The Greek Mythology
This Thursday Phish will return to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley for only the second time in their career. The band’s only previous visit was in August of ’93, when they played the venue to close out their summer tour. This time, Phish will open the second leg of summer tour 2010 with three shows at the storied venue.
While Phish has minimal history at The Greek, the Dead have certainly etched their mark in the venue’s stone walls. Since 1967, the Dead have played 29 shows at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley (most of which took place during the 80′s). Much like Phish and Camden, there is an undeniable connection between the Dead and The Greek. In the past, the Dead have tapped into a divine energy when playing the venue, creating moments that were seemingly unimaginable. In just two days, we’ll see if Phish can tap into this same source, as they did back in ’93. Today I want to look back at some of the highlight moments from The Greek Theatre, taking us all the way back to the late 60′s.
The Dead’s second visit to the Greek came on 10.20.68 (the first being in ’67). This show is a top-notch performance from start to finish, showing the magic present in the confines of the traditional Greek bowl. This would be the band’s final visit until the 80′s, and showed them in a very different time. At this point, Pigpen was still the leader of the band, and the Dead were only beginning to embark on their lifelong psychedelic adventure. This SBD from The Greek in ’68 captures the band in fine form, and is a staple in any tape collection. Below we have the “St. Stephen” > “Eleven” that features blazing lead work from Jerry – one of the finest versions from a year full of them.
“St. Stephen” > “The Eleven” (1968.10.20)
In 1981 the Dead returned to The Greek delivering three memorable shows that rekindled the band’s connection with the venue. From 1981 to 1989, the band played an annual multiple night run at The Greek, each time delivering at least one show to remember. In ’83 on the first night of a three night run, the band performed one of their finest, and most intimate, shows of the entire year. The highlight comes during the 20 minute version of “Eyes of the World” that emerges from a charging “Estimated” jam. The entire setlist appears to be out of a dream, and bursts with energy from the outset.
“Eyes of the World” (1983.5.13)
When the Dead returned in 1984 for another three night run, something quite special took place, once again on the first night. Apparently, right before the encore the entire band witnessed a shooting star sail across the night sky. Phil asks the crowd to be patient because they want to try something – just this once. Just then, the opening notes to “Darkstar” ring out for the first time in four years, and the last time for another five. A truly magical moment that could only take place in a place such as The Greek.
In 1993, Phish finally made their way into Berkeley to close out their summer tour. When the band arrived in Berkeley they were firing on all cylinders. The show at The Greek acted as the finale to a tour that saw the band drop a highlight each and every night, without exception. On August 28th at The Greek the band explored a lengthy “YEM”, even tacking on an all-out jam on Santana’s “Oye Como Va”.
“You Enjoy Myself” (1993.8.28)
Here’s a video from the ‘Comes a Time: Tribute to Jerry Garcia’ concert at The Greek feat. Warren Haynes and Trey among others.