One of the things I notice that is characteristic to me of a great show versus a good show is Jerry's style of playing. To be simplistic, I simplify it down to two types of Jerry:
1. High-end fretboard "glory" guitar (often includes fanning).
2. Spider-web foundation guitar.
I am of the strong opinion that #2 is preferable, and more indicative of Jerry being "on." After all, it's easy to go right to the high notes and start wailing - but I submit that Jerry doing this is akin to a cheap thrill for the crowd. Those high peaks are not as thrilling without laying the groundwork, if you will, with lower-end "noodle" guitar, which sounds like the work of a spider weaving a web. Once Jerry lays this groundwork, that's when the spine-chilling peaks really come into play for me. I have listened to some shows lately, including 8-10-82, 3-9-81, and others - in which Jerry takes the cheap route at the expense of the show's potential. This is not a knock on Jerry - for after all it was impossible to literally summon the spider every single night. But I was wondering if anyone had commentary or opinions on this. The high-end glory guitar might have cut it in 1977-1978, but I don't think this kind of Jerry is a recipe for a great Brent Era show.
Even the blind man knows when the rain is falling.