Watch The Grateful Dead Perform ‘Bird Song’ At Radio City Music Hall In 1980

The acoustic "Bird Song" continues the band's 'All The Years Live' video series.

By Scott Bernstein Aug 5, 2021 10:38 am PDT

The Grateful Dead shared pro-shot video featuring an acoustic “Bird Song” from a 1980 concert at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall as this week’s installment of the All The Years Live series. “Bird Song” was filmed at Radio City on October 30, 1980.

The band’s lineup at the time featured guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, keyboardist Brent Mydland, bassist Phil Lesh and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. “Bird Song” was penned by Garcia and Robert Hunter with the lyrics coming as a tribute to Janis Joplin. A version of the song from the next night at Radio City is featured on the Grateful Dead concert film Dead Ahead.

“From Jerry’s first solo album, released in 1972, ‘Bird Song’ was an exploratory part of Grateful Dead live shows 1971-1973, after which it disappeared from the repertoire,” wrote GD archivist David Lemieux in a note accompanying the video. “To everyone’s great surprise, and joy, it returned in September 1980, played acoustically at the Warfield and Radio City shows in the Fall of 1980 to celebrate the Dead’s 15th anniversary. A month later, it returned to the touring setlist in its electric form, where it would stick around for the next 15 years.”

See the Dead’s “Bird Song” performance from October 30, 1980 below:


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Head to the JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA) to watch over 1,200 additional Grateful Dead videos.

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