50th Collection: Workingman’s Dead

The Grateful Dead released the 50th anniversary edition of the American rock classic recording, Workingman’s Dead today. I have a special connection with this album through the Capitol Theatre Howard Stein days.

Latest T-Shirt in my collection!

My first experience witnessing the Grateful Dead live occurred at the Capitol Theatre in Portchester NY on November 7, 1970. I first heard the track “New Speedway Boogie” over the loudspeaker system from Workingman’s Dead on June 14, 1970 in the balcony waiting for Santana to perform the late show. This was the release day in the U.S. for the album. I loved what I heard so fervently I was motivated to run down to the box office where I bought a pair of 7th row center seats (six months before the show) for their November 7, concert.

New Speedway Boogie B-side to the Uncle John’s Band single

The Dead loved the Cap and Jerry Garcia said it was his favorite venue to play after the Fillmore West (this is according to Warren Haynes who has played the Garcia guitar role in the latter day Dead unit.)

The 50th anniversary edition features the live concert from the Dead at The Capitol Theatre recorded February 21, 1971. Which is fitting and appropriate as the Dead played the Capitol Theatre many times in the early 70s. If you combine that with how I discovered Workingman’s Dead its simpatico. Peter Shapiro, promoter and Capitol Theatre owner booked the last Grateful Dead concerts, the “Fare Thee Well” shows at Soldiers Field in Chicago, July 3-July 5, 2015. So the Grateful Dead/Capitol Theatre partnership lives on!


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