Iko Iko > Day-O > Women Are Smarter, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
7/6/87 – Civic Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
One of the great things about a New Year’s Eve Grateful Dead concert was the tradition of a third set or at least an extended encore. Taking a page from the band’s playbook, I have followed that tradition in these projects. This year my “third set” is taken from the Pittsburgh Civic Arena on the same day that the band’s album, In The Dark was released. This show, along with the two shows that followed in Roanoke (July 7th & 8th) were the only indoor arena shows during the stadium tour with Bob Dylan. The shows were added after the Dead-Dylan tour was announced. Tickets were nearly impossible to get. The band delivered with what are arguably better shows than they played with Dylan.
The Pittsburgh show is made extra special by the presence of the Neville Brothers who joined the Dead for the most of the second set. Of the several times they collaborated together, this one is my favorite.
The Cajun-flavored trifecta of “Iko > Day-O > Women” is one giant party, but it is the stunning version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” that floats out of “Space” (complete with the soulful croons of the Nevilles) that makes this one a keeper. It was the band’s debut performance of “Knockin’” without Dylan, and it is the only time that it was not played as an encore which only adds to the specialness of it. The band must have liked their performance this evening because they invited the Neville Brothers back for their New Year’s Eve show that same year. While the NYE performance was fun, it did not rise to the level of Pittsburgh. As so often is the case, lightning never strikes twice. Therefore, even though it may have been more appropriate to use the material from New Year’s Eve 1987, I went with this one. The other reason I selected Pittsburgh is because for years it only circulated as an audience recording. In August 2017, audio guru Charlie Miller unearthed the first soundboard recording of it, which is an “Ultra Matrix Soundboard” originally taped by longtime GD sound man Dan Healy. I was so excited about this that I couldn’t wait another year to feature it. However, I did provide a link to the YouTube video of the NYE performance, since one does not exist for Pittsburgh.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s edition of the 31 Days of Dead. Please forward any requests or comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, I invite you to follow me on Instagram @31daysofdead. Wishing you all the best in the New Year!
Download today’s bonus material HERE.
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