Grateful Dead – Feel Like A Stranger (Live at MSG in 1988)

“Feel Like A Stranger” has always been one of my favorite Grateful Dead songs, ever since I first heard it on Go To Heaven in the 8th grade. It’s the song I get most excited about when it opens up the first set of a Grateful Dead show (or, more relevant today, a show by a post-Jerry Grateful Dead band). For deadheads, divining what the first set opener is going to be is like fantasy football. Most people have a song they want to hear as the set opener, and lots of people will try to guess what the song opener is going to be. If you get it right, there’s a certain amount of cache to it.

“Feel Like A Stranger” has been a common opener since it made its way into the Dead’s song rotation. If you go see a Bob Weir show today, there’s a decent chance the show will open with a “Stranger”. Lyrically, it’s the perfect opener, with lines like “It’s gonna be a long, crazy, crazy night”, “Well the music’s thundering, restless and hot!”, and “You know It’s going to get stranger, let’s get on with the show!” The crowd always thunders its approval when Bobby belts out those lines.

This version of “Feel Like A Stranger” is from a run at Madison Square Garden in 1988. Music Vault owns the rights to the video, and it’s pretty high quality. The band is in good form. And I’m getting excited about seeing Dead and Company there on Halloween! Should be a fun show. In the mean time, enjoy this “Feel Like A Stranger”.