Footage: Bob Dylan and The Dead – The Other Show

by Peter Wendel
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DylanandDead SongMango.comIt’s no secret there was a powerful connection between The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan – particularly between Jerry and Bob. They had a deep mutual respect. And really, why wouldn’t they? They are undoubtedly two of the most influential artists to come out of the ’60s counterculture movement – both of them becoming larger-than-life icons seared into the American landscape.

The Dead toured with Dylan in 1987 – a six-stop stand that included Giants Stadium on July 12th (video below with timestamped setlist). From that tour, they produced a compilation live album, Dylan & the Dead, released in February 1989. Over the years, The Dead included more than a dozen Dylan covers in their setlist repertoire.

[Dylan-Dead quiz: Name all of the Dylan songs The Grateful Dead covered. Answers at bottom. If you manage to get all 14 of them, take the rest of the day off.]

WeirDylanGarcia SongMango.comI’ve included (at bottom) a sampling of some of the most memorable performances of The Dead’s Dylan covers, including “Desolation Row,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Quinn The Eskimo” and Phil doing a fantastic version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.”

After Jerry passed away in the summer of 1995, Dylan had some very poignant words and profound praise for his friend and fellow musician. Clearly, Bob held Jerry in the highest esteem, and coming from a man who rarely gushed, this is a one hell of a statement (I get choked up every time I read it):

There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or as a player. I don’t think eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great – much more than a superb musician with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He is the very spirit personified of whatever is muddy river country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal.

JerryHeadshot SongMango.comTo me he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There are a lot of spaces and advances between the Carter family, Buddy Holly and, say, Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep.

Of course, Dylan is entirely right. There’s really no way to convey the immensity of the loss. To this day, there’s still a huge hole where Jerry once stood. We’ll honor him and his amazing talent and spirit in Santa Clara and Chicago in the next few weeks. It will be a celebration for the ages.

DylanDeadAlbumArt SongMango.comThe Dead and Dylan did a much-hyped mini tour in the summer of 1987. They rehearsed for several days in May at Club Front in San Rafael (bootleg recordings are in circulation). The tour consisted of six stadium stops, the first on July 4th at Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro, MA. These were long three-set shows with The Dead playing two relatively short sets and then Dylan coming out for a third. These very special shows lasted well over three hours.

Reviews of the shows varied widely, from one star to five (out of five). And despite brisk initial sales of Dylan & the Dead, critics were ruthless in their assessments. For example, AllMusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote this: it is “quite possibly the worst album by either Bob Dylan or the Grateful Dead” and “a sad, disheartening document.” Of course, The Dead never gave a fuck about what critics said about their music – and their fans (including myself) cared even less. The album reached #37 on the Billboard charts. It achieved gold certification from the recording industry, selling half a million copies. Not too shabby.

The footage below is from the third Dylan-Dead show of the tour at Giants Stadium on July 12, 1987 (none of the songs from this show are included on Dylan & the Dead). The first three songs of the show are missing from the footage – “Hell in a Bucket,” “West L.A. Fadeaway” and “Greatest Story Ever Told” (see complete setlist with timestamps and highlights below). Enjoy!

July 12, 1987 – Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Set I: Hell In A Bucket, West L.A. Fadeaway, Greatest Story Ever Told, Loser (0:09), Tons Of Steel (7:16), Ramble On Rose (14:00), When I Paint My Masterpiece (22:10), When Push Comes To Shove (27:25), Promised Land (33:03)> Bertha (36:55)

Set II: Tuning Addams Family (43:54), Morning Dew (45:09), Playin’ In The Band (54:24)> Drumz> Space> The Other One (1:16:05)> Stella Blue (1:20:43)> Throwin’ Stones (1:28:18)> Not Fade Away (1:37:29)

Set III (with Bob Dylan): Slow Train Coming (1:44:22), Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (1:48:35), Tomorrow Is A Long Time* (1:55:40), Highway 61 (2:00:47), It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (2:06:14), Ballad Of A Thin Man (2:12:35), John Brown (2:18:18), The Wicked Messenger (2:23:56), Queen Jane Approximately (2:28:00), Chimes of Freedom (2:32:45), Joey (2:40:54), All Along The Watchtower (2:50:26), Times They Are A Changin’ (2:55:33) E: Touch Of Grey (3:00:20), Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (3:06:36)

*Jerry on the pedal steel

Listen to the entire show here at the archive.

HIGHLIGHTS

Since we’re focusing on Dylan for the moment, I won’t get too deep into The Dead-only part of the show. However, do not miss the “Bertha” (36:55) to close the 1st set. And the other high-water mark is a knockout “Morning Dew” (45:09) to open the 2nd set.

BobDylanYoung SongMango.comAs for the Dylan set, make sure to check out these:

“Tomorrow Is A Long Time” (1:55:40) – Beautiful work from Jerry on the pedal steel. Bobby and Bob string together some nice harmonies.

“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” (2:06:14) – Dylan gets a little defiant with his vocals. Nice jam punctuated by a gorgeous Jerry solo.

“Chimes Of Freedom” (2:32:45) – A classic, through and through.

“Joey” (2:40:54) – Powerful stuff. Nice alternative to the version on Dylan & the Dead.

“All Along The Watchtower” (2:50:26) – Dylan delivers searing vocals. Jerry rips it wide open and Brent takes him higher.

“The Times They Are A Changin” (2:55:33) – Solid, moving rendition. This should have made the album, Dylan & the Dead, if for no other reason than symbolism – two of the biggest cultural icons of the 1960s on stage together doing this song.

“Touch Of Grey” (3:00:20) – Not my favorite tune, but they really burn this one up. Big energy. Check out Jerry feelin’ it at 3:05:48.

“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” (3:06:36) – Great vocals from both Dylan and Garcia.

BEST DYLAN COVERS

While we’re focused on Dylan and how much he influenced The Grateful Dead, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the best versions of the band covering his songs. Although The Dead would not tour with Dylan again after ’87, they would continue to cover his tunes – like “Visions Of Johanna,” “Watchtower” and “Quinn The Eskimo” – up until the very end of their 30-year run.

“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” (1981)

“Quinn The Eskimo” (1985)

“Desolation Row” (1990)

“She Belongs To Me” (1985)

“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” (1989)

Jerry pours his heart into this heart-rending rendition of “Visions Of Johanna”:

All Dylan covers performed by The Dead: “All Along The Watchtower,” “Ballad Of A Thin Man,” “Desolation Row,” “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry,” “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “Queen Jane Approximately,” “Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn),” “She Belongs To Me,” “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again,” “Visions Of Johanna” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece.”

Check out our huge stash of Grateful Dead merch here. It’s time to gear up for the big party in Santa Clara and Chicago.

Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at PWendel@SongMango.com.

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