Grateful Dead at Boreal Ridge 1986

Poster for Grateful Dead at Boreal Ridge 1986.  August 17, 1986 Grateful Dead poster

Grateful Dead Boreal Ridge 1986, 1986


First printing lithograph, Near Mint- condition


Framed dimensions: 24" tall x 16 7/8" wide



Frame close-up

Frame at angle


This show was a follow-up to the previous year’s terrible show at Boreal Ridge and one can be sure the Boys and the Sound Crew were looking to atone for 1985. But it was not to be as the concert was cancelled…



On July 10, 1986 Jerry Garcia lapsed into a diabetic coma that nearly killed him. The band’s upcoming shows were cancelled as Garcia spent weeks and months recovering with help from old friend Merl Saunders. While Garcia played a number of Jerry Garcia Band shows in the Fall of 1986, the Grateful Dead didn’t return to the stage until December 15, 1986 to begin a series of three performances at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.



When Jerry nearly died, it was Merl more than anyone else, who literally sat by Jerry’s side and helped him regain his musical gifts—which had become scrambled and elusive following the coma—by patiently re-teaching him the fundamentals, rebuilding his skills a little at a time. And even before he was ready to attempt to play, Merl helped him get some of his strength back: “I’d take him for a walk. We’d take 10 steps, then take 10 steps back. His attitude was great. He wanted to get better, but he was scared, too. He got tired very easily, but he never really got discouraged. The most he’d say would be, ‘Oh man, this is harder than it looks!’”



Once Garcia picked up a guitar, “It came back very slowly,” Merl said. “He had to learn chords all over again and he had a lot of trouble remembering how to do even the simplest stuff. And I didn’t want to push him. ‘Man, I’m tired.’ He’d been playing for five minutes. ‘OK, that’s fine. Put it down. Let’s go for a walk.’ And we’d do that for a few minutes until he’d get tired. We’d talk about music. I’d tell him about songs I was working on and that would get his mind going. We’d talk in musical terms. And slowly he started to get his strength back. But it sometimes took an hour or two for him to get even a simple chord down. Then, as we got farther into it, some things started to come back to him a little, but it took a lot of work. The first song he wanted to learn again was ‘My Funny Valentine.’”



The first Grateful Dead show back, on December 15, 1986 was an incredibly emotional affair. There was a time we thought Jerry may never be back, but not only did Garcia return to the stage he also unveiled new songs. In fitting fashion the Grateful Dead opened with “Touch Of Grey,” which gave us all a chance to scream along with the chorus of “I will survive!” On audience recordings you can hear the capacity crowd go absolutely wild both as the Dead take the stage and throughout “Touch Of Grey.”

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