Although there’s a lot of Americana and flag-stuff associated with the Grateful Dead, The 4th of July is not strongly associated with the band as a show date.
That’s because, after 1969, the Grateful Dead didn’t play on the 4th of July until 1981. They then played the date repeatedly through the Eighties – 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989 (released), and 1990 - and then, never again.
Deadheads put a lot of weight on the circumstances of shows - venues, cities, seasons, eclipses, New Year’s Eve, etc. So, let’s shake that magic 8-ball of tapes for the 4th of July… all signs point to a real good time.
It turns out the band played a considerable amount of great stuff on 7/4 in the 1980s, captured on soundboards you can inhabit happily. In the mixes below, I’ve curated the 1981, 1984, and 1986 shows, tagging them as separate mixes/albums in the usual SYF “shortlist” way.
Enjoy them separately, or as a 2.75 hour Grateful Dead, Fourth of July soundtrack.
2.75-hour mp3 download of all three mixes here
7/4/81: Austin, TX (63 minutes)
- Jack Straw
- Birdsong >
- Playin’ in the Band
- Feel Like a Stranger
- Not Fade Away
- One More Fourth of July
7/4/84: Cedar Rapids, IA (70 minutes)
- Hell in a Bucket >
- Don’t Ease Me In
- Help on the Way > Slipknot! >
- Franklin’s Tower
- Estimated Prophet >
- He’s Gone
- Wharf Rat
- U.S. Blues
7/4/86: Buffalo, NY (32 minutes)
- Cold Rain and Snow >
- Fire on the Mountain
- The Wheel
- Goin’ Down the Road, Feelin’ Bad
- Dupree’s Diamond Blues
“>” above indicates an as-played, GD fast-change in the real-time performance, but not an actual musical segue, other than Help > Slip.