The Grateful Dead Perform At Red Rocks For Final Time On This Date In 1987

Stream audio of the legendary band’s Red Rocks swan song.

By Nate Todd Aug 13, 2021 8:25 am PDT

On this date in 1987 the Grateful Dead played their final show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The band had made their debut at the iconic Colorado venue nearly 10 years before on July 7, 1978. In total, GD played Red Rocks 20 times and performed their swan song at the famed amphitheater on August 13, 1987 to cap off their final three-night run.

The show kicks off with a musically tight “Big Boss Man” containing some characteristically adventurous harmonies from the band on the Jimmy Reed tune with Jerry Garcia singing the “wanna get a drink of whiskey” lyric as “wanna get a drink of water.” Dead classics “Jack Straw” and “Row Jimmy” followed before GD took it even further into the past with The Valentinos’ “It’s All Over Now,” a cover they used to play as far back as 1966. More ‘70s songs in “Loser” and “Cassidy” came next before keyboardist Brent Mydland delivered a stellar vocal performance on his own “Far From Me.” Next, it was Phil Lesh’s turn to take the spotlight, singing his beloved composition with Robert Hunter, “Box Of Rain,” to close out the first set.


A jaunty “Uncle John’s Band” set the second frame flying and jumped right into Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow’s masterful “Estimated Prophet” which in turn led into an extra poignant “He’s Gone,” with a soulful vocal jam outro. Drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart then delivered a nearly 15-minute “Drums.” The band reconvened for “The Wheel” ahead of a scorchin’ “Gimmie Some Lovin’” which saw Lesh and Mydland teaming up to belt the lead. The duo sang “I’m gonna kick ass just like everybody should” (originally “I’m gonna relax like-a everybody should”) on the last verse to raucous applause. The band brought it down with “Stella Blue” before bringing it back up with “Throwing Stones.” “Not Fade Away” closed out the second set. The band lived up to the song’s sentiment, returning for the encore with a reprise of the Buddy Holly classic. “Touch Of Grey” would lead into Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” to bring the Grateful Dead’s tenure at Red Rocks to a close.

Listen to the Grateful Dead’s final Red Rocks appearance below via Chris Larson:



Grateful Dead
  • Big Boss Man
  • Jack Straw
  • Row Jimmy
  • It's All Over Now
  • Loser
  • Cassidy
  • Far From Me
  • Box of Rain
  • Uncle John's Band
  • Estimated Prophet
  • He's Gone
  • Drums
  • Space
  • The Wheel
  • Gimme Some Lovin'
  • Stella Blue
  • Throwing Stones
  • Not Fade Away
  • Touch of Grey
  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Setlist data

[Originally Published: August 13, 2020]

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