Thirty-six years ago today, the Grateful Dead took the stage at Morrison, CO’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for the final time in their career. As the band’s already-dedicated fanbase continued to quickly grow to enormous sizes thanks to the arrival of In The Dark the month prior, it became apparent that the Dead’s new mainstream success would no longer allow them to play venues like Red Rocks as they delivered one final performance at the famous outdoor venue to close a three-night run on August 13th, 1987.
The band’s final Red Rocks show began with a cover of Jimmy Reed‘s “Big Boss Man” before returning to a pair of early Dead staples in “Jack Straw” and “Row Jimmy”. A cover of The Valentinos‘ “It’s All Over Now” kept the first set rolling, followed by “Loser” and “Cassidy”. The first half of the show would come to an end with renditions of “Far From Me” and Phil Lesh stepping up to the mic to lead the audience through a sing-a-long of “Box of Rain” to take the show into set break.
The second half of the show opened with a lively “Uncle John’s Band” which continued right into “Estimated Prophet” and “He’s Gone”. The set continued into the instrumental portion as “Drums” > “Space” came next, followed by “The Wheel” from Jerry Garcia‘s 1972 solo album. The band kept rocking with their cover of “Gimme Some Lovin'”, which continued right into “Stella Blue”, “Throwing Stones”, and finally “Not Fade Away” to close the set.
The band’s three-part encore opened with the Dead immediately diving back into the “Not Fade Away” reprise before transitioning into their lone hit single “Touch of Grey”, and finally closing with their cover of Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”.
Relive the Dead’s final Red Rocks performance via the full show audio player below.
Grateful Dead – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO – 8/13/1987
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
Setlist: Grateful Dead | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 8/13/1987
Set One: Big Boss Man (Jimmy Reed cover), Jack Straw, Row Jimmy, It’s All Over Now (The Valentinos cover), Loser, Cassidy, Far From Me, Box of Rain
Set Two: Uncle John’s Band > Estimated Prophet > He’s Gone > Drums > Space > The Wheel, Gimme Some Lovin’ (The Spencer Davis Group cover) > Stella Blue > Throwing Stones > Not Fade Away (The Crickets cover)
Encore: Not Fade Away reprise > Touch Of Grey > Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)
[Originally published 8/13/21]