Video: Grateful Dead Bustout “California Earthquake” in 1989

Rob Slater on October 17, 2014

25 years ago today, the largest earthquake since 1906 hit the Bay Area, leaving 63 dead and almost 4,000 others injured. Many remember this event from the footage taken at Game 3 of the World Series that year in San Francisco, as the Giants and Oakland Athletics met in the first Bay Area World Series ever.

Occurring at 5:04 PM, just before the game was about to start, the 6.9-magnitude earthquake took its toll on the iconic Bay Bridge as well as buildings in the city. One of the more memorable pictures from the disaster was the double-decker Nimitz Freeway collapsing onto itself, killing many instantly.

Miles from their devastated home, the Grateful Dead took to the stage a few days later on October 20 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia and offered up what help they could, as the band busted out a take on Rodney Crowell’s “California Earthquake,” which features poignant lyrics about devastation and the rebuilding that follows.

The crowd roared as lines like “build ourselves another town” and “we may fall off in the ocean, but you’ll never make us run” were somberly sung by Garcia. Watch a replay of that performance below.