Grateful Dead: December ‘94

Here are two hours of soundboard highlights from The Grateful Dead’s last tour of 1994 – 11/29 to 12/19. The sequence turns set list logic on its head, hopefully to good effect.

After their September-October ’94 Fall tour, the Dead took nearly a month-and-a-half off before playing 11 shows in Denver, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Only 3.5 of those shows circulate as soundboards. 

2h15m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in files)

Jerry Disc:

  • Brokedown Palace
  • That Would Be Something
  • New Speedway Boogie > (edit)
  • Nobody’s Fault But Mine
  • He’s Gone (w/Branford Marsalis)
  • Eyes of the World (w/Branford Marsalis)

Bobby/Jams Disc:

  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Slipknot!
  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Estimated Prophet Jam (w/Branford Marsalis)
  • Jam >
  • Space
  • Jam
  • I Need a Miracle
  • Black Throated Wind
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Picasso Moon 


  • Disc 1: A gentle, escalating tribute to Garcia, at the end of 1994. He wrings everything he can out of the vocals on several of these tracks - ragged but all-in. This was the last sung Nobody’s Fault and only the 7th since 1974. I love the way he starts dropping out the ends of the lines.
  • Sugar Magnolia > Slipknot! > Feel Like a Stranger: This sequence is a pretty good illusion. Slipknot drops into the Sunshine Daydream slot, and includes the opening of Help on the Way to get it rolling. The synchronized closing riff of Slipknot stumbled, so I omitted that, and Stranger’s big first beat hits just as the free-form jam is readying itself for that leap. 
  • The Marsalis Estimated jam is tremendous. The song part is fine, but this improv was worth separating. Space and Samba from this show made it onto my “Dead is Jazz” mix, but I chose a David Murray Estimated for that one.
  • This mix corresponds to my September ’94 and October ’94 mixes to the extent that it excludes new songs and only touches a bit on drums/space. 
  • Picasso Moon is a really good take. Unfortunately, the first 40 seconds are an audience patch, so I relegated it to the “encore” position of the Weir-centric disc.

The Grateful Dead: September ’94 (5-disc set)

Here’s another slab of delightful 1994 Grateful Dead highlights, covering the first two weeks of the band’s final Fall Tour, 25 years ago (September 16-29). 

I’ve now posted mixes covering the whole year, with the exception of December. I think they establish that when The Grateful Dead were on point in 1994, they were an excellent band, whose best recordings are worth keeping handy. 

More notes, and links to the other 1994 mixes, below the track list…

6h15m mp3 mix zipped up here (dates included in tags)

Disc 1:

  • Let the Good Times Roll
  • Cumberland Blues
  • Jack Straw
  • West LA Fadeaway
  • They Love Each Other (final performance)
  • China Cat Sunflower (instr. edit) > I Know You Rider
  • When I Paint My Masterpiece
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Tennessee Jed
  • The Same Thing
  • Black Peter

Disc 2:

  • Feel Like a Stranger
  • Touch of Grey
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Jack-a-Roe
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Wang Dang Doodle
  • Ramble on Rose
  • Queen Jane Approximately
  • Standing on the Moon

Disc 3:

  • Playin’ in the Band >
  • Uncle John’s Band
  • Terrapin Jam
  • Playin’ Jam >
  • Eyes of the World
  • Jam (after Samba)
  • He’s Gone
  • Stella Blue >
  • One More Saturday Night

Disc 4: 

  • Victim or the Crime
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Estimated Prophet >
  • Eyes of the World
  • The Wheel >
  • Good Lovin’
  • Iko Iko
  • Throwing Stones >
  • Not Fade Away
  • Don’t Ease Me In

Disc 5:

  • Saint of Circumstance
  • Jam
  • Spanish Jam >
  • The Other One >
  • Wharf Rat >
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Cassidy > (acoustic, no drummers)
  • Bird Song (acoustic, no drummers)

In the month of September 1994, The Grateful Dead played three shows at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA and three at Boston Garden. In between was the first Phil Lesh and Friends show, which featured an acoustic set featuring everyone but the drummers. All these performances, except the first set of the first Shoreline show, circulate as soundboards, and this mix is drawn from them. 

I’ve previously presented highlight mixes from the year’s Spring Tour and the Summer Tour, as well as posting two Fall Tour mixes from October, including one titled “October ‘94.” (Note that the Fall Tour link will take you to a page that starts with this September post - scroll down for the previous two.)

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

October '94

According to these performances, The Grateful Dead were great at least as late as fall 1994. Try this in place of 1977 or 1989 Dead sometime. You won’t be disappointed to add this additional Dead flavor to your life.

October 1st is the only 1994 concert The Dead have officially released. Most of the rest of the month’s shows circulate on beefy soundboards, which I sifted for this mix, while also making a couple of important audience tape pickups. The tour’s shows, which began in September, ended on October 19; the band’s next tour began November 29.

Much of the 1993-1994 material I’ve posted on this blog, so far, has been focused on the extremes of how far out the band could get (“Dark Star,” drums/space MIDI adventures, Ornette Coleman) and how well they could sell their newest/final compositions (“Liberty,” Childhood’s End,” etc.). 

In contrast to those two perspectives, this mix is all about the October 1994 Grateful Dead punching you in the face with terrific performances of 29 of their pre-1979 classics (with a couple of outliers).

This mix is bike-trail-tested. I’ve created four sequences, but start anywhere you like. There’s very, very little slack.

4h40m mp3 mix here (tagged as a single album with four discs)

71 minutes:

  • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (10/15)
  • Loose Lucy (10/3)
  • Black Throated Wind (10/15)
  • Stagger Lee (10/15)
  • Jack-a-Roe (10/19)
  • Attics of My Life (10/3)
  • Friend of the Devil (10/17)
  • New Minglewood Blues (10/17)
  • New Speedway Boogie (10/15)
  • Truckin’ (10/18)

74 minutes:

  • Help on the Way > Slipknot! > (10/18)
  • Franklin’s Tower (10/18)
  • Playin’ in the Band > (10/13)
  • Uncle John’s Band > (10/13)
  • Playin’ Jam (10/13)
  • Fire on the Mountain (10/14)

58 minutes:

  • Shakedown Street (10/3)
  • Eyes of the World (10/17)
  • The Wheel (10/3)
  • Morning Dew (10/17)

77 minutes:

  • Cassidy (10/3)
  • It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (10/13)
  • Stella Blue > (10/19)
  • Sugar Magnolia (10/19)
  • Bird Song (10/3)
  • Row Jimmy (10/2)
  • Wharf Rat (10/13)
  • Comes a Time (10/9 - final performance)
  • China Doll (10/11 - final performance)

Additional notes:

  • Lead vocals lapses are the main flaws you’ll find in some of my selections, but most are fleeting, with only a couple of more extensively blown lyrics. There are plenty of absolutely perfect performances in the mix as well. The jamming, short and long, is all pleasing, with “Fire” and “Eyes” going on for more than 20 minutes each, and “Bird Song” possibly a top 10 for me. The “Attics of My Life” will curl your toes, in a good way.