Grateful Dead

March 16 - March 22, 2009

Tapers Section By David Lemieux

As we break past the midpoint of March, we have music spanning 20 years minus a day in Grateful Dead history, from 1971 to 1991.

It's been a while, so we figured we'd focus this week on some shows that took place at the Oakland Coliseum Arena in February, 1990. These shows were in the middle of a string of concerts recorded to 24 track analog tape by John Cutler and Le Mobile, a recording truck the band used for many recordings, including the bulk of shows that happened May, 1989 through April, 1990. Several commercial releases have been produced from these recordings, including Without A Net, Dozin' At Knick, Nightfall Of Diamonds, Terrapin Limited, as well as some parts of the So Many Roads boxed set. Not only are the recordings phenomenal, but the band was playing particularly well in 1989-1990, so there are hopefully more releases to come from these shows.

Our first stop this week is on 3/18/71 in St. Louis, where the band played two great shows. From the second night, we have the classic 1971 jam featuring Truckin’>Drums>The Other One>Wharf Rat. The last song had been in the repertoire for just a month, but it was already a centerpiece of the big jams, a ballad (which never quite fit that label) of epic proportions.

Jumping forward 19 years, we have music from the outstanding Spring Tour of 1990. Virtually every concert on this tour was stunning in some way, and this jam, from 3/16/90 at the Capital Centre in Landover, MD, features one of those very unique 1990 jams. Consisting of Scarlet Begonias>Estimated Prophet>Ship of Fools>Women Are Smarter>Jam, the sequence is filled with odd pairings and cool surprises: Scarlet>Estimated was extremely rare, Estimated>Ship was virtually unheard of, and the Jam to wrap it all up is one of those spontaneous bursts of creativity that were part of the band’s appeal.

From the same tour, because we love sharing it so much, we have the post-Drums sequence from the second Hartford show, on 3/19/90, featuring China Doll>Gimme Some Lovin’>GDTRFB>Around and Around. This is a rare show-closing Around and Around, and the next version the band would play, a week later in Albany, would include the slowed down, bluesy part of the song before being built back up to its Chuck Berry rocking roots. Check out Dozin’ at the Knick to hear that very cool Around and Around.

Finally this week, from the Capital Centre in Landover again, we have the entire first set of the first show of the Spring Tour of 1991, on 3/17/91. With both Vince and Bruce on keyboards, there was so much depth to the sound and dynamics of the playing, as heard on this first set consisting of Hell In A Bucket>Sugaree>Walkin’ Blues, Peggy-O, Queen Jane Approximately, Ruben and Cherise, Let It Grow. This was, of course, the first ever Grateful Dead version of Jerry’s Ruben and Cherise, a tune the Dead would play three more times before letting it live exclusively in the JGB repertoire.

Stop by next week for a whole bunch of music from Albany, NY. A good variety of some excellent music.

David Lemieux


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Joined: Dec 2 2008

Really enjoyed this on a Sunday Morning, thank you.

Making Your Journey A Little More Fun~

Building Your Family ONe Festival At A Time

Joshua_me's picture
Joined: Jun 24 2007
I remember, quite fondly,

I remember, quite fondly, that Hartford 3/19 show...

The drums/space>China Doll was one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever seen.
The 'church bells' in the space were unforgettable. Might as well have happened yesterday.

August-West's picture
Joined: Oct 18 2008
Rueben & Cherise

Thank you do much for playing this killer show. I still get chills hearing the crowd losing it when the Boys start up Rueben. It reminds me of an old friend in WA I miss dearly.

Don't listen to the naysayers, the late 80's early 90's are my favorite years for the dead. Bruce tears it up! Thanks!

lifeisjustagame's picture
Joined: Mar 14 2009
Love That Ruben

Thanks so much for the Ruben....I remember getting the set break call and saying "no effin way!"

Dan Marsh

Expanding exponentiailly like some recursive virus.

SaintSteveg's picture
Joined: Nov 19 2008
a happy guy

Taper's Section has become my new drug. My enthusiasm for the Grateful Dead had waned a bit until I came upon this site last year. I have my PC hooked into my old stereo receiver, so every week I just roll out a new cassette tape on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning I'm rolling to work with the guitars churning into "I Know You Rider" or that bass explosion that starts "The Other One." I'm a happy guy.

One small criticism: please don't be too free with the ">" symbol, as in the 3/17/91 selection. The two minutes of dead air between "Sugaree" and "Walkin' Blues" doesn't merit a >. But that's nitpicking, isn't it. I love the Taper's Section selections no matter what era.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Sweet Ruben and Cherise

That's all :)

long island head's picture
Joined: Jan 13 2009
love all the music n every

love all the music n every era stop bitchin and just listen... thanks for the journey dave..

Canyon Critter's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2008
Sweetness From Hartford 90

But is there really an era of The Grateful Dead that I don't like....likely not. Thanks Mr. Lemieux for another kick arse selection of the week.

"California, Preachin on the the burnin shore, California, I'll be knockin' on the golden door!"
Will you come with me? Once in awhile you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right!

smallz's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
goin' down the road feelin' bad

Great selections this week! Lovin' that GDTRFB from Hartford. In fact, that whole sequence of songs is en fuego. I've said it before and I'll say it again: '89-'90 Dead w/ Brent was a magical era. The stuff with Bruce from '91 is great, but it's like a different band.

DoDa Man's picture
Joined: Sep 16 2008
What a great song... I miss Jerry

This was, of course, the first ever Grateful Dead version of Jerry’s Ruben and Cherise, a tune the Dead would play three more times before letting it live exclusively in the JGB repertoire.

DoDa Man ;^ )

Without love in the dream it'll never come true
Robert Hunter, Jerry Garcia


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