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The Empire State Building Synced Its Lights To The Grateful Dead's 'Touch Of Grey'

When the started out in 1966 in San Francisco, they and all other bands of the Fillmore era were aided by elaborate light shows. Think: clear pie plates, filled with water, with colored mineral oil and other additives dropped in and swished and swirled around, projected through a grade-school overhead onto screens — or just plain old bed sheets draped behind the band.

The aim then was to approximate the, ahem, psychedelic experiences of the audience. The business of rock 'n' roll shows has evolved so much since those days, but even so The Grateful Dead continues to blaze new trails.

At just about 11pm this past this past Saturday night (June 24), — a reunion-type outfit featuring original Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart — New York classic rock station Q104.3 and the city's iconic Empire State Building staged a light show for the ages. As the band launched into "Touch of Grey" for 40,000 fans at nearby Citi Field, the famed skyscraper's lights synchronized to the band's vocals.

(Some will call it coincidence, others divine guidance, but I'd like to think that Jerry Garcia offered a metaphysical assist so that, as the helicopter view included the Freedom Tower in the background, the band was singing the inspirational chorus.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: June 26, 2017 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous headline on this page mistakenly referred to the Grateful Dead's song as "I Will Get By," not "Touch of Grey."
Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.