On June 22nd, 1969, the Grateful Dead played as part of a multi-band bill in the heart of Manhattan at the world-famous Central Park alongside Hot TunaJoey Covington, and Cleanliness & Godliness Skiffle Band. The performance featured some early renditions of classics like “Casey Jones”, which would later appear on Workingman’s Dead. The set also included Pigpen-led classic covers of Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle” and a fully “out-there,” 22+ minute improvised rendition of Bobby Blue Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light”. It also featured a psychedelic medley of “Dark Star” > “The Other One” > “St. Stephen > “It’s a Sin” to close out the show.

Thanks to a combined AUD/SBD recording of the show (courtesy of archive.org user Jonathan Aizen and transferred by Julian, Uli, H.B., below), we can get a glimpse into the sound of the Grateful Dead in their earlier years. While this 53-year-old audience recording is, of course, not of the highest quality, the young band’s already impressive chops shine through the static. Take a listen and imagine yourself hearing this performance back to 1969, when unsuspecting audiences were still getting used to the idea of the Dead’s free-form psychedelia—at a venue that normally hosted orchestras, no less.

You can hear the complete recording of the Grateful Dead’s 6/22/69 performance in Central Park below, rearranged to match the actual set order, which has been frequently debated due to the songs being out of order on the widely circulated original audience recording.

Grateful Dead – Central Park – New York, NY – 6/22/69

Setlist: The Grateful Dead | Central Park | New York, NY | 6/22/69

Set: Dancing In The Street, Jam> Casey Jones, Hard To Handle, Me And My Uncle, Sittin On Top Of The World, Silver Threads, Dark Star  > The Other One > St. Stephen > It’s A Sin, Turn On Your Love Light

Setlist Notes: The AUD contains the complete list, the SBD Dancin In The Streets , Jam > Casey Jones. The AUD tape in circulation has the contents of the set thoroughly rearranged. The list given above is the correct sequence of the set as played, not as scrambled on tape. Timings are a composite of AUD and SBD. Before Dancin on the SBD Garcia says “I made a horrible mistake. I failed to identify the microphones, them being so similar and all.” On the AUD the Dancin cuts in 15 seconds after the beginning. Jerry plays pedal steel on Silver Threads. They don’t play St. Stephen complete, swerving into It’s A Sin after “lower down again.”

[Originally published 6/22/18]