Watch Yo La Tengo & Sun Ra Arkestra Dominate Grateful Dead Cover And More At The Fillmore

Watch the trio and the Sun Ra Arkestra horns unite on the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” and Sun Ra’s “Dreaming” in San Francisco.

By Scott Bernstein Feb 9, 2024 12:15 pm PST

Yo La Tengo kicked off the winter leg of their 2024 U.S. tour in support of their year-old album This Stupid World on Thursday with the first of two nights at the historic San Francisco venue The Fillmore. The trio enlisted longtime collaborators The Sun Ra Arkestra for a four-song encore last night that included YLT’s first known cover of the Grateful Dead classic “New Speedway Boogie”

After a pair of sets heavy on This Stupid World cuts, Yo La Tengo and the the Sun Ra Arkestra horns loaded the stage to commence the encore. The collaborative bonus sequence was bookended by Sun Ra songs “Dreaming” and “Nuclear War,” each of which was played the last time the groups united to launch Yo La Tengo's 2023 Hanukkah run at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on December 7. Covers of the Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” and Rex Garvin & The Mighty Cravers’ “Emulsified” fell between the Sun Ra compositions.

Yo La Tengo guitarist Ira Kaplan sang lead on the “New Speedway Boogie” that followed “Dreaming.” Kaplan and bandmates bassist James McNew and drummer Georgia Hubley laid into the song written by Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia about the ill-fated 1969 Altamont Festival. The Sun Ra Arkestra horns — saxophonists James Stewart and Knoel Scott, trombonist Dave Davis and trumpeters Cecil Brooks and Michael Ray — added jazzy accents and engaged with Kaplan on a few licks.

Last night marked the debut of “New Speedway Boogie” for Yo La Tengo as per Setlist.FM stats. The cover continued a trend of YLT premiering songs from the Grateful Dead’s live repertoire in the city that birthed the psychedelic jug band. “Wharf Rat” was trotted out with William Tyler at The Chapel in September of 2019, while “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad” first saw action at The Fillmore last February.

Watch audience-shot video of Yo La Tengo collaborating with the Sun Ra horns last night below:

John Loughney (See 2 videos)
Yo La Tengo (See 107 videos) and The Sun Ra Arkestra (See 14 videos)

Joe Fox
Yo La Tengo (See 107 videos) and The Sun Ra Arkestra (See 14 videos)

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Yo La Tengo at The Fillmore

Set 1
  • This Stupid World
  • Sinatra Drive Breakdown
  • She May, She Might
  • (That's Why I Always) Dress in Black  
  • Always Something
  • Aselestine
  • I Feel Like Going Home
  • Deeper Into Movies
  • Miles Away
Set 2
  • Barnaby, Hardly Working
  • Brain Capers
  • Autumn Sweater
  • Let's Save Tony Orlando's House
  • Apology Letter  
  • Big Day Coming
  • Fallout
  • Today Is the Day
  • Sugarcube
  • I Heard You Looking  
  • Dreaming  
  • New Speedway Boogie  
  • Emulsified  
  • Nuclear War  
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