The Grateful Dead Play Madison Square Garden For The First Time, On This Day In 1979 [Audio]

The Grateful Dead and their legion of fans known as the Deadheads took over Madison Square Garden for the first show of a two-night run at the New York City venue, on this day in 1979. The two shows at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” on January 7th-8th would be the first of 52 total times the Dead performed at the historic venue over the next 16 years.

A clear turning point in their career after playing mostly college hockey arenas and theaters across the country throughout the 1970s, the band opened the first night at the major sporting arena with “Jack Straw” and never looked back. The January 7th show continued with performances of “Cassidy”, “Tennessee Jed”, “I Need A Miracle”, “Shakedown Street”, and “Eyes of the World”, while night two on January 8th treated fans in attendance to “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleloo” along with Dead setlist staples “Candyman”, “Friend of the Devil”, “Brown Eyed Women”, “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire On The Mountain”, “Terrapin Station”, “Playing in the Band”, and more.

Revisit the Grateful Dead’s first-ever Madison Square Garden run, which kicked off 44 years ago tonight, via the audio players below.

Grateful Dead – Madison Square Garden – 1/7/1979 (Full-Show Audio)

[Audio: Grateful Dead]

Grateful Dead – Madison Square Garden – 1/8/1979 (Full-Show Audio)

[Audio: Grateful Dead]

Check out the setlists from the fateful performances below.

Setlist: Grateful Dead | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 1/7/1979

Set One: Jack Straw, They Love Each Other, Cassidy, Jack A Roe, Looks Like Rain, Tennessee Jed, El Paso, Stagger Lee, Passenger

Set Two: I Need A Miracle-> Shakedown Street, From The Heart Of Me, Estimated Prophet-> Eyes Of The World-> Drums-> Space -> Not Fade Away-> Black Peter-> Around & Around

Encore: Good Lovin’

Setlist: Grateful Dead | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 1/8/1979

Set One: Mississippi Half-Step, Franklin’s Tower, New Minglewood Blues, Candyman, Me And My Uncle, Big River, Friend Of The Devil, It’s All Over Now, Brown-Eyed Women, Lazy Lightnin’, Supplication

Set Two: Scarlet Begonias, Fire On The Mountain, Samson And Delilah, Terrapin Station, Playin’ In The Band, Drums, The Other One, Wharf Rat, Good Lovin’

Encore: U.S. Blues

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