Early 80's Dead
For most of the time that I have listened to The Dead (the first time around, and now), I never thought much of the early 80's. I knew that plenty of great shows could be found '70-'74, '77, and '87-'91. Not sure what my bias was here, maybe the stories of Jerry being strung-out, the lack of good quality recordings, or their simply fading into the musical background at the time, but the more I explore shows from this era, the more I like. I'm downloading 8/7/82 now, and what a show that was! I'm finding other hot shows too from '79-'84. Maybe they were a little more inconsistent those years, but when they were on, those shows match up with many of their other great ones from other years.
One song (medley actually) that I love actually is Lost Sailor>Saint of Circumstance, which you was pretty much only played during that time period. As two of the more overlooked and underrated Bobby songs, Sailor starts off quiet and serene, building in intensity before the transition to an inspirational, fun Saint that left Deadheads dancing, clapping, and singing along "I sure don't know what I'm goin' for, but I'm going to go for it for sure!"
Other hot shows from that time period that I've downloaded include 11/30/80 and 9/6/83.