Saturday Dead (Zimmer's Picks): 3.24.70

Words By Andy Zimmer

I am constantly amazed by the strange and interesting “venues” that bands find to play. From street corners to pole barns, cafeterias to roof tops, great live music certainly relies less on location than it does inspiration. Of course, having a picturesque backdrop or perfect acoustics certainly doesn’t hurt. For my taste, just throw in some carnival rides and you have the setup for a helluva good time. I still chuckle when I think about the Grateful Dead playing Pirate’s World in the Spring of 1970.

For those of you are not savvy to all-things-pirate, or never had the luxury of vacationing in Dania, Florida, allow me to enlighten you. Pirate’s World was a functioning amusement park from the mid-60s to mid-70s and was concerned with all things… guessed it……pirate. Before Disney World had the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, Pirate’s World had a full park dedicated to the bearded swashbucklers. It was also a concert venue with an impressive list of performers; Led Zeppelin, Traffic, the Moody Blues, David Bowie, and the Doors all graced the stage of Pirate’s World.

It’s fitting that the Dead found themselves onstage at Pirate’s World. Sometimes I think of the Dead as musical pirates…..rogue wild-men, brazenly boarding the ships of conformity and normalcy, and leaving the uninitiated wondering what the hell just happened. The show itself is a gem, a strong show through and through with Jerry sounding and playing as vibrant as ever. During a standout version of “Good Lovin'”, Pigpen gets his groove going and Garcia rips solos with that primal, animal-like feel that’s reminiscent of ‘68 / ’69 Dead. This show also features the finest version of “Don’t Ease Me In” that I've heard. Complete with an extra-long, rocking intro, you can tell that the whole band, especially Garcia, is having a blast. The second half of the show contains long, segued jams that inspire you to slip away and get lost during the listen. I especially like the unconventional “Lovelight > Me And My Uncle” to end the show. Throw on your eye patch, grab a wench and a cup of grog, and party with the Dead at Pirate’s World.

Grateful Dead Live at Pirates World on March 24, 1970.

Morning Dew, Mama Tried, Drums -> Good Lovin', Don't Ease Me In, Cold Rain And Snow, High Time, Dark Star -> The Other One -> St. Stephen -> Drums -> Not Fade Away -> Turn On Your Lovelight -> Me And My Uncle


  1. Zimmer, nice review, I'd never heard of this show, so I'll have to check it out. As far as dead shows in Florida, the Sportatorium show in May '77 comes to mind as well, that one is the heatfire. Nice to meet you at that Phish show on Friday, by the way, I'm revisiting that Fluff>Bowie right now.

    -Drew Monks


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