Due to Word Press difficulties I wasn’t able to put this post up yesterday, but I thought it would be good to finish off our three day run at Red Rocks (1987 version) this morning.
The first set of this show is fine, but nothing to write home about. It does open with a rare version of Big Boss Man, interesting but not well played. The highlights for me were a forceful Loser and Cassidy.
The second set begins with Uncle John’s Band>Estimated Prophet>He’s Gone. The first two tunes are just ok, but the band plays a very passionate version of He’s Gone with that mournful a capella at the end that really gets to you. Later on in the second set we get Stella Blue, my highlight of the night for the sweet, delicate interplay between Jerry and Brent during the solo portions. This is not one of those sweeping Stella solos that you never want to end. Instead, we’re treated to a quiet, almost sad passage that forces you to listen carefully and fully appreciate the song. It’s a keeper. After that, it’s a rave out until the second encore – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
So, what have we learned after three days in a row of 1987 shows? On the whole, I’d say the quality of the playing was pretty high, especially for the period. There weren’t a lot of transcendent moments (the second night was definitely the best), but there weren’t a lot of errors either. The Dead began drawing new fans due to the success of In The Dark in 1987, and I think for those new “Touch Heads”, these shows would be a great introduction – light on the huge jams, but catchy, well played music otherwise.
Here’s the link to the soundboard: https://archive.org/details/gd87-08-13.sbd.larson.21348.sbeok.shnf