Grateful Dead

Dick's Picks, Vol. 5: Oakland Auditorium Arena 12/26/79

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Though there are some nice moments in the first set of this full-length concert, the first of the Grateful Dead's run of New Year's shows at the Oakland Auditorium Arena, held on December 26, 1979, among them a particularly vociferous vocal by Bob Weir on "Looks Like Rain" and a performance of "Alabama Getaway" the preceded its appearance on the Go To Heaven album by four months, the reason Dead tape archivist Dick Latvala picked this show for release obviously comes in the second set, which takes up the second and third discs. It is, in a sense, one long medley based on "Uncle John's Band" (making its first appearance in a Dead concert in more than two years), which opens the proceedings and closes them nearly two hours later. In between, there is another two-plus-year revival of "Brokedown Palace" and a lot of interesting jamming. The fifth straight Dick's Picks album drawn from the 1970s, this was the first one to feature keyboard player Brent Mydland and, coming in the last week of the decade, in a sense completed a first preliminary look at the '70s in the series.

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