Grateful Dead: 10/16/1988

This 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 late.

After waking up and having a late breakfast, I convinced Armando and Tim to join me on an excursion to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Immersing ourselves in surreal artwork seemed like a good way to prepare ourselves for the third Dead show.

The museum was very cool, and we were not the only Deadheads who had the idea of checking out the Dali Museum. There were many tie-dyed freaks wandering around, gazing glassy-eyed at the many artworks that were on display. Two in particular stood out for me. There was a hologram of Alice Cooper wearing a tiara, which was very cool, especially since I am such a big Cooper fan. But without question, it was the massive painting entitled The Hallucinogenic Toreador that was the most captivating. I stood for what seemed like an eternity, getting lost in the psychedelic colors that pulsated on the canvas. Here is a link to an image of the painting to provide a sense of context.

The Hallucinogenic Toreador: Wikipedia

After the museum, we made our way back to the Bayfront Center and hung out with the other intrepid music fans until show time. It was decided amongst us that we would drive back to Miami after the show. I was not too keen on this idea and felt it would be better to spend the night in St. Pete and drive back early in the morning, but Armando was adamant that he had to leave tonight to be in Miami in time for work in the morning, so I acquiesced since he said he would be the designated driver.

This particular evening was Bob Weir’s birthday, and as expected, the show was stellar. Our seats were not as good as the first night in St. Pete, but since the venue was so small, it really didn’t matter. The second set was especially hot, with Phil opening the set with “Box of Rain.” The set also included “Terrapin Station,” one of my favorites, and “Morning Dew” to close, followed by “Quinn the Eskimo” for an encore. If you are at all interested, the full concert is available on YouTube, with actual video from the show and not just pictures.

Anyway, after the show, we skipped hanging out because Armando was eager to get on the road. We were facing a good five-hour drive, which would get us in to Miami close to 4:00 am. Once we were on I-75 southbound, Tim stretched out in the back seat and fell asleep, while I sat up front with Armando and had the important task of keeping the music going. But eventually, the hypnotic lines on the road got the best of me and I leaned my head against the window and slipped into slumber. I was ripped from my sleep by the sound of Tim screaming as the car was bouncing and careening off the road. Everything was a blur as I waited for the inevitable crash, but somehow, Armando miraculously got the car back on the road without us hitting anything. Tim was yelling from the back seat, and Armando was apologizing that he fell asleep. At this point, we were all wide awake with the collective adrenaline rush, but after a while, the rush was replaced by a deeper fatigue brought on by the adrenaline crash. This time, Armando consented to our suggestion that we pull over at a rest area and sleep a bit in the car. We cracked the windows and sank into some much-needed sleep.

When we awoke, we were all groggy, but rested enough to make the remainder of the drive. We rolled in to Miami around 8:00, which wasn’t bad, all things considered. It was a long, strange trip, which could have ended in disaster, but the four winds blew us safely home again.

Here’s the setlist.

Set 1:

  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Never Trust a Woman
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Friend of the Devil
  • Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
  • To Lay Me Down
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Set 2:

  • Box of Rain
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Foolish Heart
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Terrapin Station
  • Drums > Space
  • The Wheel
  • Gimme Some Lovin’
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Morning Dew


  • Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

Grateful Dead: 9/11/1987

This concert marked my first deep dive into the Grateful Dead counter culture. While I had been listening to the Dead since the 70’s and had seen them numerous times prior to this, this marked the transition into lengthy travel to catch a long string of shows, as well as engaging in the sale of arts and crafts in the parking lot to offset the costs.

Three of us had decided to embark from Miami to catch three nights at the Capitol Centre in Maryland, followed by four nights at Madison Square Garden in NY. (The band was playing five nights at the Garden, but we could only manage four.) It would be me and my friends Julie and Miriam. In preparation, we spent long hours making beaded necklaces and woven bracelets to sell while on tour. Luckily, we were able to sell a fair amount prior to getting on the road, just at local concerts and events in Miami.

We took a flight from Miami up to the DC area (I forget which airport) and rented a car when we got there. Julie had also secured us a place to stay in Silver Spring near the venue with someone she knew (more on that fiasco in a subsequent post). I have a great memory of Julie helping herself to some little bottles of booze on the plane as the service cart was alongside our seats. We imbibed and enjoyed flying the friendly skies!

Upon arrival to the concert venue, we began our tour of the parking lot, hawking our beads. Julie was the ultimate salesperson. She somehow managed to lure dazed hippies our way who eagerly parted with their money in exchange for a strand of beads.

While we were wandering the rows of cars and campers, I noticed two people walking briskly toward us. It took me a moment to realize that it was my brother Mike and our friend Jon. Unbeknownst to me, they drove up from Gainesville, Florida for the shows, intending to surprise me. After some warm embraces, we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out together and catching up. Already, it was feeling magical.

Despite the festive mood, there was an undercurrent of tension that was palpable. By this time, the merry band of intrepid deadheads had swelled in number and authorities in cities where on high alert. Prince George’s County’s finest were certainly out in force, and before the three-day stint was over, there would be problems.

But that is another stub and another story. For this show, we went inside without any problem, found some seats together, and danced our asses off. It was also Mickey Hart’s birthday, which made it even more special.

Here is the setlist. Check back soon for my memories of the second night.

Set 1:

  • Bertha
  • Promised Land
  • Candyman
  • New Minglewood Blues
  • When Push Comes to Shove
  • Tons of Steel
  • Desolation Row
  • Deal

Set 2:

  • Happy Birthday Mickey
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Sugaree
  • Estimated Prophet
  • Eyes of the World
  • Drums > Space
  • Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Dear Mr. Fantasy
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Wharf Rat
  • Sunshine Daydream


  • Touch of Grey