Friday, July 19, 2019

to the moon, Jerry!

Hi!  I know, I know.

A good excuse to break the silence is to repost this list, which I'm sure my four devoted readers have seen me post elsewhere.  But in honor of everyone's nerd-buzz around the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, here is a handy list of Moon Landing Dark Stars.

Apollo 11 launched on 7/16/69 and landed on the Moon on 7/20.  The Dead's closest gig was a few days earlier in New Yor (7/12), where they did play Dark Star, although you may find it a stretch to connect the two events.  However...

Apollo 12 landed on 11/19/69.  The GD nearly played Dark Star at their next show, 11/21, but pulled up short, likely because of time constraints.  They played a full-blown monster version at the following show, 12/4/69.

Apollo 13 lifted off on 4/11/70.  Dark Star was played that night, with the GD in the unenviable position of following Miles Davis.  Sadly, there is no tape.

Apollo 14 landed on 2/5/71.  Dark Star, with the classic "Beautiful Jam," was played at the next GD show, 2/18/71.

Apollo 15 landed on 7/30/71.  Dark Star was played at at the next GD show, 7/31/71.

Apollo 16 landed on 4/21/72.  That night, the GD played an abbreviated set for German television, but played one of the true all-timer Dark Stars at the next proper show on 4/24/72.

Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, landed on 12/11/72.  Dark Star was played that night.  If you missed it, Lemieux posted the only uncut sbd copy of it at the Taper's Section a few months ago:

There you go.  That should make a nice little playlist for you.

"Houston, do we have a setlist from last night yet?"


  1. Excited to see you back! Hope this means there is more coming :)
    -devoted reader

  2. Thanks, Chris! I have a couple things in the hopper, so hopefully I can back on track :)

  3. Pink Floyd had a much closer musical connection to the moon landing than the Dead did, since the BBC commissioned them to JAM LIVE ON THE AIR during the broadcast from the moon. Take that, Grateful Dead!

    But anyway, McNally's book reports, "On July 20, most of the Dead gathered at Garcia's house, because he had a TV, and watched...the first human steps on the moon."

    Garcia's TV actually has a small place in Dead history, since it was just two months earlier that watching a late-night movie in Garcia's house inspired Robert Hunter to write Dire Wolf, which in turn kicked off the entire Workingman's Dead cycle of songs.

    But what intrigues me is the suggestion that in 1969, Garcia may have been the only Dead member who had a TV. Did they have a TV at all back when living in 710 Ashbury? If so, who picked the channel?
    Dead historians have not adequately explored this topic...

    1. I'm sure you're just the man for the job. Garcia's television watching history is surely a rich vein that deserves to be mined.