Grateful Dead: Road Trips
Vol. 3 No. 1 - Oakland 12/28/79

CD369 - 2-CD set
Grateful Dead Productions, 2009

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Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 1
Oakland 12/28/79 (complete show!)

The latest installment in our Road Trips series, now entering its third big year (and ninth release overall) is bound to become a favorite. Road Trips Vol. 3, No. 1 is the complete show from December 28, 1979, part of the sparkling run that has already given us the excellent Dick’s Picks: Vol. 5 (from 12/26/79). You’ll recall that these year-end concerts, held at the Oakland Auditorium because Winterland had closed down for good the previous New Year’s Eve, were the first holiday shows featuring new keyboardist Brent Mydland, who joined the band in April 1979. The new lineup had been gaining momentum with each passing tour since that spring, and by December was truly hitting its stride. It helped, too, that the band was in the midst of recording their Go To Heaven album, so they were really playing together a lot during this period.

This 12/28/79 concert is a blast: a super high-energy rock and roll show that also has its share of spacey jams and exploratory passages. The first set includes standout versions of “Sugaree,” “High Time” (rare enough that it always felt like a treat!) and “The Music Never Stopped,” while the second set opens with the always potent pair of “Alabama Getaway” > “Greatest Story Ever Told,” turns deep and introspective with “Playing in the Band” and “Terrapin,” and then later turns into a non-stop party with “Uncle John’s Band,” “I Need A Miracle,” “Bertha” and Good Lovin’.” If you’re not wiped out after that, the double-encore will waste you—“Casey Jones” and “Saturday Night”!

The limited edition Bonus Disc we’re sending out with this one (if you order promptly) is also a winner from beginning to end, too. It includes the heart of the second set from 12/30/79, including a fantastic “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire on the Mountain,” which then goes into a surprise “Let It Grow.” The sound on all three discs is spectacular (it’s hard to beat great reels as source tapes), and as always the CDs have been mastered to the exacting HDCD spec, because you would accept nothing less. The colorful accompanying booklet contains a number of excellent Jay Blakesberg photos from those Oakland Aud. shows, as well as a typically inspiring essay by the always poetic Dead scribe Steve Silberman. So it’s a win-win. A slam-dunk. A no-brainer. And when you finally come to your senses and decide that you can longer live another day without Road Trips Vol. 3, No. 1, you can order it here.
- Blair Jackson

Track List

CD 1: Oakland Auditorium Arena, December 28, 1979
1. Sugaree
2. Mama Tried>
3. Mexicali Blues
4. Row Jimmy
5. It's All Over Now
6. High Time
7. The Music Never Stopped
Set 2:
8. Alabama Getaway>
9. Greatest Story Ever Told

CD 2: Oakland Auditorium Arena, December 28, 1979
1. Terrapin Station>
2. Playing In The Band>
3. Rhythm Devils>
4. Space>
5. Uncle John's Band>
6. I Need A Miracle>
7. Bertha>
8. Good Lovin'
9. Casey Jones
10. One More Saturday Night

Bonus CD: (while supplies last) Oakland Auditorium Arena, December 30, 1979
1. New Minglewood Blues
2. Candyman
3. Ramble On Rose
4. Lazy Lightning>
5. Supplication
6. Scarlet Begonias>
7. Fire On The Mountain>
8. Let It Grow
9. Truckin'>
10. Wharf Rat