30 Year Anniversary of The Warlocks/Grateful Dead Hampton Shows: 50 Must Hear Dead Bust Outs

Nestled away in the Virginia Tidewater, among the Waffle House and rows of cheap motels, lies one of the most cherished and legendary concert venues east of the Mississippi: The Hampton Coliseum. Opened in 1968, this 14,000 seat arena has hosted a wide variety of events, from concerts by Elvis and The Rolling Stones to high school basketball games and local trade shows. Fifty years later, this legendary venue is till attracting throngs of fans to see modern-day acts such as Bassnectar, Phish and Dead & Company.

The Grateful Dead played their first show at the Coliseum in May of 1979 and would go on to perform at the iconic venue 21 times through 1992. The band and fans alike immediately developed an affinity for “The Mothership” and in 1984, they began something of a tradition by scheduling two nights at the venue during their Spring Tour. The band would then return to Hampton every spring for a multi-night run through 1988. However, by ’88, the band’s future at the Southeastern Virginia venue was beginning to appear in doubt. The massive influx of fans brought on by the 1987 release of the album In The Dark and it’s top 10 hit “Touch of Grey” was becoming too much for this city to handle.

In 1989, when the band released their Spring & Fall tour schedules, fans were dismayed to see Hampton left off the list. The powers-that-be in Hampton were concerned about the throngs of ticket-less fans and associated partying that were now seemingly following the band around the country and were hesitant to permit them to return. Then, only ten days before the Fall Tour was to begin, the Dead surprised everyone by announcing two guerrilla-style shows at the fabled Coliseum. Unlike every other show on that tour, there would be no mail-order ducats available. In fact, tickets were only available via local TicketMaster outlets in Southeastern Virginia and the name “Formerly The Warlocks” was printed on them, a clever nod to the band’s name in 1965 before making the switch to “The Grateful Dead.”

These shows, which were officially released as “Formerly The Warlocks” in 2010, features some great playing along with a healthy mix of new songs (“Victim Or The Crime”, “Foolish Heart”, “Built To Last”) and well as older songs (“Dark Star”, Help On The Way”, “Attics Of My Life”) which hadn’t been played in several years.

1) “Box of Rain” 3/20/86 (Last Time Played 7/28/73)

One of the strongest crowd reactions in the list. After reviving it in 1986, The Dead decided to keep this Phil Lesh chestnut in regular rotation until Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. Notably, this was the final song ever performed by the band when it was included as the finale of a two-song encore at the Dead’s final July 9, 1995 concert at Soldier Field in Chicago.

2) “Casey Jones” 6/20/92 (L.T.P. 11/2/84)

After performing this classic hundreds of times from its 1969 debut until 1984, the band mysteriously dropped the song from its repertoire, before bringing it back for four surprise outings in 1992-93. This version is definitive proof that more songs should feature train horn sound effects and Bruce Hornsby on the accordion. Seriously.

3) “The Weight” 3/28/90 (First Time Played) 

Originally played by New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1970, the Dead introduced this classic-rock radio mainstay, written by The Band, in 1990 and went on to perform the song dozens of times through 1995.

4) “Monkey & The Engineer” 2/12/89 (L.T.P. 10/16/81)

Ragged but right. With Bob Dylan on guitar & vocals, this was the Dead’s final performance of the Jesse Fuller original.

5) “Ripple” 9/3/88 (L.T.P. 10/16/81) – Reportedly played at the request of a Make-a-Wish Foundation patient the band had visited with.This was the first electric version in 17 years.

6) “Loose Lucy” 3/14/90 (L.T.P. 10/19/74)

Another strong performance from the legendary Spring ’90 tour. Great crowd reaction throughout here, especially after Garcia sings “Thank you, for a real good time” during the chorus.

7) “Here Comes Sunshine” 12/6/92 (L.T.P. 2/23/74)

Reportedly brought back after Garcia enjoyed hearing Vince Welnick perform it while opening for the Jerry Garcia Band in the early ’90s.

8) “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” 9/29/89 (L.T.P. 3/21/70) 

One of the handful of Dead songs that features Jerry, Bob & Brent each singing a verse. This version has a blistering solo from Garcia.

9) “Easy To Love You” 3/15/90 (L.T.P. 9/3/80)

The only Brent Mydland penned composition to make the list. One of several bustouts from the Landover, MD run during the Spring ’90 tour.

10) “Black Throated Wind” 3/16/90 (L.T.P. 10/19/74)

Another strong Spring ’90/Landover bustout. This performance features slightly altered lyrics from the original version.

11) “Unbroken Chain” 3/19/95 (First Time Played)

Not technically a bustout as this is the song’s live debut, but still easily among the biggest moments in Grateful Dead history.

12) “Dark Star” 10/9/89 (L.T.P. 7/13/84)

Another big one and the first of several bustouts from the infamous Fall ’89 Hampton Coliseum “Formerly the Warlocks” shows to appear on this list.

13) “St. Stephen” 10/11/83 (L.T.P. 1/10/79)

The crowd’s reaction is electric throughout the entire song. This was the first of three Fall ’83 appearances before the song was permanently shelved.

14) “Hey Jude” 3/22/90 (L.T.P. 3/1/69)

A remarkably soulful and passionate delivery from keyboardist Brent Mydland, despite some missed lyrics. While the Dead regularly paired the finale of this song with Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, this was the first (and last) performance of the full version of the song since Pigpen sang it in ’69.

15) “Revolution” 3/15/90 (L.T.P. 3/27/86)

Aside from Bob Dylan (14 songs), the Dead covered the Beatles (11) more than any other artist during their 30 year career.

16) “Visions of Johanna” 2/21/95 (L.T.P. 4/22/86)

Jerry Garcia revived this Dylan masterpiece for a half-dozen inspired performances during the Dead’s final tours in 1995.

17) “Midnight Hour” 12/31/82 (L.T.P. 4/29/71)

One of a handful Pigpen songs that Bob Weir eventually brought back after his death in 1973. This version from the Dead’s 1982 New Years Eve concert features legendary vocalist Etta James.

18) “Werewolves Of London” 10/31/90 (L.T.P. 10/31/85)

This Warren Zevon classic was originally performed by the Dead in ’78 before being shelved until Halloween ’85. It was then brought back again for the 1990 & 1991 Halloween shows.

19) “Attics Of My Life” 10/9/89 (L.T.P. 10/28/72)

Another gem from the ’89 Hampton “Formerly the Warlocks” run. Very well played with some beautiful harmonies from Jerry, Bob & Brent.

20) “Help On The Way-Slipknot!-Franklin’s Tower” 10/8/89 (L.T.P. 9/12/85) 

While “Franklin’s Tower” has always remained in regular rotation since it’s 1975 introduction, “Help on the Way” & “Slipknot!” were both subject to the same four year gap during the mid-80’s. Thankfully, the trio was revived during the ’89 Hampton “Formerly the Warlocks” run and was subsequently performed dozens of times until Garcia’s passing in 1995.

21) “Cryptical Envelopment” 6/16/85 (L.T.P. 9/23/72) – This is, along with “Cream Puff War”, one of only two songs in the entire Grateful Dead catalog in which both the lyrics AND music are credited solely to Jerry Garcia.

22) “Turn On Your Lovelight” 10/16/81 (L.T.P. 5/24/72)

Another Pigpen classic but this time revived by Bob Weir on his 34th birthday at The Melkweg in Amsterdam.

23) “New Speedway Boogie” 2/19/91 (L.T.P. 9/20/70)

With one of the longest performance gaps in Grateful Dead history, this ode to the disastrous Altamont Speedway Free Festival was brought back after a nearly 21-year hiatus.

24) “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” 5/12/91 (L.T.P. 6/10/73) 

This Dylan track, originally recorded on “Highway 61 Revisited”, was first performed at a 1973 Washington DC area concert in which the band was joined by several members of the Allman Brothers Band. It was then revived for a half dozen outings in 1991-92 as part of a medley with Weir’s “C.C. Rider”.

25) “And We Bid You Goodnight” 7/17/89 (L.T.P. 12/31/78)”

This gospel-soaked tune, sung a capella, was brought back in the summer of 1989 and used exclusively in the encore slot a dozen or so times until it was permanently shelved in 1991.

26) “Louie, Louie” 4/5/88 (L.T.P. 6/7/70) 

After the Dead performed this tune a handful of times at some early shows, Brent Mydland brought it back for a half dozen outings in 1988-89.

27) “Mona” 10/27/91 (L.T.P. 3/25/72)

The Dead were joined by Carlos Santana and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist Gary Duncan in 1991 for the revival of this Bo Diddley classic.

28) “Reuben & Cherise” 3/17/91 (First Time Played)

While technically not a true bustout, this song was a Jerry Garcia Band staple since 1978 and was highly regarded among fans when the Dead surprisingly broke it out for four performances in 1991.

29) “Gloria” 3/23/92 (L.T.P. 11/1/85)

This Van Morrison classic was first played by the Grateful Dead during Bob Weir’s 34th birthday shows at the Melkweg in Amsterdam. It was performed sporadically in the mid-80s before being shelved for seven years until 1992.

30) “Hide Away” 6/21/89 (L.T.P. 11/7/71)

This instrumental from guitar legend Freddie King was brought back for the first (and last) time in 1989 after being performed once eighteen years prior.

31) “That’s Alright Mama” 4/18/86 (L.T.P. 6/10/73)

Once a Garcia-Saunders regular, this Arthur Crudup tune was only performed twice by the Dead, some thirteen years apart.

32) “Walkin’ The Dog” 3/29/84 (L.T.P. 11/9/70) 

This popular blues number, written by Rufus Thomas, was performed by the Dead a few times in 1970 before it was brought back for a handful more outings in 1984-85.

33) “The Same Thing” 12/28/91 (L.T.P. 12/31/71) 

Bob Weir revived this Willie Dixon chestnut almost 20 years to the day after Pigpen’s final performance of the song during the Dead’s 1971 New Years Eve show. It subsequently remained in semi-regular rotation through 1995.

34) “Dancin’ In The Streets” 6/3/76 (L.T.P. 12/31/71)

One of the few bustouts to have actually occurred in the 70’s. The Dead revived this R&B anthem after a nearly five year gap at their first show back from their mid-70’s “retirement” in Portland, OR.

35)  “I’m A King Bee” 12/8/93 (L.T.P. 4/28/71) 

At 22plus years, this is the largest known performance gap for any song played by the Grateful Dead. While it was a regular selection for Pigpen from 1969-71, Bob Weir only performed it twice after his death, in 1993 & 1994.

36) “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” 3/9/92 (L.T.P. 7/7/86)

The Dead first pulled out this Rolling Stones chart-topper in 1980 and went on to perform it over thirty times through 1994. In a 1981 interview with David Gans, Weir remembered the song’s Grateful Dead origins: “(it) just came up one night…one of those little clouds of madness that drifted across the stage.”

37) “Oh Boy!” 12/12/81 (L.T.P. 4/6/71)

The Dead performed this Buddy Holly hit only twice, some ten years apart. This version features Joan Baez on acoustic guitar and vocals.

38) “Dupree’s Diamond Blues” 10/13/94 (L.T.P. 3/26/90) 

Dupree’s is one of very few Dead songs that has three separate performance gaps of four or more years. Debuted in 1969, it was played several times that year before being shelved until 1977. After a half-dozen outings in 1977-78, it wasn’t seen again until 1982, where it remained in semi-regular rotation until it’s penultimate performance in 1990. Garcia then brought it back for one final surprise rendition at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in the Fall of 1994.

39) “To Lay Me Down” 3/27/88 (L.T.P. 10/17/83) 

Garcia brought back this somber ballad, the first song he wrote using a piano, during the 1988 Spring tour at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA.

40) “Black Muddy River” 6/24/95 (L.T.P. 8/13/91)

The only track from the Top 10 album In The Dark to make the list, Garcia revived this gospel-inspired ballad in 1995 after surprisingly dropping it from regular rotation in 1990. Notably, this is the final song Jerry Garcia sang as a lead vocalist when it was included as the first of a two-song encore at the Dead’s final July 9, 1995 concert at Soldier Field in Chicago.

41) “Bird Song” 9/25/80 (L.T.P. 9/15/73) 

Robert Hunter’s ode to Janis Joplin, this song was revived as an acoustic number during the Dead’s Fall 1980 Warfield run. It remained in steady rotation through 1995, with nearly 300 total performances.

42) “Baby What You Want Me To Do?” 12/31/82 (L.T.P. 9/7/69) 

A 1960 Top 10 hit from Jimmy Reed, this version from the Dead’s 1982 New Year’s Eve show features Etta James on lead vocals.

43) “Big Boy Pete” 11/21/85 (L.T.P. 9/20/70) 

Pigpen performed this rollicking rarity, popularized by The Olympics, a half dozen times between 1966-70 before Weir brought it back for one final outing in 1985.

44) “Frozen Logger” 9/7/85 (L.T.P. 8/25/72)

This traditional folk song was revived by the Dead, thirteen years after they last performed it, at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Co.

45) “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” 8/22/87 (L.T.P 9/19/70)

Sonny Boy Williamson’s popular blues stomp was performed dozens of times by Pigpen through 1970 before Carlos Santana helped Bob Weir revive it at an August 1987 concert.

46) “Spanish Jam” 5/30/92 (L.T.P. 6/30/87)

Weir’s nine-chord instrumental was sporadically performed after it’s 1968 debut and was ultimately shelved in 1987. However, the Dead brought it back during a 1992 Las Vegas concert and performed it a handful more times through 1995.

47) “I Just Want To Make Love To You” 7/22/84 (L.T.P. 11/29/66)

This Willie Dixon classic has the unique distinction of being the only song performed by the Grateful Dead to feature three different lead vocalists. Pigpen originally handled the vocals during the Dead’s 1966 debut while Brent Mydland took the lead during the Dead’s two 1984 performances. Eleven years later, Garcia sang the final version at a February 1995 Salt Lake City concert.

48) “Cosmic Charlie” 6/4/76 (L.T.P. 1/21/71) 

Another rare 70’s bustout, this fan favorite was briefly teased at a 1994 Oakland, CA concert, but was never performed in full after 1976.

49) “Comes A Time” 6/14/85 (L.T.P. 10/2/80)

This somber Garcia-Hunter ballad was brought back at Berkeley’s Greek Theater in 1985 and became increasingly rare through it’s final performance in 1994.

50) “Big Boss Man” 7/6/95 (L.T.P. 6/16/90)

Another gem from the influential bluesman Jimmy Reed, Pigpen originally performed this song regularly in the early 70’s before Garcia surprisingly brought it back in 1981. After performing the tune over a dozen more times through 1990, the band revived it for a final outing at one of their last July 1995 concerts.

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