The Grateful Dead are well known for being one of the most dynamic live acts of all. There’s no debate that their revolutionary jam style of performance not only kept their fans coming back for more — often following across the world in their mini-vans as they did — but also captivated the hearts and minds of their contemporaries too.
It was a reputation that meant The Grateful Dead were never short of a guest or two on their wild tours. Below, thanks to one dedicated Deadhead we have every single guest spot in one handy audio file and it acts as a reminder that The Grateful Dead are one of the best to ever grace the stage.
The band enjoyed most of their greatest moments while on the road. Though their studio albums are certainly worth revisiting, it was The Grateful Dead’s live performance that set them apart from the rest right from the very start.
Born amid the furore of San Francisco, just as the summer of love approached and hippiedom was nearing its peak, the group found a way to blend their jazz sensibilities with their rock instruments — the jam session. That’s not to say there weren’t jams before the Dead got up o but, despite all those other groups, it’s fair to say that The Grateful Dead perfected it.
Thanks to the grace of the internet and, most notably, the incredible attention to detail from the Deadheads of the world, we’re able to relive all of the band’s recorded live performances through an impressive archive. Within that mammoth archive, one special fan, Redditor ltso1, has managed to locate all of the special guest performances and weave them together into one gigantic celebration of the Dead.
The list of esteemed guest is pretty impressive too. As well as fellow flower child Janis Joplin, who provides a powerhouse performance, there is also sit-ins from Duane Allman, David Crosby, The Beach Boys, Carlos Santana, Suzanne Vega, Halle & Oates, Bob Dylan and so many more.
Across 80 hours of music and a host of different stages the files below not only provide a searing reminder of the talent The Grateful Dead had on show, every single night, but also the respect they earned with those performances. To be able to wrangle the kind of performers celebrated below is no mean feat and a lesser band would have failed in achieving it.
You can find the full playlist here and find an 8-hour reduction of the best bits below.