Grateful Dead Hosts First Tapers Section At Show On This Date In 1984


“The shows are never the same, ever. When we’re done with it, they can have it.” – Jerry Garcia

Today marks a momentous event in the history of live concerts as on October 27, 1984 the Grateful Dead held their first show with a designated Tapers Section. Reserving a portion of seats in the venue to accommodate passionate fans who by then had developed sophisticated means to capture every note the band played became customary at Dead shows. Since then many other bands have followed suit, inviting and encouraging the recording and subsequent dispersing of the audio of their live concerts, capturing countless magical moments for fans to hear.

While the evolution of digital technologies and immediate sharing of soundboard recordings by some bands has reduced the number of mic stands seen at shows, tapers still provide an unmatched service to the community that benefits from hearing the fruits of their labor. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, elaborate systems were put into place to facilitate the trading of tapes – and later CDs – among interested listeners around the world. Trading Trees, list exchanges, blanks & postage agreements and other community-building steps were taken to help get live music into the hands and ears of countless music fans.

The Berkeley Community Theater in Berkeley, California hosted the first of six Grateful Dead shows on October 27, 1984. Guitarists Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, bassist Phil Lesh and keyboardist Brent Mydland opened the run with “Hell In A Bucket” and took it into “Sugaree.” The first set also features a double dose of “cowboy” from Bobby with “Me And My Uncle” coming ahead of “Mexicali Blues.”

“China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” opened the second set that also featured a drawn out “He’s Gone” and the rarely performed Mydland ballad “Don’t Need Love.” After The Rhythm Devils explored a number themes within an intense “Drums” and the improvised segment of “Space,” the set came to an end with a run of “Truckin’” > “Black Peter” > “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” > “One More Saturday Night.” Here’s an audience recording made that night that ends with the “Keep Your Day Job” encore:

Setlist (via

Set One: Hell In A Bucket > Sugaree, It’s All Over Now, Candyman, Me And My Uncle > Mexicali Blues, Dupree’s Diamond Blues, Beat It On Down The Line > Might As Well

Set Two: China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Man Smart, Woman Smarter, He’s Gone > Wang Dang Doodle > Don’t Need Love > Drums > Space > Truckin’ > Black Peter >Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad >One More Saturday Night

Encore: Keep Your Day Job

Show Facts: This show marks the first appearance of a dedicated tapers section

[Originally Published: October 27, 2016]