Footage: The Dead’s Hottest “Sugaree” of the ’80s?

by Peter Wendel
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JGarciaSugaree2FeaturedDebut: July 31, 1971
Last Time Played: July 8, 1995
Total Times Played: 346
Songwriter(s): Garcia & Hunter

This “Sugaree” is a SMOKER – and there’s footage. It’s from an epic show on March 28, 1981, at the Grugahalle in Essen, West Germany.

The five-star “Althea” and mid-set “Shakedown” are also must-hear versions from this barnburner show. It was a helluva night at the Grugahalle with Pete Townshend joining the band for the tail end of their 2nd set.

In my opinion, this “Sugaree” rests firmly in the top-3 of the ’80s – rivaling other Great Ones like October 17, 1983, from Lake Placid and June 21, 1980, from Anchorage.

To check out the best “Sugaree” of all time, you’ll need to jump in the time machine and go to May of ’77 (surprise, surprise). Don’t miss May 19, 1977 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta; May 22, 1977, at The Sportatorium in Pembroke Pines, FL and May 28, 1977, in Hartford, CT.

March 28, 1981
Grugahalle, Essen, West Germany

Just exactly perfect! Jerry nails the vocals, and gets busy with Tiger laying down crisp glorious leads (check out the close-ups of his fretboard). By 17:48, the stage is in flames as Garcia shreds into the night. The band takes the German crowd to the mountaintop with nearly 14 minutes of pure bliss. Enjoy the sweet ride!

Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at