Happy New Year Again – Live with the Grateful Dead
We started a tradition of sorts last year when we offered some live Doors music for a New Year’s Eve party. Let’s keep it going: this year, we can all dig the Grateful Dead.
When the Grateful Dead were walking the earth, it was a tradition too that they played New Year’s Eve some place, usually some place in California. They shut down the Winterland Arena in San Francisco in 1978, playing the venerable venue’s last show ever (with the Blues Brothers).
The Grateful Dead’s legendary live shows, with large chunks of improvised performance, are noteworthy for their sheer passion and depth of virtuosity, if not also for their length. When you hear today about some guy or some band playing a three or four-hour show, just know that long ago The Grateful Dead did it first.
The band wrote a lot of its own music and many of those songs – including “Sugar Magnolia,” “Estimated Prophet” and “Fire On The Mountain” – are classics. But they knew how to play those cover versions too.
Many people are not fans of The Grateful Dead, that’s for sure. But for every one of those there has to be at least four or five devoted fans – surely the Dead have one of the largest and most loyal fan bases in all of rock and roll.
This is a pretty decent audience recording, from Dec. 31, 1980, at Oakland Coliseum. What you have here is only a part of the show – the last part – and if you want the whole concert you can go here and download it. Thanks to the Internet Archive for the loan of the downloads.