15 Best Grateful Dead Live Albums: Rolling Stone’s Picks

Best Grateful Dead Live Albums

There’s no question that the Grateful Dead is one of the most iconic and influential bands in history. Their live performances were always something special, and their albums captured that magic perfectly.

Rolling Stone has put together a list of the 15 best Grateful Dead live albums, and we wanted to share it with you! These albums represent the best of the best, and are sure to get you excited for the upcoming Grateful Dead reunion tour!

So without further ado, here are the 15 best Grateful Dead albums, according to Rolling Stone.

List of the Best Grateful Dead Live Album

1. Live/Dead

This is the album that started it all. Recorded in 1969, Live/Dead is widely considered to be one of the best live albums ever made. It captures the Dead at their psychedelic peak and is essential listening for any fan of the band.

Moreover, it was the first album to offer extended jams, which would become a staple of the Dead’s live shows. This is the album that started it all, and it’s still just as fresh and exciting today as it was when it was first released. It is one of the famous grateful dead shows of all time.

2. Europe ’72

Recorded during the Dead’s legendary European tour, this triple album captures the band at their live peak. Featuring classics like “Dark Star” and “Sugaree,” Europe ’72 is essential listening for any fan of the Dead.

This album is also notable for its use of acoustic instruments, which was a departure from the Dead’s usual sound. Europe ’72 is a must-have for any fan of live music.

3. Reckoning

Reckoning is a live album that was recorded over two nights at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco in 1980. It offers some of the Dead’s best-loved songs, including “Friend of the Devil” and “Uncle John’s Band.”

This album is notable for its intimate feel, as it was recorded in a small venue with a limited audience. This gives the album a unique and personal feeling that is absent from other live albums.

4. Dead Set

Dead Set is a live album that was recorded during the Dead’s legendary run of best grateful dead live shows at Radio City Music Hall in 1980. It offers some of the band’s most popular songs, including “Touch of Grey” and “Shakedown Street.”

This album is notable for its high energy, which is evident from the first track. Dead Set is an essential album for any fan of the Dead.

5. In the Dark

In the Dark is the Dead’s first studio album in seven years, and it offers the hit single “Touch of Grey.” This album marked a return to the band’s roots, and it is considered by many to be one of their best albums.

You can also check out How Many Songs Does An Album Have (Easy Guide)

In the Dark is an essential album for any fan of the Dead. It is a return to their roots, and it offers some of their best-loved songs.

6. Built to Last

Built to Last is the final studio album by the Grateful Dead, released on October 31, 1989. The album was recorded in just four weeks, from August to September 1989. It was the first album the band had recorded in three years and the first since Brent Mydland’s death in July 1990. Built to Last was also the last album offered by keyboardist Bruce Hornsby.

The album was well-received by critics and fans alike. Rolling Stone gave the album four out of five stars, and AllMusic gave it three and a half stars. The album peaked at number twenty-seven on the Billboard 200 chart. Built to Last was certified gold by the RIAA on December 18, 1989.

7. Downhill from Here

Downhill from Here is a live album by the Grateful Dead, released on July 17, 1990. The album was recorded on July 19 and 20, 1989 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. It was the last album to be released by the band before Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.

The album offers the band’s final performances with keyboardist Brent Mydland, who died two weeks after its release. Mydland’s last show with the Dead was on July 24, 1990, and he died on July 26.

8. Without a Net

Without a Net is a live album by the Grateful Dead, released in October 1990. The album was recorded over the course of six weeks in April and May 1990 and offers performances from 19 different shows. It was the first live album to be released by the band in seven years and contains several previously unreleased tracks. It is another one of the famous grateful dead shows.

While many of the tracks on Without a Net are taken from well-known live performances, there are also several gems to be found. The album opens with a powerful version of “Bertha” from the band’s 1990 spring tour, and also offers a great rendition of “Ramble On Rose” from the same tour. Other highlights include a beautiful “Stella Blue” from the Dead’s final show at Oakland Coliseum, and a rousing “Sugaree” from their last ever show at Giants Stadium.

9. One More Saturday Night

One More Saturday Night was recorded in October 1989 at Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The album offers the band’s performance of the Grateful Dead song “One More Saturday Night” as well as several other covers.

This live album is one of the best Grateful Dead live albums because it captures the band’s energy and excitement during their last tour. The album is also a great example of the band’s ability to play different genres of music.

10. Dick’s Picks Volume One

Dick’s Picks Volume One was released in August of 1973 and was the first album in the Dick’s Picks series. This live album was recorded over a three-night run at the Fillmore East in New York City on February 13th-15th, 1970. This was just a few months before the Grateful Dead’s legendary performance at the Fillmore West.

11. Dick’s Picks Volume Two

Dick’s Picks Volume Two was released in October of 1974 and was the second album in the Dick’s Picks series. This live album was recorded over a three-night run at the Fillmore East in New York City on March 25th-27th, 1971.

12. Wake of the Flood

Released in 1973, Wake of the Flood was the Grateful Dead’s first album on their own label, Grateful Dead Records. The album peaked at number 27 on the Billboard 200 chart. Recorded during the Dead’s Europe ’72 tour, it was their first live album since 1970’s Live/Dead. The title track was written by Bob Weir and John Perry Barlow.

13. American Beauty

American Beauty is another one of the best Grateful Dead live albums that was released in 1970. This one offers the band playing acoustic renditions of some of their most popular songs. Jerry Garcia’s work on the pedal steel guitar is particularly noteworthy.

14. One from the Vault

One from the Vault is another one of the best Grateful Dead live albums, it was recorded in August of 1975 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. The album was released in 1991 and offers some of the Dead’s best jams from the mid-’70s.

15. Cornell ’77

Cornell ’77 is one of the most famous Grateful Dead shows of all time. It was recorded in May 1977 at Cornell University. The show was released as a live album in 2017.

In addition, the show was also released as a box set, which includes the complete show and a documentary about the making of the album.

Cornell ’77 is one of the best Grateful Dead live albums because it captures the band at their peak. The album is essential for any fan of the Grateful Dead.

16. Workingman’s Dead

Workingman’s Dead is another one of the Dead’s best studio albums, and it’s also one of the best live Grateful Dead albums. This is a must-have for any fan of the Dead.

Best of all, it offers the band at their prime, playing some of their best-known songs.

17. Ladies and Gentlemen… the Grateful Dead

This live album was released in 1973 and is made up of performances from February 13 and a live album was recorded over a series of five nights at the Fillmore East in April 1971. It was released in Oct. of that year.

Conclusion: Grateful Dead Live Album

The Grateful Dead was one of the most popular and influential rock bands of all time. They were known for their live performances, which were often improvisational and experimental. They were also known for their massive catalog of songs, which they often played differently every time they performed them.

The best Grateful Dead albums of all time released many live albums over the years, and these are some of the best. These live albums offer a great opportunity to hear the Dead at their best, playing some of their most popular and beloved songs. If you’re a fan of the Dead, or if you’re just curious about them, these live albums are a great place to start.

What is your best Grateful Dead live albums? Let us know in the comments section below.

Frequently Ask Questions

How many live albums does Grateful Dead have?

They have a total of 27 live albums.

What is the best Grateful Dead live album?

This is a difficult question to answer as live albums are often very different and can be enjoyed for different reasons. However, Rolling Stone has attempted to answer this question by narrowing it down to 15 of the best Grateful Dead live albums.

When was the album Live Dead recorded?

Live Dead was recorded over a series of concerts in early 1969 and released later that year.

Which Dark Star is on Live Dead?

The Dark Star on Live Dead is from the February 27, 1969 concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco.

What is considered the best Grateful Dead concert ever?

While there are many great Grateful Dead concerts, Cornell ’77 is often considered the best. This concert was recorded in May 1977 at Cornell University.

Why do the Grateful Dead have so many live albums?

The Grateful Dead were known for their live performances, which were often improvisational and experimental. They were also known for their massive catalog of songs, which they often played differently every time they performed them. This made each of their live performances unique, and many fans enjoy collecting their live albums to document these different performances.

What is the best Grateful Dead bootleg?

This is another difficult question to answer as there are many great Grateful Dead bootlegs. Some fans believe that the best Grateful Dead bootleg is the one that captures the band at their best, while others believe that the best bootleg is one that is rare or has unique recordings. Ultimately, it is up to the individual fan to decide what they consider to be the best Grateful Dead bootleg.

That’s all for the grateful dead live albums collection! You can also check out 35 Songs about Water: “Under the Sea” to “The Great Flood” and 25 of the Best Female Punk Bands (2022 Updated).

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