Grateful Dead – “Wharf Rat” Live
Got Up And Wandered!
The first ever live performance of “Wharf Rat” was during the show at the Capitol Theater in New York. It was on February 18, 1971 where it appeared in the first set. It eventually became a staple in their concert repertoire. This song then led to the creation of the group “The Wharf Rat Group of Alcoholics Anonymous” which are concert-goers who live a drug and alcohol-free life.
The Wharf Rats originally came from a small group of Narcotics Anonymous members who went to a Grateful Dead concert in Philadelphia and located each other by their Yellow balloons with the NA symbol drawn on in Magic Marker.
The Wharf Rats see themselves as “a group of friends sharing a common bond, providing support, information and some traction in an otherwise slippery environment.”
This track didn’t have a proper studio version but there were certain enhancements such as overdubbing of an organ track. It has also been played around 400 times.
It makes room for some of Garcia’s most impassioned singing and soloing; the harmonies often soar; and the repeated suspended A chords beg for resolution that will never be granted.
This song sends a powerful message to the society through one great story!