Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 4--Spectrum 4-6-82Artist: Grateful Dead
It was our great honor at Real Gone Music to issue all 36 volumes of Dick’s Picks, the Grateful Dead’s landmark live concert series. Well, our diligence in releasing Dick’s Picks has had a “Ripple” effect, for now the band is entrusting us with releasing its subsequent live concert series, Road Trips! Unlike Dick’s Picks, which saw about two-thirds of its titles go to regular retail in their original incarnations, NONE of the entries in the Road Trips series were offered to retail outlets outside of the Dead’s own website. Since it worked so well with Dick’s Picks, we are reissuing the last titles first, and we have enlisted the series’ original designer, Steve Vance, to convert the original wallet packaging to customer-friendly triple-CD slimline jewel cases. This volume dates back to 1982, which, despite having been among the best years of touring for the Brent Mydland-era Grateful Dead, had seen only one authorized release (Dick’s Picks Vol. 32) from that year prior to the August 2011 release of this concert, and only one other since (one of the shows included in the Thirty Trips Around the Sun box); it remains probably the least-documented year in the band’s history when weighed against its overall quality. But that’s just one of the reasons Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 4 belongs in any Deadhead’s library; this show, which hails from one of the band’s best and favorite venues, the Philadelphia Spectrum, kicks off a rock solid first set with “Cold Rain and Snow” segue-ing into “Promised Land” and follows it with sparkling versions of “Big Railroad Blues,” “Jack-A-Roe,” and “It’s All Over Now” among others, while set two gets off to a similarly strong start with an irresistibly funky “Shakedown Street” and winds up with a sublime encore of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” with exceptional versions of “Truckin’,” “The Other One,” and “Morning Dew” in between. Bonus material from the previous night (including the rarely-performed “Deep Ellem Blues”) just add to the early ‘80s goodness, all presented in HDCD sound. Nice 12-page full-color booklet, too!