Philadelphia played an important role in the national importance of the Dead, and yet you would never know it. New York swallows up the East Coast history of the Dead, and Philadelphia gets lost. Let’s start with this stat: The Dead played at Madison Square Garden 52 times which ranks sixth as the band’s most-played venue. All others in the top 5 are in the SF Bay Area except one: The Spectrum at 53 shows! Fuhgedaboudit!
The Philadelphia Spectrum was built in 1967 for the expansion Philadelphia Flyers and also to accommodate the 76ers, with an initial capacity of around 15,000 (later 18,000). The Dead had earned their way into the Spectrum by 1973 but a dispute with rock promoter The Electric Factory left them locked out of that venue until 1977, after which they played another 47 shows.
The concert on the 23rd featured the last of the Dead’s five known performances of La Bamba, which is sandwiched in the middle of Good Lovin’ in the second set. Three of the other performances of this tune were also in September 1987, which makes sense because the song was at the top of the charts that summer after being featured in the movie of the same name.
September 22: Hey Pocky Way, Althea, Little Red Rooster, When Push Comes To Shove, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Ramble On Rose, Addam's Family, Cassidy, Deal Set 2: Gimme Some Lovin'*, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Samson & Delilah-> Terrapin Station-> Drums-> Jam-> The Wheel-> Truckin'-> Stella Blue-> Sugar Magnolia, E: It's All Over Now Baby Blue
September 23: Feel Like A Stranger, Franklin's Tower, Walkin' Blues, Friend Of The Devil, Tons Of Steel, Desolation Row, Big Railroad Blues, The Music Never Stopped Set 2: Bertha-> Cumberland Blues-> Playin' In The Band-> Uncle John's Band-> Playin' In The Band Jam-> Drums-> Jam-> I Need A Miracle-> Dear Mr. Fantasy-> Around & Around-> Good Lovin'-> La Bamba-> Good Lovin', E: U.S. Blues
September 24: Touch Of Grey ->New Minglewood Blues, High Time,Me And My Uncle ->Mexicali Blues Tease ->Big River, Big Boss Man, My Brother Esau, Bird Song ->The Promised Land. Set 2: Box Of Rain ->Iko Iko, Hell In A Bucket ->Fire On The Mountain ->Drums ->Space ->The Other One ->Black Peter ->Throwing Stones ->Turn On Your Lovelight E: Knockin' On Heaven's Door