1994 Spring Tour Boxed Set: Guide to the “Save Your Face” Mixes

I have now posted mixes pulled from all the currently circulating soundboard recordings of The Grateful Dead’s 1994 Spring Tour – February 25 to April 8. If you include the year’s first three shows in Oakland, the band played 23 shows that Spring, 5.75 of which do not appear to circulate as soundboards. 

From those that do, I have pulled 111 tracks, totaling 14.5 hours. Aside from two tracks that appear on two mixes, there is no duplication across the mixes. For the record, the only official release from this tour is the "Liberty" I have included, and the only official 1994 concert release is a single show from October, on the "30 Trips" boxed set. It's a shame that this period of Grateful Dead is so ignored. I'm glad that my efforts have made people who used to think like me sit up and say WTF - WOW!

I have made and posted these mixes over a year’s time, so it may not be clear how they map onto the tour or relate to each other. You can find all the original posts, with detailed notes and links to mp3 downloads, under the tag “GD 1994 Spring Tour.” 

This post is simply an overarching guide to the combined mixes. It provides a complete track list, so you can more easily see how the mixes cover the tour and what songs are represented. I’ve appended my Deadbase annotations, so you can literally see when and where the songs I’ve chosen happened during the tour and shows.

Shortlist: March 16-21, 1994 – Chicago and Richfield, OH

Almost every song here stands out as a vocal performance. The crowd cheers Garcia’s singing and the band’s harmonies all over the place, and the mix lets the singers stand out. The “Stella Blue” is extraordinary. Playing throughout is excellent. Each composition gets its due. 

You’ll find the great improvisational performances from these same shows here and here. This mix is the rest of the highlight reel for Chicago and Richfield, OH. I always enjoy being able to pull songs like “Stella Blue” and “Wharf Rat” into this kind of song-centric context, free of late second set connective tissue. 

Aside from emphasizing that these are great performances featuring a lot of excellent Garcia singing, I’ll add that this “Around and Around” is delightful. It never explodes, and instead meanders into what sounds something like a drunken New Orleans funeral march. 

All three of the Chicago shows circulate as soundboards, but just one of the two Richfield shows. Hence my decision to combine them.  

100-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Don’t Ease Me In (3/16/94)
  • Beat It on Down the Line (3/16/94)
  • Bertha (3/21/94)
  • Ramble on Rose (3/19/94)
  • Stella Blue (3/21/94)
  • Queen Jane Approximately (3/21/94)
  • Looks Like Rain (3/16/94)
  • High Time (3/16/94)
  • Peggy-O (3/21/94)
  • Wharf Rat (3/18/94)
  • Around and Around (3/18/94)
  • Deal (3/18/94)
  • Standing on the Moon (3/16/94)
  • The Wheel > (3/17/94)
  • All Along the Watchtower (3/17/94)

This post concludes my survey of the ’94 Spring Tour. Every circulating soundboard has been curated and posted here, with representation of every stop on the tour.


Dark Star Flashes (March 1994): LP 2!

Here are 50 more minutes of A+ Grateful Dead jamming from the Spring ’94 tour – all unreleased, like everything from this tour. Garcia’s leads never let up. He’s full of ideas and always knows where he wants to go next.

The reason I’m presenting this as a companion to my earlier “Dark Star Flashes” mix is that this contains all the other great jamming from the shows that contributed four of six songs on that mix. “Dark Star Flashes” was a popular post – a gateway to late Dead for me and some people who follow this blog. So, I didn’t see a reason to repeat that material in a show-specific context. It seemed like a better choice to double down and extend the original mix. 

With one exception, all of this comes from the three shows at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago, March 16-18. That run would make an excellent official release as a compressed “Road Trip.” 

50-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Feel Like a Stranger > (3/18/94)
  • Scarlet Begonias Jam > Fire on the Mountain (3/16/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/17/94)
  • Playin’ in the Band > UJB Jam Conclusion (edit, 3/17/94)
  • Eternity Jam (3/21/94)

Song Notes:

  • “Eternity” isn’t a great song (lounge blues), but the jam the band built out of it was great (lounge jazz). If the band had survived longer, I’d want to hear where this kind of mood/playing went, further down the road. My favorite alternate universe Dead is the one that tacked jazzward out of “Blues for Allah,” so “Eternity” is a happy real-world event for me. 
  • This “Playin’” is very fun, with lots of episodes. The jam-flow begins with traditional, feisty playing around the theme, leads into a great dissolving stretch that doesn’t lose the thread, and then leads into further, focused adventures in the post-UJB jam that I’ve edited on. 
  • This is an exceptionally punchy, tight, direct, dense “Fire.” There is a fleeting vocal error by Garcia, but otherwise his singing is up-front and confident, and his leads drive the song straight through. (He just flies on the "Stranger" jam, too.)

Editing Notes:

  • The internal edits are the removal of the “Eternity” song-parts and an extension of the “Playin’” jam with the end of the same show’s “Uncle John’s Band” jam – which was a return to “Playin’” territory. I’ve made some simple transitions to keep the whole thing moving along. If they’d played “Scarlet > Stranger > Scarlet,” my “Stranger/Scarlet Jam” jump-cut might be believable. 

Where this fits into my Spring ’94 mix series:

  • The four shows represented here are the last four circulating soundboards from the Spring ’94 tour that I have not presented as single-show “shortlists” or single-venue “road trips” compilations. As such, I had to choose between those approaches (repeating a lot of tracks from the earlier “Dark Star Flashes” mix) or the approach I’ve taken here. It leaves some fine non-jam performances on the cutting room floor that I’ll get around to buttoning up eventually.
  • In any case, I hope the density of goodness on this mix offsets any cumulative annoyance I have created with my many different approaches to presenting Spring ’94 highlights. 


Shortlist: Greensboro, NC – April 1, 1991

This was one of the best three Grateful Dead shows I saw live, 28 years ago tonight. This one hour edit has the arc you’d want if whatever you’d smoked or ingested was beginning to come on strong just as the music started. 

The great thing about this show is that it had big melodic/exploratory versions of both “Bird Song” and “Dark Star.” At the time of the show, a “Dark Star” was due, and I wanted nothing more. After the “Bird Song,” I doubted the second set would include “Dark Star,” but I got my wish. 

The “Dark Star” was split into two pieces, with a lot of wild, noisy stuff in between. It’s cool noisy stuff (normal and MIDI), but not on the level or in the character of the melodic heights of this show. So, I’ve finally made the edit that I’ve wanted for 28 years – the Greensboro ’91 “Dark Star” without interruption.

62-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Prelude: Ambient (5:21)
  • Bird Song (16:14)
  • Dark Star > Playin’ Coda > (17:24)
  • Black Peter (9:30)
  • Peggy-O (6:32)
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (6:49)
Note: I was inspired to make this edit by a new Charlie Miller SBD master that appeared last year. It's in the archive here: https://archive.org/details/gd1991-04-01.141915.sbd.cm.miller.flac1644

Shortlist: Atlanta ’94 (March 30 – April 1)

Just in time for you to enjoy them on or before the 25th anniversary of their performance, here are three hours of highlights from the penultimate run of The Grateful Dead’s Spring 1994 tour. Unlike the folks at the tour’s final shows in Florida, Atlanta attendees were very lucky. They saw excellent versions of many of the band’s biggest jam songs, including the last “Dark Star,” ever. This is the best single-city, 1994 Dead run I’ve found so far. A great cap to a tour that was rich with high points. 

3-hour, mp3 file, zipped up here

Set 1 (54 minutes):

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Dire Wolf
  • Black Throated Wind
  • Deal
  • New Speedway Boogie >
  • Promised Land
  • Standing on the Moon 

Set 2 (101 minutes):

  • Tuning Noodle
  • Bird Song
  • Estimated Prophet Jam
  • Crazy Fingers
  • Scarlet Begonias > 
  • Fire on the Mountain

Set 3 (101 minutes):

  • Playin’ in the Band > 
  • Dark Star
  • Eyes of the World
  • The Other One >
  • Wharf Rat
  • Brokedown Palace

Notes:

  • This mix excludes the band’s post “Built to Last” songs (the best of which, from this tour, I anthologized here), and “Drums>Space” highlights, which already appear here, or will appear on a future March ’94, “Music for Spaceports, Part 2” mix.
  • The only edit I’ve made is to reduce “Estimated Prophet” to mostly the jam, which is great, while the song itself struggled after a stumble. 
  • The “Bird Song” goes to amazing places. This is one of the songs where "Dark Star" was hiding out in the later years.
  • The “Crazy Fingers” is as good as I’ve heard from later days, maybe thanks to recently-introduced teleprompters. 15% more Garcia vocal confidence, and this would have been perfect.
  • Likewise, though Garcia is a moment behind confidence at several points in the vocals, this “New Speedway” is the most gripping performance I’ve gotten to know from the end years. 
  • Likewise, again, this may be the first “Scarlet” from this period that I’ve anthologized, because the song itself is exciting here.
  • The “Fire” steadily ignites. 
  • “Playin’ > Dark Star” already appeared on my very first 1994 mix, repeated here, in a proper “Roadtrips” context. The “Playin’” is exemplary latter-day, and I have no issues with this sweet little coda to the “Dark Star” saga. Dig the drunken, twangy, science-fiction licks!
  • I’m no expert on “Standing on the Moon” performances, but this one seems pristine – and it works great as a jam to end a hypothetical first set.
  • Regarding standing somewhere, I was standing in the kitchen, chopping onions, trying to decide if this “Black Throated Wind” made the cut, and my partner walked in, listened through to the end, and asked, “When is this? I like it!” So, it made the cut. 

Grateful Dead: Florida, April 1994

How good could The Grateful Dead be on a bad night, or across a string of mediocre shows? This mix answers that question for the Florida shows that closed the band’s 1994 Spring tour (April 4, 6, 7, and 8).

The tour from late February through March was strong, with great traditional and MIDI performances. However, by the time they hit Florida in early April, Garcia’s voice was shot, and the band just sounded tired. Easy songs were lazy, and tricky songs struggled. 

Nonetheless, as is true of other periods of live Dead, sloppy songsmanship doesn’t correlate to the quality of the collective playing once the song structures are left behind. In these Florida excerpts, you can hear the musical health and adventurous spirit of the 1994 band, in the midst of shows that I don’t recommend you listen to in full. 

There are no fancy segues on this mix, though I’ve tried to make a decent listening arc out of the pieces. It’s basically a big jam, with some song-stops – most notably a very nice “The Wheel.”

80-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Shakedown Street jam (4/7/94) 7:04
  • Eyes of the World instrumental > (4/7/94) 17:14
  • Playin’ in the Band (4/7/94) 9:05
  • Jam out of Terrapin (4/4/94) 3:57
  • Slipknot! > (4/4/94) 7:05
  • Franklin’s Tower (4/4/94) 11:10
  • Jam out of Terrapin (4/7/94) 9:43
  • The Wheel (4/6/94) 6:41
  • Not Fade Away (4/4/94) 9:25



    Shortlist: Philadelphia ’95 (March 17-19)

    Don’t fear the reaper or the calendar year 1995. Here’s the first of several mixes from The Grateful Dead’s first tour of the year (late February to early April). 

    This Philadelphia stand featured a full-fledged, out-of-nowhere jam as well as multiple high-intensity improvisational passages during the “Spaces,” all of which I’ve edited into one big 18-minute jam. Nom Nom. There are also the strong debut of “It’s All Too Much,” a hot performance of the just-resurrected “Alabama Getaway,” a famous "Visions of Johanna," and enough other Beatles tunes to make a medley out of them all. The “Ramble on Rose” has some fantastic Garcia solos. 

    (“Unbroken Chain” also made its live debut in Philadelphia, but I’m holding out for the far better second version a week later – featuring Hornsby on grand piano. The only released song here is “Visions of Johanna,” which appeared on “Fallout from the Phil Zone.”)

    mp3 mix here

    Set One (78 minutes):

    • Alabama Getaway
    • Hell in a Bucket
    • Walkin’ Blues
    • Ramble on Rose
    • Easy Answers
    • Jack-a-Roe
    • I Know You Rider
    • Lazy River Road
    • Visions of Johanna
    • One More Saturday Night
    • Promised Land

    Set Two (77 minutes):

    • Jam
    • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    • It’s All Too Much
    • Rain
    • Standing on the Moon
    • All Along the Watchtower
    • Brokedown Palace
    • Encore: Iko Iko

    Cover art by Robert Rauschenberg.

    Shortlist: Rehearsal Highlights - February 25, 1994

    The day of The Grateful Dead’s first show of 1994, a rehearsal was caught on tape. It features funny banter, as well as members of the band exploring several cover tunes, with an emphasis on The Beatles. 

    The Grateful Dead never covered “Strawberry Fields Forever” live, but Phil and Vince did explore it. The full band also rehearsed a version of The Beatles’ “Rain” that has charms above and beyond their live concert versions. This rehearsal version is comparable to The Velvet Underground’s “Temptation Inside Your Heart,” wherein ad hoc commentary from the singers becomes an integral part of the recorded performance. 

    This material is not the best of 1994 Dead (look elsewhere on this blog for that), but it’s a fun snapshot.

    12-minute mp3 mix here

    • PA: Nobody Told Me About This Rehearsal
    • 1970s Throwback Phil Jam (Phil, Vince, Bobby, Jerry)
    • PA: Phil Wants to Do Strawberry Fields >
    • Lucy in the Sky Approximately (Phil & Vince)
    • Rain (The Grateful Dead)

    Shortlist: February 27, 1994 - Oakland, CA

    Here’s more great music from The Grateful Dead’s first tour of 1994, which ran from February 25 through April 8. I’ve previously posted three mixes of material from March.

    This show seems to be most famous for a one-minute “Cosmic Charlie” tease that turned into “Wharf Rat” instead. The audience was devastated at the time, but 25 years later, it’s fun to hear as the only post-1976 “Cosmic Charlie” moment there was. I’ve edited it to flow straight into the "Wharf Rat" jam, which is an intense one, on a par with a good "Dark Star" or "Bird Song" climax. In this case, the edit creates a flow with no moment of disappointment: Other One > Cosmic Charlie Jam > Wharf Rat Jam. 

    Anyway, aside from that cruel tease… what this show should be famous for is on this mix.  The "UJB > Supplication > UJB" jam is A+ Live Dead in any year, and "The Other One" and "Wharf Rat" have comparable peaks of collective intensity and on-a-dime action. Garcia is feeling spry all over the place, the instigator of "Supplication" and "Cosmic Charlie." His melodic playing on "UJB" and "Row Jimmy" is luminous. He and Lesh also help carve out an interesting "Corrina." Plus, there are animals howling all over the Drums.

    Unfortunately, there are badly blown lyrics and creaky musical turns in the midst of the show’s best material, so I’ve made some internal edits, which are detailed below the track list. All edits are invisible or nearly so, and the whole deal sounds like a big jam built around a sung  UJB and OO. 

    They’ll never deem this show worthy of release in full, but this material is well worth your time – great stretches of beauty, intensity, and weirdness. At its best, I like 1994 Dead as well as any Dead.

    54-minute mp3 mix here

    • Row Jimmy Instrumental (4:16)
    • Uncle John’s Band > Supplication Jam > Uncle John’s Band > (14:28) 
    • Corrina Jam > Jam > (11:21)
    • Howling Drums (9:58)
    • The Other One > (9:48)
    • Cosmic Chwharf Rat Jam (4:28) 

    Editing notes:

    • All indicated transitions (>) are real.
    • All verses/choruses removed from “Row Jimmy” and “Corrina.” 
    • First verse/chorus removed from “Uncle John’s Band.”
    • "The Other One" begins with the end of "Space," which is part of an interesting, slow-build version of the song that does eventually explode.
    • There's a wobble at the very start of "Wharf Rat" that is in the source tape. My edit doesn't interrupt the original flow from CC to WR.

    A giant “Corrina” jam turns out to be a wonderful thing, and while it’s tragic that they didn’t nail this “UJB” straight through, the omission of the first verse results in a glorious six-minute jam on the song’s melody. They were playing long, thoughtful “Row Jimmys” in this period, which enables a flawed one like this performance to become a lengthy, beautiful instrumental. In the meandering after "Corrina" winds down, Lesh suggests a turn toward the "Feelin' Groovy"/"China > Rider" transition, which the band seems to consider for a hot second. 

    If you would rather listen to this material without edits, you can stream the source I’ve used here. The show-opening “Hell in a Bucket” is a good one, but it didn’t seem to fit on this mix.


    Music for Scareports: October 1994

    This mix combines excerpts from the “Drums>Space” segments of October 1994 Grateful Dead concerts. It’s a sequel to “Music for Spaceports: March 1994.” 

    I also previously posted a lengthy mix of October 1994 Dead playing conventional songs, if you want to compare excellent stuff from opposite ends of the spectrum that month.

    Source dates are October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 1994. The 19th was the last show of the month/tour. Specific dates are included in the song title tags. Track lengths range from 1:30 to 8:30.

    90-minute mp3 mix here

    • One Halloween Night >
    • Let’s Go Through the Woods
    • Dervish
    • Trick or Treat
    • October
    • That House Wasn’t Here Yesterday
    • Let’s Get Out of Here
    • Dance of the Skeletons >
    • Baba Yaga
    • The Kid in the James Bond Mask
    • Jazz from Hell
    • Four Cool Cats
    • Dance of the Illuminated Pumpkins
    • You are Getting Sleepy
    • Mona in Her Mask
    • Return of the Illuminated Pumpkins
    • Wendell, this is No Shortcut
    • Off the Venkman Scale >
    • Floyd’s Brilliant Plan
    • A Visit to the Lost and Found
    • Close Encounters
    • At the Mountains of Madness
    • Midnight
    • It Was Only a Dream