Another highly-ranked FoTotD adds to the purple stash: Martin, with whom I attended the Chicago Farewell Shoes, sends in this clip; it’s not the Dead, but one of the Phishes would later go on to become a Grateful Dead, so I’ll count it as the Dead covering Prince.
(Martin has nothing to promote, but I know he would be happy with passing his plug onto the brilliant Chris Jennings, whose book Paradise Now should be on every Enthusiast’s bookshelf. To try to keep with the weekend’s theme, Chris is the opposite of Prince: he is very tall, and has no bodyguards whatsoever. I mean, if you had tackled him at Soldier Field, then Martin and I would have been compelled to jump in and begin kicking you in the kidneys, but we would still not be bodyguards.)
The Dead never did any Prince covers; as far as I can tell, Prince never did a Dead tune. He probably would have disapproved of every single thing about the Grateful Dead, from their fashion to their drug use and definitely their stage presentation: as I mentioned, I’ve been listening to a bunch of live Prince shows, and there has not been even one six-minute stretch of tuning and smoking. (That’s not just Prince, though: the Dead pretty much owned the tune-and-smoke.)
I’m comfortable in stating that Prince could have chosen any Dead song and killed it. Shakedown Street, China>Rider, Scarlet>I Would Die 4 U>Fire, whatever he wanted to do. Killed it.
The Dead could have half-assed Raspberry Beret as an encore easily, but they also could have re-arranged Purple Rain as a Morning Dew-style build-up tune; that would have taken effort.
AN ADDENDUM: BoTotD is attending a monster truck show tonight, because he is a Jew and it’s Passover, and he informs me that they are playing Purple Rain over the PA as a tribute to Prince.
It may be time to move on.