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Dead of the Day: March 2, 1987

Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center
Oakland, California
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For our Dead of the Day, we return to the Kaiser for a March 2, 1987 show. The first set has a nice Bird Song and a fine Ramble on Rose. But what will really make you stand up and take notice is the Stranger set closer; it is one of those versions that forces you to rethink your whole relationship with the tune. The second set starts off with a rocking, though far from otherworldly, China> Rider. And then a soulful and passionate Ship of Fools that segues into a very good Estimated. The real beauty in the second set, though, comes out post-Space with a rocking Truckin into an utterly outstanding, pure and driven Morning Dew. And then the Dead send everybody home with a sweaty, good-timing Johnny B. Goode.

Coming out of Jerry’s coma in 1986, the band played a four-night New Years run at the Kaiser to close out the year. Surely, they felt that returning to comfortable home territory - so much so that some call the Kaiser the Winterland of the 80s - would be a good way for Jerry to return to the stage with the Dead. They then eased into 1987 with a three-night run at the San Francisco Civic Center at the end of January following the In the Dark studio sessions earlier in the month. After that, it was not until early March that the band took the stage again, this time back at the Kaiser for a three-night run. If the band was waiting for Jerry to get back into the swing of things, they must have known from this Morning Dew that he was well on his way. Of course, 1987 would turn out to be a huge year for the boys with some very good shows, which were overshadowed at the time by the popularity of Touch of Grey. The single became the Dead’s only top-ten hit, peaking at number nine, while the accompanying album reached number 6 on the Billboard 200. With the summer release of In the Dark, the tour dates started being jammed with a new group of fans, the Touchheads.

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