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Best of Bird Song


The Best Versions Project differs from the lists in the Grateful Dead Taper's Compendium in what Ribot_for_President calls good taste and common sense. This project isn't necessarily definitive, and its not an invitation to debate. Its a list of solid versions that you all ought to hear. For more information about the processes used to create these lists, please check the, About the Projects section on the home page.

And now...

The Top 10 Versions of Bird Song

8/27/72 - Old Renaissance Faire Grounds, Veneta, OR - STREAM SBD

10/18/72 - Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO - STREAM SBD

11/19/72 - Hofheinz Pavilion, Houston, TX - STREAM SBD

3/22/73 - Utica Memorial Auditorium, Utica, NY - STREAM SBD

6/22/73 - P.N.E. Coliseum, Vancouver, B.C., Canada - STREAM SBD

3/7/81 - Cole Field House, U. of Maryland, College Park, MD - STREAM AUD

9/12/81 - Greek Theatre, U. of California, Berkeley, CA - STREAM AUD

10/17/83 - Olympic Center, Lake Placid, NY - STREAM SBD

10/3/87 - Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA - STREAM SBD

4/1/91 - Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC - STREAM SBD

Honorable Mention:

9/10/72 - Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA - STREAM SBD

9/7/73 - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY - STREAM SBD

6/19/88 - Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI - STREAM SBD; AUD

12/9/89 - Great Western Forum, Inglewood, CA - STREAM SBD

12/12/94 - Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA - STREAM AUD

Historically Significant:

2/19/71 - Capitol Theater, Port Chester, NY (First Time Played) - STREAM AUD

7/27/73 - Grand Prix Racecourse, Watkins Glen, NY (Watkins Glen soundcheck) - STREAM SBD

9/25/80 - Warfield Theater, San Francisco, CA (Bustout) - STREAM SBD

11/30/80 - Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA (Electric Bustout) - STREAM SBD/AUD

3/29/90 - Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY (w/Branford Marsalis ) - STREAM SBD

12/31/90 - Oakland Coliseum Arena, Oakland, CA (w/Branford Marsalis) - STREAM SBD

4/28/91 - Sam Boyd Silver Bowl, U.N.L.V., Las Vegas, NV (w/Carlos Santana) - STREAM SBD

9/22/93 - Madison Square Garden, New York, NY (w/David Murray) - STREAM SBD

6/30/95 - Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA (Last Time Played) - STREAM AUD

Addendums: In 1980, the Grateful Dead played a series of shows at San Francisco's Warfield Theater (9/25-10/14/80) and New York's Radio City Music Hall (10/22-31/80). These runs produced two live albums: the acoustic Dead Reckoning (aka Reckoning, aka For the Faithful) and the live Dead Set. Each show featured three sets - one acoustic set, followed by two electric sets. The first Warfield show brought the return of Bird Song, which was shelved after 9/15/73 - (SBD) the last pre-retirement Bird Song, and the last until 9/25/80 (link above under Historically Significant). 10/6/80 - SBD - was our consensus choice for best acoustic '80 Bird Song. 9/30/80 - AUD - was the DireWolf600 choice. Oh, and don't forget 10/16/81 - SBD. Bobby's Amsterdam Birthday show, and the last acoustic Bird Song, and arguably Historically Significant for that reason.

Bird Song

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

All I know is something like a bird within her sang
All I know she sang a little while and then flew on
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you
Snow and rain

If you hear that same sweet song again, will you know why?
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passing by
Laugh in the sunshine
Sing, cry in the dark
Fly through the night

Don't cry now
Don't you cry
Don't you cry any more
La da da da

Sleep in the stars
Don't you cry
Dry your eyes on the wind
La da da da da da

All I know is something like a bird within her sang
All I know she sang a little while and then flew on
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you
Snow and rain

Robert Hunter originally wrote the song as a tribute for Janis Joplin. Phil Lesh now sings "All I know is something like a bird within him sang," as an homage to Jerry Garcia.

The Annotated Bird Song


1971-04-28 - Ladies And Gentleman ... The Grateful Dead
1972(Studio) - Garcia (Jerry Garcia)
1972-07-22 - Download Series #10
1972-09-17 - Dick's Picks #23
1972-09-21 - Dick's Picks #36
1972-09-27 - Dick's Picks #11
1980(Sep/Oct) - Reckoning
1980-10-30 - Dead Ahead (video/DVD)
1987-07-24 - View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
1987-12-31 - Ticket To New Year's (video/DVD only)
1989-12-09 - Without A Net
1990-03-29 - So Many Roads (1965-1995)