Monday, February 27, 2017

Cape Cod October 27: Best Show of 1979

There is no doubt, there is nothing like seeing the top-rated Grateful Dead concert  of the year, in this case it's the October 27 show at Vince McMahon's Cape Cod Coliseum in 1979.  And of course David released it as the 1979 entry in the 30 Trips series.

I had never seen a local review of the show. However recently I discovered that The Heights, a Boston College student newspaper did a fine thorough job of describing the show and the scene (although they missed The Caution Jam breakout).  Truth be told, I missed it too at the show at the time and only learned that I heard it years later similar to how I missed the Blackbird tuning in Springfield in 1977.

[Note: In Nov 2017, I was told by buddy Craig MacLean that he, my brother Ralph and I stayed at a freind's Aunt's house on the Cape after this show. I never could remember where I had stayed that night so mystery solved!]

You can enjoy here.  Also there is a tremendous review at

You can tell from the deadbase 11 chart, that Cape Cod is the clear favorite from 1979.  It makes me happy when I find I was lucky enough to see the best show of the year.  Lucky I saw Boston in 1977, Lewiston in 1980, and New Year's 1981, all strong candidates too. :)

I saw 19 Grateful Dead shows in 1979, my all time high so maybe that helped.  Other high rankers I saw were 1-15-79 in Springfield and
8-4/5-79 in Oakland.

Apparently the Dead were supposed to play in Cape Cod around Labor Day 1974, presented by promoter Frank J Russo. This is weird timing; it must have been closer to the East Coast shows ending at Roosevelt on August 6 as the next shows were in Europe starting with London on Septemeber 9.

Boston Globe (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Boston, Mass.
Author:Ernie Santosuosso Globe Staff
Date:May 18, 1984
Start Page:1
Document Text
The sale this week of the Cape Cod Coliseum for conversion into a warehouse has cast a pall on the resort peninsula's summertime rock followers. The 11-year-old 7200-seat facility had housed a league hockey club and an occasional pro wrestling program but it was the rock stars who were the main event.
Since the early '70s, many major groups have performed in the South Yarmouth arena, despite its glaring acoustic deficiencies. J. Geils Band, Dave Mason, Van Halen, Crosby Stills & Nash, Boz Scaggs, Doobie Brothers, Grateful Dead, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and his orchestra and the Boston Pops Orchestra have played there.
Two years ago, Linda McMahon who co-owned the Coliseum with spouse Vince McMahon optimistically voiced her intentions to book musical acts year-round at the Coliseum. The McMahons had been living on the Cape while Vince commuted to his pro wrestling tv taping sessions. The couple now resides in Greenwich, Conn., which gives Vince McMahon greater accessibility to the television scene.
What impact will the closing have? "I'm not sure it will be that great an impact because it's been just a seasonal facility," says Jane Gerraghty, agent with Premier Talent in New York. "But promoters are going to have to be more creative, and I'm sure more groups will be going to the Worcester Centrum, the Boston Common or whatever. I know a lot of kids are going to miss it, because they loved it. I'm not sure how many acts loved it, but it was a great steppingstone for them and it was always fun to be on the Cape in the summer."
The McMahons sold the property to Christmas Tree Shops, a retail store chain on the Cape.
For the past three years, hundreds of Greater Bostonians have been coming to the aid of the African Food and Peace Foundation. In order to raise money for the group which is funding the Uganda Food and Peace Project, a concert will be held Wednesday evening at 7:30 in the Boston Shakespeare Company Theater, 53 St. Botolph st. Performers will be tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi, an alumnus of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and Con Brio; Robert Fritz, and the Mark Johnson Group. General admission, which is tax-deductible, is $15. For ticket information call 741-0780 or 237-6450. Tickets are available at the door.

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