I had gone to see the Dead the previous evening in Miami, and the morning of Saturday October 15, I got in the car with my friends Armando and Tim and we made the drive up to St. Petersburg for two more shows. The drive was fairly uneventful. We took Alligator Alley across the Everglades and then I-75 north up to St. Pete. The drive was pleasant and uneventful, and we had a steady stream of bootleg tapes that we listened to as we drove.
The drive from Miami to St. Pete was about five hours, so we got there with plenty of time to check in to our hotel and make our way to the Bayfront Center Arena. Once there, we spent some time wandering the parking lot, buys wares from vendors and grabbing some food from the entrepreneurial purveyors of vegetarian food. We also connected with friends from Miami, including my good friend Todd, who was determined to join us inside the arena.
Armando, Tim, and I had some great 7th row seats that we managed to score through the mail order ticket sales. We snuck Todd up there with us and no one seemed to care, so he was able to hang with us for the entire night.
The show was phenomenal! Bob Weir was in exceptional form and it seemed like the band was feeding off his enthusiasm. Add to that the fact that the audience was in a constant state of ecstasy, and it made for a magical evening.
During the second set, the band came out of drums > space and went into “Truckin’” and the energy was tangible. At the end of the song, the band went into an instrumental jam, building in intensity like some cosmic crescendo. At this point, my friend Todd screamed out to the band: “Give it to Bobby!” And sure enough they did, segueing into the Howlin’ Wolf blues classic “Smokestack Lightning,” which would be the only time I would experience the Dead playing this one. It was an amazing show that is etched into my memory.
After the concert, we hung out in the parking lot for a while, until the mental burnout of a road trip and a show took its toll and we headed back to the hotel to crash. But tomorrow would be another show, and it would be Bob Weir’s birthday, so we had high expectations.
Here is the setlist from this night’s performance.
- The Music Never Stopped
- Blow Away
- Walkin’ Blues
- When Push Comes to Shove
- Queen Jane Approximately
- Tennessee Jed
- Let It Grow
- One More Saturday Night
- Crazy Fingers
- Playing in the Band
- Uncle John’s Band
- Drums > Space
- Smokestack Lightning
- Stella Blue
- Turn On Your Love Light
- U.S. Blues
3 thoughts on “Grateful Dead: 10/15/1988”
I like your back story to the actual concert which is always to neat to read as in buying wares from vendors!
Man, I miss 1988.
So let me ask you this your last sentence that goes..
” But tomorrow would be another show, and it would be Bob Weir’s birthday, so we had high expectations.”
I like the wordplay High Expectations at a Grateful Dead show. That’s poetry in motion, Mr Japp!
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LOL – totally not intentional. I guess I could have said “great expectations,” but that would have been stealing from Charles Dickens 😉
Yeah, the music scene in the 70s and 80s was quite different than the current music scene. Also, I can’t help but wonder what it will be like post-covid.
As always, I appreciate your support. Stay safe!
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[…] was the last night of a three-night run of Dead shows. The previous night’s show was excellent, and my friends and I all crashed and slept […]