Over 2,300 concerts. Tens of thousands songs performed. Needless to say, the Grateful Dead are one of the most dynamic live bands of all time.
As we gear up to broadcast the Grateful Dead's April 11, 1987 show from Chicago's UIC Pavilion this Friday at 9 PM, I took a look back throughout the bands history to condense some of the finest shows all in one place. Naturally, every Dead fan will have their own list of favorite shows. Let me know on Twitter @martyrosenbaum what your favorite show was if it wasn't listed here.
It's a dubious task aiming to rank the best Grateful Dead shows of all time, but here are five that stand out as the top concerts the band has ever performed.
May 8, 1977 - Barton Hall, Cornell University
Universally regarded as one of the band's best performances of all time, the Barton Hall show was finally given an official release in May of 2017 as three-disc CD and five-disc vinyl. Highlights are abound in this show and it's a must listen from front to back.
August 27, 1972 - Old Rennaissance Faire Grounds, Veneta, Oregon
March 29, 1990 - Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
November 11, 1973 - Winterland, San Francisco, California
San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom and the Grateful Dead go together like peanut butter and jelly. The band played numerous shows here with the venue serving as home to some of their finest live performances. The show features on of the greatest versions of "Dark Star" the Grateful Dead has ever performed clocking in at a whopping 35 minutes and 41 seconds.
February 14, 1968 - Carousel, San Francisco, California
60's Dead shows represent a special time. The band was just beginning their upward trajectory and had started to gain their recognition as a premier live act. This period of time is well-represented in the raw sound the band has throughout the show urging the audience to explore the sonic capabilities the band fostered.