Grateful Dead: 9/13/1987

This was the last of the three-night series of Dead shows at the Capital Centre in Maryland, and frankly, I was glad it was. While on the previous day the Prince George’s County police had engaged in Gestapo-style tactics, today proved to be more of the same. I witnessed a phalanx of officers advance aggressively through the parking lot, actively assaulting and intimidating concert-goers. The worst incident that I saw was a cop walking up to someone who was holding a bottle of beer, taking his nightstick, and smashing the bottle in the person’s hand without any warning. It was so sickening that I felt like throwing up. Thankfully, I was savvy enough to avoid any confrontation.

My brother Mike and our friend Jon, who were with us for the first two nights, had left to head back to Florida. It was just Julie, Miriam, and me. We made it safely into the venue for what turned out to be a great show, in spite of all the violence and tension outside. The parts that really stood out for me were “Fever” in the first set and “Throwing Stones” in the second set. I would learn later on that this was the Dead’s only performance of “Fever,” which Bob Weir sang. As far as “Throwing Stones” goes, the crowd sang along with such fervor and anger directed to the authorities outside and the politicians in nearby DC, that the anti-authoritarian sentiment was palpable in the air.

The next day, the three of us would catch a train to New York City for four more shows at Madison Square Garden, but that part of the long strange trip is for another day and another stub. For now, here is the full setlist from the last night at the Cap Centre.

Set 1:

  • Iko Iko
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Fever
  • Stagger Lee
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Bird Song
  • Promised Land

Set 2:

  • Scarlet Begonias
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • Playin’ in the Band
  • Drums  > Space
  • The Other One
  • Stella Blue
  • Throwin’ Stones
  • Good Lovin’
  • La Bamba
  • Good Lovin’

Encore:

  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Grateful Dead: 9/12/1987

This stub was from the second night of a three-night series of Dead concerts at the Capitol Centre in Maryland. After the first show, my friends (Julie and Miriam) and I went to crash at someone’s apartment, this guy Harmon that Julie knew from high school who was attending college in Maryland. I immediately caught a bad vibe from this guy and his friends. But I was grateful for a free place to sleep, so I laid down and closed my eyes. But as I was somewhat over-stimulated from the night’s festivities, I lay there, staring at the insides of my eyelids. It was during this time that I heard Harmon and his friends talking amongst themselves, making crude and disparaging remarks about my friends, while also talking about what they should do to them. I felt the anger swelling inside me as I entertained visions of kicking their asses. I kept still, pretending to be asleep. Eventually they shut up and went to sleep themselves. I decided not to say anything to Julie and Miriam about what happened, but figured I would just stay aware in case any issue arose.

The next day, we went back to the Cap Centre for the show and met my brother Mike and our friend Jon. Like the previous day, the Prince George’s County police were out in force, only this day, things got ugly. As we were entering the arena, the police were mounted on horses and had formed a gauntlet. As semi-conscious hippies fumbled to find their way inside, the police made the horses stomp and kick at the people to keep them in line. I was terrified and appalled. These were not people who were acting violently or being unruly. It was just a blatant example of authority using Gestapo tactics to intimidate people and ensure that they stayed in line. We made it through without incident and found some seats inside.

The show was very good and unique in the sense that the band played two songs for an encore—something which I had not seen the Dead do before. High points for me were “Hey Pocky Way,” “Truckin’,” and “Morning Dew.”

After the show, I had the joy of being the person who had to drive the intrepid crew back to Harmon’s Hell Hole. This proved challenging. For those of you who have driven in the DC area, you know about the traffic circles. These were not things that we had in South Florida. So I ended up inside one of these circles and struggled to get out of it. I kept driving around and around and around for what seemed an eternity. Eventually, I safely veered the rental car out of the loop and we made it back without further difficulty.

Here is the full setlist from this concert.

Set 1:

  • Hell in a Bucket
  • Loser
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Big River
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  • Hey Pocky Way
  • Cassidy
  • Might As Well

Set 2:

  • Cumberland Blues
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Ship of Fools
  • Man Smart/Woman Smarter
  • Drums > Space
  • Truckin’
  • I Need a Miracle
  • Morning Dew
  • Turn on Your Love Light

Encore:

  • One More Saturday Night
  • Black Muddy River

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

Encore:

  • Touch of Grey