There are some venues that are truly unique and unparalleled places to see music. The Gorge and Red Rocks come to mind, but a little East Troy, WI venue called Alpine Valley Music Theatre is the focus of today’s story. The Valley was built in 1977, and is relatively accessible to fans in cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and more. With its sprawling landscapes and 7,500 person pavilion, it’s no wonder that the Grateful Dead hit the venue a total of 20 times between 1980 and 1989.
Of course, the Grateful Dead scene would change dramatically during the 1980’s. What started out as a musically focused fanbase veered deeper into the darker realms of the drug world. With halfhearted Deadheads plaguing the local community, the city voted to ban the Dead from ever performing at Alpine Valley after their three night run in 1989. They would eventually relent in the post-Jerry Garcia era, allowing The Other Ones to perform there in 2002, and of course Dead & Company earlier this summer.
The three night run by the Grateful Dead at Alpine in 1989 was quite the affair, and the first night of the run was compiled for a box set called Downhill From Here. Bonus tracks from this final show, including “West L.A. Fadeaway”, “Desolation Row”, and “Deal”, were all featured in the compilation. With a “Hell In A Bucket” opener and a great segment of “Terrapin Station” > drums > “The Other One” > “The Wheel” > “Morning Dew” really brought the second set home. With a “Turn On Your Love Light” encore, the true fans in attendance were smiling all the way home.
Fortunately, professional videos of the night were captured, and posted onto YouTube by BurningShoreProphet2. Watch below and enjoy!
Setlist: Grateful Dead at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI – 7/19/89
Set One: Hell in a Bucket, Sugaree, Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues, Althea, Victim or the Crime > West L.A. Fadeaway, Desolation Row > Deal
Set Two: Box of Rain > Foolish Heart > Looks Like Rain, Terrapin Station > drums > The Other One > The Wheel > Morning Dew
Encore: Turn on Your Love Light