Grateful Dead: 3/22 – 24/1987

I decided to include these three shows as a single concert memory for a couple reasons. First off, none of the stubs actually shows a date, so it is impossible to determine which one goes with which day. Second, my date-specific memories are somewhat cloudy. And third, it was essentially a three-day concert, in my humble opinion.

My brother Mike was in college in Gainesville, Florida at the time. He told me that he was planning to drive up to this with some of his college friends and invited me along. I of course jumped at the opportunity. A friend of mine, Carlos, also wanted to go, so Carlos and I took a bus from Miami to Gainesville and hooked up with my brother. We were introduced to our fellow travelers and readied ourselves for the long drive up to Hampton, VA.

The next morning we started out. I think we had to take three cars and create a mini caravan. We had gotten about an hour outside of Gainesville when something prompted me to check with my brother to ensure he had the tickets. The look on his face said it all, and the trip was stalled while we had to return for the tickets.

We rolled into Hampton late in the evening. The first thing we decided to do was purchase some beer. We quickly learned about Virginia’s blue laws and we were not able to buy any from the convenience store. Luckily, there were some enterprising individuals who had purchased a lot of beer and happily supplied us for a reasonable profit.

We then went in search of a university (I don’t recall which one). One of the people with us named Nancy knew someone there in the dorms who would supposedly let us stay there. Yeah, that didn’t work out. The guy took one look at us and said no, but suggested we go sleep in the common area, so we did. We were rudely awoken by the RA and a cadre of muscle who wanted to know what we were doing there. It seemed we would be kicked out, but somehow they let us stay on the promise we would be quiet and not leave a mess.

The next day, we went to the show. Spent the day in the parking lot, playing Frisbee and hacky sack. Concert was amazing. Jerry had just recently recovered from his diabetic coma and these were the band’s first east coast shows following the illness, so the crowd enthusiasm was feverish. I recall the stickers being sold in the parking lot: “Jerry takes a lickin’ and keeps on pickin’.”

We were definitely not going back to the college, so we found a hotel nearby and all 11 of us packed into a single room. Outside, there was a large group of Deadheads sitting around playing music. I had a guitar with me, so I joined in and we played music late into the night, with a chorus of people ecstatically singing along. It was an experience that is truly beyond words to describe.

The next two nights were also amazing. Looking back, the three shows melted into one. Some of the high points were “Touch of Grey,” particularly poignant considering Jerry’s near death, Phil singing “Box of Rain,” and of course, I always love a good “Terrapin Station.” Here are the full setlists from each of the three nights.

March 22, 1987

Set 1:

  • Hell in a Bucket
  • Sugaree
  • It’s All Over Now
  • West L.A. Fadeaway
  • El Paso
  • When Push Comes to Shove
  • Cassidy
  • Deal

Set 2:

  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Estimated Prophet
  • Drums > Space
  • The Wheel
  • Black Peter
  • Sunshine Daydream


  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

March 23, 1987

Set 1:

  • Touch of Grey
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Althea
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Big River
  • Iko Iko
  • Tons of Steel
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2:

  • Box of Rain
  • Man Smart/Woman Smarter
  • Ship of Fools
  • Truckin’
  • Drums > Space
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue
  • Throwin’ Stones
  • Turn on Your Love Light


  • U.S. Blues

March 24, 1987

Set 1:

  • Jack Straw
  • Candyman
  • New Minglewood Blues
  • Loser
  • Mama Tried
  • Mexicali Blues
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Let it Grow

Set 2:

  • Gimme Some Lovin’
  • Black Muddy River
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Terrapin Station
  • Drums > Space
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • Wharf Rat
  • Not Fade Away


  • Brokedown Palace

7 thoughts on “Grateful Dead: 3/22 – 24/1987

  1. Only when you’re young can you work a schedule like that, right? I was glad to see you like the song, “Touch of Grey” because I have always loved that one. I have never been a loyal Dead fan, though I have one of their CDs, and always felt a little false liking “Touch of Grey” because of its commercial success, like I was jumping on the bandwagon once they became more mainstream!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Barb! ToG was a cool song, even though it was a commercial success. I remember a lot of the old timer deadheads complaining about the new generation of fans. I personally felt that music should be open to all and not something exclusive. I will say that some of the younger fans in the early 90s seemed more interested in the partying and counterculture than in the music. Oh well. T’was still fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did that with half my records. Even gave away a vinyl Sgt Peppers! Regretted it for a while, especially since the young lady involved later told me she didn’t have a record player… But her friends did! ☺ Now it doesn’t matter and I figure my generosity will come back to me. Usually works that way.😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great writeup Jeff…
    Would have liked to seen your motorcade to the show…hahaha
    Like the fact that they opened one of those shows with Touch of Grey. Its like heres the single lets get it out of the way!
    I seen McCartney back in 89 and he opened the show with a couple of new tunes plugin his current release which was a smart move as once he delved into the Beatles and Wings stuff it was like good luck getting the audiences attention with any new music!

    Liked by 1 person

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