Friday, April 1, 2016

This Weekend We Rock Portland or the May 11, 1980: "Good Grades" Tour



Yes, Matt Dillon says it best here to Eddie Vedder and mates in Cameron Crowe's Masterpiece "Singles": "This Weekend We Rock Portland"


And the Grateful Dead rocked (the other) Portland, the one down 95 from Lewiston in the glorious state of Maine eight times between 1979 and 1985, with two additional Jerry Garcia Band in 1982 and 1993.  I saw the first two, the 1979 and 1980 versions, under very difference personal circumstances, before I moved to the Bay Area in December, 1980 and never saw an East Coast show again after Lewiston on September 6, 1980.

The 1979 version was part of 7 shows in 10 days for me, my first real tour (and Brent's as well) and one of 17 Grateful Dead shows I saw that crazy year, but in 1980, I had become a serious senior At Bowdoin.  From 1977 to 1979, my grades were under 3.0, by 1980, I was 3.8 with extra classes ad 4.0 with a normal load. Thus, for the first time since 1976, I actually missed shows in New England,

That was a bad plan because I missed these shows:

May 10, 1980 Hartford

Set Two of this show is incredible as the Deadlist timing shows:

China Cat Sunflower [6:36] > I Know You Rider [7:03] ; Feel Like A Stranger [7:45] > Comes A Time [8:42] ; Estimated Prophet [10:45] > He's Gone [14:53] > Uncle John's Band [7:32] > Space [3:52] > Drums > Space [1:04] > Not Fade Away [8:51] > Sugar Magnolia [8:18]
Encore Alabama Getaway [4:22] > One More Saturday Night [4:49]

May 12, 1980 Boston Garden, I really should have gone to this as well

OneJack Straw [5:21] > Alabama Getaway [4:53] > El Paso [4:12] ; Althea [8:16] ; Lazy Lightnin' [3:22] > Supplication [4:44] ; Far From Me [3:37] ; New Minglewood Blues [7:08] ; China Cat Sunflower [5:04] > I Know You Rider [6:07]
TwoFeel Like A Stranger [8:12] ; Ship Of Fools [8:06] ; Estimated Prophet[11:21] > He's Gone (1) [21:35] > Drums [9:19] > Space [2:03] > Saint Of Circumstance [5:24] > Wharf Rat [8:54] > Sugar Magnolia [7:41]
EncoreU.S. Blues [4:56]
Comments(1) He's Gone [11:35] > Jam [10:00]

and all of Radio City, I kind of tried for seats at least.

I wasn't completely an idiot though as I saw Lewiston and all five shows at New Year's Eve.

Back to My "Good Grades Tour"
But a bunch of us got together on May 11, 1980 to take the 20 minute ride down to Portland for the show which is tied for #26 on the Deadbase 11 rankings of greatest shows of 1980. Let me say that again. Tied for 26.  How can 5-10-80 not even been on the list either? That shows you young Dead fans that Any show in 1980 is an equal to any show in the last golden era of 1989-1991.  Take that, you lucky later fans who saw Dark Star every 4 shows while I only saw one in 80. :)

And of course being May 1980 this was a beautiful show (there are 14 versions on archive!!)

The first set was a monster with Alabama>Promised Land, Cassidy, It's All Over Now, and a Big Railroad Blues and a powerhouse Don't Ease>The Music Never Stopped to cap the 11-song set.

And the second set is rather remarkable as well. After a very well regarded Scarlet>Fire, there's a great Feel Like A Stranger>Terrapin Station>Playing In the Band trio that preceeds a short D>S.
But I was always partial to the rare Goin' Down the Road that comes out of Black Peter and jumps into two Chuck Berry's to end the set. This was only my 5th GDTFB in my 37th show  (the others being Hartford 8-2-76 out of drums, Springfield 4-23-77 out of Around & Around, Providence 30 Trips 5-14-78 out of NFA, Boston, 11-14-78 out of NFA) and it was always unexpected and a treat.

Here's a great version of the show and some extras while you listen to the Goin Down the Road. Note I never did see Cumberland Blues at the Cumberland Civic Center





Headyversions has some nice comments:

2
 Terrapin Station
Sweet jam in the middle of this Terrapin
1
 The Music Never Stopped
The boys nail the spacey jam, then ramp the energy up to high gear for a powerful finish
2
 Playin' In The Band
Playing In The Band->Drums->Space
2
 Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad
Mother's Day Dead, One of the best GDTR from the early 80's, Weir is just thrashing chords during the second jam, check it out
1
 Alabama Getaway
very rockin' opener full of loads of energy
3
 Cassidy
Sweet and beautiful version, This is an angelic version, truly one of my favorite Cassidy's
1
 Promised Land
Crispy + Clean engine revving blow out the cobwebs jam.