find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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Books and Music



Man Smart, Woman Smarter
March 26, 1990
Knickerbocker Arena

Love when Brent takes the vocal on 2nd verse PLUS check out the little trade-off he & Bob do on lyrics in last stanza. Bouncy, jaunty, supefun stuff
Not Fade Away
Jan. 11, 1978
Shrine Auditorium

Solid rhythmic NFA with Donna in good form and a tasty little space outro
Me and My Uncle
April 19, 1978
Veterans Memorial Auditorium

Garciia packs epic multitudes into his brief guitar solo. Check out this WAY under the radar MAMU>BigRiver pairing. One of the best ever.
The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)
May 11, 1991
Shoreline Amphitheatre

Slowest but also funkiest version ever played. Garcia stumbles out of the gates on lyrics but it's no train wreck & the band rescues for a winner
Aiko Aiko
May 11, 1991
Shoreline Amphitheatre

Bruce is boss on this one, his keys just adding color & style throughout the tune. Overlooked show & performance


Scarlet Begonias -> Fire On The Mountain
May 11, 1981

Who's in the mood for a hidden gem ScarFire from a year that has scads of 'em hiding in plain sight? Check this one out--full lush reading of both tunes and like much of '81, if you're a Brent fan, you'll want to give this a serious listen .
Eyes Of The World
June 4, 1977
The Forum

Glad Melvin is still groovin'...may have to check that out--thx!
Bird Song
Nov. 17, 1972
Century II Convention Hall

Another winner from the most consistently great Birdsong Year of 1972. This is a surehanded confident beautifully sung silk-smooth rendition, not a note wasted. Wonderful.
Cold Rain and Snow
Feb. 3, 1978
Dane County Coliseum

^^^^Agree. Like Cornell & Veneta this (to be clear excellent top shelf show) gets bumps for songs that are fine but not extraordinary just b/c they're attached to a larger than life show. It's a disservice to both show & song. There are scads of versions way better than this one far lower on the list. (Just off the top of my head 8/25/72 leaps to mind). Great show--misleading ranking for this particular song in the pantheon of great CR&S
Playin' In The Band
Oct. 9, 1972
Winterland Arena

Gargantuan kitchen sink version with something for everyone. Aggressive in sections, quiet and contemplative in others, with a firm rhythm from Weir, Jerry’s usual runs of brilliance and my stars, if this isn’t one if the greatest performances by drummer Billy I don’t know what is. He takes control from the get go and rides the wave right up until...well, by now you should have read up on the hideous cut before the rejoin but honest to goodness it doesn’t take away from the overall magnificence of the journey. (One of the two archive versions has a noble fade out that’s at least better than an abrupt out)