January 28 - February 3, 2008
Due to our desire to keep doing what we’ve been doing the last few weeks, we’re going to select a year and focus on that year this week in the Taper’s Section. This week’s pick? The fine transitional year of 1991.
With Bruce Hornsby at most shows throughout 1991, the band was settling into a nice, consistent groove. On most nights, you could count on an inspired, solid, occasionally transcendent night of music throughout the year. During the year, there were a few of what are now considered classic Grateful Dead shows: 6/14/91, 6/17/91, 10/31/91, 9/10/91 and a few others.
Our first selection this week is from the fourth and final night of the tour opening run at the Capital Center in Landover, Maryland. During this week, I somehow managed to be inside the Cap Center seven straight nights: 3/15 a Celtics-Bullets NBA game; 3/16 a Flyers-Capitals hockey game (Don Beaupre shone in the Caps’ 6-0 victory), 3/17,18,20&21, the Grateful Dead, and astoundingly, on the band’s night off, 3/16, a Blues-Capitals hockey game (Brett Hull’s 80th goal of the season!). I’ll never forget walking around the arena between periods of the 3/16 hockey game with my obvious Dead Head friends, and getting loads of “hey guys, the Grateful Dead aren’t here tonight!” comments. So, from 3/21/91, we have this excellent jam of Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain>Stir It Up Jam. As you may recall, the band attempted a vocal Stir It Up in March, 1988, with rather poor, even comical, results. This jam, however, is one of the finer spontaneous jams of the entire year. There’s terrific energy here.
Next up is some music from the first show of the Landover run, specifically the first set closing duet of Ruben and Cherise, Let It Grow. This, of course, is the first ever version of Ruben and Cherise, one of only four versions the Grateful Dead would ever play of this Jerry Garcia Band standard. Vince, Jerry and Bruce lock into a great groove during the closing jam. The Let It Grow is out of control, with Weir taking center stage during the big jam. A very inspired version.
The next run of shows after the Cap Center run was in Albany, for the second annual run of shows at the Knickerbocker Arena. Bruce was absent from these shows as well as the next run at Nassau Coliseum, but would return for the ending of the tour. From the third and final night of the Albany run, 3/25/91, we have the second set, divided into two sequences. The pre-Drums jam consists of Greatest Story Ever Told, Crazy Fingers>Truckin’>Spoonful, with the Greatest Story being a very rare second set opener. The post drums sequence features The Other One>Black Peter>Throwing Stones>Playing In The Band. Like the set opener, Throwing Stones>Playing is a very unique set closer.
Be sure to check in next week when we’ll focus on one very exciting run of Grateful Dead shows from 1972. Feel free to write with questions or comments to the email address below.
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