Our Dead of the Day is from the “Laughter, Love and Music” concert in memory of Bill Graham at Golden Gate Park. It was an awesome, long day of music with CSNY, Santana, Tracy Chapman, Journey, and several other bands along with a moving eulogy by Robin Williams. The festive atmosphere - some estimates have the crowd at half a million - and spontaneous nature of the whole thing - nobody knew for sure what musicians were going to be there - harkened back to some of the great happenings of the sixties in the same locale. It truly was a fitting tribute, even if the Airplane did not show up.
The Dead started their set with a solid Hell In A Bucket, then took it into a smoking China> Rider. At that point, John Popper came out and played harmonica on Wang Dang Doodle, which was a damn fine rendition. Popper more than filled the space that Bruce would have had he been there on accordion. But the Dead’s set on this day is best known not for Popper’s presence, but for John Fogerty’s. He came out and played four Creedence songs with the band. While it is great to hear Jerry ripping some runs on Green River and the rest, this is not face-melting material. Still, it is an extremely cool moment and will certainly make you wish the boys took a crack at these tunes on some other occasion (of course, there was that ’89 AIDS benefit when Jerry and Bobby joined Fogerty for a set). After Fogerty leaves the stage, the boys play a rather perfunctory Truckin’> Other One> Wharf Rat> Sunshine Daydream with little real exploration and jamming. Then, Neil Young joins the band for a jam-free version of Forever Young. And, finally, the boys cap the night with a very appropriate and moving Touch Of Grey.
Oddly, for a band that is so associated with the city by the bay, this is the last show that the Dead played in San Francisco. In fact, with some 328 concerts within the city limits during their thirty years, the boys only made an appearance on stage in San Fran during this show and a three-night run in ’87 over their last eleven years.