Grateful Dead

RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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 #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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Joined: Jun 4 2007
Bobby's 30th Birthday or the LSD, I mean LSU show
Joined: Jul 21 2015
Outer One Canada Yes!

And thank you as well, I just got my internet connection back, and read in the local news about crews from Ontario & Quebec. We appreciate it very much!! I'm sure that if the need ever arises (I hope not) we will return the care from our friends up north.

Joined: Aug 8 2014
Hey Ziffle again

We above the 49th are feeling your pain and working with you! Both the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments have sent electrical crews and resources to Houston and South Florida. To all those affected - be safe and get well soon!

kyleharmon's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
I see they decided to go with

I see they decided to go with having a limited edition. glad I caught it last nite cuz I was going to wait till November cuz they made it seem like it was going to a semi permanent catalog release.

Joined: Mar 8 2015
Please give us an audio sample....sales will increase quickly

Great show, one of my friends first show (2nd night), and I'm in for a copy. Thought this would sell out after the announcement that this will be stamped/numbered and limited to 15k. I think if David provided us with an audio sample, it may sell quicker? Seems kind of odd that no audio samples has been released so far.

Give us a little taste!!!

Joined: Jul 21 2015

On my little street were trucks & crews from Connecticut, Maine & Louisiana clearing fallen trees reconnecting power lines. I read that search & rescue came here to Florida from California & elsewhere. I am thankful for this caring from across our nation.

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Hey Ziffle

Glad you made out ok. Here it was about the same. Very rough those last couple hours. But strangely and this is due to underground power lines and utilities, we never lost power so we watched the thing come north on the Weather Channel. You actually saw it come up and as the winds were increasing, the orange and red got closer and closer. Almost like watching yourself get shot on TV as it happens. Weird!
But Clermont did ok and as for the Loo's we escaped damage and disaster, thank the good Lord. Now were watching Maria dance up the islands. This has been a season like the 2004-05 years were.
Only good thing is I have stocked up on some very good oak tree cuttings for firewood at the festivals later this year.

philledawg's picture
Joined: Dec 12 2009
'89 Box Sets Remaining

There are, between, 7-8k of 15k to be released, still avail.

Joined: Jul 21 2015
Irma & me

Locally Irma was 110 mph wind during the two hour peak. It was an experience. Like being in the middle of a jet engine. Everyone here OK, and no damage to the house. No electric for a week, no internet (using an intermittent cellular connection at present). No phone service for a week. Water was contaminated but now OK. Neighbors still have no electric. Enormous yard clean up and clearing. Was able to save majority of the important plants & trees. Fallen trees from neighbor. Got off lucky compared to folks on the Islands.

Medium sized birds seem to be OK, although I’ve lost about a third of the resident population. Larger birds (barn owls and the like) are absent. Tiny birds mostly missing, saw just one today.

Butterflies, bees and wasps were decimated. I’ve only seen about three butterflies and the occasional bee (they mostly live in the ground, there was a foot of rain). No wasps at all so far. I spotted butterfly eggs on a couple of plants (just a couple of eggs), I’m protecting them. And now, the mosquito infestation.

What with climate change and the oceans warming, I suppose that large storms of this type will become more frequent.

Hope others in Fla. made out OK, and regrets for the ruination in the islands.

Joined: Oct 6 2015
Dead and Company Austin

Man, I am so bummed I couldnt get general admission tickets for the show in austin, I can't believe none are available in just a few days :(

Joined: Sep 15 2009
Spammer Invasion

Welcome to all the new members. Buy some coasters while you're here. Or maybe a barstool.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Actually it's 15,000

"2532 / 10,000 Left" ~ MM

The last RFK email I received actually says they are limited to 15k, not 10k.

This is the text....

"It's official! ROBERT F. KENNEDY STADIUM, WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 12 & 13, 1989 will be individually numbered and limited to 15,000 copies. The set features 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. Housed in a colorful slip-case with original artwork by Justin Helton with in-depth liner notes written by Dean Budnick, editor-in-chief of Relix magazine, this one's out in November." also says 15,000 under "product details" at the top of this page.

Joined: Sep 16 2017
Consistently emphasizing its

Consistently emphasizing its unique image and limited supply, it has deliberately distanced itself from the mainstream of fashion even when sales are hot in the field

MinasMorgul's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2015
2532 / 10,000 Left

There was a bump up in sales after it was announced it would be limited. There will be another bump the week it hits the streets.

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017

You're right next door to me! We oughta grab a bite, say at Yellow Dog sometime.
PM me. Might be a good time!

Joined: Dec 8 2008
Sarasota, Fla

Checking in from SRQ. Next storm, My wife and cats, are evacuating to Alaska or Hawaii. Will never go through, an Irma like storm again.
Floridians, be safe.
Sad to hear, people surviving Irma only to pass, because of carbon dioxide.
Florida Strong

R.E.V.'s picture
Joined: Jan 1 2015
Central Floridians

Glad to hear you fared well FloridaBobloo Too...I'm in Windermere and it was pretty rough between 10pm and 2am...I am one of the fortunate ones, losing power for just 24 hours or so...lots of poor bastards around here still without...

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Okay so now thats TWO

2004 Charlee, we were like within 20 miles of the eye
2017 Irma. 2 am the remnants of the eye sail past us within 20 miles!
So now thats 2 of these bastards that have tried to crawl up my dookie! Im starting to take it a might bit personal too!
That was a scary night my friends. I was scarred semi shitless over that one.

Joined: Jul 3 2007
Sample ?

This was posted from a GD site playlist for Garcia's Bday. I assume it's one of the first mixes done from this set but can't be sure. Seems like an overabundant amount of stadium sounding reverb in the lead vocal compared to other favorite GD recordings. I would guess they wouldn't normally add that much studio reverb to the mix, so if it's a product of the stadium setting I'm wondering why they would pick this over the Alpine shows as the "Downhill From Here" DVD sounds amazing (but I'm a bit biased having seen the Alpine run). Anyways, still glad to have all these great releases.

Joined: Oct 6 2015

Holy cow, tried to be general admission for the upcoming D&C show in Austin, american expressed presale does not have any available, and the scarlet>fire pass appears to be sold out, I hope i have better luck when tickets officaly come on sale

Joined: Jun 4 2007

I was thinking that as well for a few days now. No updates or new info for a few weeks. The next Dave's Picks announcement is still a good month off, followed by the subscription announcement and Record Store Day.

Still ten months from the 50th anniversary of the release of "Anthem of the Sun" and whatever they have planned for that.

Joined: Nov 1 2012
RFK box

I've noticed more then once they say, more to come on samples, but it doesn't always happen..hmm

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
is it November yet?

Currently listening to the 6/24/85 Riverbend show from 30 Trips, I suspect the reason for many of the mid 80's release issues is with Healy's mix for the venues.
It is really apparent here in this 85 recording, the effects, the reverb, the heavily gated microphones all add up to a recording that at times seems to be missing something in the mix. I loved it at the shows, but these SBDs seem too sterile and the effects really stand out, like the hokey "psychedelic" video sequences, they were decisions made at the show that can't be undone on the recording master.
This could be why they use so many multitracks from the 89/90 tours where they can choose to not apply that echo and distortion to Bob's voice, or reverb to everything but Jerry's voice and the drums.
Its a good show, but hearing it right after a 73 SBD, the 85 recording highlights it's biggest flaw, the mix.

We need more listening parties and sneak previews of the packaging now that we know RFK is a limited edition.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Gaucho Amigo

Gaucho Outtakes.. yes please.

Who is the gaucho amigo
Why is he standing
In your spangled leather poncho
And your elevator shoes
Bodacious cowboys
Such as your friend
Will never be welcome here
High in the Custerdome....

Very nice VGuy. Muchas Gracias, Amigo.

It's no secret Steely Dan spent some quality time in the studio. I saw one of their studio hires commenting on their recording style.. I am not going to try to exactly quote.. but it starts with the rhythm track and the drumer. They work the beat and the drummer to death.. over and over again, slight tweaks, timing must be perfect, flawless.. Weeks go by, just the core few and a drummer. Finally.. just when everyone is burned out.. they achieve 'perfection.' So they start the next day by bringing in a new drummer, throwing it all away and starting from scratch.. still in search of perfection :D

Or as another quoted.. when you made a Steely Dan album, you spend the first six weeks just getting comfortable in your chair.

The exact opposite as the Grateful Dead, yet.. they have a similar effect on me. Perfect mind music.

We lost two biggies this year, Walter Becker and Gregg Allman. Flags still flying at half mast.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Bonus Dan....
....Gaucho outtakes anyone?

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Sacred beverage indeed

If I don't start the day with good coffee, it's hard for me to have a good day.

Good thinking Ziffle.. Priorities!

Too all in Irma's path.. we are pulling for ya. Be safe.

Mission in the Rain, 06/29/1976 Auditorium Theater, Chicago

Good luck riding the storm out.

VEG HEAD's picture
Joined: May 27 2011
the sacred beverage....

Gotta have coffee. Without a doubt.

Joined: Jul 21 2015
Greetings FloridaBob - ready for Irma

Northeast Miami-Dade here, in the line of fire, just outside the evacuation zone. No hostility around here I've seen. Stoic acceptance. Stores are cleaned out of anything useful. Whole Foods Market North Miami got a few pallets of water Thursday morning so I'm set.

It is surreal. From all appearances, today was a perfect beach day, lovely sunset, pleasant evening. Unreal full moon. Sounds of my neighbors cutting, mounting plywood & storm shutters, but mostly the usual crickets, frogs, the occasional owl calling.

Got a two quart thermos for coffee, otherwise I'll become catatonic when the electric is cut off.

Sixtus_'s picture
Joined: Nov 8 2014
Dead & Co. FALL TOUR

....shared this on the DaP 23 board and wanted to be sure it found its way just dropped:

One can sign up for the presale registration.....


unkle sam's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2008
trying to reason with hurricane season

I sure hope everyone who is in the path of Irma gets out now, you do not want to be anywhere near this bitch. I also survived Charley in 04, lost power for 9 days, the eye wall went right over my house, ripped trees out of the ground and snapped them right in half 12 ft up. Roofs blown off and power lines everywhere and that was only 115 mph winds. I had lived in Fla for 40 years, after that, we got out and I would recommend that to anyone living there. Florida, it's a great place to visit but I wouldn't live there ever again. Floridabob, keep safe, just because you are inland does not protect you from 150 mph winds, it will sweep right over the peninsula and flatten everything in it's path. Just heard from my sister in law who lives in Miami, mandatory evacuation in place right now, they are evacuating Miami and I am sure they will evacuate the entire east coast of Florida before this is all said and done. If you are not leaving, be prepared for no power for at least a week. my 89 yr old mother still lives in Fla too, but on the west side of the state, talked to her and she said she is as ready as she can be, I sure hope she is right.

shirdeep's picture
Joined: Sep 5 2017
stay safe an play dead

State Fairgrounds, Lewiston, ME (9/6/80)

Alabama Getaway
Greatest Story Ever Told
Me and My Uncle
Mexicali Blues
Tennessee Jed
Feel Like a Stranger
Friend of the Devil
Far From Me
Little Red Rooster
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Promised Land

Shakedown Street
Lost Sailor
Saint of Circumstance
Playin' in the Band
Uncle John's Band
Not Fade Away
The Wheel
Uncle John's Band
Playin' in the Band
Sugar Magnolia

One More Saturday Night
Brokedown Palace

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Ziffle. Howdy

Hi Ziffle. sounds like you are close to me here in FLA. Clermont here, How about you?
Civility is beginning to erode now as panic and fear are getting the best of people. We still have 2 days. If you have shit to do, get it done today friends. Unless you are coastal, this is beginning to look a little better to me. 57 yrs in Florida. Rode out Charlee 12 miles from the eye, and that was a bitch of a day. BUT we made it without catastrophic damage. Even my frame house withstood 120 mph winds pretty well.
Prep the best you can and hunker down while it passes, and when the eye is north of you, then breath that sigh of relief.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

You don't want to mess around with this one. For safety sake I recommend evacuation. 185 mile an hour winds will flatten everything in sight. Scientists are saying this type of storm will rip every shred of vegetation out of the ground and is so powerful that it's actually being picked up on equipment used for measuring earthquakes.

The only saving grace is it's moving faster than Harvey did so hopefully you won't see 50 plus inches of rain.

Not worth the risk sticking around. Stuff can be replaced. People can't.

Joined: Jul 21 2015
Irma on the move

The last tracking I saw has the eye of the hurricane on top of me early afternoon Sunday, maybe it will get diverted?

Meanwhile, I have batteries charged, I'm not particularly worried about food & water, I just filled up a bunch of empty bottles with tap water, bought a case of mineral water, a case of wine, a couple of pounds of Florida shrimp for a nice grill after the storm (& stuff in cans just in case).

Should be OK.

Feel terrible & sympathy for the folks on the leeward islands, especially Barbuda, they lost everything.

Joined: Jan 13 2010
"do yourself a favor"

listen to 2/9/73

Frankie Lee's picture
Joined: Nov 15 2010
" I told ya...what I said..."

I mentioned here weeks ago after hearing David L. mention on SiriusXM's Grateful Dead channel's special regarding this release that he had said this release would be "limited and would for sure sell out".

Enjoy the Brent! Get one while ya can!

Joined: Sep 1 2014
Holger Czukay

Sad to see that Holger Czukay has died. Can were an amazing band in the late 1960s and 1970s-there was no one quite like them. At the time, in England, they appealed to Pink Floyd fans-but although they played very spaced out music, they were actually very different. Can were much more rhythmical than Floyd. The way Holger on bass, and Jackie Leibezeit on drums locked together seemed to have more in common with great psychedelic funk bands-like Funkadelic.

I agree that Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi are probably their best albums, but they made several great ones. As far as individual tracks go, Mother Sky, off "Soundtracks" takes some beating.

Thin's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2013
Fedrd - re RFK '89

Fedrd - I understand that you were disappointed with the RFK '89 concert experience (stadiums do suck), but the good thing about this box is that you WON'T BE in a ginormous stadium surrounded by 45,595 people listening to crappy sound warbling across a football field. This release allows you to enjoy these shows without those compromises = Woohoo!

As for the setlists, OK they're no greatest-hits showcase, but as Dicks Picks 9 (9/16/90) taught us, ya don't need a Shakedown / BirdSong / Stranger / Scarlet>Fire / Playin>Uncle John's Band / Help>Slip>Franklins / Dark Star setlist in order to have a great release!

As I posted elsewhere recently, 9/16/90 initially seemed like a lost opportunity to me (in terms of year AND the ho-hum setlist - it may have prompted the chat discussion "Dick couldn't pick a pumpkin"). But when it arrived - WOW! I was blown away. Dick didn't just reach for a fantasy setlist to goose sales - he dug DEEP for a non-obvious show where the band really gels. This RFK box seems similar in that regard.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
RIP Can Co-Founder Holger Czukay Dead at 79

The GD weren't the only band exploring musical space, and the German band Can was one of the best.

Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi are nice introduction albums if you are unfamiliar.

Joined: Nov 2 2010

Who are these children
Who scheme and run wild
Who speak with their wings
And the way that they smile
What are the secrets
They trace in the sky
And why do you tremble
Each time they ride by?

Joined: Nov 2 2010
The last concert I saw

The last concert I saw...Steely Dan.

rangzen's picture
Joined: Nov 17 2016
MSG 90

fedrd = 9/20/90. like it prefer Europe to MSG

Joined: Feb 2 2010
Reeling . . .

Just now learning about Becker from this board. I, too, was a "Dan" long before I was a "Head". Once I heard some Steely Dan in college, I jumped in the car, drove straight to the CD store, and purchased every disc they had (there hadn't been any reunions at that point.). They took all the wonderful oddness of Traffic, Genesis, and Jethro Tull, and made it swing, with a certain lightness that the other bands sometimes lacked.

There's certainly some Steely binge-ing about to happen at my house . . .

R.I.P., Walter.

mbarilla's picture
Joined: Aug 8 2013
R.F.K. Stadium 1989 + 7.5.81

Rhino what's up with the pro-shot video ? Please include with Box-Set as Bonus Surprise. It's obvious whoever makes these decisions can surely make it happen.

Audible the play call and add Pro-Shot Video !!!!!

Also One Kind Favor , release performance of 7.5.81

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

I've been watching this one too.. I'm still holding hope it curves North, but recent tracking has it staying South.

Good Luck Florida..

Haven't heard from Nano in some time either. Be safe everyone...

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Any Major Dude Will Tell You....

....see. I told you....

FloridaBobalooToo's picture
Joined: Feb 17 2017
Florida and Irma

I hate to say it, but Ive got a bad feeling with this one. Went to the store today and the madness has begun early as water is flying off the shelves as is Spam, chili, stew, canned veggies, canned fruit, and of course booze. This storm just seems to have the look of a real menace. We have all our supplies and are ready as we can be. But there will be some last minute people that are panic filled and finding nothing but beets and Walmart cola to buy.
If you're in Florida. "Get Ur Done" tomorrow please! And batteries for your music players!!!!!!!!

Joined: Nov 17 2011
RFK Stadium 1989 Album

Nice to see an official RFK album. The most shows of any venue for me, as it was my local summer tour stadium. Fitting too as RFK will soon no longer be. It's last tenant (DC United) will be moving out after the season...So many fun memories there...

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
I just discovered....

....the most pointless list ever. Naming Dan records from best to worst. An exercise in futility....

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
I take back my earlier statement....

....asking if Steely Dan could release a bad album if they tried. Could they release a bad song if they tried?....Do It Again
In the mornin' you go gunnin' for the man who stole your water
And you fire till he is done in but they catch you at the border
And the mourners are all singin' as they drag you by your feet
But the hangman isn't hangin' and they put you on the street

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheels turinin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again

When you know she's no high climber then you find your only friend
In a room with your two timer, and you're sure you're near the end
Then you love a little wild one, and she brings you only sorrow
All the time you know she's smilin'; you'll be on your knees tomorrow

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheels turinin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again

Now you swear and kick and beg us that you're not a gamblin' man;
Then you find you're back in Vegas with a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money so you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey you must put them on the table

You go back, Jack, do it again, wheels turinin' 'round and 'round
You go back, Jack, do it again
.track one on their first record. It just gets better and better after that....

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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