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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Joined: Jul 21 2015
alac - formats

I keep most of my higher resolution music as uncompressed AIFF files. I do not use WAV, because it does not store metadata (AIFF does). I keep all of my CD or DAT quality files as lossless ALAC. By higher res I mean 24/88.2 kHz or better.

Modern hardware decodes lossless files up to 24/48kHz perfectly. I have noticed some very slight loss of quality when playing back ALAC high res (especially 192k) files. I have had some (very few) 24/192kHz files that would not play back from a lossless compressed format.

As a rule, I keep higher res as uncompressed AIFF (or could be WAV, but the files do not store metadata or cover art).

I do not believe that FLAC was intended to be a playback format, just storage, although that is one of those subjects that audio enthusiasts debate endlessly.

By the way, the Garcia 9 (1974 Keystone) is available as an 88.2 kHz download, it is a lovely analog Betty board, full of warmth. One of those joyful, relaxed recordings, close your eyes and you are there. And yes, I decompressed to AIFF.

Joined: Sep 15 2009
She's NOT In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ?!?
JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

Great to see you back in your old treads. That pic suites you.

Hey.. since nobody's listening, and its late. Any heads up on the next release? I hear its another 4 track remastered spring 1968. Or did I hear that in a dream.

Speaking of dreams.. epic times in the mountains East. Holy Moly.. Times are good. Which brings me to the real reason I am writing.. Ooops.. who's that knocking at my door at this hour?

Cleaning up.. the woman that shares my house had friends over this afternoon for lunch. I was working upstairs.. Just came home from my own night out and found three bottles of wine that they drank.. one (which I said no go) was ..well.. I'm too sad to even mention the name or how much it cost me. argh... they probably would have been happier with a $6 rose.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

I'll raise your Sister Rosetta Tharpe by a Big Mama Thorton.

My dad turned me on to this one.

Right on mhammond. I swear that video has been posted here before.. but years ago.

Joined: Sep 15 2009
Check It Out
Joined: May 3 2012

Apple lossless is fine but you will notice an improvement if you convert a lossless file to WAV format. I store everything as Apple lossless but when I want to listen to something, I convert to WAV, listen, then delete WAV files when I'm done because those files will be bigger... Essentially it is like unzipping a zip file? Not an expert but I can tell there is a difference there

Lossless files contain all the information you need in really small packages... Not the best way to hear things though

Trying to expand files that were not meant to be expanded (anything but lossless) will not improve sound quality

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong, but I encourage you all to compare file types for yourselves... We are getting somewhere

bolo24's picture
Joined: Nov 25 2009

'Twas foretold - 5/9/2017 GSTL

Joined: Nov 2 2010

Thanks to everyone who answered the format question :) I have been using Apple Lossless for the last few years. I got into high res FLAC for a while, but I converted them down to 16 bit ALAC...I honestly can't tell the difference...maybe I am getting old...LOL. Everything lives on an external HD and goes through iTunes.
I mainly use iPod touch with Sony wired headphones. I used to really like the portable CD players, but haven't seen them in a long time. I pretty much rip CDs as soon as I get them and put them up. I have to sit through 12 hours of dialysis every week so I don't know what I would do without the music

P.S. What does everyone think about the Long Strange Trip film? It has really opened my eyes...

Joined: Aug 29 2013
RFK box

I pre-ordered, of course. It's been a long time coming; there used to be quite an excess of 1989 releases; Nightfall of Diamonds in 2001, Truckin' Up To Buffalo in 2005, Crimson White and Indigo AND the Hampton Box in 2010. However, that's been thinned out of the last 7 years, with nothing beyond the 10/26/89 show from TTATS. I'd say we're due.

I'm by no means an expert in 1989, but I figured that if we were going to touch Summer '89 again it would be Alpine Valley, which are universally acclaimed. If not, I remember the Giant's Stadium shows both being superior to 7/12/89 (which is still a good show). I do not have fond listening experiences of 7/13/89, but admit it has been a while.

10/19/89 may be the best remaining unreleased show of the year, and the only MUST-HAVE from 1989 for me (aside from the already released 10/16/89, which is the best of the year).

Joined: Sep 20 2015
Format - portable CD players

I love to hike while listening to the Dead, and I prefer CDs with my portable CD player. The players only last about 3 years, and I'm on my 10'th one or so. However, they don't make good Walkman-style CD players any more. You can't buy them. I ordered a few unsold new ones made years ago for sale online from a store in, believe it or not, Turkey. These should last me another decade - then I don't know what I'll do.

Joined: Feb 2 2010

Tuned in after the release of the Cornell box to add to the glee, but the mood was so ugly that I stayed away from these boards for months. I can't stand the moaning that accompanies EVERY release, and that includes the moaning about a tiny corner of page 78 of the liner notes being creased.

Loved the movie the other night! What amazing energy! Can't wait to hear the 24-track rendition.

It's probably been previously hypothesized, but I'm guessing that we'll see a Summer '89 DVD box next year, from the Solstice show through Alpine, minus the previous releases.

Like Mickey implored at the end of Fare Thee Well--"Be kind." :)

Joined: Jun 4 2007
November 11th

Seems like an eternity to wait for delivery. I'm becoming increasingly excited for this new release.

Joined: Apr 28 2012

It took me years to get the system streamlined after chaotic slog of tapes, CD's, CD-R's, iPods, PC's, laptops, car stereos, etc. Everything is organized and easily accessible with at least one version of each show the played (along with thousands of other shows from other artists) on one drive. CD's on another.

All my music is now ripped into FLAC and ALAC formats. My home stereo plays all the FLACs and my phone drives the ALACs for the car, at work, etc.

My CD's only leave their case once for about 15 minutes-enough time to read the liner notes and admire the artwork. After that, everything is on a hard drive or a portable device.

Joined: Jun 17 2008
Going to prison is like dying with your eyes open…..

When the prison doors are opened, the real dragon will fly out………….

Mornin’, rockers!!!!

My oh my, you know what day it is:

Do people break out so they can break in and hear the Dead? Should Bob Weir try to tell jokes? How did Phil get so phunky? This is no frills, no jams, straightforward hard rocking Grateful Dead. Oh and hey! there’s a good dose of Pigpen. Can’t go wrong with all that………..

For those of you with lots of free time, check out this most excellent essay on Doc’s favorite Dead cover tune:

You know where to find me………………….

Rock on!!!

I existed in a world that never is - the prison of the mind………….

LedDed's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2017
It's all about the content...

I have a blu-ray player, but waited awhile to get one. I have, personally, never cared about the medium - the devices - as long as the content is good. I'll listen to the Dead on anything decent.

Or, given the situation, on something indecent. Like a crappy battery-operated speaker while camping. As long as those tunes keep coming, that's enough for me.

I still watch old Humphrey Bogart and Hitchcock movies in B & W. Doesn't bother me, kind of adds to the charm.

mbarilla's picture
Joined: Aug 8 2013
:) "Thats right the woman are smarter ...

Thats right the woman are smarter
Thats right the woman are smarter
The woman are smarter , Thats right Thats right ...

little boy sit on the corner and cry

big man come and he asked him why

he says, "i can't do what the big boys do"

the man sat down and he cried too ...


Joined: Sep 15 2009

I download all GD releases to Itunes then manage my Ipod 80 gb classic to cater to whatever I want at the moment. Sometimes it's all GD, sometimes not. My concern is Apple is closing out Ipods as an option. When my best friend (Ipod 80 gb classic) dies what should I replace it with to continue to give me great sound and storage in a portable music playing device?

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

CD's/CD-R's in my living room using an Onkyo 6-disc changer.

Separate HD's containing AIFF, AAC-320 Kbps, ALAC, FLAC. Need to cover all my bases.
Recently got a car with a USB port so I use flash drives with AAC-320 Kbps files (lossy and brief gaps between tracks but I figure leaving flash drives in my car is better than an expensive music player).

Have an iPod classic 60 GB that I just use on airplanes.

Will buy a portable player in the future when there is one available that takes dual 512 GB (or larger) cards. Don't need it now so I can wait.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

Not numbered.
Pre-order probably gives them an idea how many to manufacture - pre-orders plus expected later sales.

Joined: Apr 23 2008

You're new so you don't know. Even when they are numbered/preorder that has nothing to do with what you get. This year I orded Dave's sub within an hour of it going up. My latest-23- was 13000. They make no effort to match early purchasers and the number they got.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

ALAC's, Wav's.. CD copies, not too much flac, but I can work with it. tin can at the end of a string, Vinyl, cassette, 8 track... I can get just about anything to work in a bind.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
What audio format does everyone use?

HDs filled with flacs or wavs, depending on player, from EAC rips of CDs on a 7.1 home theater system.

CDs, but the HDs sound just as good so...

portable would be a Sony Walkman HD which plays flac files and over the ear Sony headphones.

Joined: Aug 3 2017
RFK 1989

are these discs numbered? if not whats the point of pre-order?

simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007

CDs on a old-school stereo (also vinyl & cassettes).
FLAC downloads burned to CD.
Portable - none (I need some peace sometimes).

Joined: Jul 9 2007

Flac files. At home I have two "Bluesound Node 2" units that plug into old amps. Files are stored on a NAS attached to a router. Portable, android phone.

Joined: Nov 2 2010
What audio format does everyone use?

I'm just curious which audio format that people are using now. Also, what kind of portable audio player do you like best? I have been using Apple Lossless and iPod Touch as well as an Onkyo digital player the last few years. What is your favorite and why? Over the ear headphones or in ear? Be good :)

Joined: Oct 27 2015

DaL mentioned in one of the video that 2018 will be even better than 2017. So.....something that are better than the May '77 shows, Close Encounters, Felt Forum, March '73, and Summer '89. What would that be??? Any thoughts?

Joined: Jul 2 2015
Reeling in Dead

have way too much backlog already can hardly keep up with the supply!

Not yet listened to much of GSTL other than Buffalo.
Listened to DaP 23 first CD twice, due to time constraints.
Did listen to ttats 77 show which was actually pretty good, and Amsterdam europe 72 finally, while waiting for DaP 23.
In the mood for some long-unlistened-to Dick's Picks next, after completing DaP23 this weekend.
3cd Amazon movie soundtrack also still in shrink wrap, but this announcement has put me in the mood to dip into that Warlocks cigar box again.

NCDead's picture
Joined: Apr 16 2015
2017 has been a good year

And you gotta have hope for the future since Dave in the DaP 23 seas side chat he is looking forward to/feels 2018 will be even a better year.

Joined: Sep 21 2011
Don't Forget GD50th

that was also released this year with the nice 7/29-30/66 cherry added on the top.

So Far:
1) GD 50th Ann + 7/29-30/66
2) Dave's 21 (4/2/73)
3) Long Strange Trip (Movie + 3 CD Set)
4) Dave's 22 (12/7/71)
5) May 1977 Get Shown The Light (5/5, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9)
5a) Cornell 5/8/77
6) Dave's 23 (1/22/78)
7) Meet-up at Movies 7/12/89
8) RFK '89 Box (7/12&13/89)
9) All the Singles releases
10) Dave's 24 ???

That's a nice year. Most important thing is the Betty's are back & the releases will likely relfect it. If there is '73-'78 stuff they have been missing for a while & it's back, I'd say now is the time. My bet for Dave's 24 is something from '74 or '76.

Joined: Jan 13 2010
GD78 is awesome.

so many good shows.

so many many good shows.

so many many many good shows.

Joined: Jan 13 2010
odd little places

I happened upon the double album Steal Your Face. very odd.
11/25/82. had a speedy cassette for years. now on youtube at normal speed.
4/16/78 first set. WOW.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

Grate suggestions by all. I will also suggest Two From The Vault.

A lot of the shows sold on this website are limited edition and sell out quickly. The 'non-limited' ones hang around for a while but eventually are gone.

Joined: Jul 2 2015

there are some europe 72 shows still for sale here in the shop surprisingly. You won't regret buying any of them, but I'd snap up 5/26/72 first.

Stepping Out is a great compilation of (the England only I believe) Europe 72 shows.

Ladies and Gentleman 71 is a very great place to start.

You probably like the sound from this era as Jerry was on his strat.

The cornell 3cd you may as well get also, or even the entire Get Shown the Light Box set.

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011

It kind of amazes me...the amount of comments on this site from people stating they don't like the DVD's...I know its just a preference thing, but I wish every show came with a video. I mean, who doesn't like watching what Jerry does with his fingers? And Bob Weirs style is so odd and subtle at times, I find really fascinating to see exactly what he adds to the mix...of course you can hear it but sometimes it can be elusive. Also, its great to see the crowds dancing and having a good time. Just one guys opinion here...YMMV.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
Confused. Limited or Not?

Maybe it's the new Rhino marketing strategy. Instead of waiting to announce the music only version after the limited version sells out, they are announcing the music only version first and will come out with the limited version box with the DVDs in September?

July 78 box is limited and still not sold out. Anything with a digital version available technically will never sellout, just the packaging and Dave's Picks are limited now.

Joined: Jun 5 2007
Confused. Limited or Not?

Haven't ordered yet but of course I'm going to.

On the XM Show, where DL2 talked about this release and played tracks, at the VERY VERY end of the show, he says "order now, this will sell out".

I don't see anywhere that this is a limited run... I mean, everything except time and space is limited. But is this like a 10K unit run, or is it 25K? I don't see any mention of this being a "numbered" edition...
so yeah it may sell out but it may be in 2 years

anyone know the scoop?

Joined: Jun 4 2007
The year in releases

After 2015 and the release of Boxilla, it's been proven that even a set full of '80's and '90's shows will sell out for a premium cost, so the demand angle has been confirmed in spades.

Fast forward to this year and not only do we get Cornell '77, but also Buffalo '77 plus the two other May '77 shows, four nice Dave's Picks releases and as the cherry on top of the psychedelic sundae RFK '89 as an unexpected bonus. It's been a perfect year and there's still another Dave's Pick, another Record Store Day release and the subscription for 2018.

I'm hoping for a '91 show to close out Dave's Picks this year. A year with something released from nearly every era.....not that I would mind another Brent show though....wink wink....

Joined: May 24 2017
Brent Mydland

I was just watching the 07/12/89 Touch of Grey video on Rolling Stone's website.

At the last run-around of the choruses when they switch from I will survive to We will survive and Brent joins in the harmonies and totally lifts up the vocals from Jerry and Bob, look at the huge smile that breaks on Jerry's face, and if there is any doubt that is the reason Jerry is smiling, re-watch and see how he then looks over at Brent and encourages him on.

I have seen that same thing happen almost every 89 show for which there is video.

It's clear that Jerry loved Brent, his musicianship and his vocals.

So for those of you who choose to bash or criticise Brent's contributions to the band, well I think there is someone in the band who wouldn't agree.

The Dead are what they are because of all the contributions bigger and smaller that evolved over time from the players and the crew that kept it fresh and that includes TC, Donna and Keith, Brent, Vince and Bruce.

I'm excited to hear 7/12/89 and 7/13/89 in full. Coming on the heels of a great year so far of Daves Picks and the 77 box set, it has been a great great year of releases.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Re: Overalls

How could you tell.. was it the nervous tic or the prison stripes under the overalls? Pretty funny... the next night we were close to where this guy is.

Joined: May 15 2012
89 Releases

Please, please release the Cal Expo run 2 weeks after Alpine.....The music was so loud and on fire the whole run. 11 song first set one of the nights. Saturday night they did a mind blowing Hey Pocky Way>Playin'>Rider>Terrapin to open the second set.....The place went absolutely fucking nuts.......It was right after Jerrys BD and I seem to remember them passing a huge HB card up to the stage.......There are good FM broadcast recordings out there.

Joined: Aug 6 2013
Yeah...I'm psyched

Bean Town '17..get some

Pssst...I think Jim is the dude in the overalls with the crooked hat in the opening seconds that's obviously hittin' the bowl in the top of said overalls. Just joshin'...Love ya Jim

Mayer~doin' some heavy lifting there if ya ask me.
Otiel as well.

kyleharmon's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007
Have 10/8 & 9/1989 for

Have 10/8 & 9/1989 for possible trade.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Testing the waters....

....that's easy. Europe '72. Hooked me!!

Joined: Mar 18 2010

I have only one suggestion for Mr. Melon- and it's divided into 97 parts. But really, here's my two cents- If not already a subscriber, check out the free trial to Spotify or iTunes...Their GD release catalog is quite impressive, and could help steer your ship closer to inspired waters. (How about being able to hear every Dick's Picks, all the Road Trips and Europe '72 for free...Try before you buy I guess...And there's a bunch more than those on the above streaming services.) My second cent is a trip to the Archive...Here's a link if needed to get started:

And please do remember the name Charlie Miller, because we love him, that's why

Joined: Mar 18 2010

Post...One more item officially off my bucket list...

Joined: Aug 6 2013
Sorry to interupt,but...

It seems we have new friends here. Hmmm

dubai-escorts-bunnies is online.
Interesting profile page.

Yo! Mary!

boblopes's picture
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Re: Starter kit

mhammond12 - great choices.

Butch - I'd also suggest signing up for a Dave's Pick yearly subscription. Get four limited release shows for a little over $100. If you don't like them you can easily recoup your money.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
"The set list is less than impressive"....

....what's the first rule of judging shows again? I try, and I know what is impressive? Phish has 10 shows of their 13 MSG run under their belt, and has not repeated a single shitty song yet. They are really gonna do it! That, is impressive, no matter which band you like....

Joined: Mar 3 2015

This release may be followed at some point with a box of the rest of the 89 summer tour. I agree the set list is less impressive than the rest of the tour but this is most likely a set up for a future box.

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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