Your favorite grateful dead show? RIP Jerry

Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death. it was a very sad day/week/month for me.

DISCLAIMER: If you are here to threadshit or you don’t “get” the dead then start another thread, this thread is for appreciation!

What was you all time favorite show/experience you had with the Grateful Dead?

Mine was Friday 6/30/1995 Pittsburgh PA

I had previously seen the GD 84 times starting 12/9/1979 in St Louis MO at the old Kiel Auditorium. My buddy and I started (early 90’s) taking a few weeks off each summer to jump on the summer tour. In 95 we had our shit really together and made the last 6 shows the bad played together.

6/30/95 in Pittsburgh was magical. After a good first set the band too an extended beak, they came out for the second set and on the FIRST note of “Box of Rain” the skies opened up and there was a deluge of rain…it continued to pour through “Samba in the Rain” and “Looks like rain”…the band noodled around and entered “Terrapin”!! The rain ceased. The boys played a stellar Terrapin suite and thing into Drums>space…
We were all estate when we heard Bobby and Jerry throwing tunes around, wondering where they out emerge …here it came…"I need a miracle " yeah!
the second set ended as the clouds cleared up and a beautiful waxing crescent moon appeared. Jerry closed with “Standing on the moon”

Encore was “Gloria”
Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA (Friday 6/30/95)

Hell In A Bucket
West L.A. Fadeaway
Take Me To The River
Bird Song
Promised Land

Box Of Rain
Samba In The Rain
Looks Like Rain ->
Terrapin ->
Drums ->
Space ->
I Need A Miracle ->
Standing On The Moon

E: Gloria

(Rusted Root opened)
(soundcheck included It’s A Man’s World, Truckin)

My favorite that I ever saw was 5/6/90, just smoking from start to finish.

Favorite that I’ve heard depends on what mood I’m in, but this one gets a lot of play. The night before the one that everybody talks about, 5/7/77.

I couldn’t tell you the date of the show, but it was at Soldier Field in Chicago and during Drums, Mickey let loose with a train horn that was really wild.

Never saw them live, but whenever I hear “Casey Jones” or “Uncle John’s Band” on the radio, I can’t help singing along.

I went to more Dead and Garcia Band shows than I can count between 1978 and 1995.

In the last few years I had become friendly with Dennis McNally, the band’s publicist and biographer, and he routinely sent me tix and backstage passes to the NYC area shows, but in the '70s and '80s I was your typical grubby hairy Northeast collegiate Deadhead.

High points are spread over seventeen years – a volcanic “Looks Like Rain” into “Deal” first set closer in 1979 New Haven that made my companion (a New Wave/Punk enthusiast who only came with to make sniggering comments) sob in pleasure…a very early 1985 “Touch of Grey” still in development mode (“What is THIS song? Is this a NEW song? I LOVE THIS SONG!”)…finally getting my very own “St. Stephen” at a Madison Square Garden show around 1990.

Most deeply etched ecstatic memory would be a 1980 show in upstate New York – cranium full of delicious home-made “White Barrel” acid, compliments of the fine cooks in the Chemistry Department of Cornell Univesity – where the second set opener was “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider.” ONLY time I got one live in all 17 years.

Thanks for the link to the Boston show! Will give it a listen tomorrow.

Don’t be disrespecting 5/8/1977 at Barton Hall, Ithaca NY, though. There’s a REASON we revere that particular performance, and it’s a good one to turn newbies on to.

Comes roaring out of the gate like a cocaine basilisk and sticks to second-set punchy high energy instead of the dreamy, spacey jams so many Dead haters like to hate on.

One more.

Jerry Garcia Band, Hartford, Connecticut, December, 1980. About two weeks after John Lennon was gunned down. First ever “Dear Prudence,” which later became a JGB set standard. ROAR from the audience…

I saw the current incarnation, “Dead & Company” (Weir/Hart/Kreutzmann, plus John Mayer, Jeff Chimenti, and Oteil Burbridge) at the Gorge a few weeks ago and it was an amazing show from beginning to end. They opened with “Touch of Grey” and closed the first set with “One More Saturday Night”, then did a bunch of long jams in the second set, including a 40-minute-or-so “Uncle John’s Band” with Drums and Space in the middle. They closed with “Casey Jones” and then did “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” for the encore.

John Mayer is no Jerry Garcia, but he’s a pretty awesome frontman in his own right and he delivered some amazing guitar. The old guys can still rock, and Mickey Hart did an interesting bit during Space where he started banging on piano wires with a steel pipe and getting a Doctor Who-ish sound out of it.

The whole show’s on YouTube if you have a few hours to spare.

Only other time I’ve ever seen them was in 2004, when they were “The Dead” and Warren Haynes was fronting them. That show wasn’t as good as the one I saw this year and they mostly did covers - I remember “Sittin’ On Top of the World”, “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, and “Johnny B. Goode” in particular.

I only ever saw them once, so it has to be 30th Sept. 1981 at the Playhouse in Edinburgh.
Maybe not one of their greatest gigs, but it seemed it at the time! Centre aisle seat in the 2nd row. :slight_smile:

I was/am, by no means, a Dead Head, but had seen them a few times over the years… after a freakish April snow storm hit Philadelphia, the parking lot quickly turned to 3-4" of slush, making the pre-game festivities an interesting experience. This show was heretofore known as the “cold rain and show” show, and I loved it because I got to see Terrapin Station:

My favorite show remains my first. July 1989 at Alpine Valley. I recently discovered that the show was released as a concert video called “Downhill From Here”, I have to find that. Here’s the setlist:
Touch of Grey
Jack Straw
New Minglewood Blues
Friend of the Devil
Stuck Inside of Mobile
Bird Song
Promised Land

Sugar Magnolia
Scarlet Begonias
Man Smart/Woman Smarter
Eyes of the World
China Doll
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Hey Jude Reprise
Throwin’ Stones
Sunshine Daydream

Quinn the Eskimo

I was also at the last two shows (Soldier Field 1995). Watching Jerry close out Sunday with Black Muddy River was powerful, it makes you wonder if he knew something we didn’t.

Me too, except that my show was exactly eight years later, to the day, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. I had a great time, although looking back at the set list it seems less than stellar:
Set 1

  1. Bertha >
  2. Greatest Story Ever Told
  3. West L.A. Fadeaway
  4. Queen Jane Approximately
  5. Row Jimmy
  6. Let It Grow

Set 2

  1. Iko Iko
  2. Estimated Prophet >
  3. Truckin’ >
  4. Smokestack Lightning >
  5. Drums >
  6. Space >
  7. I Will Take You Home >
  8. The Wheel >
  9. All Along The Watchtower >
  10. Touch of Grey


  1. U.S. Blues

I went to a bunch of Bay Area shows in the mid-80s, mostly because of a beautiful Deadhead named Lori. Unfortunately we weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend, but more like concert buddies. So, the best Dead show I ever went to was at the Berkeley Greek one night when we got pretty drunk* and made out during the second half of the show.

*Her scheme for getting alcohol into concerts was to fill a baggie with vodka and then cover it with ice in a thermos jug–it would always get past security. She would bring a separate container of OJ and then once we got to our seats…voila, screwdrivers!

Me and a friend flew our bikes from NJ to San Francisco in '82 to ride down the coast and visit friends in LA. It was the first time in California for us. Long story short, our LA friends surprised us at the airport and maybe two hours after arriving we were sitting high up on the grass at the Greek theater in Berkeley watching the Dead rip through Jack Straw, Cassidy, Lazy Lightning/Supplication, China Cat and so on. It was like a dream. The next day we were barefoot in the sand on the floor of the Greek for the awesome series closer. It was an unforgettable time.

Greek Theater, Berkeley, CA May 22 1982
Jack Straw
Tennessee Jed
Cumberland Blues
Lazy Lightning/Supplication

China Cat/I know you rider
Women are Smarter
Good Time Blues
Lost Sailor/Saint of Circumstance
He’s Gone
Not Fade Away
Wharf Rat
Around and Around
Good Lovin’
US Blues
May 23 1982

Shakedown Street
Promised Land
They Love Each Other
Mama Tried
Mexicali Blues
Little Red Rooster
Ramble on Rose
Let it Grow

Samson and Delilah
Ship of Fools
Estimated Prophet
Eyes of the World
The Other One
Stella Blue
I need a Miracle
Casey Jones
Brokedown Palace

Oh, no disrespect for that show at all! I know I’ve listened to it a bunch of times. I think it got famous because it was a widely traded tape (yes, I’m old enough to remember tape trading) and there was a high quality soundboard recording of it in circulation. It definitely is one of the great shows in one of the great runs in Dead history.

When Jerry died, I spun about 10 copies of that show and a few others and took them up to the memorial service at the Polo Field and gave them away to people there. “Do you have a copy of this show? No? Well you do now.”

I know he did that a lot around 1992 or 1993. I can’t remember which show it was in Vegas where I heard that when they played He’s Gone into Drums, and it felt to me a lot like a little callback to “like a steam locomotive rolling down the tracks”.

Good lord was I lit up like a Christmas tree for that show…

Buckeye Lake 25Jun88

Las Vegas. During an extended drum interlude, the clouds rolled in from the north and thunder and lightning joined right in with the performance.

It was also used to herald the arrival of Casey’s train from Space, 6/20/92 in DC. I was there for that, first “Casey Jones” in years.


I think any of us decrepit enough to have attended dozens of shows remember tape-trading. Also, I swear, this thread is makin’ me tear up.