The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
Five Things We Learned Delivering Over Half a Million Orders for NoCo Restaurants
November 8, 2023

  In May 2019, Nosh began as a humble restaurant co-op with just three people. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, while many businesses...

Tribute band Shakedown Street keeps the Dead alive

Shakedown Street performs at the Aggie Theatre, accompanied by Boots Jaffee on harmonica Aug. 20. (Dylan Tusinski | The Collegian)

For Fort Collins Deadheads, or fans of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead, Friday night was a cathartic experience.

The Grateful Dead are an American phenomenon known for their improvisational jams that can stretch for 10-15 minutes, their devoted group of hippie fans and their ability to meld musical genres together. The group officially disbanded in 1995 after the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia but is survived by a number of spinoff groups formed by other band members and local tribute bands like Shakedown Street.


Shakedown Street, one of the world’s longest-running Grateful Dead tribute bands, returned to the Aggie Theatre after a year and a half pause on local music. Before the band even took the stage, scenes from Deadhead life were back after a long break.

Outside the show, a man wearing tie-dyed jeans and a multicolored tank top was waving his finger in the air, partaking in a long-standing Deadhead tradition of asking for a “Miracle” — essentially, a free ticket to the show. Lo and behold, an older man stopped by the box office and bought him a ticket. 

Inside the Aggie, the vibe was similar albeit a bit different from normal. Roughly half the crowd was wearing masks, and the capacity-sized crowd Shakedown Street usually pulls was lowered to only a couple hundred due to social distancing measures.

Even still, the concertgoers were still wearing their tie-dye, grooving to the beat and lighting up their joints as if nothing had changed. The band fed off their energy and ripped into a four-hour-long show that mixed the genres of rock, folk, psychedelia, blues and country.

After the band took the stage and before the music started, Shakedown Street’s lead guitarist Josh Rosen addressed the crowd with a sincere word of appreciation.

“It’s good to be back in Fort Collins, my hometown,” Rosen said. “It’s been 17 months since we last played here. Feels like it went by in a second.” 

The statement elicited a roar from the socially distanced crowd just before the band opened with “Bertha,” a Grateful Dead classic. After they finished with that bluesy tune, the band dove into “U.S. Blues,” a tune with lyrics that resonated after a long, strange pandemic. “Gimme five, I’m still alive!” the band sang to hoots and hollers from the crowd.

Shakedown Street followed with “Beat it on Down the Line,” opening the song with 17 thundering beats — one for each month since the band last played at the Aggie. The song was brief, energetic and breathed more life into the already-energetic crowd.

What really got the Deadheads grooving, though, was the addition of Boots Jaffee on harmonica. He took the stage adorned in a cowboy hat and leather vest, accompanied by the crowd shouting, “Boooots!” He played with the group for the Jerry Garcia Band tune “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” before waving to the crowd and stepping offstage.


Throughout the night, Shakedown Street dipped in and out of the many different genres and vibes the Grateful Dead are famous for. They ripped into an emotive and powerful rendition of “Looks Like Rain,” an uncharacteristically groovy “Let it Grow” and an energetic, jumpy and fun “Sunshine Daydream” to close the show out.

In channeling the ethos of the Grateful Dead, Shakedown Street played a grand total of 23 songs over two sets and an encore. This article would be damn near endless if I went through and chronicled each and every individual song, so suffice it to say that the show was as any Dead-related show should be fun, explorative, chaotic at times and full of musical adventure.

There’s a reason that Shakedown Street has been playing live music since 1987: The band just rocks. Outside of the Dead themselves, or any of the related offshoot groups, Shakedown Street may just be the best active Dead-related act still playing.

Whether you like the long, spacey, improvisational jams that stretch for 30 minutes or longer, the groovy, disco-like tunes you can’t help but bob along to or the short, snappy, blues numbers that crackle with energy, Shakedown Street truly is the ultimate Dead band in Northern Colorado.

Shakedown Street is comprised of Rosen on lead guitar and vocals, Peter Czolowski on rhythm guitar and vocals, Edwin Hurwitz on bass, Joe Weisiger on keys and vocals and Christian Teele on drums. The band’s next gig is at the Knew Conscious Collective on Aug. 28.

Dylan Tusinski can be reached at or on Twitter @unwashedtiedye.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *