Fifty-two years ago tonight at the University of Cincinnati Fieldhouse, the Grateful Dead played “Candyman” for the first time during a show that also included Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters and The Lemon Pipers on the bill.
The Dead’s performance that night also heard the band play a number of songs that would go on to appear on Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty when the two albums arrived later that year, including “Casey Jones”, “Friend of the Devil”, “Black Peter”, and “Uncle John’s Band”.
The band’s live debut of “Candyman” was performed on acoustic guitars by both Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, and was played at a faster tempo than what would be laid to tape for the official studio version on American Beauty. Being a stripped-down, acoustic performance, the debut of “Candyman” also notably lacked the song’s trademark solo from Garcia on the pedal steel.
Relive the live debut of “Candyman” along with the band’s entire performance from the University of Cincinnati Fieldhouse below.
Grateful Dead – University of Cincinnati Fieldhouse – 4/3/70
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
Scroll down to learn more about the story behind “Candyman” as told by Rich Mahan and Jesse Jarnow during an episode of the Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast podcast series which launched in 2020.
Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast – American Beauty Ep. 5 “Candyman”
— /r/gratefuldead (@Gratefuldeadsub) April 3, 2021