Grateful Dead

RFK Stadium 1989 Box

Digital Download


The Grateful Dead battled the elements in July 1989, enduring drenching rains and stifling humidity during back-to-back shows at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in the nation’s capital. In spite of the bleak weather, the band thrilled the massive crowds both nights with triumphant performances that rank among the very best of a busy year that included 74 shows and the release of the group’s final studio album, BUILT TO LAST.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY STADIUM, WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 12 & 13, 1989 includes two previously unreleased concerts taken from the band’s master 24-track analog recordings, which have been mixed by Jeffrey Norman at TRI Studios and mastered in HDCD by David Glasser. The collection’s colorful slip case features original artwork by Justin Helton and a perfect-bound book with in-depth liner notes written by Dean Budnick, editor-in-chief of Relix magazine. The set will also be available as a digital download in Apple Lossless and FLAC 192/24.

When Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Brent Mydland, and Bob Weir rolled into D.C. in July 1989 for the Dead’s two-night stand at RFK, the band hit the stage running with a stellar rendition of “Touch Of Grey,” the group’s biggest hit from its only Top 10 album In The Dark, which was released in 1987. The following night, the band returned to its double-platinum commercial breakthrough when it opened the show with a fiery version of “Hell In A Bucket.”

“RFK Stadium '89 fell right in the middle of one of the best tours of the last 15 years of Grateful Dead performances, with these shows being the sixth and seventh of an 11-show tour. This tour is widely considered the start of a nine month period of sustained excellence, which ran from Summer '89 through Spring '90. The RFK shows are as good as any of the more famous shows from this period, including July 4 in Buffalo, July 7 in Philadelphia, and the Alpine run,” says David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set’s producer. “When Bob Weir has asked me to provide copies of Grateful Dead songs to give to his bandmates to learn and rehearse, he almost always requests Summer '89, and I've often drawn upon the RFK shows for this purpose. It's really that good!”

Both shows feature standout moments, but the July 12 show is notable for a few reasons. Perhaps the biggest is that the first set featured at least one song sung by each of the band’s four lead singers – Garcia, Weir, Lesh and Mydland – something that rarely happened. Another surprise came when the band opened the second set with “Sugaree,” a song that almost always appeared during the first set.

Pianist Bruce Hornsby — who briefly joined the band between 1990 and 1992 — is featured on both shows. He played accordion during “Sugaree” and “Man Smart (Woman Smarter),” with a touch of keyboard-tinkling, on July 12, and then played more accordion the following night for “Tennessee Jed” and “Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.”

For fans of Mydland’s tenure with the Dead – which began in 1979 and ended in 1990 with the keyboardist’s tragic death – these stellar shows capture that incarnation in peak form. Among the long list of highlights are performances of live staples such as “Eyes Of The World,” “Wharf Rat” and “I Need A Miracle,” along with rarities like “To Lay Me Down,” which was played only a few times in 1989. The July 13 show also features the band road-testing “I Will Take You Home,” a track Mydland wrote with Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow that would appear later that fall on Built To Last.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/17
Limited Edition of 15,000
Individually Numbered
A Exclusive

Listening Party: THE BIG ONE

Far From Me
Black Peter
To Lay Me Down
Looks Like Rain
Wharf Rat

Listening Party #1

"Wharf Rat"

Listening Party #2

"Let It Grow"

Seaside Chat: RFK Stadium

Product Details

R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7/12/89)

1. Touch Of Grey
2. New Minglewood Blues
3. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
4. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
5. Far From Me
6. Cassidy
7. Friend Of The Devil
8. Promised Land
9. Sugaree>
10. Man Smart, Woman Smarter
11. Ship Of Fools>
12. Estimated Prophet>
13. Eyes Of The World>
14. Drums>
15. Space>
16. I Need A Miracle>
17. Dear Mr. Fantasy>
18. Black Peter>
19. Turn On Your Lovelight>
20. Black Muddy River

R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7/13/89)

1. Hell In A Bucket
2. Cold Rain And Snow
3. Little Red Rooster
4. Tennessee Jed
5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
6. To Lay Me Down
7. Let It Grow
8. He's Gone
9. Looks Like Rain
10. Terrapin Station
11. Drums
12. Space
13. I Will Take You Home
14. The Other One
15. Wharf Rat
16. Throwing Stones
17. Good Lovin'
18. U.S. Blues


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Dennis Wilmot's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2012
cosmic badger - garcia 1961 - b4 the dead

Are these 4 cd's available yet? I could not find them out there in the world.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

Speaking of '95, 6/27 has a few gems, the jam out of Foolish Heart being one of them. Jerry actually had some pretty good moments in this show.

Thinking about future release wishlists, 10/19/89 was mentioned recently and I concur. Seeing as how this was recorded as a potential release from multi-track tapes, it will likely be part of a box of some sort.

Thinking in terms of the next Dave's Pick, and after such a monumental year in releases that covered almost every era.....Pigpen (7/29/66, 12/6 & 7/71), Keith & Donna (4/2/73, 5/5-9/77 & 1/22/79) and Brent (7/12 & 13/89), I would love to see 4/1/91 or 9/26/91 for Vol. 24. It would take what has already been a nice variety year and make it "just exactly perfect".

I was going to suggest 4/28/91, but you also need 4/27/91. They go hand-in-hand.

....but then there's 7/2/88 just sitting there waiting to be "Picked".

Joined: Aug 6 2013

Ya just gotta poke around.

...psst..especially in '95. But it's still there.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

Did 2-21-95 set 2 tonight, needed a Visions.....

LedDed's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2017
"And Now For Something Completely Different.."

I remember watching Monty Python's Flying Circus back in the day. It was, like Benny Hill, unlike anything else - completely different. Fawlty Towers a real treasure, as well.

Night Flight on the USA Network.

Last but not least, check out, soon, "The Dark Side of the Mule," by Gov't. Mule. That's Warren Haynes, he late of the Allmans and a big Jer fan. Many of you know, but this Floyd thing is really well done.



Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
kevjones praising '95?.....

....we need more kevjones....

kevjones's picture
Joined: Apr 28 2009
RFK '95

Going totally random tonight. Listening to 2nd set of 6/25/95-RFK. Wow!!!! I'm friggin' impressed. They're tight. Maybe they were excited that Bruce and Dylan were there? Jerry and Bruce do an amazing little duet at the end of NFA too. A full 10 minute NFA without crowd chanting. Might be the only NFA that wasn't a complete throwaway since about 1983. Full blown jam after the final chorus. So great!!!!May be the fastest Samson I've ever heard too. Ship of Fools is exquisite too. Textbook Wharf Rat. Check it out if you're looking for a little something different; you may like it. Jerry gets the words right in his songs too. Great ensemble playing! Feel free to share your thoughts. Absolutely stunning Brokedown. Enjoying it as I type. Very emotional. Grateful Goosebumps.

wave-that-flag's picture
Joined: Oct 7 2015
Coming of Age in the Time of Garcia....

i like it. Three decades worth of starry-eyed youth did so.

The thing about the 80's was it really meant something to wear your Dead colors in the Reagan/Bush years. (For me anyway.) The 80's would become nicknamed the Decade of Greed ("Greed is good" and all that). Dead shows were different. I think Jerry got this too, but what do I know?

I know Nicholas Meriwether did a liner notes Essay on this somewhere. (Never read 'em--just rip discs and done with that.) NM seems like a smart cat--at least in the recent Dead doc and his other Dead writings. Maybe posted online somewhere. Probably not.

Anyway, would have loved to be at Watkins Glen, my favorite year, but I was six at the time. Still, listen to it all and love it all! Jerry is ripping into "Tangled Up in Blue" right here right now from Garcia Live Vol. 8. (11/23/91) It is all good!

Happy Weekend all! It's been a great year for releases. Peace.

Guss West's picture
Joined: Aug 21 2015

Good to be back, buddy.

Glad to see you've recovered well and are back at it; yelling at the damn kids on your lawn and chasing some tail!


cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007

I have for some time been personally affronted by the complete lack of 1961 releases. Now at last someone has taken notice ;-)

The music spans a recently unearthed duo performance with Robert Hunter at Garcia’s girlfriend Barbara “Brigid” Meier’s 16th birthday party on May 26, 1961 (with Garcia on acoustic guitar) through an appearance by the Asphalt Jungle Mountain Boys during the summer of 1964 (in which Garcia appears on banjo).

Gary Farseer's picture
Joined: Aug 1 2015

Y'all arent supposed to bring that up. Confusing Dick's Picks and all. Dick never lived long enough (pun)to use the other pic for the cover...

Gary Farseer's picture
Joined: Aug 1 2015

I have wondering about you. So glad to see you post again. I know folks were looking for Sixtus, as am I. Have not read boards in a couple of days. Just glad to see you post again.

OOOPs not sixtus. Sorry Sixtus. Old fart brain. I meant Keithfan. Where ya at Keithfan?

Hope all are well.

Guss West's picture
Joined: Aug 21 2015
Wish my 12 year old self...

...knew about the Grateful Dead in 1989. Reflecting back on those days; that surely would have been a wild time.

Coming of Age in the Time of Garcia.

philledawg's picture
Joined: Dec 12 2009
DkP 13 -Nassau

.....remember to w8 4 the BONUS TRACK...Scarlet Begonias, about 3 mins after the CD seems......ended!

Joined: Aug 21 2014
OPS '88

Vguy72 - I agree with you, I think 7/2 is the better show. Always wondered why 7/3 was chosen for TTATS over 7/2. 7/2 is a much longer show and the first set banter between songs is absolutely classic (after West LA...Jerry: "Let's hear more from Phil"), not to mention the Phil bombs in Jack Straw. Plus that lovely Crazy Fingers to start the second set has always been my favorite version; Jerry takes an extended solo after the second chorus that I haven't heard him do on any other version. And I love the quiet interplay between Jerry and Phil in Morning Dew just before the climactic jam at the end. Maybe Dave thought the 3 new songs getting road-tested at the end of Set 1 were a little raw to allow for 7/2 to get an official release? But I think 7/3 suffers from not having another tune after Bird Song to close the first set as well as an encore after NFA to send everyone home. Could picture a Brokedown or a Black Muddy a la 7/29 in that spot. Oh well, I love my aud of 7/2 and might not even enjoy a remastered upgrade.

Joined: Aug 8 2016
Weir sitting in with Lesh and Terrapin family band Friday night

At Terrapin Crossroads. Only $15, but sold out.

Too bad I'm out of town this can get really close to the stage in the Grate Room.

LedDed's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2017
@Jim East Coast

I think one may have confused "Dick's Picks," with
"Dick's Pokes."

Some don't hear as well after all those shows.


Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
I'm sailing back to 1988....

....7.3 Oxford Plains from Boxilla to be exact. Thought the day before was a bit better, but I'll take it....

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

It's a classic. The first Dicks Picks with the computer generated art too. It could very well be my absolute favorite release from the 80's. Then again, I think it was the last one from this decade I listened to.

Or not.. but what's the difference.

In the immortal words of jrf.. get some.

Quick sidebar.. I still crack up recalling Dennis' post driving home from one of his wife's holiday parties.. one of her work colleagues was in the car and there happened to be some dead playing (a Dicks Picks). There was a bit of confusion when he was asked what they were listening to.. he told them Dicks Picks ???.. and the answer was confused with pornography.

I might have gotten that story wrong, it was posted years ago.. but I think I got it just about right, and its pretty freaking funny.

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Dicks Picks #13

thats where Im sailing this evening back to 81

Charlie3's picture
Joined: Sep 21 2015
I Learned It From You, Alright. ..

Classic ad from the 1980's, brought to you by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. Kid telling his dad that he learned about drugs watching him use drugs. Used to laugh my ass off about those commercials while getting wasted with my friends. This is your brain on drugs. ..

My motto at the time was "the day's wasted if you're not".

Thin's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2013
Supply/demand, discipline/greed, and law of diminishing returns

I bought this release and can't wait hear it, but just to put a finer point on supply/demand and the risk of overproducing: Scarcity is the friend of these releases and the key to getting any mystique: If supply is low, demand is high. If supply is high, demand is low. Ironically, for these releases to be popular and sell more, they need to produce less.

This is why Dave's Picks has thrived, imo - it slowly developed a mystique because they have always PERFECTLY ridden the fine line between enough/not enough units produced. When it sells out quickly there's a buzz. "Sold out! Did you get one in time?" That controlled scarcity near-term (+ great releases/packaging) has helped grow the platform long-term, so the releases maintain their value after purchase - this is key. PEOPLE CAN JUSTIFY EXPENSIVE PURCHASES THAT MAINTAIN VALUE, even to their spouses. My wife questioned my CD collection, so I showed her how much the Fillmore West '69 box sells for on eBay. I haven't heard a peep since.

Joined: Oct 28 2011
JFJ Easy Pro CD Cleaning Machine

Does anyone own or have used a JFJ Easy Pro CD Machine. That they use on their CD collection. If so I would be interested in any opinions. To remove scratches and such. Thanks.

NCDead's picture
Joined: Apr 16 2015
Digital download

I would be shocked if the digital download was that much discounted based on how they have done all the other digital downloads of boxes. They are usually right about the same place as the CD version.

Correction i was thinking of CD vs Hi-def downloads looks like GSTL is about $40 less for standard apple lossless.

Thin's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2013
# left not real

Guys - I think its naive to think they ordered the whole lot before getting any indication of demand. They'll probably collect orders thru Sept., then decide the production number (pre-order # x 1.5~). My guess is they entered a "dummy" production number of 10,000, implying they have sold 4,205 so far. (10,000 - 4205 sold = 5795 left)

And Yes, they will only produce one batch, so in that regard it is technically "limited" - but if THAT's your definition, then every release is limited. But on these types of un-numbered releases (Nightfall, Hampton Box, etc.) and even the numbered boxes (Cornell '77 box*, Red Rocks '78 box, the 1990 boxes, Europe, '72, TTATS) they tend to produce plenty of copies so they have inventory for a while.

I can't wait to hear this release!

Joined: Apr 1 2008
5795 left

That's 131 sold in the last 2 some odd days.

10 copies of the Red Rocks box sold in the last 2 days.

I think these sales figures are opposite of the life/toilet paper roll analogy - the closer to the end, the slower it goes.

Sixtus_'s picture
Joined: Nov 8 2014
June '76

I love me some '76 as well. I always take an opportunity to share this one if this topic comes a minimum check out that second set...blistering. The Eyes is probably my all time favorite with a six minute+ (!) intro:

Rock it!

Joined: Jun 7 2007

my guess is that it will be limited edition based on pre-orders and a bit of inventory upon the release date. with 2000 copies left of the 78 box (a great box!), they're aiming to avoid the costs of inventory sitting on the shelf. i think that 78 box faced a tough sell coming after the 50th - so much great music was released that there's a legit case for many to think, "well, how much more Dead do i need?"

MinasMorgul's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2015
Roguedeadguy Spirit Of '76

Also dig that '76 sound, although the official releases are real hit or miss for me. I love RT 4.5, Cow Palace, and DaP 18, but can't get into DaP 4, DP 20, or 30 Trips. DP 33, I really go for the 10/9 show with Franklin's Tower (one of the best), but not so much for the 10/10 show. DL Series is about halfway between, definitely some great moments on it (Crazy Fingers, U.S Blues, Mission in the Rain). I

Roguedeadguy's picture
Joined: Jul 22 2016
Re: Midnight Cafe

I see the fever is catching. I've been following him for awhile now, and filled up an entire 128GB memory card without really trying. In fact, I'm pretty sure I learned about it from one of these threads.

"It was you, alright! I learned it by watching you!" (Free download at the midnight cafe for anyone who remembers that commerical.)

One thing I will mention. Awhile ago he reluctantly set up a facility for donations on the page. Amazon recently jacked up their rates for cloud storage, and he has something like 4TB out on his drive. He was contemplating dropping some stuff to put him in a lower price tier, but got enough donations to keep it all for the time being. So consider that if you're enjoying the site amd using it a lot.

Been on a Summer of 76 kick for most of this summer of 17. Starting with RT 4.5 from Boston, download series 4, a great run from Chicago at the end of June (all of them acquired from the midnight cafe), then I jumped ahead to the Orpheum run. Haven't gotten to 7-18 yet, but its locked amd loaded. I really like that easy, loping 76 vibe, it just says summertime to me.

Joined: Aug 6 2013
Tampa '95

Eyes-> 16:07
Saint 7:32

Eye's starts off a little clunky but gets goin' real good pretty quick...
get some

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007

....bookmarked that site quick like

Joined: Aug 6 2013
Yup. The man ain't kidding....

Just downloaded a speaking engagement from Hunter S. Thompson in '77.
goldmine indeed
Thanks David!

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Holee shite....

....that is a goldmine Dave. Amazon has a drive? Am I getting too old, or is technology just buzzing by fast as lightning? I need to start doing some homework....

David Duryea's picture
Joined: Sep 28 2009
free downloads is a site I've used to download many GD shows that haven't been released officially. It is a labor of love that isn't ripping anybody off. Through it the spirit of Jerry lives. Many of the shows are from the archive and have been cleaned up and pitch corrected. These shows are from ALL the decades, kids, and many have undergone that Charlie Miller magic.

There are also shows from many other bands. All downloads are through Amazon Drive. You can choose between FLAC and MP3s. Enjoy.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
I checked out that KC offering....

....$12.95 FLAC. Can't really complain about that price point....'s picture
Joined: Nov 3 2007
King Crimson

King Crimson have been putting up concerts for years on their site as downloads. In fact, 11-12-73 Turin, Italy was just put up for purchase today!

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
It's a hand me down....

....the thoughts are broken.... Garcia & Wasserman. Stay strong Bobby....

Joined: Aug 6 2013
How apprropiate...

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Neil Young is a flake

Don't confuse the man with his music! The guy has been a flake since day one! His music is one thing. His track record as a regular guy leaves a lot to be desired. You would not want him as a neighbor I assure you.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Frankie Lee

Your post reminded me that both Winterland boxes ('73 & '77) were never promoted as "limited edition" either and the W'77 box goes for about as much as the FW'69 box does in the secondary markets. No idea how many of those W'77 boxes were manufactured.

If they put as much love and care into mixing the multi-track tapes for RFK'89 as they did S'90 (TOO) box, this will truly be a magical release with sonic perfection. For a little taste of what to expect, "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" from 7/12/89 can be heard on "Postcards of the Hanging" (track 3), and it's crisp, phat and a beautifully mixed recording.

This has been the best year in GD releases since the 50th anniversary with Boxilla. Last year wasn't too shabby either with the July '78 box. The Red Rocks July run was always regarded highly among the tape trading community, plus Betty boards of shows that have never circulated. Still surprised that one's still available.

MLavallee's picture
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Neil Young Archive...

Don't get too excited. It's Neil Young, the novelty will wear off and he'll abandon it. How're those PONO adopters feeling right about now? How about the Archives 1 Blu-Ray buyers with their exclusive updates? Amounted to 3 songs which are no longer available. He flirted with DVD-audio, how'd that work out? Blu-Ray audio, lasted just about as long. Neil first mentioned releasing the archives in the mid-70s! He started seriously working on them in the mid-80s and it took until 2009 for the first box to come out!

Joined: Apr 1 2008

That is very cool - kind of makes me wish that I was a bigger Neil Young fan.

GD does indeed already have this in the form of the Interent Archive which was formerly the collection. Made by fans for the fans, just the way it has always been!

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Online archive

Looks like Neil Young is about to put his entire archive online.

So if he can do it.......

Now that would solve the constant bickering about eras and releases. Everything for everyone any time a la carte.

Joined: Aug 6 2013
Jerry & Merl

9-1-1974 Keystone

Wondering Why...

get some

Frankie Lee's picture
Joined: Nov 15 2010
Makes me wonder?

Ok Folks...There are many naysayers out here posting. I will share once again what I heard David L. say on last Sunday's special on this box set on SiriusXM.

He said this set would be "extremely limited". He also said that it will for sure "Sell Out".

David L. tends to know what he is talking about. Just because there is no mention of "limited edition" or "numbered edition" in the advertising thus far...does not mean it may not end up that way.

I personally believe David when he shares insights...thats just me.

Look at the track record of all of the releases over the last 10 years. The Road Trips series for example was slow to sell for a long they sell for hundreds of dollars over original asking price and are very collectable.

It could be that not listing this set as a "limited numbered edition" is a way to keep the scalpers at bay from snatching them all up for resell on Ebay...perhaps a way to give those who are truly interested in owning the music a better opportunity. Just look at the irate posts from the last Daves Pick that sold out in hours.

"In the end it will all be okay...if its not okay now then it certainly is not the end"

Joined: Jul 9 2007

Plan to buy the flacs once they're available . I have enough stuff in my life but never enough Dead. Every era is a treasure.

Listen to the music play.

LedDed's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2017
Music For Fun and Profit

As this theme continues to reoccur, my two cents... and Rhino don't need the money. Yes, this is a "for profit" enterprise, but it has already proven itself over and over. The subscriptions continue to rise as do quick sellouts of so many releases.

The fan base, even after all this time, is expanding - at least here. It's like the vinyl resurgence and not altogether different. In an ever more bullshit, digitized throwaway world, people are rediscovering the inherent value in things like Grateful Dead music and vinyl records.

Some are over-thinking it. Sure, there may be bean counters somewhere monitoring this but the whole thing has been so splendidly done from the esteemed Mr. Latvala on through to Dave L., they are clearly motivated 100% by artistic reasons. Best sounding shows from any era.

Some say the Dead died with Pigpen. I think not, I think they changed and adapted like any organism needs to, to survive across eras and personnel changes.

The late 60s through 1978 are my favorite era, but I love Brent when he wasn't overbearing vocally and all through the 80s and 90s right up to the end. Old Jer spit out a pretty decent Black Muddy River there, eh?

These folks have to tend to the greater good, and it's mostly gonna be 70s releases. It really was their golden era. Golden, not as in dollars, but as in musically.

Joined: Jan 13 2010
a tip of the hat to Glen Campbell

travel back to 1975, turn on the radio, and you would hear Rhinestone Cowboy within 15 minutes.

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Goodbye Mr Campbell. And yet.............

Keith Richards is still going strong? Ain't no rhyme or reason to the big

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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