Grateful Dead – New Years Eve Shows

grateful dead - new years eve 1989

The Grateful Dead played on New Years Eve 22 times over their 30 year career. They were often enormous, behemoth affairs with multiple acts, guest players and three or four massive sets from the Dead themselves.  The music was often pretty rough no doubt because they were playing for hours on end into the wee hours of the morning, but I’ve always thought these shows were kind of special.

Bill Graham hosted pretty much all of the New Years shows and he always made a big spectacle of it, counting down the new year with massive balloons pouring down from the ceiling and often riding out dressed in crazy costumes.  He died in 1991 and the Dead played their last New Year’s Eve show that year.

I had planned to post the all as a run up to the run up to this past New Years Eve, but I got sick and so I’m a little late with it.  Obviously I’ve been posting the individual shows the last couple of weeks but much like the acoustic runs in 1980 I wanted to do a master post now that everything is up.


1991.12.31 – Oakland, CA
1990.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/Branford Marsalis
1989.12.31 – Oakland, CA
1988.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/Clarence Clemons
1987.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/Neville Brothers
1986.12.31 – Oakland, CA
1985.12.31 – Oakland, CA
1984.12.31 – San Francisco, CA
1983.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/Rick Danko
1982.12.31 – San Francisco, CA – w/Matthew Kelly, Tower of Power, Etta James & John Cippolina
1981.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/Matthew Kelly & Joan Baez
1980.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/John Cippolina
1979.12.31 – Oakland, CA – w/John Cippolina
1978.12.31 – San Francisco, CA – Officially Released on the Closing of Winterland
1977.12.31 – San Francisco, CA
1976.12.31 – Daly City, CA – Officially Released on Live at the Cow Palace. I wrote a review for it a very long time ago.
1972.12.31 – San Francisco, CA
1971.12.31 – San Francisco, CA
1970.12.31 – San Francisco, CA
1969.12.31 – Boston, MA
1968.12.31 – San Francisco, CA – The Dead played on a multi-bill at Winterland but no tapes exist.  Lost Live Dead has a nice essay on it.
1966.12.31 – San Francisco, CA – The Dead played this night at the Fillmore, but I’ve never come across a recording of it.

10 thoughts on “Grateful Dead – New Years Eve Shows

    1. Thanks. I’m on the mend, I guess. The muck moved from the center of my head to my ear which is probably infected now. I feel better, but the ear thing messes with my hear making me feel like I’m in a fishbowl completely disconnected from the world. And I’ve got a nasty cough that won’t go away.

      But enough complaining, enjoy the music!

  1. Yes – sending good thoughts for you to feel better!

    I’m not a Dead fan, but even I appreciate the work you’ve done to assemble and share these shows. I will check some of them out to sample!

    1. That’s the thing I went to a doctor a couple of weeks ago and she said that I had a virus. Can’t do anything with a virus but wait it out, she said. That will be $80 she said. Don’t have that kind of bread to spend again to be told the same thing. I’m thinking if its still here next week I’ll have to scrape up some cash to try again.

      I get nasty coughs pretty much every year around this time. My left ear gets infected on the regular (though it hasn’t done so in several years). When I was in college, 20 years ago, a friend thought she’d be cute by rolling a piece of paper into a cone and tickling my ear with it. Instead she got the point straight into my ear and pierced my ear drum. I heard this whooshing sound and blood dribbled out.

      So now I get ear infections now and again and everytime I got to the doctor they tell me I have a little hole in my ear drum. I’m all right, seriously.

      1. Ah yes, the things we do when we’re young. Does it affect the hearing in that ear?

        The persistent cough is what alerted me. Being elderly, my thoughts turn to TB, pneumonia, lung cancer, etc. Good times.

  2. Try Salt spray. The kind you get at the Drug Store. You might have dry nasals. Don`t make the spray yourself. Bacteria and awful chemicals are in tap water. Change your tooth brush. Crush a couple of aspirin into powder. Put the powder in your mouth. Put some water in your mouth and gargle. The aspirin taste is bitter but this can help for throat irritations. You can swallow the mixture or spit it out. I have heard of gargling with Hydrogen peroxide and water but it isn`t the best idea since hydrogen peroxide shouldn`t be swallowed.

  3. La Piazza Gancio. It does effect my hearing. Which isn’t always bad as when the wife is snoring I can cover my good ear with a pillow and the bad ear can’t hear her 😉

    Thrak, thanks for the advice.

  4. Mat,
    sorry to hear you’re still suffering. Big believer in the power of the ‘gargle’ myself. Disgusting but it works with surprising consistency. Salt solution or better (but even worse) 20-25% TCP. Just keep going for as long as mind and body can stand it, and then try not to breathe on anyone for a while afterwards!
    Great post by the way. Love these catchalls/themed/date block kind of things, but then you know that already.
    Get well soon
    ps you can swallow the last blast of TCP soln, just not all of it – you wouldn’t want to anyway!

    1. Thanks Dave. For the record and for those who care I went to the doctor today. Sinus infection plus ear infection. Got some anti biotics and ear drops. Hopefully this will take care of it. If not its off to the specialist.


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