Today in Grateful Dead History: June 4, 1978 – Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

Dancing Skeletons

1978 is another one of those years that doesn’t fit perfectly into any category.  Keith and Donna were on their way out, the band’s interest seemed to be lagging, and yet the songs themselves were sometimes played at a frenetic pace and often sloppily so.

Today’s show from the University of California at Santa Barbara illustrates my problem with 1978 – something just seems to be a little bit off and almost nothing really interesting happens.

Now some of this can surely be attributed to the fact that the band played a ton of shows to start the year and then took a two and a half week break before playing this show in a football stadium in the middle of the day on the bill with several opening acts, but still, post-drums the band plays Not Fade Away>Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad>Around And Around with a double encore of U.S. Blues and Sugar Magnolia. Even if Not Fade Away and Goin’ Down The Road are awesome (and they’re not), this still makes for pretty boring listening.  The 20 minute Estimated Prophet>Eyes of the World before all of this dreck is OK, but again, a lot of it is just meandering without much purpose.

On a more interesting note, Warren Zevon (a favorite and one of the multiple openers), was apparently hopelessly drunk (not a surprise) and harangued the crowd at every opportunity.  For some cool stories about that experience, check out the comments on the soundboard recording here:


One thought on “Today in Grateful Dead History: June 4, 1978 – Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

  1. Whoever wrote this review was probably not at the show because they got stuck on another planet in another galaxy on their way to the gig. I consider this to be one of the most off the hook, out of control, crash and burn in total style, take EVERY chance, cranked up, screaming party of a Grateful Dead concert I had been to in a while. Ken Kesey, The Thunder Machine, Hells Angels, a motorcycle running through the PA SO LOUD we thought the cones in the speakers were shredding, an even louder, aggressive, one of the boys confident, crazy, let it all hang out, screaming Donna pushing Bobby to find his vocal limits. A truly balls out, loud as fuck, bus crash of a superb ROCK AND ROLL concert. If you are bored by this you probably need a defibrillator. Play it so loud your neighbors call the cops or don’t play it all.


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