Grateful Dead Revives ‘Dark Star’ & ‘Attics Of My Life’ In Hampton On This Date In 1989
The Grateful Dead completed a legendary two-night stand at the Hampton Coliseum on this date in 1989. Billed as “Formerly The Warlocks,” the group busted out a number of songs they hadn’t played in years over the course of the run including the first “Dark Star” in five years and the first “Attics Of My Life” in 17 years.
When the band formed in 1965 they initially used the name The Warlocks. However, by the end of the year they made the fateful decision to change their name to the Grateful Dead. “During our East Coast tour in 1989, we billed ourselves as ‘The Warlocks’ at the Hampton Coliseum to ward off a Dead Head invasion of that small Virginia town,” Mickey Hart explained. “We had everyone in cahoots – even the marquee helped keep our little secret. Passersby must have been confused seeing a band they’d most likely never heard of as the headliner. That, of course, was our exact intention.”
The first night of the run took place on October 8, 1989 and was highlighted by the return of “Help On The Way” and “Slipknot!” Both songs, which are usually used to build into “Franklin’s Tower,” had been shelved after performances on September 12, 1985. However, there was much more where that came from when it came to rarities. Deadheads were anxiously awaiting the revival of “Dark Star,” a beloved classic that was open-ended and gave plenty of room for the band to jam. The song had disappeared from setlists after the Dead took a hiatus in the mid-1970s and only was performed five times between December 31, 1978 and October 9, 1989. Fans went berserk when the first notes of “Dark Star” rang out towards the middle of the final set of the “Formerly The Warlocks” run.
A fine version of “Dark Star” followed the sequence of “Playing In The Band” into “Uncle John’s Band” into “Playing In The Band Reprise” that kicked off the second set on this date in 1989. The band explored various jam spaces before the instrumentalists vacated the stage for Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann‘s Rhythm Devils excursion. The instant classic set continued with “Space” and just the second “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” since 1970. Brent Mydland then led the group through a cover of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” that included the coda of “Hey Jude.”
Bob Weir fronted the group on the pairing of “Throwing Stones” and “Good Lovin'” that brought the second set to a close. The instant classic run ended with the biggest bust out of the two-night stand and the fourth biggest in Grateful Dead history (in terms of shows between plays) — “Attics Of My Life.” The song was last played by the band 1,082 shows prior on October 28, 1972. It was a fitting end to a rare case of GD shows living up to the hype surrounding them.
Watch a series of videos from the Dead’s October 9, 1989 concert below:
Here’s the official release Formerly The Warlocks:
Set One: Feel Like A Stranger, Built To Last, Little Red Rooster, Ramble On Rose, We Can Run, Jack-A-Roe, Stuck Inside Of Mobile, Row Jimmy, The Music Never Stopped
Set Two: Playing In The Band > Uncle John’s Band > Playing In The Band Reprise > Dark Star > Drums > Space > Death Don’t Have No Mercy > Dear Mr. Fantasy > Hey Jude Reprise > Throwing Stones > Good Lovin’
Encore: Attics Of My Life
[Originally Published: October 9, 2019]