Grateful Dead’s best album is ‘In the Dark’ even if fans won’t admit it

It should be another fun summer for Grateful Dead fans thanks to offshoot band Dead & Company

It should be another fun summer for Grateful Dead fans thanks to offshoot band Dead & Company embarking on its latest nationwide tour next month (the band plays in Tampa  Oct. 7). Featuring founding guitarist and vocalist Bob Weir and original drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann – with guitarist/singer John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti –  Dead & Company have delivered crowd-pleasing, three-hour performances of beloved Grateful Dead material since 2015. Ahead of the band coming to your town, be sure to immerse yourself in classic Dead albums such as “Live/Dead,” “Workingman’s Dead,” “American Beauty,“ “Europe ’72” and the holy grail of concert performances, “Cornell 5/8/77,” which was finally given an official release in 2017. Oh, and also be sure to listen to “In the Dark,” which is the best album the Dead ever released – even if Deadheads won’t dare admit it.

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Grateful Dead pose in a 1985 photo in Marin County, Calif. From left, back row, are Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart. In front are Brent Mydland, left, and Bob Weir. The band's album "In the Dark" came out July 6, 1987.

Issued this week in 1987, “In the Dark” forever altered the Grateful Dead’s fanbase and concert scene, with the band transitioning from playing relatively intimate amphitheaters and the kind of 10,000-capacity arenas used by minor league hockey teams to a steady stream of 50,000-seat football stadium dates –  while more and more people showed up for the party (often just remaining in the parking lot) rather than the music. Yes, Deadheads blame “In the Dark” and its hit single “Touch of Grey” for destroying the hippie utopia of a Dead show. In fact, the worst insult to hurl at a Dead fan is to call him a “Touchhead.” And that’s why no self-respecting Deadhead will ever cite 1987’s “In the Dark” as the band’s best album, which is silly. 

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