Red Rocks is aptly, if unimaginatively, named and the Dead loved playing there and the Deadheads loved seeing them there. Everyone else hated it: trucks couldn’t get in, so the gear had to be strapped to donkeys or convicts and walked to the stage; plus, the surrounding area is not so much bong-hits-and-skiing Colorado as it is Nazi-memorabilia-and-crank Colorado, so the fans weren’t particularly welcome. By ’87, the Dead had gotten too big for the venue and would never return. (Mickey came back alone in 1989 because he had lost his wallet and thought maybe it was there.)
But the band and the fans dug it while it lasted and here’s why:
The above picture contains a rare glimpse of Precarious Lee’s greatest triumph. He had stacked things on top of other things, sure. There was duct tape by the mile, yes. But he had never before leaned a speaker bank against some rickety scaffolding. They told Precarious it couldn’t be done, and then they showed Precarious the math that proved it couldn’t be done, and while they were fucking around with their books and pencils, Precarious had screwed the stub of a Marlboro into the corner of his mouth and gotten shit done.
The TotD recommendation of the day is 8/31/78 from Red Rocks. Spencer was looking for a good Red Rocks show, and I answered him with authority.
Authority. Not, you might notice, accuracy. I was thinking of 8/30, with its first-ever Ollin Arageed (that they do not how to play) and one of only three (or so) If I Had the Worlds.
My allergy to research has seemingly screwed us, but not for a loophole: all the shows from ’78 (in America) were pretty damn good and the 8/31 is no exception. Big ol’ Terrapin. Scrumptious* Black Peter. Plus, first-ever Shakedown that only lasts six minutes, which I felt was rude of them.
So: yes, 7/7 and 8 are probably “better” and “more enjoyable” and “less not as good” but have a little love for an underappreciated show and give it a spin.
*Using scrumptious to describe anything other than certain foods deeply disturbs people.
“You see the game?”
“Fuckin-a, I saw the game. Guerrero’s curveball is scrumptious.”
“I’m gonna go drink my beer over there. Don”t follow me.