find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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Books and Music



Let It Grow
July 29, 1974
Capitol Center

Absolute best of 1974. Not kidding. Jerry's leads are ripping & confident. The band plays flawlessly.Can stand w/some of the best of '77. Must hear.
He's Gone
April 16, 1984
Community War Memorial Auditorium

Long loping intro, signature lines delivered with gusto by Jerry, great outro jam, too!
Ramble On Rose
Oct. 21, 1971
Auditorium Theatre

Keith's second show & he's all over this faster paced super fun honky tonk version!
The Weight
June 7, 1991
Deer Creek Music Center

This is really the best one I've heard--everyobody nails their parts/lyrics...great piano fills on the side (yay, Bruce!). Just exactly, etc.
Sept. 9, 1982
Saenger Performing Arts Center

Incredible. Check out Brent's fills during the epic post-lyrics outro. A must-listen top tier Althea w/bounce, power, & panache!


Scarlet Begonias -> Fire On The Mountain
April 23, 1977
Springfield Civic Center

Another version I've listened to forever but took for granted in voting for, but recent re-listening has given me a new appreciation. Super energized "Scarlet" (check out Jerry growling out "aint nothin wrong with the way she moves" line) & the sweet transition features Donna gently cooing, not caterwauling, into a mind meld Fire segue and then Jerry really does some magic from intro on out. Take off half a point for flubbing the last verse, but it's not egregious and he does that more often than not anyway. Definitely could be higher on this list.
Shakedown Street
April 26, 1983
The Spectrum

When this site is working its best magic, it's pointing me to versions of songs like this, that were totally off my radar, far down the list, yet worthy of being so much higher. This whole shows is just chock full of A+ material and this Shakedown is probably head of the class. Confident even in Jerry's vocal delivery (mostly, it is early 80s after all), but chiefly it's the fierce funk of the faster tempo but un-sloppy delivery and the massive dig down dirty jamming post-lyrics that makes this a best of 80s candidate. Also check out the stellar Help>Slip>Franklin's. Women R Smarter, and much more. Excellent recommendations/comments by all. +1 easy.
He's Gone
April 17, 1972
Tivolis Koncertsal

Almost like a different tune it's so high energy. Jerry digs in with great leads. Missing the "goin' where the wind don't blow so strange" bridge that would be added later.
Help On The Way > Slipknot > Franklin's Tower
April 29, 1977
The Palladium

One of those shows that screams for a clean SBD. Suffers not from performance but from available sound quality.
Big River
May 16, 1972
Theatre Hall

why am i not seeing this song listed on any of the archive versions of this show?