• April 20, 2009
    https://www.dead.net/features/news/general-news/dead-letterman
    The Dead on Letterman
    With The Dead appearing on David Letterman on Thursday, April 23, we figured we'd take a quick look through the Grateful Dead's history on Letterman's shows going back more than 27 years.

    History of the Grateful Dead on David Letterman

    The members of the Grateful Dead, mostly Jerry and Bobby, have a long relationship with David Letterman going back to 1982. The two guitarists first appeared on Letterman on 4/13/82, during the Grateful Dead's Spring tour, on a night off between shows at Nassau Coliseum and the Glens Falls Civic Center. On this episode, they played two acoustic songs, "Deep Elem Blues" and "Monkey & The Engineer," with Jerry and Bobby revealing terrific senses of humour in describing the origins of the moniker Dead Heads. Classic stuff. Bobby had a bit of a cold, and his voice was a bit off, but they played these acoustic tunes very well.

    The next visit to Letterman was on 9/17/87 on the night off during a five night stand at Madison Square Garden, at which they played Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece" with the Letterman house band backing them. While talking with Dave, they discussed their new video "So Far," the shows at MSG, and the success of In The Dark. Bobby then did one of the oddest things these guys have ever done on TV, he attempted to lift Jerry via a parlour trick, with Dave and Biff helping out. The sight of an unwitting Jerry, in a nice coat, sitting as the crew tries to lift Jerry with two fingers is one of the most hilarious images of the band I've ever seen. Just the way Dave looked at the camera and said "we're going to lift Jerry" had us all cracking up. I'd been at the two previous shows at the Garden, and they were playing very well and, obviously, having loads of fun.

    In 1989, during a five night run at the Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Bobby and Jerry once again visit Dave, on 10/13/89, this time playing "Second That Emotion" with Paul's band once again backing them up. Also very cool during this appearance was during the commercial breaks, they played along with the band on the music the leads in and out of the commercial breaks, including "Good Lovin'," "Mighty Quinn" and "Hideaway," amongst a few other things.

    In 2003, The Dead appeared on Letterman with that version of the band, featuring Bobby, Phil, Mickey and Bill, as well as Jeff Chimenti and Rob Barraco on keyboards, Jimmy Herring on lead guitar, and Joan Osborne on vocals. They played a rocking version of "Casey Jones."

    Bobby and Jerry also appeared separately on Letterman, the former playing "The Winners" with Rob Wasserman in 1991, and the latter playing "Friend of the Devil" with David Grisman in 1993.
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With The Dead appearing on David Letterman on Thursday, April 23, we figured we'd take a quick look through the Grateful Dead's history on Letterman's shows going back more than 27 years.

History of the Grateful Dead on David Letterman

The members of the Grateful Dead, mostly Jerry and Bobby, have a long relationship with David Letterman going back to 1982. The two guitarists first appeared on Letterman on 4/13/82, during the Grateful Dead's Spring tour, on a night off between shows at Nassau Coliseum and the Glens Falls Civic Center. On this episode, they played two acoustic songs, "Deep Elem Blues" and "Monkey & The Engineer," with Jerry and Bobby revealing terrific senses of humour in describing the origins of the moniker Dead Heads. Classic stuff. Bobby had a bit of a cold, and his voice was a bit off, but they played these acoustic tunes very well.

The next visit to Letterman was on 9/17/87 on the night off during a five night stand at Madison Square Garden, at which they played Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece" with the Letterman house band backing them. While talking with Dave, they discussed their new video "So Far," the shows at MSG, and the success of In The Dark. Bobby then did one of the oddest things these guys have ever done on TV, he attempted to lift Jerry via a parlour trick, with Dave and Biff helping out. The sight of an unwitting Jerry, in a nice coat, sitting as the crew tries to lift Jerry with two fingers is one of the most hilarious images of the band I've ever seen. Just the way Dave looked at the camera and said "we're going to lift Jerry" had us all cracking up. I'd been at the two previous shows at the Garden, and they were playing very well and, obviously, having loads of fun.

In 1989, during a five night run at the Brendan Byrne Arena at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Bobby and Jerry once again visit Dave, on 10/13/89, this time playing "Second That Emotion" with Paul's band once again backing them up. Also very cool during this appearance was during the commercial breaks, they played along with the band on the music the leads in and out of the commercial breaks, including "Good Lovin'," "Mighty Quinn" and "Hideaway," amongst a few other things.

In 2003, The Dead appeared on Letterman with that version of the band, featuring Bobby, Phil, Mickey and Bill, as well as Jeff Chimenti and Rob Barraco on keyboards, Jimmy Herring on lead guitar, and Joan Osborne on vocals. They played a rocking version of "Casey Jones."

Bobby and Jerry also appeared separately on Letterman, the former playing "The Winners" with Rob Wasserman in 1991, and the latter playing "Friend of the Devil" with David Grisman in 1993.
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The members of the Grateful Dead, mostly Jerry and Bobby, have a long relationship with David Letterman going back to 1982. The two guitarists first appeared on Letterman on 4/13/82, during the Grateful Dead's Spring tour, on a night off between shows at...
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I remember watching Letterman in a hotel room on the day break at the meadowlands in 89'. What a great run of shows and tour that fall of 1989. The band was in fine form that October. Brings back a lot of great memories
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I hope I can stay awake lol!!! They're a band beyond description, Like Jehovah's favorite choir People joining hand in hand While the music played the band, Lord They're setting us on fire. Peace,Gigi
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I will stay up to watch. I was at the 1987 taping of the show when they where doing the MSG run. A good amount of the audience that day was US!!! Hoo Woooo!
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Being a native Hoosier, a Deadhead, and a Ball State T-Com alum, this thread has particular interest to me. I recall the '82 taping, but never saw them trying to levitate Jerry. Sounds freakin hilarious! Must find on u-tube!!!!
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WILL BOB WEAR THE RABBIT EARS AGAIN?? DoDa Man ;^ ) Without love in the dream it'll never come true ================================= Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
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THE BOYZ LOOKED AND SOUNDED GR8!! KEEP ON TRUCKIN!!! DoDa Man ;^ ) Without love in the dream it'll never come true ================================= Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
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The question now is, when will Sunshine Daydream come?
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I was extremely disappointed that the guys had so little time to play. That was the shortest version of Sugar Magnolia I've ever heard. I'm going to make the same comment on the CBS site!It was nice though to see the band up close; I was pretty far from the stage in Worcester on Saturday. Phil's bass is awesome!
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The question now is, when will Sunshine Daydream come?
The next time they're on Letterman?
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wow, I stayed up just to see the boys on Letterman and got to say, it wasn't worth it. This was the shortest version of Sugar Magnolia, I didn't care for the sound and is Bobby's voice strained or was it just the sound? They all looked great, but the sound wasn't that good and being on for only what, 3 minutes? I wasn't too impressed and disappointed that I stayed up late to see such a short version... I love all of you guys, please make it a longer appearance next time!
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I fell asleep anyone see what they played - any funny highlights
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Does anyone have a video of it? I didn't find out until today!
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There is a Sugar Magnolia video on You Tube from last night's Late Show w Dave. An interesting post I read, above, said... The question now is, when will Sunshine Daydream come? I guess if he gets a plane ticket from Madrid, he could get over here.
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Will watch tonight. Don't tell me the ending.......D'OH!! Oh man!!
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I bet he would! C'mon, who's got the big time miracle for Bob? Conversation is always more interesting than recitation, so speak your mind and not someone else's.
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It never fails that a TV program turns out to be a poor venue for the Grateful Dead/Dead. The time constraints just don't fit them. I was really getting P.O.'d as Dave blathered on & on with the little blond hottie from The Hills TV show. I mean really, in our culture who deserves more time, some barely anybody starlet from a show she's left, or a band with a history going back over 40 years? Less than 4 minutes for any Dead tune is insane. They did play well, the sound was TV lousy, but Sugar Mag w/o Sunshine was just rude to the band and the band's audience that tuned in. I don't fault the band at all, and I love Dave's show, but come on!!!!!
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Still haven't seen the show, but if you caught the full-onslaught U2 appearances on Letterman a few weeks ago, you know that if the producers had wanted to do it right, they could have...those shows gave me hope that the Dead's appearance wouldn't be the "normal" get-em-on, get-em-off treatment that most music gets on those shows. So now I know that I fast-forward to the end of the show and prepare to be disappointed. Ok..
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I watched on You Tube, so maybe I got an edited version, but it sounded like Dave said "members of the iconic rock and roll band with the late Jerry Garcia...and on April 28 and 29th they'll be at the IZOD Center in NJ." I'll take it for what it's worth, maybe I missed the first part of his sentence.I like Letterman and have watched him for years going back to NBC and he certainly gave the boys the same treatment he gives every Tom, Dick and Harry band that goes through there. He did say "hi" to Bobby and Phil personally, but wanted to plug an album, which or course is not in existance...so say goodnight to the boys on the skins, that guy playing piano and who's that big, long haired guy playing guitar? Cya all at nassau tonight and MSG tmo
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I got REAL tired and went to bed at 11:00. Forgot all about it. I guess it's YouTube for me then.
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Bah! They cut out the best part.... the Sunshine Daydream refrain! Oh well. Any Dead is better than no Dead.
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Both the 82 and 87 Bob & Jerry appearances are well worth seeking out on Youtube (and easy to find) - there's the 87 levitation, classic. But in 82, the only thing Bobby was levitating was his mind - check out "the stare"!! Then the extra-long nose-wipe. High-larious. As far as the present... I love you Phil, but what in the bejesus is up with that bass?!?!? Well, it's your prerogative I suppose... Can't wait till May!!
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tj crowley after last nite's staying awake i recall why i stopped watching letterman...i'm surprized that actress (from 'hills') did'nt get up and walk out...as for 'the boys'.....not enough, but i didin't think it would be...bobby better start getting thru his issue(s) surrounding jer's passing cause he's beginning to look like jer more and more. sounds like their promoting the gigs that most of us decided not to attend/support due to prices..just like i've stopped attending major league baseball
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Yeah, Bobby had a cold. I'm sure that explains all the sniffling on Letterman in '82.
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DoDa Man ;^ ) Without love in the dream it'll never come true ================================= Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
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i still watch the dead on letterman when i feel like laughing. "more fun than a frog in a glass of milk" and when jerry asks for an ashtray, leaves dave in stitches. it's not on youtube, but i used to own the master of this show, where during the opening of the show, sat dave on guitar and jerry on guitar with dave next to him showing him fingerings and dave says, "that finger there, right". and jerry says, "ow, that hurts." and dave says it's 'Proud Mary.' jerry starts to sing timidly, "left a good job in the city." dave follows like a comic teacher and says funnily, "Workin' for the man" and jerry mirrors him. hilarious.
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I think thats the first time i ever saw Bobby in pants...Is he wearing sandels??? Peace- Moye
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After sugar magnolia was over, why did Letterman say "There is no dead CD"??? Check out Phil on the left after Letterman says that...LOL Givin all kinds of hand gestures. LOLPeace- Moye
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Okay, so, in their infinite cleverness and Bozoism (and recognition of our penchant for arcane linkage and cosmic symbolism/buffoonery), they left the Sunshine Daydream coda off the show ... because the refrain will come in the form of FINALLY the Sunshine Daydream Veneta 1972 DVD! Hooray! Glad I got that figured out, now it's just the wait...
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Watched the entire show (not just the end) just in case there were Dead-related bits - like a Top Ten list. Dave did his monologue, dropping some Spitzer hooker jokes. Then, when going over the night's guests, he shows Paul an index card some production staffer must have made with "Dead Has No CD" written on it to remind Dave that the Dead aren't there to plug a CD. Next, I had to suffer through Jamie Foxx (please, no more Ray Charles...I know that's all you'll ever be remembered for, but I've had enough!) plugging "The Soloist" and Lauren Conrad...who?! (she probably thought the same thing about The Dead..."like, who's The Dead, I like Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Kanye West") It was around 12:30 and I was starting to worry. Are they going to pull one of the all-time practical jokes and have Dave say, "Well, that's all the time we have tonight, we'll have to have The Dead back some other time." The Dead came on and did "Sugar Magnolia" in a made-for-TV version. I wasn't disappointed because I wasn't expecting them to do a 20 minute concert version. After seeing the shows in Albany and Buffalo, it was cool to see Phil's blue-light special bass up close and it was funny watching him mime behind Dave when Dave kept the "Dead Has No CD" gag going.
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If memory serves me right when Bob & Jerry were on Letterman in 87 they shared the stage with the late great Julia Child and made Duck L'Orange. This was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life. Julia was absolutely hammered (on wine or whiskey I guess) and Bob Dave & Jerry were just busting on her. Just hilarious.
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the show I am thinking of was in 1989 --- Friday night October 13 --- Woody Harrelson was also on the show. As Julia Child cooks the duck Dave says that he used to pound his duck during college homecoming. Julia was tanked !
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  • sigephead
    12 years 2 months ago
    dead w/Julia Child -- how can you forget ??
    the show I am thinking of was in 1989 --- Friday night October 13 --- Woody Harrelson was also on the show. As Julia Child cooks the duck Dave says that he used to pound his duck during college homecoming. Julia was tanked !
  • sigephead
    12 years 2 months ago
    dead w/Julia Child -- how can you forget ??
    If memory serves me right when Bob & Jerry were on Letterman in 87 they shared the stage with the late great Julia Child and made Duck L'Orange. This was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life. Julia was absolutely hammered (on wine or whiskey I guess) and Bob Dave & Jerry were just busting on her. Just hilarious.
  • Allah1975
    12 years 4 months ago
    Watched the entire show (not
    Watched the entire show (not just the end) just in case there were Dead-related bits - like a Top Ten list. Dave did his monologue, dropping some Spitzer hooker jokes. Then, when going over the night's guests, he shows Paul an index card some production staffer must have made with "Dead Has No CD" written on it to remind Dave that the Dead aren't there to plug a CD. Next, I had to suffer through Jamie Foxx (please, no more Ray Charles...I know that's all you'll ever be remembered for, but I've had enough!) plugging "The Soloist" and Lauren Conrad...who?! (she probably thought the same thing about The Dead..."like, who's The Dead, I like Fallout Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Kanye West") It was around 12:30 and I was starting to worry. Are they going to pull one of the all-time practical jokes and have Dave say, "Well, that's all the time we have tonight, we'll have to have The Dead back some other time." The Dead came on and did "Sugar Magnolia" in a made-for-TV version. I wasn't disappointed because I wasn't expecting them to do a 20 minute concert version. After seeing the shows in Albany and Buffalo, it was cool to see Phil's blue-light special bass up close and it was funny watching him mime behind Dave when Dave kept the "Dead Has No CD" gag going.