The Grateful Dead live at Huntington Civic Centre, West Virginia – 16 April 1978

The Grateful Dead - live at Huntington Civic CentreThis is another must-hear concert by The Grateful Dead.

The sound and mix are almost ‘absolutely perfect‘ on this matrix recording. It’s difficult to pick out highlights because everything is played so well; the band are tight, Donna is great and the set list is strong. If I have one criticism, it is that there is quite a lot of dead air but that is really nitpicking.

The first set kicks off with a rousing Jack Straw that builds to a climax with Jerry bashing out power chords and scrubbing before the final verse. Very nice gentle versions of Dire Wolf, Cassidy and Peggy O follow. The bridge from Mexicala into Mama Tried doesn’t really happen, it’s more a case of stopping one song and going straight into the other. Minglewood is a cracker with Jerry scrubbing again. The set ending Scarlet Fire is a classic with a vocal slip by Jerry who sings ‘she had rings on her fingers and shoes on her toes’. The in-song jam is played with crisp, almost measured precision and I don’t think ‘beautiful’ is too strong a word to describe the transition into Fire. Very quiet to start with, it is led by Donnas gentle wailing before Jerry’s guitar slowly takes over and Phil and Jerry start Fire together. The vocals on this are to die for, clear and crisp, every word is audible before the jam, in which, again every note is clear, almost individual. It sounds as though Bobby is playing slide guitar during this jam.

The second set opener Samson and Delilah is a bit of a disappointment but only by comparison. Ship of Fools is beautifully sung. I seem to be banging on about the vocals in this review but the biggest criticism of the band over the years has been the lack of a proper singer. It just goes to show that when things are right they are easily good enough. Estimated Prophet again features great vocals and inspired Jerry guitar work. A slow-paced final jam leads into Eyes of the World. This song could get pretty intense during 73/74, but this one is lighter and more accessible and the jams are almost joyful. Drums and Space are forgettable and out of near silence, Jerry plays the riff to Iko Iko. I have found that I prefer the early slower examples of this song and this one bounces along just nicely thank you. The song fades into almost nothing before Bobby starts the riff to Sugar Magnolia and the band thoroughly enjoy themselves on this really rocky 10-minute version. US Blues encores and starts off slowly and builds to a great climax with Jerry shouting the final ‘my my my’.


More Information.

The Set List – Grateful Dead live at Huntington Civic Centre, West Virginia – 16 April 1978

More info from

The full show on YouTube

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