What’s Next for the Grateful Dead?

As I write this I am uploading the very last Grateful Dead show of 1969.  You’ll not see that show posted for a few weeks as I’m a bit ahead on my uploads vs show posting time, but I want to start thinking ahead towards whats next.  It took me approximately 15 months to get through 1969.  Of course there were various excursions along the way with random shows from random years and a nice stint with their tour with Bob Dylan.  Not to mention all the other artists I’ve posted along the way.

I don’t really know what I’m saying here except while 15 months is a long time to take to get through a single year of shows, there was lots of other good stuff posted in that time as well.  I expect it won’t take me as long to get through whatever year I do next as I’ve gotten into a pretty good groove with my posting these days so hopefully I can speed the process up a little.  But no promises.

All of which brings me to the question of the day: what year would you like me to do next?  I’m pretty much done with the 60s at the moment.  I love me some Primal Dead, but I can only do so much of it at a time and I’m well past saturation point.  We did 1977 the time before and so I’d really love to something from the 80s or (gasp) the 90s.  Those aren’t my favorite decades, but I’ve not listened to that much either.  With the Jerry Garcia Band showing me that Jer still had some killer chops in the 80s I’m interested in taking a full year from the Dead in and seeing where it takes me.

I won’t absolutely nix anything from the 70s, but you’ll have to convince on it.  Make all your votes in the comments section and for extra points tell me why you want that particular year.



53 thoughts on “What’s Next for the Grateful Dead?

    1. No, not at all. My favorite is officially 1977 though 1972 and 73 have some killer performances as well. And 71, 70, well most of the 70s up until about 1978 (though its got some good shows as well.)

      I took a vote way back when and it was decided by comment to do 1969 so that’s what I did. I believe at that time 1973 was close in the running, but barely lost.

  1. Why not two years as a compare and contrast? 1974 was, arguably, a peak for the Dead, technically and economically, having conquered Europe quicker than Patton, investing heavily in technology, (the Wall of Sound, Alembic), and the business, Grateful Dead Productions and Merchandising. Then there is 1989, when Jerry came back from, well, the near Dead and the band established itself, using those things they started in the 70’s, as something besides a bunch of burned out hippies.

    Shows from both years are readily available, commented on and not commercially released.

    It might give the old guys something to remember besides what a good smoke used to cost.

    – back to lurk mode. Thanks for all you do.

    1. That’s not a bad idea. Sounds fun though it gets a little complicated logistically and keeping track would be annoying. Gosh if one year took me 15 months two years would take forever. Still its a fun idea.

  2. I would like you to consider posting a full years worth from 1993. It’s a crucial time for The dead, as it had a still vibrant Garcia, and they band was utilizing a thoroughly extensive, newly constructed song base. Also during that year, Vince really became an intuitive musical member & his vocals were excellent. And, as if that weren’t enough, there was some hellacious “Spaces” being bantered about! Thanx for all the great shows you’ve worked for us here. ~ Now, Go For it!

  3. Sir

    There is hardly a 60s or early 70s show of the Grateful Dead in your blog that I have not downloaded, I love them all. I imagine that the supply is unlimited and you will be giving more ’69!!!!

    So, please give PLENTY of ’70 and ’71 stuff, PLEASE. Will be gratefully accepted and enjoyed.
    Thank you and jus’ keep truckin’!

    A. Ashokan [Male, 66]
    Kollam Kerala India

  4. I have commented before on this, but here goes: In my book, the GD were a different (and inferior) band after 1974. I believe that if people are listening to them in 50, 100 years from now, they will be listening most to the period 1972-74, when every single night they delivered a psychedelic firestorm on Playing, or Dark Star or Other One. Having said that, this period has been well covered by the official archive issues. So I would vote for something from a relatively neglected period, 1979-83 (in my opinion, though I know many Dheads will disagree, the last years when the band was still performing at a high level, before Big Jer’s decline). Perhaps 1981 would be a good choice?

    1. I agree with Nikos. Start with Anchorage, June 21, 1980, because it was a great show at a remote venue and I was there. 1982 was great (Veneta, August 22, officially released is a classic), so mine from before and after that one. A vote for early 1980’s.

    2. I actually did a bunch of shows from 1980 several years ago. It wasn’t every show from that year, but it was a bunch of them. Which makes me less inclined to go back to that year. I will however be revisiting those shows as I continue to repost everything.

      I don’t totally disagree with your assessment of the post 1974 years (though I’m good up until 1978) but I want to give the later years a real chance.

  5. How ’bout ’89? The band’s power built up throughout the year until they exploded to another level with the 10/89 run of shows. Jerry consolidates his re-honed (post-’86coma) guitar skills and leads the band through many jazzy, spacey pre-Drums jams. Help/Slipknot and Dark Star come back in full glory. The band’s use of MIDI tech in reshaping their sound pallette develops throughout the year. And Bruce Hornsby sits in on a BUNCH of shows.
    Or ’83, with it’s Help/Slipknots, VAST ScarletFires, brief return of Stephen, and the dawn of the InTheDark era of the band…
    Any year outside ’72-’78 is fine with me! Thanks for all you do!

  6. Hi Matt,
    If you want to go eighties, then I suggest 1981 cos for me the band really found a groove that year (but throw in some 73 and 76, and maybe some 1991 along the way).
    Keep up the good work, love your blog (and keep the Van coming too as well!)

  7. I’m just a visitor to “the Dead world,” so I don’t have a specific preference. But I do love Phil Lesh solo and Bob Weir solo, so any shows in those ranges is fun for me too.

    Just wanted to say thank you for all the music!

    p.s. always enjoy your Van Morrison posts of course. I especially love his recent live period, focusing on 2009-2013 or so, when “Fair Play” would frequently pop up in sets. Just putting in a vote for that as well!

  8. Hi Mat, First off — just want to thank you for all you do. These ’69 shows have been a fascinating listen to an iconic year in the band’s history. And, of course, you’ve exposed us to many another tidbit and great, rare sounds: the Coltrane, Howling’ Wolf, Bill Monroe, early Dylan etc.

    Re: next Dead year to post. I’m not a ’80s or ’90s hater by any means but my argument against devoting the Cafe to this period is simple: not only had audience taping become more common but the techniques and technology improved to the point where so many very good quality tapes already exist and are available via archive.org. And, IMHO, the music not as compelling — great at times, kinda flat at others.

    My votes would be for 1968 (or even a 1965-1968 run as there are, ultimately, fewer, rarer, much harder to come by shows). 1971 is a little overlooked but the band went through some amazing changes and the Fall run of shows very hot. 1973, 1974 or 1978 would be my final choices tho good AUDs are available from these last 3 too.

    Whatever. Main thing: know your efforts are much appreciated.

    1. Thank you. The truth is pretty much all the Dead shows can be found on the internet if you look for them. Certainly you can get them on the torrents, and then there’s Archive and various other blogs.

      This is one of the reasons I started doing full year runs as that seems like a fun way not only to post shows, but to be able to follow how the Dead changed over the course of a years worth of touring.

      I’ve noted several times in the comments that I much prefer 70s Dead to 80s Dead but I want to give one year of the 80s a real try . I’m sure I’ll find some real gems.

  9. The Europe Tour of 1981 is underrated IMHO and has some great shows 10/11 10/19 some impromptu shows 10/15 & 10/16

    1989 Jers tone is awesome, his playing is solid and they started breaking out some vintage stuff. February has some guests, March Greensboro and the summer tour! Hampton Warlocks naturally

  10. Hi Mat — Whatever Dead circa you decide on is fine with me. The “rare sounds” as Toby mentioned are a real treat also and please, please keep the Jerry stuff coming………… Many thanks for all you do…….!!!!

  11. Here’s a pretty simple concept. You are finishing 1969. Why not continue right into 1970? 1970 is an amazingly diverse year, with the band still carrying forward lots of the 1960’s music (a few Viola Lee’s, many Dark Star/St Stephen/Eleven medleys and a lot of Cryptical/Other One suites) but also moving aggressively into the world of Workingman’s and American Beauty. The breadth of the songs they played that year is simply astounding. The best versions of Dancing in the Streets for example. Killer Pigpen songs like It’s A Man’s World and Lovelight. And all of the amazing acoustic shows. I just assumed when 1969 was done that we would have 1970 to look forward to. But whatever you choose Mat is just completely appreciated. This blog is a fantastic source of wonderful music and I love to check it out every single day. Thanks so much for all you do!

    1. That certainly makes logical sense, and someone asked me the same question after I finished doing 1977 but I rather like the idea of sampling the different stages of their 30 year career.

  12. I love the 70s, especially 72 – some of the shows that year were just ripping. However, I agree that going for the 80s could be a nice change. Some of those years are often overlooked and there are some nice years. If I had to vote, I’d say start in 1980. I think they played a good number of shows that year and I also think they did some acoustic stuff too. Also, after 79 Brent really hit his groove with the Band…Having said all that, I’ll dig anything that makes everyone happy. I’m so grateful that you share the shows, it matters little to me what you decide. As always Mat, thanks a million for everything!

    1. Thanks. I’d almost do 1972 next but so much of that has been covered by official releases there would hardly be anything left. I actually posted a bunch of shows from 1980 several years ago so I’m not too keen to go back just yet. I’m sure those links have long departed but I will eventually get them reposted.

  13. I’m just an old codger who prefers the band with Pigpen to any other era. 1969 is when I first started seeing them so I’ve really enjoyed what you’ve been doing for that year. 1970 is under-represented in official releases, versus 1972 which is mostly released at this point and 1973 which also has a lot of official releases. If you’re going for the 1980’s, I’d recommend 1985 because they brought back some of the old tunes for the 20 year anniversary and they haven’t done a ton of releases from that year.

    1. I appreciate that. I’d like to do 1970 at some point as there are some killer shows and I really dig how they transition from crazy psychedelic jammers to really honing their songwriting craft. We got just a little bit of that in 69 but it really comes out in 1970.

      Good point about 1985, that could be fun seeing some of the old tunes resurface.

  14. Mat,
    For what it’s worth i’d probably have voted for 71 or 73 (so many great official releases from 72). However if i was picking 80s or 90s era i’d pick ’89 to spring 90. For the record there are now actually 2 mega boxes covering the spring 90 tour in addition to dvd releases etc. For this reason i’d probably settle on ’89.

    Like you i’m not overly familiar with ’89, but then i associate this blog with discovery where the Dead are concerned, so bring it on as far as i’m concerned.

    Anyway I’m more than happy to be led by the Dead aficianados around here. It’s an approach that has served me well so far!

    1. Your opinion is always welcome, Dave, even if your expertise lies elsewhere. Yes, a whole lot of 1990 has been covered officially which puts me off on it. Although it might be fun to do a year that has big official coverage just to add in the shows that haven’t gotten official releases.

  15. So many good years…I am particularly fond of 1983 shows…I like the way you have chose to post a year at a time. 1974 shows with the wall of speakers is a classic year as well..

  16. First, thank you very much for the 1969 shows. Some of their best.
    I’m new to your site so I misssed 1977 unfortunately.
    I think you should put up whatever gives you joy.

    Since you asked what we would like…
    I was hoping you would go from 1969 to 1970! And then 71, 72 and 73!
    My favorite GD years are 1969 – 1973, with 1977 coming close behind. 74 was good too!

    Some of the 80s shows are interesting IMO but I haven’t heard much from the 90s that I would play, let alone play often.

    I’m not putting down what others may like.
    Thanks again for the sharing of these great shows.

    1. I hear ya. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere I’m not a huge fan of the post 1978 years. But I’ve also not heard a ton of it which is why I want to give some shows a try and see where it takes me.

      I will however sprinkle in some classic Dead shows from the 70s now and again as well.

  17. To me there is almost nothing better than a ’73 Eyes…but I have a lot of 70s stuff anymore. Really enjoyed wrapping up my ’69 collection. I would be all for 89-90 shows. Though I would never say no to the 70-71 that a few people have mentioned.

  18. Thanks for all these ’69 shows, been downloading them like crazy. If you’re going for 80s, I’d also vote for ’81. It’s still before Jerry’s decline became obvious, and there are some rocking shows. The band was tight again in the late 80s, but Jerry’s voice is just rough from ’85 on.

  19. Hi Mat, I’m a very late newcomer to your blog. My principal interest lies with Dylan and you have posted some memorable concerts which I have been delighted to add to my collection. However the other performers included in your downloads are providing me a grounding and insight into other genres. From this novice viewpoint please continue to offer both a time theme and the occasional foray into other artists’ work. It is the unexpected that makes your blog such a compulsive follow! Many thanks and keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you. I try to add in some things that one doesn’t usually find in all the other bootleg blogs. My own musical taste is pretty ecclectic so its fun running into various other genres.

  20. As 80’s go, I vote for any of the pre-coma years. And I’d love if you’d pick any year from the 70’s. But one of my very favorite years happens to be 1977. Unfortunately, I only stumbled upon your fantastic blog within this last year so I missed those posts. When I try to access any of the older posts they tend to point to servers that are either no longer available or that have questionable download cleanliness (amazon is great, by the way). Is there any way to still access all of those ’77 shows that you already posted?

    Really looking forward to whatever year is next. Appreciating this blog immensely. Thanks for all the great music.

    1. Unfortunately those 77 shows have likely all been deleted by the various file hosting companies I used. I will however reupload them sometime. It will likely take me a long while though.

      If there is one in particular that you just got to have leave a comment on that post and I’ll try to get to it faster.

  21. As I’m tallying these up we’ve got a pretty good horse race. So far 1981 is coming out in the lead, but just by one vote. 1983, 89, 85, 80, 82 are all right up there too. Please feel free to make comments about those years over the next couple of days. I’ll have a winner come Wednesday.

  22. Hi Mat – my concept too is very simple, whatever year from the Brent era that folks think is most likely to start ostriches like myself (who tend to stick to the Donna & Keith years) expanding their horizons – cheers for all your posts🙂

  23. Hi Mat,
    Nothing more to add, really, except to reiterate my plea for 1981 (and there’s that European outing with a great impromptu set at the Melkweg in Amsterdam, for some added interest). Go for it!

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