So in the 1990's when I would drive around in my car with Evan, Neil, and Gwen, I would sometimes play the Grateful Dead (loud). One day when Evan was about 6 years old, he told me he knew who the Grateful Dead were and he immediately started singing "Roll Away, the Dew" and whenever the kids wanted to tease me about the Dead that's what they would sing "Roll Away, the Dew" as shorthand for the Grateful Dead.
If you rolled the dice at a Grateful Dead show after 1974, chances are slim you would hit a Franklin's Tower (about 15%, 209 of last 1391 shows, my own experience is 12 out of 80 or 15%). But if you were going get to roll away the dew, you had about a 50/50 chance of seeing the whole Help On The Way>Slipknot>Franklin's Tower. As you can see from the chart below, in 104 out of 219 times. You had about a 33% chance of seeing a Mississippi Half Step>Franklin's or Feel Like a Stranger >Franklin's.
But, if you were a lucky guy, you might see one of those specials times, that Franklin's Tower would appear in an unusual spot, like opening the show, the encore (me, me, me) or out of the closing jam of Stella Blue. This is the story of those rare and unusual appearances of Franklin's out in the desert.
Here's some for you
The only standalone Middle Set Franklin's Tower SF September 28,1975
In only the 3rd version there was Just a broken string and a two song delay between Help/Slip and Franklin's
June 9, 1976 Boston Encore Franklin's Tower 1976 I was there. Only encore. Were you guys just too tired to play the whole suite guys after the St Stephen?? Weird that this, the 6th version, was the only time they played as an encore. It felt right but I would have loved the entire thing. Kind of like Terrapin at Englishtown. Tease.
October 15, 1976 Shrine, Los Angeles Comes A Time>Franklin's Tower
He's Gone > Drums > The Other One > Comes A Time> Franklin's Tower> Sugar Magnolia
Last version in 1976, only time out of Comes A Time. Just listen. One of the best shows of 1976
January 30, 1978 Chicago Stella Blue>Franklin's Tower
Estimated > Eyes Of The World > Space> Stella Blue > Franklin's Tower > Around And Around
During the totally underrated January month of 1978, the Dead pull this out of their hat during a nice Stella jam which I heard on Sirius the other night. Which gave me the idea to do this piece.
May 9, 1978 Syracuse The only Show Opener Franklin's Towers. Cool. I didn't even know about this one until the last few years
November 29, 1980 Gainsville Shakedown Street>Franklin's Tower
In Alligator Alley, the boys combine Shakedown and Franklin's for the only time ever to lead off the second set.
July 18, 1982 Ventura Samson & Delilah>Franklin's Tower
On the beach with the boys, the once only pairing opens set two.
December 30, 1982 Oakland Throwing Stones>Franklin's Tower
Great second set of Touch Of Grey; Throwing Stones> Franklin's Tower; Lost Sailor> Saint Of Circumstance> He's Gone> D/S> Truckin'>Stella Blue [8:43] > GDTRFB> Johnny B. Goode
Followed by an encore Hard To Handle ; Tell Mama. The night before New Year's. I was at both nights.
March 13, 1985 Berkeley High School The Music Never Stopped>Franklin's Tower
Another cool once-only 1985 setlist of The Music Never Stopped > Franklin's Tower > Estimated Prophet > Spoonful pre-drums.
June 20, 1987 Greek Hell In A Bucket>Franklin's Tower
Back in Berkeley, this time at the great is another once-only couplet, this time to open the show.
April 3, 1988 Crazy Fingers >Franklin's Tower 1988
Hartford sees a second set of Playing In The Band> Crazy Fingers > Franklin's Tower > Man Smart, Woman Smarter to open second set.