Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead (1981)

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Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead (1981) Poster

Recorded October 30th and 31st, 1980, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, Dead Ahead showcases the recently reformed Grateful Dead lineup in acoustic and electric splendor.



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Len Dell'Amico

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28 August 2007 | Quinoa1984
| one of the more memorable of the Dead DVD concerts - an Al Franken!
Although I'm not a 'Dead-head' by any means (which goes without saying I was too young to go to a Dead show before Garcia passed on, and I haven't gone to the new simple "The Dead" shows yet), but a number of their early albums- the debut, American Beauty, Workingman's Dead- as well as others like Shakedown Street, are all quite accomplished rock and blues records, some great songs, classics from the radio, and cool (if sometimes repetitive) jams. This is the sort of form that goes with Dead Again, a concert filmed in 1980 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It's got an enthusiastic crowd always pumped- or as much as a dead-head crowd can get- for the hits, and the Dead themselves are in fine form for much of the concert. A lull might come here and there, even for the die-hard tie-dyed viewing, but there's nary a moment when it's ever too boring. The DVD also features some songs that are just as worthy as the rest of the concert.

Another note of interest: Al Franken, who is a little surprisingly a dead-head himself, having playing more than a few Grateful Dead songs sometimes on his old show on Air America, appears here as the quasi-host along with another comic for the show. Sometimes in-between a song or two it will cut back to Franken (with a big natural head of hair) and the other guy backstage, and it's one of the best things (as a Franken fan at any rate) in checking out the DVD. He even does a Henry Kissinger imitation- as Kissinger trying to sneak in a tape recorder to bootleg the show!

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