You don’t pick a 1987 show expecting to hear thirty-minute, gooey jamming from the Grateful Dead. This first post-coma year was spent gelling as a band after almost losing Jerry Garcia, and the effort shows, with typically clear, solid playing from the entire band, but not a lot of risk taking. Today’s show, like the previous show here in Telluride, is one of those 1987 performances that brightens a gloomy day but doesn’t really go anywhere particularly special.
The entire first set, other than the opening Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo (and the following Little Red Rooster, which, at nine minutes in length, is five minutes too long), is made up of short, sweet numbers like Iko Iko, West L.A. Fadeaway and Big Railroad Blues. No harm, no foul.
The second set begins with When Push Comes to Shove, a very unusual opener that only happened on two other occasions. I like this song, but neither the fans nor the band seemed to agree with me, as it dropped out of the rotation by the end of the decade. Samson and Delilah is a basic version, but I would like you to take a minute to listen to the He’s Gone that comes after it. Notice, if you will, how solid Brent is on this song, really providing all of the color and interesting fills throughout the performance, not to mention singing soulfully on the harmonies. The late 80’s really saw Brent bring things to a different level, and this song really shows off his contributions to the band.
I don’t normally recommend Drums to anyone other than the hard core fans, but this one is a spirited performance, especially the climax, with Mickey railing on the percussion. The rest of the show stays true to form – well played, nothing really interesting going on. There is a two song Jerry encore of Touch of Grey followed by Brokedown Palace, which provided something for Touchheads and old-timers alike.
The soundboard isn’t tracked correctly, but it sounds nice: https://archive.org/details/gd1987-08-16.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.81679.sbeok.flac16/gd87-08-16d2t03.flac