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Grateful Memories at Silver Bowl in Las Vegas April 27, 1991

Phil Lesh and Bob Weir (Sara D. Davis/Getty)What’s the best show you’ve seen in Las Vegas?

Sin City is a mecca for entertainers, but one of the best shows I’ve seen there wasn’t at a casino or theater, it was a concert at the UNLV football stadium.

The Grateful Dead played the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl on the last weekend of April in 1991.

My friend Maria and I drove from Monrovia, California to Las Vegas for the Saturday, April 27, Grateful Dead concert.

It was the band’s first Vegas shows in seven years, and my first Dead show in Sin City. It was great before and after the Grateful Dead played, the Strip and casinos were packed with tie-dye wearing hippies.

Santana was the opening act both Saturday and Sunday and the band jammed in the afternoon sunshine. During the first set of Sunday’s show, Carlos Santana joined the Grateful Dead on a version of ‘Birdsong.’

Bruce Hornsby was playing keyboards for the Grateful Dead at this time, he had joined the band after the death of Brent Mydland and he toured from September of 1990 through March of 1992. Hornsby and Bob Weir teamed up again for a show just last month.

The band had it’s first top-ten hit of their career a few years earlier, and started the weekend off with that song, ‘Touch of Grey.’ The setlist continued with a version of Robert Johnson‘s ‘Walkin’ Blues’ and in the middle of their first set they covered Bob Dylan‘s ‘Maggie’s Farm.’

One of my favorite parts of Grateful Dead shows was the band mixing in cover songs among their original material. I was turned on to a lot of other artist’s songs by hearing a Dead cover.

One More Saturday Night’ was appropriately played at the end of the second set and the encore was a version of The Band’s ‘The Weight.

It was a fantastic Grateful Dead fix in Las Vegas, outdoors overlooking the desert at Sam Boyd Stadium.


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