find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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Stealth Head



Black Peter
Aug. 25, 1972
Berkeley Community Theatre

An ultimate performance. Jerry's voice is in perfect shape. Powerful, chilling version that will make your hair stand on end. Shamefully overlooked.
Aug. 25, 1972
Berkeley Community Theatre

Powerful tight playing. C.Miller cleanup, boys playing the 1st set like their lives depended on it. Peak Dead.
He's Gone
Aug. 25, 1972
Berkeley Community Theatre

Note for note precise, beautiful playing. The outro is lovely and doesn't descend into madness. Donna gives it a nice gospel touch.
Cold Rain and Snow
Aug. 25, 1972
Berkeley Community Theatre

Kicks off arguably the best show of '72. Tight, fun, and rockin'. Great show opener.
Greatest Story Ever Told
Aug. 24, 1972
Berkeley Community Theatre

If this were any week in Dead history other than before Veneta, it would already have 20 votes. Give it a listen. The whole show rocks.


Bird Song
Aug. 27, 1972
Old Renaissance Faire Grounds

Hey Deadhead 21: check out the Bird Song from two days earlier. The whole summer is filled with great ones, but I think the 25th outdoes the more famous 27th. Let us know what you think!
Good Lovin'
Aug. 8, 1982
Alpine Valley Music Theatre

Hey drumsspace fan: why not tell us a little bit about why you dig the versions you're posting? There's always room to find some new tasty nugs, or dig into an era out of our comfort zone. You seem to really love the dead and know a thing or two about eras I'm not so familiar with. It would be cool to hear why this or that version gets your vote. Cheers, the Carrion Crow.
Eyes Of The World
March 29, 1990
Nassau Coliseum

Geez, I just can't get into this at all. It feels like soft-rock and smooth jazz with that dated keyboard sound and limp sax playing (I dig the midi flute believe it or not) - and I like a lot of Branford's straight ahead work and the cool stuff he did with Buckshot lefonque around this time. Sure Phil is - as always - a genius, but the solos themselves, including Branford's are just so many noodles. Does it showcase one of the last great creative eras for the band? Perhaps, but I can't compare it favorably to the coherent, driven, musically purposefully soloing of sooooo many of the great '74s and 73s, and the great '77s, and the great 80s versions with their (frankly) superior transitions into Estimated. Finally, I just think it's loose to the point of sounding unrehearsed at times. Jer's vocals come in right when Branford is stepping up to solo, twice, and the band is a bit sprawling when, once more, you compare it to almost any of the '73 and '74s. (Plus without the outro or at least a real transition to Estimated, it just isn't as good....) Hate to be an iconoclast, but them's my 00.02.
Box of Rain
Nov. 1, 1970
Waly Heider Studios

I don't think you can top the emotional power and personal strength behind the Sept. 17, 1970 acoustic version. Sure, it sounds like it was recorded from the bottom of a swimming pool, but even that adds to the intimacy and sadness at the heart of the song. As for other studio versions rivaling live performances, I'd nominate the 1972 Jerry Garcia studio version of "The Wheel", which is pretty goddamned amazing, and totally different than the GD's live versions. That said, I also loved seeing it live too, so maybe there's no comparison.
Sept. 9, 1972
Hollywood Palladium

Starts off just a bit standard, but gets heady and heavy, then transitions into a monster OO. Fun stuff.