This is album is a veritable hens tooth, a fantastic performance by an immensely talented band that was recorded at such a high standard that its stands out a mile over 30 years later. It reveals just how great the Dead were in 1980, playing live in front of very enthusiastic audiences on the east and west coasts of the US. You can understand why the fans were having so much fun, the playing is phenomenal, the songs beautiful, rousing, sad and thrilling and the sound just perfect.
It helps that most of the instruments are acoustic, only the bass is a solid bodied instrument, and it clearly helps that this band had some of the finest engineers in the business in Dan Healy and Betty Cantor-Jackson. But the final blessing is that Analogue Productions has had the wisdom to pick out this album and pay attention to all the critical details of its mastering and pressing. The result is considerably more vibrant, alive and immersive than my original copy. If you close your eyes and you can still pick out the speakers then there’s something wrong with the set-up. Take my word for it this is special, and that applies even if you’re not a Dead head.