The year 1978 was quite a memorable one for the Grateful Dead. The band had returned to touring just two years prior in 1976 and were firing on all cylinders by the time 1977 came to an end, having played some sublime shows throughout the year—notably their East Coast spring run.
By the end of 1978, the Dead would have made their debut at Red Rocks Amphitheater in August and even made history by traveling to Egypt for a trio of shows alongside the Great Pyramid in mid-September. In January 1978, however, the Dead were just getting the year started with a month-long run of shows along the West Coast throughout January, which included a two-night run at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 10th—11th. For their second night at the Shine, 43 years ago tonight, the Dead sent their L.A. fans home happy with the first-ever (and last-ever) performance of “Passenger” as the encore closer.
As music journalist and Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast co-host Jesse Jarnow notes, Jerry Garcia‘s voice was not in good form for the second night in a row due to laryngitis, so their performances of “Dire Wolf”, “They Love Each Other”, and “Brown Eyed Women” wouldn’t be considered the best of that era, but still entertaining nonetheless. It’s worth noting that fans in the audience were treated to a second set “St. Stephen” before the Dead closed the show with “Passenger”, making for a nice surprise to close their two-night stay in Los Angeles.
Relive the Dead’s show at the Shrine Auditorium performed on this day in 1978 via the audio player below.
Grateful Dead – Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA 1/11/78
[Audio: Matthew Vernon]