Another Spring Tour with the Grateful Dead. By this point, it had become a tradition. I made the trek from South Florida to Atlanta with my two friends, Armando and Tim, who I met at a Dead show at Madison Square Garden.
This first night was an April Fool’s show, which was recorded and several songs later appeared on an album.
The Grateful Dead performed three consecutive shows during their Built to Last Tour on April 1–3, 1990. The shows were recorded and three songs from their April Fool’s Day show “China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy” were included on their live album, entitled Without a Net.
We made it up there with no mishaps, secured our hotel accommodations, and went to the first night’s show. We got there early and spent some time checking out the parking lot scene, procuring tee shirts and other wares which were being hawked.
After shopping, we were hanging out by the car when a strange person approached us… strange even by the Grateful Dead parking lot standard. The young man clearly was suffering from chemically induced mental illness. As he began conversing with us, it became clear that he was a crack head struggling with his addiction to crack cocaine. He talked to us about Mr. Rocky, who was an anthropomorphic embodiment of crack rocks.
“Mr. Rocky. You know Mr. Rocky, right? Mr. Rocky. He destroys you mentally, and physical-al-al-lee.”
We talked with the poor soul for a while, before he meandered off on his lonely way. I felt sad for the guy. I had seen people go down that road, and it is a sad road from which few can redeem their lives.
When the time came, we went into the Omni and took our seats, which were lower section at the side of the stage. The show was very good, and hearing Jerry sing “To Lay Me Down” was particularly moving. It is a song that I still love to play on the acoustic guitar, which transitions between major and minor chords in such a way as to stir deep emotion.
Anyway, here is the full setlist from the April Fool’s show.
- Touch of Grey
- Walkin’ Blues
- Just a Little Light
- Me and My Uncle
- Big River
- Victim or the Crime
- To Lay Me Down
- Music Never Stopped
- China Cat Sunflower
- I Know You Rider
- Ship of Fools
- Man Smart/Woman Smarter
- Drums > Space
- Dear Mr. Fantasy
- Hey Jude Reprise
- Stella Blue
- Sugar Magnolia
- It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue