Playing In The Band

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Bob Weir/Mickey Hart

A staple of Grateful Dead concerts from its introduction in 1971, and more recently played by Ratdog, Furthur and Phil Lesh & Friends. It started life as an instrumental known as "The Main Ten" (after the song's time signature), with lyrics added later - though the version with lyrics on "Rolling Thunder" is still titled "The Main Ten".

Some folks trust to reason, others trust to might (note a)
I don't trust to nothing, but I know it come out right (note d)
Say it once again now, whoa I hope you understand
When it's done and over, Lord, a man is just a man

Playing, playing in the band (note b)
Daybreak, daybreak on the land

Some folks look for answers, others look for fights
Some folks up in tree tops, just looking for their kites (note c)
I can tell your future, whoa just look what's in your hand
I can't stop for nothing, I'm just playing in the band


Standing on a tower, world at my command
You just keep a-turning, while I'm playing in the band
If a man among you, got no sin upon his hand
Let him cast a stone at me for playing in the band


Playing, like a wave upon the sand
Daybreak, while I'm playing in the band
(a) in the version on "Rolling Thunder", Bob Weir sings "... others trust to sight"
(b) on 7 May 1980, in Barton Hall at Cornell University, Bob Weir sang "Playing in the barn" consistently throughout the song
(c) in Robert Hunter's lyrics in "Box Of Rain", he has ".. just to look to see the sights." That's also what Bob Weir sings on "Skull & Roses." But by the time of the studio recording on "Ace", and thereafter in live performances, he had changed the line to "... just looking for their kites."
(d) in a very early rehearsal tape, Weir sings "but I know it work out right".

Grateful Dead Recordings

Other Dead-related Recordings

Other Recordings

Further Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2 (guitar TAB)
          Hundred Year Hall songbook (guitar TAB)


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