Grateful Dead

New Philly '89 DVD/CD Set Coming Soon!

Here’s a cool way to kick off the new year and decade: Coming soon is a fantastic new release called Crimson White and Indigo, a DVD/3-CD set that captures every second of the Grateful Dead’s superb July 7, 1989 concert at Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium. If you loved the popular 2005 DVD/CD release Truckin’ Up to Buffalo, from July 4, 1989, well, this is the very next show: why, it’s practically like being on tour without having to pitch in gas money, eat bad road food, swelter in the heat or score a miracle ticket. Nope, all the work has been done for you—from the crisp multiple-camera shoot (with no video effects, you’ll be happy to hear) to the crystal clear and powerful audio, mixed from the original 24-track analog tapes in both Dolby Digital stereo and 5.1 surround (for the DVD), and mastered in HDCD (for the CD). But the proof is (always!) in the playing, and this show from the sizzling summer of ’89 tour is sure to please both hard core and casual fans with its energy, diverse song list and passionate playing.

Two years removed from the craziness that surrounded the “comeback” tour of 1987 and the Dead’s unprecedented flirtation with mainstream success—thanks to “Touch of Grey” and the In the Dark album—the group was still riding the crest of that wave and attracting thousands of new fans with each passing tour. The summer of ’89 began in style for the Dead on the solstice itself with a nationally televised/broadcast concert from Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif. A week and a half later, the GD circus hit the road for seven East Coast stadium shows, followed by a handful in Midwest amphitheaters. The group was in excellent form throughout, offering a great selection of old and recent favorites, and polishing some of the new songs which would make up their album-in-progress at the time, Built to Last. Visually, the Dead’s stage set that summer was perhaps the most spectacular they ever mounted—designed by noted Czech artist Jan Sawka, it consisted of dozens of enormous painted canvas panels covered with various patterns, colors and shapes—some abstract, some concrete; quite an amazing sight in an enormous stadium.

In what would turn out to be the final rock concert in Philly’s JFK Stadium (the first was The Beatles in August 1966; the aging stadium itself dated back to 1926), the Grateful Dead come out on a brutally hot afternoon (after a fine opening set by Bruce Hornsby & the Range) with rock ’n’ roll on their minds. “Hell in a Bucket” is an appropriate opening choice for a day that is nearly hot as Hades, and then Jerry takes the party to the next level with a truly inspired “Iko Iko.” He’s all smiles, and that’s always a good sign! From there, the first set dips into some blues (“Little Red Rooster”), Hunter-Garcia classics like “Ramble on Rose” and “Loser,” a potent version of Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” a wonderfully exploratory version of “Let It Grow,” and finally, Brent Mydland’s still-newish anthem “Blow Away,” which is one of his finest performances of that rockin’ tune.

You gotta love a second set that opens with a warm and inviting “Box of Rain”—peppy and nicely sung—and then right on its heels a “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire on the Mountain” that is as “up” and celebratory as you could hope for: The “Scarlet” breezes along with joyous purpose, and the “Fire” hits all sorts of mighty peaks; at nearly 25 minutes, it’s a spectacular pairing. “Estimated Prophet” is marked by a smoldering intensity and then the jam that follows settles into the majestic Hunter-Garcia ballad “Standing on the Moon,” surely one of their greatest late-era compositions, and played only seven times before this standout version. The DVD depiction of the “Rhythm Devils” percussion duel gives us a fascinating glimpse of the tools and techniques Mickey and Bill used to create their magical alchemy, and then, following “Space,” the band launches into a hair-raising, careening “Other One” (dig how the camera shows us Phil’s rumbling bass intro up close!), Jerry takes us down to the docks of the city for an emotional “Wharf Rat,” and Bob gets back into party-mode for the concluding “Lovelight.” The encore of Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” offers a beautiful grace note for a show that has taken us through so many different spaces and moods.

The beautifully designed package for Crimson, White and Indigo (the name comes from a line in “Standing on the Moon,” of course) includes loads of great photos by Bob Minkin and an essay from veteran Grateful Dead observer Steve Silberman. All in all it’s a wonderful show from a great year!

 --Blair Jackson

Stay tuned for pre-order info, coming to this space soon!!


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simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
More, more, more!

Darkstarwolfclub - I cannot agree more: Veneta 8/27/72 would be great. The New Riders have already released their performance and the Dead should do so too, a.s.a.p.
David Gans' playlist for the KPFA Marathon would seem to confirm what most of us already knew - Cosmic Badger is one step of the game. Saying that Austin 11/15/71 would be the forthcoming RT 3.2 was an uncanny act of clairvoyance on his part.
To get firmly back on topic, this Philly 89 show looks just fine to me. I must confess that if there is no bonus disc to be had here, I will get this from Amazon, based on personal experience of their store and customer service compared to what I have experienced here recently. That said, the credit for getting prime vault material out to us has to go to the folks here and I think they are doing a pretty fine job.
As for more video, Copenhagen 72 would seem to me to be an ideal release. The clips I have seen on YouTube suggest top quality stuff both musically and the video quality.

Darkstarwolfcub's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2010
Where is Veneta Oregon!!

Please, please, an official release of Veneta, Oregon 8/27/72 would be enough to facilitate a true revolution of the scene!! Can you imagine, pristine packaging from Chief Keseys personnal vaults, mad, mad insight on the form of blissful essays that would allow all of us to truly begin to appreciate the most important contributions from the some of the coolest improvisational music to see the light of day!! Write your congressman, it is time for these epic jams to see the light of day!!

RomoHead's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2007

You could throw a dart at '89 and hit something good, but this is truly a gem; can't wait.

aaron's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007

More video please! Thanks!

Joined: Mar 2 2008

West High Auditorium on 1980-06-20

Joined: Jun 4 2007
You people are GRATE

I must say followimg these posts that you Dead people are GRATE. This is like following a soap opera. You have Moles, Plants, Spy's, Tips, Leaks of Information, Mad people, Happy people, Paranoia, Finger pointing. and Drama. I love it. So i want to add something, and you must keep this quiet and tell no one outside our Dead Head family........A little bird told me Furthur is planning a HUGE summer tour, and also....( this must be kept quiet!!! ) I was told that........Hold on there is a loud knock at my door.........Oh my god they are breaking in....It is Jack Bauer and Homeland security........Hey leave me alone........stop hitting me.........I am sorry, i will not tell anymore.............please don't shoot.........HELP................@#$%^&*$($^@$%& STOP.........$%^^$##$%^&&$@#^_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

DarkStarr1971's picture
Joined: Jul 15 2008
New Road Trips

Austin, TX 1971*** Really Sounds like the one I'm looking for! And the Summer Philly Show DVD3/CD set sounds nice too** Whats a DeadHead to do?? *******

Joined: Aug 22 2007
Why force us to buy the CD?

It's completely superfluous to force customers to buy BOTH the DVD and CD. I can easily listen to the show on the DVD. Get with it, folks; we're in a recession!

Deadicated's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
or preferred ...

varmint ... Cosmicvarmint ... yap, yap, yap, yap.

" Where does the time go? "

JackstrawfromColorado's picture
Joined: Jan 2 2009
It's those Raccoons

"Here's my half a dollar if you dare .. double twist when you hit the air. Look at Julie down below .. the levee doing the dopaso"


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