The Grateful Dead at Red Rocks, 1978.

(Photo by Keith Stieduhar, courtesy of Rhino Records)

This story originally aired in June 2016. This week the Colorado Music Hall of Fame honors the Grateful Dead, while Dead and Company play in Boulder this weekend. 

The Grateful Dead performed all over the world during their decades-long career, but one of the band’s favorite venues was Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The Dead headlined there 20 times, and it all began on July 7, 1978.

Paul Epstein, now the owner of Denver’s Twist & Shout Records, was a 19-year-old student at the University of Denver and a fledgling Deadhead. He and a friend arrived early and grabbed fifth-row seats. Epstein returned the following night for a concert that many consider one of the band’s best shows.

Audience tapes of both shows have long circulated among fans, but high-quality soundboard recordings have just been released, part of a box set of all of the band’s shows from July 1978. 

Epstein spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner. Click on the audio link above to hear their conversation.  Here's a clip from another 1978 show at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, N.J.