Grateful Dead Pull Off Instrument Switch On April Fools’ Day 1980

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When the Grateful Dead took the stage April 1, 1980 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey the show opening “Promised Land” gave a nod to their (merry) prankster past. In grand April Fools’ Day fashion, the opening tune featured guitarist Bob Weir on keyboards, keyboardist Brent Mydland and guitarist Jerry Garcia on drums, drummers Bill Kreutzmann on bass and Mickey Hart on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Phil Lesh on lead guitar.

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The crowd certainly seemed to dig the gag, and in case anyone was feeling cheated out of a proper rendition of the Chuck Berry cover, the band immediately delivered a second performance of “Promised Land” with everyone back in their normal roles.

Have a listen to the April Fools’ Day hijinx and the entire show below thanks to an soundboard recording courtesy of the Live Music Archive and remember: Never trust a prankster.

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[Originally published April 1, 2016]