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Grateful Dead shred on 1981 'Shakedown Street'

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Clayton Call/Redferns

This past weekend, the reformed Grateful Dead played two massive shows in Santa Clara, California—the final two shows the Bay Area icons will play in the region where they first emerged fifty years ago. With Phish’s Trey Anastasio covering Jerry Garcia’s parts, the counterculture legends head to Chicago’s Soldier Field this weekend, where they’ll play three concerts before hanging it up for good.

The Dead, however, continues to dig into its vault to polish and release some of their greatest gigs. In September they’ll drop their most ambitious live collection yet, an 80-disc box set featuring 30 complete concerts—one from each year the band was active. EW is proud to premiere a smoking version of “Shakedown Street” from the 1981 entry for 30 Trips Around the Sun, which you can stream below. The track will also be available on 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story (1965-1995), a more manageable 4-disc set that compiles one song from each of the show’s in the larger collection.

Deadheads still affectionately refer to the parking lot scene before and after shows as “Shakedown Street,” named after a classic Garcia-penned tune that first appeared on the Dead’s 1978 album of the same name. This version comes from the bands May 16, 1981 show at Cornell’s Barton Hall—almost exactly four years after a show they performed at the same venue that many Deadheads consider their best. This 1981 gig is no slouch, though. After keyboardist Keith Godchaux left the band in early 1979, Brent Mydland joined and spurred a mid-career renaissance for the group. He’s tapping away at full force on this “Shakedown,” which was the Dead’s second set opener for the show.

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