Credit: YouTube

The Who’s Pete Townshend joins The Grateful Dead for a classic Rockpalast performance, 1981

The Grateful Dead have jammed with pretty much everyone worth their salt. The iconic jam band have welcomed everyone from The Beach Boys to John Belushi have joined them on stage. A positive Who’s who of the rock and roll world.

On March 28th, 1981 the band welcomed another guest of high-esteem as the principal songwriter and lead guitarist of The Who, Pete Townshend, meets the band on stage for a three-song set capable of bringing the house down.

The Grateful Dead were in Europe following a short run at the Rainbow Theatre in London with a final show in the German city of Essen. The band made their way to the city for a feature-length performance on legendary TV show Rockpalast.

The television show was at the height of its power and was bringing in some notable acts when they invited the West Coast counter-culture kings, The Grateful Dead. The band weren’t exactly the punk-fired acts the show had become accustomed to, but the Dead had an ace in the hole.

That ace was none other than lead guitarist of The Who, Pete Townshend. While The Who may have been in a bit of a creative lull at the time, Townshend joined the Dead for a rollicking performance that proved he wasn’t done with rock and roll just yet.

There’s an extended ‘Drums’ segment which highlights Bill Kruetzmann and Mickey Hart who were joined by The Flying Karamazov Brothers before Townshend joins at the end of the band’s second set.

The great guitarist joined The Grateful Dead for the often covered, ‘Not Fade Away’. It marks the colliding of two rock powerhouses. A collision that continues when the band begin the Garcia-led ‘Wharf Rat’ and the feistier Bob Weir number, ‘Around And Around’.

Townshend slipped off stage before The Grateful Dead closed out the performance with ‘Good Lovin’ but left a lasting impression on the audience both inside the studio and sitting at home.

So sit back and watch The Who’s Pete Townshend join The Grateful Dead for a three-song-set that marks both acts as legends.

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