Jerry Garcia - vocals, guitars; Bob Weir - vocals, guitars; Phil Lesh - vocals, bass; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Mickey Hart - drums; Keith Godchaux - keyboards; Donna Jean Godchaux - backing vocals
If there is such a thing as a "classic" Dead show, this might be it. Beautifully recorded and featuring a wide variety of styles and musicianship, this performance is proof of why the Dead achieved such a long and successful musical legacy. Recorded at Passaic, NJ's legendary Capitol Theater on November 24th, 1978, between 1976's Terrapin Station and 1980's radio friendly Go to Heaven, the Dead are in top form and good spirits, delivering this beautiful set of memorable originals and choice covers. This recording contains only a partial set from the evening.
Opening with "Passenger," the Phil Lesh composition from Terrapin Station, the band balances conventional song structures with longer, experimental jams. They perform great extended versions of "Sugaree" and "Loser" from Jerry's 1972 Garcia solo album, stacked on either side of the Bob Weir gem "I Need A Miracle."
The band dips into a number of covers, including their remake of The Rascals' hit "Good Lovin'" and Chuck Berry's timeless rocker "Promised Land." Drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart are joined by Nubian musician Hamza El-Din, who had recently played with the Dead at their legendary show in front of the pyramids in Egypt. The drummers do their thing with "Rhythm Devils," a 13-minute percussion showcase - clearly an exciting, albeit a tad redundant, part of this live set.
"Estimated Prophet," also from Terrapin Station, and the Dead classic "Candyman" round out the show, which, at less than 75 minutes, is just a sample of what a normal four hour Dead concert usually would include. Sadly, only two years later, this version of the Dead would be gone with the tragic death of Keith Godchaux in a car crash, and the subsequent departure of his wife, Donna, from the band.
However, lengthy drum solos aside, this is a must for all Deadheads, including those who are only marginal fans. This show provides a great American band in its prime. Thank goodness it was captured in a timeless recording.