THE SILVER SERIES: GRATEFUL DEAD AND JOAN BAEZ - SAN MATEO 1981

July 11, 2012 – 1:00 pm

From the silver discs in the BigO Audio Archive.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

GRATEFUL DEAD AND JOAN BAEZ
San Mateo 1981 [no label, 2CD]

Live at the Fiesta Hall, San Mateo County Fairgrounds, San Mateo, CA; December 12, 1981. Good to very good audience recording.

Billed as Dance For Nuclear Disarmament, this was one of those rare occasions where the Dead backed up another artist for an entire set.

Here is an excerpt of what Corry342 posted at lostlivedead.blogspot:

Joan [Baez] and the Dead launched into “Me And Bobby McGee,” with Weir and Baez singing a duet. I recognized that it was a “first” in the sense that there hadn’t been (to my knowledge) an acoustic version of the song, but it was a terrible version. Joan Baez was simply not enough of a guitar player to stay with the Dead, and she tethered their rhythmic interplay into a static clunk. Garcia took a tentative, miserable little solo, but I cheerily wrote it off to the usual startup hiccups. We had at least gotten a sort of first-time event, which meant there had been at least some kind of rehearsal. Anything could still happen, and that is what made Grateful Dead concerts exciting. My mind was already starting to sort through possible Bob Dylan songs.

It turned out that Joan Baez had been working on an original album, mostly featuring songs she had written, with the Grateful Dead as her backing band. The bulk of the acoustic set was six original Joan Baez songs. Baez, however, had made her fame as an interpreter of other people’s songs, and had written relatively few herself…

Baez and the band started up yet another new song, entitled “Lady Di And I,” and Garcia abruptly unstrapped his acoustic guitar and walked off on stage left, handing his guitar to a stone faced Steve Parrish as he disappeared behind the amps. No one on stage batted an eyelash or acknowledged Garcia’s departure…

[For the Grateful Dead segment] Matt Kelly was onstage to start the show, and Garcia rocked hard as they went into “New Minglewood Blues.” The Dead essentially just played a modified first set for the electric portion of the show. There was no real jamming, and the set ended with a somewhat unique “Cold Rain And Snow”, “Around And Around” and “One More Saturday Night.” Matt Kelly, himself a South Bay native (he grew up with Bob Weir in nearby Atherton), played harmonica on the first two numbers and the last two (he may not have been audible on “Saturday Night”).

The grand piano remained on the stage from the acoustic set, so Brent [Mydland] played it on a few numbers. Normally the Dead did not have a grand piano on stage with Brent, so I think this was the only time he ever played a grand during an electric set. While not essential on its own terms, the main pleasure for me of seeing the Dead was watching the variations, so this was yet another detail that set the show apart. After a healthy nine-song, 50 minute electric set, the Grateful Dead left the stage, and the crowd started to cheer for the obligatory encore. Joan Baez and Bob Weir led the band back onto the stage for the encore, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”.

Click here for the full write-up.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1
Track 101. Introduction (3.2MB)
Track 102. Me & Bobby McGee (6.6MB)
Track 103. Children of the Eighties (10.9MB)
Track 104. Lucifer’s Eyes (5.0MB)
Track 105. Warriors of the Sun (11.6MB)
Track 106. Bye Bye Love (3.3MB)
Track 107. Barbara Allen (8.5MB)
Track 108. Marriott USA (8.5MB)
Track 109. Where Have All the Heroes Gone (7.6MB)
Track 110. Oh Boy! (5.5MB)
Track 111. Lady Di and I (7.5MB)
Track 112. The Boxer (5.2MB)

Disc 2
Track 201. Tuning (2.4MB)
Track 202. New Minglewood Blues (With Matthew Kelly) (10.1MB)
Track 203. Little Red Rooster (With Matthew Kelly) (11.4MB)
Track 204. Deep Elem Blues (7.9MB)
Track 205. Me & My Uncle (4.0MB)
Track 206. Mexicali Blues (6.4MB)
Track 207. Dire Wolf (4.2MB)
Track 208. Cold Rain And Snow (8.8MB)
Track 209. Around And Around (With Matthew Kelly) (4.8MB)
Track 210. One More Saturday Night (7.1MB)
Track 211. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (With Joan Baez) (7.7MB)

Click here to order Grateful Dead releases.

+ + + + +
+ + + + +

Click here for more shows that are still open for sharing.

Click here for closed shows.
(Readers can email us a request to reopen closed shows.)

  1. 15 Responses to “THE SILVER SERIES: GRATEFUL DEAD AND JOAN BAEZ - SAN MATEO 1981”

  2. an intriguing combination/situation. anxious to hear how it turned out. thanks big O.

    By Billy Jack on Jul 11, 2012

  3. the sbd of this isnt complete and isnt nearly as good as the aud recording for ppl who might think they want to forego this because its not a sbd. this show isnt one of their best but its very unique. the venue is very small.. maybe the audience was 1500 ppl at most.
    if u really need to have the sbd to compare anyway and u cant imagine that an aud could be better than a sbd.. it means u dont have very much experience with rare recordings but here u go -
    http://archive.org/details/gd1981-12-12.sbd-set2.gems.83462.sbeok.flac16
    enjoy.
    be warned..it does have its problems.
    if u want this in a better source than above.. i normally wouldnt do this but since its the dead -
    http://archive.org/details/gd81-12-12.nak300.vernon.14011.sbeok.shnf

    By darth on Jul 12, 2012

  4. I remember way back in the 80’s reading an interview with Joan Baez in which she lamented the fact that she’d recorded an album with the Grateful Dead that the record companies had no interest in. At the time, that amazed me. Now…hearing these songs with their long-winded musings on the legacy of the 60’s in the 80’s, which must have seemed dated when they were brand new…I’m not so surprised. Which is not to say this isn’t worth a listen–while the interplay between Baez and the Dead is awkward and sloppy, even by Dead standards (Baez name-checking Phil Lesh, as if calling for a bass solo, only to be answered with a slight guitar solo, is particular notable), there’s some memorable music here (the 50’s songs are the best).

    By YogaforCynics on Jul 12, 2012

  5. I was at this show and it was as weird as everyone said it was. This was my first time seeing Joan Baez and I was stoked the Dead were backing her. While there were some nice moments (Jerry seemed into Warrior of The Sun even though Joan called for Phil in the solo). The set was long and some of the new songs were so contrived and pretentious they were almost laughable. The venue was intimate and the crowd was getting restless. Audible shouts of “Groan” started up and I was torn between feeling sorry for here and wanting her to end her set. Even Jerry seemed to have had enough and left the stage before her set was through. The Dead’s set was enjoyable and loose, with the Heads wishing for more. Funny, I saw probably close to 100 shows but this was is pretty memorable. Thanks for the post. Listening to it brings it all back to life! Go Groan!

    By bamboopalace on Jul 12, 2012

  6. I want to thank Bily Jack for providing the incomplete, yet, SoundBoard link.

    I like the art work for this show.

    I’m a huge Dead fan, but I also like Baez (sure, the Lady Di & I song is horrible, she is not a Dead fan, but unlike most of you, I like this show.

    By Daniel on Jul 12, 2012

  7. hey daniel. i appreciate the appreciation, but darth posted the link. thanks darth. as i first thought, the intrigue of the combination did not prove as fruitful in reality. even dylan and the dead did not usually produce the stellar moments one would think could be anticipated. that said, it’s always interesting to hear the dead reel themselves in when confronted with legendary guests who are not in the dead’s head space.

    By Billy Jack on Jul 13, 2012

  8. billy.. there are 6 cds worth of dead / dylan rehearsals. i have not actually tried to see if they can all fit on less cds but its 3 sets of 2. there are some incredible bits on there. have u heard these? the live shows are often wonderful and foxboro is one of the bunch that is superb. there were others but that one stands out in my head right now. probably cuz i just listened to it last week. i listened to the set of 6 rehearsals about 2 months ago tho and cds 3-4 and 5-6 are my faves. but i like them all really. when it first came out there were only audio tapes of course and it was a 90min tape then another 90min tape surfaced. i dont believe anymore audio tapes ever surfaced til the boot cds came onto the scene.

    btw.. on another topic - these 2012 dylan shows are missing something. while hes doing something very different now.. hes playing much more piano than ever before and grand piano at that. the sets are shorter and his voice is getting worse if u can imagine that. im still collecting many of his shows but at 71 yrs of age i think hes starting to wind down. what does everyone else think? anyone else have any shows? there are a bunch out there.
    did anyone watch the two tom waits tv appearances this week? they were amazing.

    By darth on Jul 13, 2012

  9. agreed on all counts darth. those recently posted rehearsal discs are incredibly tasty, as are the basement reels that big O recently sent our way. funny you should mention bob’s live shows, because i spent alot of time between ‘98 and ‘09 seeing him as often as possible, partly because of the heart condition which almost took him from us in the late 90s. for a while he stopped playing guitar altogether, i heard it was because his left arm was giving him trouble after the heart issues. i remember seeing him open for one of the dead reunion tours in darien lakes, ny(’04 me thinks) and when he joined the dead onstage for 4 songs, bob weir kinda forced the guitar on him, which was a delightful moment. he’s coming here to CT in september and i’m tempted. you never know when it will be the last time. As far as tom waits is concerned, he’s always fabulous, and those tv appearances were no exception.

    By Billy Jack on Jul 13, 2012

  10. to set the record straight, the dead/dylan show was ‘03

    By Billy Jack on Jul 13, 2012

  11. by the way all…i’m wondering about the status of dylan stuff presented here at big O. i never saw this addressed by the administrator, other than the legal blurb that we all saw. is it only select boots, or have bob and big O bid each other a “restless farewell?” i know i can find things elsewhere, but here it’s always a surprise when something dylan pops up. but i’m rambling now…

    By Billy Jack on Jul 13, 2012

  12. demonoid has open enrollment if u need stuff u cant find anywhere else. hint hint.
    and work at it and u can get into dime. dime is allowing dylan material. i personally dont know what material bigo specifically is referring to with the blurb at the top of many of their posts so i cant say if that particular material is or isnt available thru either site.
    i am curious at which show bob returned to the guitar after taking a break from it.

    also.. and i know this is off topic and nearly no one will see this and theres no other place to post this but.. theres a show on here after austin city limits called front row center which tonite has bachman turner doing a live set for an hour. its from may this year and is their first performance in 20 years. not sure how that can be since their recent cd release is live from roseland from nov 2010.. but thats what it says in my onscreen guide. maybe this performance predates that roseland show even tho the original broadcast of it didnt happen til later. who knows.

    By darth on Jul 15, 2012

  13. some of the joan baez with members of the GD backing her in the studio have been released.

    I-)

    By I-) on Jul 17, 2012

  14. I made it as far as me and bobby mcgee.
    Janis must be spinning in her grave .

    By sluggo on Jul 26, 2012

  15. Yeah, Joan’s attempt at what I can only presume is a Janis imitation is probably the most painful of her many missteps, here…

    By YogaforCynics on Jul 26, 2012

  16. you know Mickey Hart & Joni were an item living together during this time frame of ‘80-81…

    so no surprise when she played with the boys here & New Year’s Eve as well as in the studio backing her album…

    By Jerry's Finger on Mar 24, 2015

Post a Comment