Ten Years of Bootlegs #7: Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead – The Entire Tour


I mentioned last time that Bob Dylan held every spot in this Top Ten Countdown except for one. This was actually surprising to me as I figured some of the other artists I post regularly around here would show up more. Though I post lots of Van Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Neil Young and others none of them will show up on this list. This is the only time the Grateful Dead will appear. Can anyone guess who the other artist will be?

I suppose it makes sense that Bob would dominate. Dylan fans are rather obsessive. Unlike the Dead his shows are relatively difficult to find online. Where the Dead exist on archive.org and a bevy of other sites where you can find essentially every show of their in existence no such place exists for Dylan (at least that I’ve ever found). He’s also got a very long history of performances and is still touring regularly which means there a ton of shows out there to collect.

For whatever reason Van Morrison doesn’t have that big of an online presence. He still makes records and tours but his heyday is many years in the past, at least in terms of popularity. While I’ve found he’s got a dedicated group of followers and bootleg collectors, its a pretty small group. Jerry Garcia solo stuff is similar in that way.

I don’t really know why Bob dominates on here so much but here we are at number 7 and this is the first time another artist has made an appearance.

#7 Most Visited Shows on The Midnight Cafe

Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead – The Entire Tour
3015 Hits

On paper having the Grateful Dead tour with Bob Dylan sounds like a dream come true. The Dead would play a couple of sets on their own and then become Dylan’s backing band. What could be better? The Dead were clearly longtime fans of Dylan as they’d been covering his songs since nearly the beginning. Dylan too had a great respect for The Dead, especially Jerry Garcia. Putting them together should have been amazing.

And yet, it clearly wasn’t. 1987 was not a great year for either artist. Bob was still in the midst of his 80s funk with his early 90s resurgence still a few years away. Garcia had come out of a coma just a year earlier and had to relearn how to play the guitar. Though the Dead still had plenty of good shows left in them they were very much on a downward spiral. The officially released album they put out from this tour has been pretty well derided by critics and fans alike.

However, I really feel that listening to the entire tour shows that it really wasn’t as bad as its reputation, and in some moments its really quite wonderful. The Dead are clearly enjoying playing with one of their heroes and they help elevate Dylan in nearly every way.

With DylanDave’s help I posted each show from the tour with multiple sources and then did a master post of the whole thing. It makes sense that this master post garnered a lot of hits as fans of both artist would enjoy various shows from the tour. All of the shows were originally posted via Mediafire and I have no replaced those links with ones from Amazon. Please do let me know if I am still missing anything or if any of the links are bad.

Here at the other Ten Years of Bootlegs posts.
#10 – Bob Dylan – Abandoned Desire
#9 – Bob Dylan – 1978 Tour Collection
#8 – Bob Dylan – The Genuine Never Ending Tour Covers Collection (1988-2000)

43 thoughts on “Ten Years of Bootlegs #7: Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead – The Entire Tour

  1. This is a hell of an idea, and effort! As I read your narrative, I agreed that it sounds a lot better up front than it came out, but I believe to this day that it stands as a cultural and musical benchmark, both for the ‘heads who were firmly planted in the culture at the time, and for those that came later, and who are still coming.


  2. I enter this site every two-three days for concerts by Dylan. I have never told you about the exceptional work you do and the illusion that gives me to find new things. Thank you very much from Spain

  3. Way cool! I know I’ve been a fan of quite a few of these Dylan posts, and definitely a fan of VAN posts too – and many, many more. Thank you Mat!

    1. You’ve been a fan for a long time. I appreciate it. I know Van hasn’t seen much posting lately, but I’ve got a bunch of his 70s stuff in the queue. Give it a few weeks and then there will be a flood of him.

    1. That’s a good guess, but its incorrect. I’ve only recently started posting Clapton on the regular so there hasn’t been enough time for his shows to get big hits.

  4. Thank you – had been looking forward to seeing #7! I’d guess Clapton or Lennon as the other artist. However, as a long-time Bobaholic, I don’t pay much attention to the other artists you post tbh! It’s interesting that the big uploads are doing so well – makes me think that a Bob 1966 compilation will be #1 (Captain Acid remasters maybe?). Time will tell! Thanks for all you do. I might even have to give this Dylan Dead tour another listen now …

    1. Those are good guesses but you’d be wrong. ;). I’ve only recently started posting Clapton in earnest so there hasn’t been enough time for him to garner enough hits. I think I posted some Lennon way back when but in pretty shoddy MP3s and I suspect the links are long dead.

      The other artist is a band that I’ve only posted a few shows from, but I posted it a few years ago and every now and again it gets picked up by some other popular page and I’ll get a stream of hits for a few weeks.

      1. Oh its a BAND? In that case, I’ll go for The Who or The Stones. Maybe The Band / The Last Waltz. I look forward to finding out!

  5. Here’s a fun bit of trivia: when I posted this just a few days ago the original Grateful Dead/Bob Dylan tour post had 3015 hits. Today it has 4,439! Got over a thousand hits just by reminding people that old post exists.

  6. So pleased that the Dylan Dead post was so successful. Really glad that people ‘dug’ it as much as I hoped they would. Just for ref, It wasn’t the greatest era for Bob vocally but I don’t believe that the Dead tour was any worse than either of the Petty tours. I just think that for each of those tours he was searching for a voice. I mean they are all very different, the vocal delivery and style in 87 is v different to ’86. I’ve said it before but for the record, I think Bob ( a BIG Dead fan remember) was looking for a style to complement the Dead’s style and delivery. I mean GD records are hardly noted for their exuberant vocal delivery. Of course much was very wrong. Setlists could have been far more intersting, a few duets covering some common ground would have been fab, even Bob performing some of the Dead’s stuff. After all he sings ’em with everybody else! Venues were lousy and inappropriate for all 3 tours etc. Also clearly far too many powders involved in all these tours.

    Anyway Mat, I had no idea it had been quite such a huge hit. Incidentally, also surprised and happy to see my N.E.T. Covers rip on that list. Was a total pain in the **** ripping and tagging that etc, so glad to see it wasn’t in vain. My mate who purchased the silvers back in the day will also be happy to spread a little joy i’m sure.

    1. Yes, you’ve helped me with some of my biggest posts, so thanks for that. As noted in another comment that post has received an additional thousand hits coming off of this one. Which is wild.

  7. ps Mat, – Allmans? I only suggest it as I know there are many out there who hunt ’em down as keenly as I do!

  8. In my opinion the Dylan Dead tour was a major event back in the day. The performances might not have lived up to the great expectations but i am glad the meeting took place. I purchased the Dylan Dead live vinyl when it was released. I played it a few times and then stored it in my collection. Over the years after collecting the live Dylan dead soundboards i came to the conclusion that the tracks on the Dylan Dead vinyl weren’t necessarilly the best performances. I once considered going through the Dylan Dead Sound Boards and picking out better performances of the tracks that were on the Dylan Dead vinyl and making an alternate Dylan Dead cd. Yes any ABB shows sessions solos would be appreciated. I expected The Dead shows that you post to be #1 in download ranking.

  9. As I recall, in the end you had accumulated more than i had expected, and some of the best sources, and I ended up just filling some gaps. I’ll take the credit for the original idea of posting the complete set as a series though. On such subject and for info plumdusty has just posted a central table of links to all the Bob 2004 fall US shows – well worth a look methinks.

    Any ideas for our next hit? I have some lossless upgrades in the pipeline for you. That 2004 uni collection and the Crystal Cats from London 2011. Incidentally, plumdusty also has the CC Glasgow 2011-10-09, so i won’t bother with that one.

    Must get around to posting the CC 2002 Euro tour shows for the Cafe folks sometime – trouble is there are 17 of ’em!!

    Sorry Murphy’s Law – hadn’t missed your answer – your comment wasn’t there when i posted, the comments often seem to appear out of sequence on my pc. Not sure if that is particular to me, hard to see how or why that would be the case, seems to be an issue with the WordPress template

    1. Some comments get put into a moderator queue. Usually its when people comment for the first time, sometimes its due to people putting links into the comment and sometimes its just random. They don’t show up in the post until I approve them, but then they show up chronologically. If that makes sense.

      I sent you an e -mail the other day. I was thinking about doing a Dylan/Petty tour. Got to thinking about that after I posted the Dylan/Dead tour again and was already posting a few from the mid-80s. What do you think about that?

  10. Well they interest me more than they do for some. Not sure on the coverage front – got the ref tour anthology collections for 86 and 87, and about 6 or 7 shows in lossless from 86, about 8-10 in flac from 87
    Of course I have blanket coverage in mp3, mostly at ;good; bit rates, but that’s not really the point

    There are other tours and periods where I can offer much greater assistance – like the idea though. These tours have largely been posted in piecemeal fashion in the past. Hence my relatively meagre resources

    Actually really appreciating your recent far east early 86 posts. I seem to have almost as much content in proshot video as flac for that period. Do have adelaide from 15 feb (LB-0221).

    The 86 tour compl v 1 & 2 (4cd) is basically Meadowlands 21 July enhanced with tour highlights appended – recommended that one

  11. Mat, not a lot on the ‘red’ tracker either. same old stuff from both ’86 and ’87. I have the Birmingham N.E.C. ’87 (3 nights) post from there

    Will happily share any i have with you and anyone else who wants to get involved and contribute
    Petty 86 have
    1986-02-05,07,15,24,25 (westwood one)
    Pett 87 have

    Have this one ‘Temples In Flames’ 3cd tour compl


  12. Nice one, just get anything you can find to Mat. For 87 important shows I’m missing include Dortmund and Rotterdam (both in my torr client but not moving), , Basle, Wembley (14 and 16 October), Tel Aviv, Helsinki and more

    Maybe i can start things off with the tour compls. Don’t seem to be widely shared or available. I think the absence of upgraded fan tour compls reflects the low level of sharing of these shows relative to other tours

    1. I’ll try to make a list later today of what I have, and then we can try to patch in what I’m missing with anybody who wants to help.

      Might be fun to include any other shows that Petty guested with Dylan (or vice versa) throughout the year other than the 86′ 87′ tours. Anyone have a definitive list of when else they performed together?

  13. Many many thanks for this Matt. Never quite got the Dylan/Dead concerts. I preferred the Petty Euro 87Tour. Listening to the rehearsals just now. Really really impressed. Thanks again. P.s the best Dylan show I saw was the legendary Barrowlands 04 show in Glasgow

    1. I’m an idiot. This is #7. In preparing the post my mind must have slipped so I titled it #10. I’m counting down each month until we hit the show with the most hits.

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