Sunday, January 20, 2008

Project Ticket Stub - 1987

1987. With this year you will start to see why I don't remember each and every Dead show I've been to...6 Dead shows for the spring tour, 3 in the summer, and 6 more for the fall tour.
Grateful Dead, March 29, 30, and 31, 1987
Grateful Dead
The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
March 29, 30, and 31, 1987

My spring tour begins with the three shows in Philly. I'm not sure why these aren't mail order tickets, but rather are boring Ticketmaster stubs.

Happily for me, the three encores were Mighty Quinn, It's All Over Now Baby Blue, and Brokedown Palace. The Useless Blues curse is broken.
Grateful Dead, April 2, 3, and 4, 1987
Grateful Dead
The Centrum, Worcester, MA
April 2, 3, and 4, 1987

Philly was Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, making Wednesday, April 1 the road trip day for me (and the band) to drive north. Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Centrum.
The Saturday show brought out a song called Willy and the Hand Jive, which was a Johnny Otis hit in 1958 (and also covered by Eric Clapton in the early 70s). This will turn out to be the last time they ever play this song, out of six total times played.
John Hartford and Nancy Griffith, April 12, 1987

John Hartford and Nancy Griffith
The Colonial Theatre, Keene, NH
April 12, 1987

Although this is the first ticket stub I have with Nanci's name on it, I know it isn't the first time I saw her. My friend Leo and I saw Nanci at the legendary Passim folk club in Harvard Square sometime in 1983, 84, or maybe 85. I can't pin down which year, but I know I went there with Leo, and I remember being struck at how small the venue was (and still is today - total capacity is around 120 people). It was the first of many special musical nights I would spend at the small club in the basement on Palmer Street.

Anyway, back to this show... this was a double bill, and John played the opening set, followed by Nanci. I remember Nanci thanking John for being so gracious as to insist that he play the opening set. Nanci was still relatively unknown at this point, and John was ever the gentleman. Both John and Nanci played solo this night. This was long before John regularly toured with the Hartford String Band, and Nanci with her Blue Moon Orchestra band.
John Hartford, April 19, 1987
John Hartford
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
April 19, 1987

A week later and I was back to my favorite spot in Norwich to see John play another show at Joseph's Water Works. I think he had his son, Jamie, playing with him at this show. Jamie has turned into quite the musician himself, and his tribute album released a couple of years after John's death is nothing short of heartbreaking; it's amazing how much his voice sounds like his dad's.
The Neville Brothers, May 15, 1987
The Neville Brothers
Club Casino, Hampton Beach, NH
May 15, 1987

I don't really remember the opening act, Judy Mowatt, but I can attest that the Neville Brothers are a hell of a lot of fun. Aaron Neville has one of the most amazing voices in the world, no?
New Riders of the Purple Sage, May 17, 1987
New Riders of the Purple Sage
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
May 17, 1987

Panama Red...
Bill Staines, May 24, 1987
Bill Staines
Joseph's Water Works, Norwich, VT
May 24, 1987

I probably discovered Bill Staines via Nanci Griffith, as Nanci gives much credit to Bill for encouraging her early in her career, and she does a beautiful cover of Bill's song, Roseville Fair.

Bill hails from New Hampshire, and today makes his home in Dover, NH - although he doesn't appear to be home much -- holy cow look at his tour schedule! If he's in your neighborhood, go see him.
Bill Staines, May 24, 1987
Dylan and the Dead
Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA
July 4, 1987

Oh my, this was fun. I mean, come on, how much more fun can you get than a late afternoon outdoor Dead show (with Dylan no less) on the 4th of July? This was a huge party!
The Dead played the first set, and it was sort of a shortened normal two set Dead show played in one set, starting with Touch of Grey, and having a Drums/Space about three-quarters of the way through the set. The second set was Dylan with the Dead, and there were many memorable moments during this set, including Garcia playing pedal steel on I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. There were no fewer than ten first-time-played songs during this set, and most notably (at least for me) the Knocking on Heaven's Door encore (with both Dylan and Garcia on vocals).

This show is a serious contender for my all-time top 10 list.
Grateful Dead, July 10, 1987
Dylan and the Dead
John F. Kennedy Stadium, Philadelphia, PA
July 10, 1987

A week later and we're in Philly for the Friday night show, to be followed by a show on Sunday at Giants Stadium in NJ (see below).
We used Scott's house in Atlantic City as our home base for the weekend, and there were a bunch of us there for the weekend and both shows. Hanging out on Saturday in Atlantic City was just perfect, and I remember the multi-car caravans heading to both Philly and Giants Stadium. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep five or six cars together for the 130-mile ride up the Garden State Parkway from Atlantic City to East Rutherford?

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The JFK show was structured just like the Foxboro show the weekend before - a Dead set, followed by a Dylan and the Dead set. Once again Garcia brought out the pedal steel for I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. And once again we had a couple of firsts, including Simple Twist of Fate, and Tangled Up In Blue - both staples of JGB (Jerry Garcia Band) shows, but firsts for the Dead.
Dylan and the Dead
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
July 12, 1987

And the Sunday night show. This time it was a normal two set Dead show, followed by a third set of Dylan and the Dead. The encore was Touch of Grey > Knocking on Heaven's Door. Sort of perfect.

Notice that the tickets for these Dylan and the Dead shows were $21 each. These are the first over-$20 tickets so far in Project Ticket Stub. Prices are rising.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash, August 3, 1987
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Cal Expo Amphitheatre, Sacramento, CA
August 3, 1987

This was fun and totally unexpected. I was in Sacramento on a business trip with colleague Dennis. Our trip spanned the weekend before this show, as I remember we went up to lake Tahoe on the weekend.
At some point I must have noticed that CSN was playing on Monday night and that tickets were still available and I was able to snag one for me and one for Dennis.

I remember it was a gorgeous California summer evening. And what could be better than CSN in California? (Well, OK, sure - adding Neil Young could have made it better.)
Grateful Dead, September 7, 8, and 9, 1987
Grateful Dead
Providence Civil Center, Providence, RI
September 7, 8, and 9, 1987

East coast fall tour started, for me and for the band, with three shows in Providence. Notice that I was pretty much sitting in the same spot on the floor for all three shows - Section 4, in either Row A or B. These were really good seats - the first two rows of the second seating section back on the floor, on Jerry's side.

The Monday night show (the 7th) brought out a new surprise song - La Bamba, a Ritchie Valens hit from the 1950s that was back in the musical zeitgeist from the 1987 movie of the same name; at the time Los Lobos was having a number 1 hit with their version of the song from the movie soundtrack. The Dead would play La Bamba just four times, all during this September fall east coast tour.
The first time surprises didn't stop at the Monday show, though. On Wednesday they opened the show by playing Hey Pocky Way (with Brent Mydland on vocals) for the first time. This song was originally recorded by the Meters in 1974, who adapted it from traditional New Orleans Indian street chants. Over the years it has been covered by the Wild Tchoupitoulas, the Neville Brothers, and many others. The Dead would play it 25 times in total, with the last time played just four days before Brent's untimely death on July 26, 1990.

On a more upbeat note, the first set on Wednesday also ended with another first time played - the classic "Detroit Medley" of Devil With A Blue Dress On > Good Golly Miss Molly > Devil With A Blue Dress On. Good Golly was first a hit in 1956 by Little Richard, but the Mitch Ryder pairing of it with Blue Dress in 1966 really put it on the all-time classic charts for good. All told, the Dead would play Blue Dress six times in the fall of 1987, splicing Good Golly into it on three of those times.
Grateful Dead, September 18, 19, and 20, 1987
Grateful Dead
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
September 18, 19, and 20, 1987

After Providence, the Dead played three nights in Landover, MD, but I didn't get to them. Then they played five nights in Madison Square Garden, and I went to the last three of those shows. The thing I most loved about seeing the Dead in New York City is that it seemed like the only place in the world where the influx of Deadheads didn't make a dent in the normal comings and goings of the area. We were just one small drop in the crazy bucket of this city. The scene in and around Madison Square Garden was tons of fun. Street vendors, cops on horses, crazy cabs, Deadheads, and the normal flow of the city.
I remember a cover of Dylan's Maggie's Farm (Bob Weir on lyrics) on Saturday night, broadcast on TV as part of that year's Farm Aid. This was another relatively rare song, played only 24 times in total. We also got another La Bamba, this one in the second set of the Friday night show.

I'm not sure why I ended up with a taper ticket for the Saturday night show, but I do recall being in the taper section and being very conscious of the tapers around me, with their mic stands high in the air.
Garcia on Broadway, October 19, 1987
Garcia on Broadway
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, New York, NY
October 19, 1987

Billed as "Garcia on Broadway", in October 1987 Jerry put in a record-setting 18 show engagement at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Promoted by the legendary Bill Graham, here was proof positive that Jerry had bounced back (at least temporarily) from his drug problems and diabetic coma of just a year earlier.
I only got to see the show on the 19th, but without a doubt it belongs on my top 10 list. The first set was acoustic (the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band), and the second electric (JGB). These were fun, spirited shows, particularly the acoustic band sets, with Jerry having a lot of fun with his pals John Kahn (acoustic bass), David Kemper (drums), David Nelson (acoustic guitar), and Sandy Rothman (mandolin, dobro). I love the sound of this acoustic band, and kick myself for not seeing more of these shows.

Cost of living notice: this was the first of my tickets to hit thirty dollars.

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