Grateful Dead Play ‘Ripple’ One Last Time 28 Years Ago Today

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Between 1970 and 1971 the Grateful Dead played the gorgeous Garcia/Hunter tune “Ripple” a number of times both electric and acoustic before putting the song in mothballs until 1980. Though the Dead performed “Ripple” a whopping 27 times acoustically in 1980 and then once again unplugged in 1981, it disappeared from the repertoire for the final 14 years of the band’s career with one exception. On this date in 1988 the Grateful Dead busted out an electric “Ripple” for the first time in 17 years for what would be the final performance of the tune.

As the story goes, which is unconfirmed, the band was approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a request from a young fan dying of cancer. The Grateful Dead were asked to perform “Ripple” at their September 3, 1988 show in Landover, Maryland. Jerry Garcia & Co. honored the request by ending the evening with the tender ballad. “Ripple” hadn’t been played in any form in 459 shows and it had been 1,113 performances since the last electric version of the American Beauty stunner which took place at New York City’s Fillmore East. As you can imagine, the crowd went absolutely ape shit the moment the “Ripple” bust out begins.

Watch fan-shot footage of the final “Ripple” paired with soundboard audio:

Setlist

Grateful Dead at Capital Centre

Set 1
  • Good Times  
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Franklin's Tower
  • Little Red Rooster  
  • Peggy-O  
  • Me and My Uncle  
  • Big River  
  • Bird Song  
Set 2
  • Box of Rain
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Foolish Heart
  • Man Smart, Woman Smarter  
  • Eyes of the World
  • Drums
  • Space
  • Going Down the Road Feelin' Bad  
  • I Need a Miracle
  • Morning Dew  
Encore
  • One More Saturday Night  
  • Ripple