The Grateful Dead started playing Not Fade Away in 1968, but it took until 1985 for them to open a show with it. And it started with a flyer in the lot. Wish I still had the flyer, but at my 6th straight (and last) New Year's show, there was an attempt to get the band to open the show with Not Fade Away. Which did happen. And Michael and Juliet were there with me as my witness, Not only did the band open with Not Fade Away, they closed the second set with it, and continued it into the encore for a three-peat.
Not Fade Away was almost always a second set two (and later set 2 post-drums) showcase for the band, and after pairing it with Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad in Queens, NY in October 1970, the pairing moved exclusively to the second set until the famous London show on May 26, 1972 which closed the Europe 72 tour.
This show feature the ultra rare first set NFA>GDTRFB>NFA at the end of first set that had already featured 16 songs including a blistering Playing In The Band and a classic China Sunflower>I Know The Rider. Apparently, the band forgot to leave the stage and the London audience starts the only other clap request that was answered, finishing with a 19 song set, the only first set NFA>GDTRFB after 1970.
Unfortunately, the last one was played in Winterland on February 24, 1974. The next Not Fade Away into Goin Down The Road was played at my fourth show on April 23, 1977, but alas not NFA reprise ever again.
Not Fade Away as an encore was rare since inception with the first one noted at the Watkins Glen show on 7-28-73 while jamming with the Allmans right prior to Mountain Jam. There were two NFA encores in 1976, one in Chicago on June 28 and one at the Orpheum a few shows later on July 17. It rarely opened a set two jam, Englishtown 1977 being the rare exception (certainly best verison I ever heard). And 9-14-78 Eqypt started with Ollin Arageed>NFA, which was close to opening the show.;
The Dead had been experimenting with the NFA show close and revise in the encore at a couple of shows 4-12-83, 4-7-84, and 9-12-85. It's interesting that certian places like California, Providence and Alpine get mulitple versions of these call and response Not Fade Aways. After 1989, they only played NFA in set two. But it was fun while it lasted.
Encores of Not Fade Away, 1986-1989
2-11-86 Kaiser Stella Blue ; Not Fade Away Encore Not Fade Away ; Hey Bo Diddley ; Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad
3-30-86 Providence Throwing Stones ; Not Fade Away Encore Not Fade Away ; The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo)
4-21-86 (I was there) Berkeley High School Morning Dew [9:25] > Around And Around [3:32] > Not Fade Away [7:23] Encore Not Fade Away [1:44] > Don't Ease Me In [3:02]
6-21-86 Berkeley Greek Throwing Stones ; Not Fade Away Encore Not Fade Away ; Brokedown Palace
6-29-86 Alpine Throwing Stones ; Not Fade Away Encore Not Fade Away ; U.S. Blues
12-17-86 Oakland Coliseum Throwing Stones [7:51#] ; Not Fade Away Encore Not Fade Away ; Brokedown Palace
1-30-87 SF Civic Throwing Stones [8:39] > Not Fade Away [7:01] Encore Not Fade Away [1:56] > Brokedown Palace [6:17]
4-11-87 Chicago Throwing Stones [8:48] > Not Fade Away [6:18] Encore Not Fade Away [ 0:52] > Black Muddy River [6:16]
4-19-87 Irvine Wharf Rat [9:25] > Not Fade Away [7:18] Encore Not Fade Away [0:45] > Brokedown Palace [5:55]
5-3-87 Frost Throwing Stones [8:26] > Not Fade Away [9:01] Encore Not Fade Away [0:40] > The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) [4:17]
5-10-87 Monterey (encore only) Encore Not Fade Away [5:22] ; Black Muddy River [6:17]
6-28-87 Alpine Throwing Stones [8:52] > Not Fade Away [8:11] Encore Not Fade Away [0:58] ; The Mighty Quinn (Quinn The Eskimo) [4:17]
8-13-87 Red Rocks Throwing Stones [8:08] > Not Fade Away [5:27] Encore Not Fade Away [0:23] > Touch Of Grey [5:49] > Knockin' On Heaven's Door [6:16]
8-23-87 Ange's Camp Encore only Encore Not Fade Away [7:43] > Brokedown Palace [4:50]
9-9-87 Providence Encore Not Fade Away [7:43] > Brokedown Palace [4:50]
11-7-87 Kaiser Encore Not Fade Away [7:43] > Brokedown Palace [4:50]
6-25-88 Buckeye Not Fade Away [6:41] Encore Knockin' On Heaven's Door
7-3-88 Oxford Encore NFA
2-6-89 Kaiser opens Beer Barrell Polka > Not Fade Away (Second and last show opened with NFA)
2-12-89 LA Forum with Dylan on guitar Not Fade Away** ; Knockin' On Heaven's Door**
10-15-89 Meadowlands Throwing Stones [8:51] > Not Fade Away [8:09] Encore Not Fade Away Jam [2:34] ; Box Of Rain [4:41]