Grateful Dead Performs With Bruce Hornsby For Final Time On This Date In 1995

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  • But I’ll get back on my feet again someday
  • The good Lord willin’
  • If He says I may
  • I know that the life I’m livin’s no good
  • I’ll get a new start, live the life I should
  • I’ll get up and fly away,
  • I’ll get up and fly away, fly away

Jerry Garcia sang the above Robert Hunter-written lyrics from “Wharf Rat” with passion and authority on June 25, 1995 at RFK Stadium during the final Grateful Dead tour. Garcia was foreshadowing his future in which he sought to quit heroin and improve his rapidly deteriorating health by entering the Betty Ford Clinic shortly after the run ended. Sadly, Jerry didn’t get back on his feet again and did indeed fly away as he died on August 9, 1995 at Serenity Knolls, a rehab facility he went to after the unsuccessful stay at the Betty Ford Clinic.

The Grateful Dead concert from this date in 1995 was notable for a number of reasons including the end of a musical relationship with a key figure in their history. Bruce Hornsby sat-in with the Dead throughout the show, just as he did the previous evening, marking his final performance with the band. Hornsby was called upon by the Dead to join the band in 1990 shortly after Brent Mydland died. While Bruce decided he didn’t want to give up his solo career, he did tour with the Grateful Dead that fall through March 24, 1992.

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Hornsby was a regular at the band’s summer shows at RFK Stadium even after he stopped touring with them. Hornsby played accordion with the Grateful Dead during performances at the massive venue in 1992 and 1993. However, on June 24 and 25, 1995, Bruce played grand piano.

Bob Dylan served as the opener for some shows on the final Grateful Dead tour. Dylan invited his old pal Garcia to share the stage on this date in 1995. Jerry was Bob’s special guest on “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” and “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35.” It would be the last time the pair performed together.

Bob Dylan w/ Jerry Garcia Audio June 25, 1995 Shared by Pentagram Joe

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The Grateful Dead’s final tour was dubbed by fans the “Tour Of Doom” due to a series of incidents that started at RFK Stadium on June 25, 1995. Three young Deadheads were hospitalized after they were struck by lightning outside the venue before the band took the stage. Kristin Daniel, Kira Lee and John Pongel sought refuge from a storm and huddled together under a tree in RFK Stadium’s parking lot 8 around 3 p.m. the afternoon of the show when Daniel was hit by a bolt. Kristin was critically injured, while Kira and John — who were standing nearby — were listed in stable condition the next day as per the Washington Post’s report.

Just a few hours later, the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby opened with an expansive, crowd-pleasing “Shakedown Street.” Bob Weir then led the ensemble through “Wang Dang Doodle” before Garcia fronted “Jack-A-Roe.” The last ever pairing of “Mama Tried” into “Mexicali Blues” followed and then Jerry belted out “Loose Lucy.” Weir’s “Picasso Moon” closed out the frame.

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The Grateful Dead started the second set by referencing the poor weather with the song selections of “Box Of Rain” and “Rain.” Next up was “Samson & Delilah” before Jerry sang “Ship Of Fools” for the last time. The sextet and Hornsby continued on with a romp through “Truckin'” that gave way to a rendition of the recently debuted blues staple “Rollin’ & Tumblin.'” While the debut of “Rollin’ & Tumblin'” just 10 days earlier was a bit of a mess, the band and their guest made it through in a more impressive fashion at RFK. Keyboardist Vince Welnick then had his lone turn of the night fronting the Dead on “Samba In The Rain” before drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart explored vast soundscapes during “Drums.”

It was Garcia who stepped into the spotlight following “Drums” and the usual foray into “Space.” Jerry poured his heart and his battered body into “Wharf Rat” one last time. The emotional ballad was followed by a “Not Fade Away” featuring an impressive piano solo from Hornsby. Bruce and the band then returned to the stage to deliver a typically beautiful version of “Brokedown Palace” as the evening’s encore. A song that starts with the lyric “Fare you well” was a fitting conclusion to the Grateful Dead experience for the many Deadheads in the audience at RFK Stadium on June 25, 1995, who wouldn’t attend any of the eight remaining shows on a tour that would continue to descend into chaos.

Listen to a soundboard recording of the show from Bill Bina below:

Watch a series of videos from the June 25, 1995 concert below:

Shakedown Street Shared by sneaker face vids

Jack-A-Roe Captured by shortiebighead

Box Of Rain, Rain Captured by shortiebighead

Setlist

Set One: Shakedown Street, Wang Dang Doodle, Jack-A-Roe, Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues, Loose Lucy, Picasso Moon

Set Two: Box Of Rain, Rain, Samson & Delilah, Ship of Fools, Truckin’ > Rollin’ & Tumblin’> Samba In The Rain > Drums > Space > Wharf Rat > Not Fade Away

Encore: Brokedown Palace

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