Shortlist: Grateful Dead w/David Murray (2/26/95)

This mix curates 47 minutes of the Grateful Dead’s final performance with saxophonist David Murray as a guest.

This show was not represented on Save Your Face’s “Dead is Jazz” compilation, which included some fantastic, earlier Murray performances. That’s primarily because there is no ideal tape for this show. Murray is very quiet on the audience and soundboard tapes, and he is very loud on the circulating monitor mix. None of those options would have slotted into the “Dead is Jazz” mix smoothly.

However, the monitor mix is fab, in its own way, with Murray’s sax punching you in the face like Ornette Coleman. 

I’ve narrowed the focus to the vocal return/jam section of “Estimated,” an instrumental edit of “Eyes,” “Space,” and a “Days Between” that mostly succeeds (few/brief Garcia lyric lapses), with Murray figuring it out and delivering a great close. 

As there is a non-band-member memoir that claims that no one was listening to Vince in their monitors, I need to point out that about two minutes into this “Eyes” edit you’ll hear Garcia asking for Vince to be turned up. “I can’t hear Vince at all.” 

47-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Estimated Prophet > (edit)
  • Eyes of the World (instrumental edit)
  • Space
  • Days Between

Cover art: Robert Rauschenberg 

Grateful Dead Shortlist: Shoreline 1991 (August 16-18)

This unreleased run featured a 1st set “Dark Star,” a 2nd set “Feel Like a Stranger”-into-drums, a robust “Playin’ Jam” out of Space, and a “Scarlet > Victim > Fire” combo with all songs and transitions in full working order. Frisky! Feisty! Tight!

I consider the tracks I've included to be truly outstanding Grateful Dead, recorded beautifully. At this point, the band was about a year into the Hornsby/Welnick era and seven months away from Hornsby’s departure. A version of the Dead in its prime.

I cut quite a bit of very good stuff, because the best performances made very good not enough. There were also several tragic vocal fumbles that took some otherwise great takes out of the race.

Although the soundboard mixes were screwy in several places during this run, they are fantastic on all the material compiled here. A particular feature is the combination of very present singers and a very present vocal mix. Garcia/Hornsby musical dialogues are also foregrounded in a few places. Though I’m a Vince defender, his keyboards are minimized in these selections, so you get something akin to a Hornsby-only Dead.

I’ve made some artificial segues to create continuities across non-consecutively-played tracks. The “>” below represent as-played musical links and one adept pause-and-relaunch (Fire’s conclusion into Truckin’s start). The "(>)" below show where I've created a hinge.

Cover art: Victor Moscoso

2.5-hour mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in the mp3 tags)

Disc One (70 minutes):

  • Feel Like a Stranger (>)
  • Samson and Delilah
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • Bertha
  • Scarlet Begonias >
  • Victim or the Crime >
  • Fire on the Mountain >
  • Truckin’

Disc Two (78 minutes):

  • Smokestack Lighting >
  • He’s Gone >
  • Jam
  • Dark Star
  • Improvisation (space excerpt) (>)
  • Playin’ in the Band (out of space jam > reprise) (>)
  • China Doll (>)
  • Dark Star Jam >
  • Morning Dew
  • Improvisation (space excerpt)

Grateful Dead: 30 Days of Dead - 1994 Selections

Official Dead curator Dave Lemieux has used the annual “30 Days of Dead” event to highlight and release extraordinary, individual Dead performances from shows the haven’t been released in full and perhaps never will be.

This mix melds Dave’s big-jam selections from 1994 into a single, volume-equalized, segued, trip. “Eyes of the World” appeared twice in Dave’s 1994 picks, and I chose to omit the 7/3/94 version that preceded this “Fire on the Mountain.”

Only one 1994 show has been released in full (10/1/94), on the “30 Trips Around the Sun” box. This mix provides a more concentrated Lemieux-curated case for 1994 being great - a take that I wholeheartedly agree with. 

mp3 mix zipped up here 

  • Feel Like a Stranger (10/19/94)
  • Shakedown Street (10/15/94)
  • Playin’ in the Band > (10/05/94)
  • Uncle John’s Band > Jam (10/05/94)
  • Saint of Circumstance (09/19/94)
  • Victim or the Crime > (06/26/94)
  • Eyes of the World (06/26/94)
  • Fire on the Mountain (07/03/94)

Art by Leo Morey

Grateful Dead: Victim or the Crime Jam (1989-1991)

This mix presents an hour of vocal-free “Victim or the Crime” jams. 

I want to call “Victim” the Dead’s “Sister Ray” – a chugging, ecstatic, downer groove that pounds, drones, gets quiet, freaks out, dissolves, reforms, etc. Stringing 10 performances together does the same thing on a larger scale.

Resistance is futile. PLAY IT LOUD.

53-minute mp3 mix here

The sequence:

  • 1991-09-25
  • 1990-07-12
  • 1991-09-13
  • 1991-06-19
  • 1991-03-21
  • 1990-02-27
  • 1990-07-04
  • 1990-05-06
  • 1990-04-01
  • 1989-12-31

Note on selections:

I asked twitter for suggestions of good versions, and the responses mostly guided this mix, augmented with some poking around of my own. The mix doesn’t reflect a comprehensive review of all versions from the period covered. The date range bridges the 1990 keyboard player changeover without diverging in character very much. I’m also a fan of the 1993-1994 approach, which is quite different.

The Grateful Dead: Europe 1990 (London October 30 - November 1)

This mix curates material from the final three shows of the Dead’s Europe ’90 tour, at London’s Wembley Arena.

The final night - 11/1 - was a particularly strong performance. Unfortunately, Jerry’s voice was ragged at the end of the tour and was completely shot for the middle show, Halloween. I skipped everything with that problem.

The mix features 66 minutes from 11/1, 45 minutes from 10/30, and an instrumental edit of Halloween’s Bird Song (which extends the Dark Starriness). Some fortuitous segues enabled me to make the second set flow continuously.

2-hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Set One:

  • Cold Rain and Snow
  • Cassidy
  • Valley Road
  • Picasso Moon
  • Let It Grow >
  • Interlude
  • Stander on the Mountain

Set Two:

  • Terrapin Station
  • Victim or the Crime
  • Bird Song (instr. edit)
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Dark Star >
  • Interlude >
  • Dark Star >
  • Weirdness >
  • Playin’ in the Band

The Grateful Dead: Europe 1990 (Essen & Frankfurt, October 17 & 22)

This mix combines highlights from two of the five shows the Dead played in Germany, during a four-country, eleven-show, October 1990 European tour. The Hornsby/Welnick era was just a month old when this tour started.

Essen and Frankfurt book-ended two nights in Berlin, which are curated here. Combine the two mixes, and I think you’ll find yourself with a very satisfactory “Germany ’90” 4-disc set. (A final night in Hamburg was less exciting and isn’t covered on these mixes.)

The 10/17 Essen performance was very strong, contributing 13 of the 20 songs on this mix. It was the last time “Ramble on Rose” and “Tennessee Jed” appeared in the same concert, and it was the first time they had since 5/1/77. (Thank you Jerrybase!)

2.5 hour mp3 mix zipped up here

Set One:

  • New Minglewood Blues
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Me and My Uncle
  • Maggie’s Farm
  • High Time
  • Cassidy
  • Tennessee Jed
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Desolation Row
  • Valley Road (debut)

Set Two:

  • Truckin’ >
  • He’s Gone
  • The Wheel >
  • I Need a Miracle >
  • Black Peter
  • Standing on the Moon >
  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • The Weight

The Grateful Dead: Europe 1990 (Berlin, October 19-20)

Just a dozen shows into the Hornsby/Welnick era, the Grateful Dead went to Europe for eleven shows in Sweden, Germany, France, and England.

Aside from one of the France concerts, the run is unreleased. This mix curates the two Berlin shows, played just ahead of the one-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

On the whole, the Europe ’90 run is pretty strong, and the sound board mixes are good. Nonetheless, as (almost) always, there’s material that crackles with a particularly bright energy and that is more than the remainder of its subtractions.

So, enjoy a concentrated, imaginary show by a version of the Dead that had just discovered that it could have a real good time together.

137-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

October 19

  • Let the Good Times Roll
  • Shakedown Street
  • Looks Like Rain
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Scarlet Begonias > 
  • Fire on the Mountain
  • The Other One
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

October 20

  • Let It Grow >
  • Noodly Jam >
  • Box of Rain
  • Eyes of the World >
  • Samson and Delilah
  • Dark Star (edit of two parts) >
  • Throwing Stones
  • One More Saturday Night

All songs are presented in the order played, except for the relocation of Looks Like Rain. The first show began with Let the Good Times Roll and Shakedown. In the category of genuine, fun segues, this Eyes > Samson link is a very cool one. The first few minutes of Fire on the Mountain are dull, but hang in there.

Grateful Dead with Carlos Santana & Gary Duncan (10/27/91 - Oakland, CA)

This curation edits an extraordinary Grateful Dead & Guests passage to eliminate what was not extraordinary about it.

Santana and Duncan joined the Dead for part of the second set on this date, and it resulted in incendiary and surprising music. So many guitarists!

I’ve edited “Iko Iko” into a vocal-free jam, and I removed Garcia’s quite reasonable (but incorrect) belief that “Mona” was going to be “Hey, Bo Diddley.” There are 20 seconds of rhythmic uncertainty about what’s coming next, between the songs, but it sorts itself all of a sudden, and we’re back on track, and on our way to a great jam.

25-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Iko Iko > (instr. edit, 9:26)
  • Mona > Jam (edit, 15:29)

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.