ve heard it. Not a bad version.
Tennessee Jed gets a decent workout, better than average, I’m surprised the crowd is so pumped for this one. They’re eating it up. Firecracker around 3:00, solid jamming for this song. Gets cut off early on the aud, but it’s still solid. Like Passenger too, sounds like the one off of Dead Set.
Keith commands the charge into Brown-Eyed Women, which would be a great version if Jerry’s vocals were better, and if he wouldn’t have missed one of the lines, which happens. Hey, I can’t remember what day it is some times, I’m just stoked that Jerry’s as good as he is.
The Music Never Stops is great. Very AUDish, great jamming, Jerry starts tearing the song apart near the end, fanning, doing whatever sick thing it is that he does, love the guitar heroics which finish off the first set.
Phil punches in on Samson and Delilah, more Jerry shredding, decent. I like this song.
Some guy in the crowd yells “Play The Wheel!” and the Dead oblige with a slow Friend of the Devil, followed by a serviceable Dancin’ in the Streets. Terrapin, vocals bad, Jerry guitar good, more good jamming.
The magnificent main course is the Playin>Drums>Space>Ollin Arageed Jam>Shakey Jam>Shakedown Street. The Playin is really good, but the jams are fucking awesome, good Ollin Arageed Jam, weird trippy drums, some of which sounds like tabla drums or something, and out of the ethereal clouds of space Shakiness starts leaking through during the unearthly Shakey Jam, and establishes itself, and the funkiness of Shakedown emerges full force into a solid version, and then comes one of the most bizarre little screams for emphasis in Donna’s entire career at 1:07, get a good laugh out of it every time I listen to it. Still grate shit, this Shakedown rips coming in off the Indian drums, and eventually goes back into Playin’ after more sick jamming. Much Garcia greatness is in these jams along with the playing of the rest of the band. This chunk of Dead is one for the ages, especially considering Jerry has a cold.
After the glory of the mid-late second set, the show finishes off with Around and Around and US Blues.
Great show, I really enjoyed listening to this hidden gem that Swami passed along to me. His words – “Nobody ever talks about this one.” Hope I can help spread the word. Thanks.