The Golden Era of The Grateful Dead: 1982-87

I recently had the great fortune of driving down the west coast, ten days in the open spaces, with the radio constantly tuned to The Grateful Dead channel on Sirius X. And as wonderful as that truly was, I couldn’t help but notice a programming fixation with all eras but one – 1982-86.

Dave Lemieux’s exclusion of this golden age of the music is well documented in his Dave’s Picks selections. I just had no idea that the influence extended over Sirius X programming. Which obviously leaves me aghast. When will The Grateful Powers That Be realize the error in their ways?

This era offers ultimate and spell-binding versions from the catalogue including the hell-bent insanity of Jack Straw (Seattle ’83), the ecstatic electricity of China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider (NYC ’82), the crackling magic chest of Bertha/Greatest Story Ever Told/West LA Fadeaway (Oklahoma City ‘85), the plaintive epiphanies of Cold Rain and Snow (Augusta ’84) and pure tribal energy of Help on the Way/Slipknot (Hampton ’83).

Are these the best versions? Ah, what do I know of best? But must they be listened to? The answer to that is a most emphatic yes.

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