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find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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nonoyolker

Weirs Jort Army

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Submissions

2
Crazy Fingers
June 16, 1991
Giants Stadium

Perfect full band gelling in a dramatic end jam portion, leading effortlessly into China > Rider
1
Greatest Story Ever Told
July 12, 1987
Giants Stadium

Why the dead chose to neuter the peak jam inherent in early incarnations of this song is one of the most perplexing mysteries ever. This is crisp tho
1
Black Peter
June 6, 1991
Deer Creek Music Center

This hit me perfectly. Well paced, lyrically nailed the poignancy, peak was driven. Nice late-era Peter
4
Stella Blue
July 12, 1987
Giants Stadium

I was surprised to look back and see how relatively short this version was, because it had wonderful pace and the punch was ferocious.
3
Knockin' On Heaven's Door
July 10, 1989
Giants Stadium

I have a huge heart for 89/90 era Knockin's, most especially for Jerry's perfect, blissful ambient tone. This one slays exactly as it should

Comments

Looks Like Rain
Dec. 26, 1979
Oakland Auditorium

Put me firmly in the LLR fan grouping. Bobby's emotive chaw and Jerry's peaky guitar are a serious draw for me. And while lyrically, the second verse is indefensibly bad, the first verse is actually quite nice and one that I always enjoy. This version has all of the goods - Bobby digging deep on emotional blast and Jerry railing home the song's gravity in his solo. Nice version
Bertha
Aug. 27, 1972
Old Renaissance Faire Grounds

While many of the songs played in this show are unnecessarily glorified compared to equally as good, if not subjectively better versions of songs, the show and versions within are still cannon and for defensible reasons. It's a rock solid show cover-to-cover, with any-era level highlights of versions. Cases can easily be made for many other far less lauded shows as being as good, though this one emerged over time as legend. This Bertha though, my. GOD. To complement the previous comments, Jerry has rarely ever blazed such a fast and tight solo in the jam portion. I hadn't heard in a while and it took me by complete surprise how ferocious and nimbly he takes that one. Definitely a fantastic version and yes, Veneta is peak output. Not every version is best ever, but as a complete performance, this show is obviously really damn good
Dire Wolf
Dec. 26, 1979
Oakland Auditorium

Super bouncy, precise version. Crisp
Truckin'
March 24, 1973
The Spectrum

I credit the mere existence of this jam to the Billy the Kid, channeling his inner Art Blakey and refusing to let the end of Truckin' dissolve to natural conclusion. Bill kept the driving the splashy high hats, then Bobby caught wise with a clever rhythmic pattern, then Phil dove in with the foundational low end. To my ears, this is one of the most easily identifiable and exemplary jams that highlight just how much certain Dead jams could be classified as pure free-form jazz. The period before Spanish Jam could have been pouring out of Blue Note, rather than the Philly Spectrum. Bill takes home the MVP on this in a big way, but everyone makes incredible contributions on this all-timer version. Very grateful to finally have a polished SBD in the new Dave's release!
Good Lovin'
Dec. 31, 1976
Cow Palace

Agree with comments above. The mid/end "jam" is funky, unique, and hints strongly at the impending Samson. Def worth a spin