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: Sep 9 2015
I like it

Definitely happy to see this release. Would have rather of seen Alpine but not complaining. 24 track should sound amazing. I would never watch the DVD so happy to not have it included here. Should lessen the amount of unhappy people when the next Dave's Pick is from the early 70's. Would have been great if there wasn't such a long preorder wait. I am a fan of the late 80s and will reach for this often. Count me in.

Born Cross Eyed in 1956's picture
Joined: Aug 25 2008
Bang! bang! bang! bang!

Start dancing snafu & mustin321, 'cause I just shot at your feet for saying those two words.
That's a one ounce shot glass with cheap whiskey, no guns involved here.

Joined: Jul 21 2015
smadsen - Adventures in HDCD (bring back peak extend)

Interesting HDCD observation by smadsen. I've noticed that the CDs in recent years do not seem to fully implement the HDCD specification, in particular peak extend. Dave's 20-22 come to mind. No peak extend, disappointing from that perspective.

I was wondering if anyone else noticed.

On the other hand, numerous earlier releases have excellent HDCD implementation, with peak extend, examples: Ladies & Gentlemen, Europe '72 complete, FW 1969, Dozin' at the Knick, Winterland both 1973, 1977 sets, So Many Roads, Formerly the Warlocks, To Terrapin & others. Also, Garcia Shining Star & How Sweet It Is. These all have great balance, fine dynamic range without compression.

Other than the Dave's series, they've been making high res downloads available. Those are completely uncompressed with optimal audio, a better choice than HDCD for anyone primarily interested in audio quality, especially the limited HDCD implementation in the recent years releases. The engineers should use peak extend for the CD only releases. Perhaps they don't because without decoding HDCD with peak extend are not perfectly compatible.

Born Cross Eyed in 1956's picture
Joined: Aug 25 2008
Excellent choice

But I'm not quite the latter-stage Dead fan I once was, but I really do love the price-point here, so I'll more than likely order this just before release date. For me, the total price with shipping and sales tax should be an extra $10 or so, bringing this baby up to $75 to $77 USD.
5.75 bolts (out of 6)

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011
No Space?

They didn't play Space on 7/12/89 --- I think the price should be lowered because of that...JUST SAYING!

Joined: Apr 23 2008
Someone please shoot the next

Someone please shoot the next person to say or write "just saying". Just saying

outpost's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2007
Pre-ordered for UK

A lot of site traffic, but eventually got it ordered ...... another great release. Keep them coming' !!

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
June 9, 10 1973

No Jack.. you have that confused with the box that gets announced on August 8th. :D

1fmgsr's picture
Joined: Jul 31 2017
Download Cost?

If there is no DVD, how much is the digital download?

Jack Baller's picture
Joined: Jan 27 2015
Must be a typo

I love '89 and attended many shows that year.

But I think there's a typo on this page.

Shouldn't the dates for the initial RFK box set be June 9 and 10, 1973?

MiracleMan1982's picture
Joined: Feb 28 2015
No question...

An easy purchase :) Great couple of shows here, and Normanized no less! Bummer there's no DVD, but I'm sure some stealth head will film tonight's meet up and post it like they did the Beat Club meet up. All in all a nice Tuesday surprise right before heading to the movies tonight.

Joined: Aug 31 2011
JFK '89

Crimson white indigo is on Amazon now for under $29. For viddy and audio. Just saying. For the record, think this is great too, hate when deadheads bitch too much, as I am guilty of sometimes, and am glad it's coming out, especially in mixed multitrack excellence. (Just hope it doesn't mean Giants will never be released!)

Maybe the DVD will be a bonus surprise in the package and then won't we all feel greedy.....

Nanno-1974's picture
Joined: Mar 31 2014
Summer '89

This is a great release. Summer '89-Spring '90 is the last truly fantastic period for the GD. Every show from Summer '89 is dynamite.

Thanks to all involved for releasing these shows.

Joined: Aug 31 2011

At least it's not limited edition, right? I can wait to decide for when I become the richer deadhead I always imagined myself to be?

Joined: Jul 9 2007

I do not see anything about this being limited. Does anyone know if this is a general release? This is a nice surprise from Dave L. who doesn't like the 80's (it is has been reported, but not proven).

Joined: Aug 31 2011
No viddy?

I thought this was like JFK '89, Crimson, white, indigo with video, but is it just audio? Not to bitch, but...65+shipping, tax for just 6 discs of audio? No, I don't think I'll go for this. If it was Giants, I would, since those were my first shows, but.....none of these big stadium ones are as hot as the first night at Alpine valley was which was one of the best of the year. Think RFK '90, the pre-drums which was released on the RFK '91 as filler is better than the two in '89 also.

Joined: Nov 11 2010

...easily ordered...low overseas shipping...hopefully no import charges!

Dusty.rambler's picture
Joined: Mar 13 2015
No limited addition?

This does not appear to be a limited edition numbered set. I'm not stressing about it, but just wonder why? Too much heat about the Cornell box? Thoughts?

EdTheHead's picture
Joined: Oct 16 2013
HDCD for me please.

All my main players decode HDCD. And you don't need special player to play one. SACD you do unless you have hybrid SACD which has two layers which I suppose most are now for compatibility. Why not HDCD and SACD dual layer disc to cover all modes. Does anyone even make SACDs anymore? I've missed the HDCD mastering on the last few Garcia Live CD releases. Not that the CDs don't sound quite fine played on an Oppo BDP-83SE I have dedicated to my old I guess vintage nowadays stereo system I play this stuff on.

(Someone in another thread mentioned folks here probably in their 30s-40s... try 60s-70s!)

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007

....I rarely have the time to sit down and watch a concert, so no skin off my back. I like this release. I like it a lot....

1986graceland's picture
Joined: Jan 27 2015

No mention of a DVD that I can see.? its a 6 cd box set.

Joined: Feb 16 2017
HDCD Must End

For some time now GD releases have been marked as HDCD but no HDCD encoding is actually used, not even peak-extend. The discs will trip the HDCD flag on a HDCD-equipped player (or ripping software like dBpoweramp with HDCD plug-in) but all that means is that a (now old but still very good) Pacific Microsonics Analog-to-Digital Converter was used in the mastering. (You can tell what features are active by playing the discs using foobar2000 with the HDCD plug-in and setting it to display HDCD status.) Playing them through a HDCD player will just reduce the volume by 6 dB. The undecoded files sound the same as decoded files that have been boosted 6 dB to get back the missing volume. It's misleading to advertise these as HDCD discs and that practice should stop but your're not missing anything by not having an HDCD player.

Joined: Mar 3 2015

I don't want the dvd. It would add to the cost and I have no interests in sitting down and watching a video from 89. The Dead music yes but visual in 89 no.

Joined: Jul 24 2017
24 track mix and digital download!

LOVE that this is getting the 24 track mix treatment AND a 192/24 digital download option! EVERY SINGLE RELEASE SHOULD HAVE A DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OPTION, period!

Looking forward to this!

rangzen's picture
Joined: Nov 17 2016
love 89 90

You lucky people, I only had to pay $10 for P&P but suppose I'll get hit with customs at my end.

1fmgsr's picture
Joined: Jul 31 2017
Rhino of Mexico

Daves Picks 23 was made in Mexico. Rhino, really. For what we pay, it should be MADE IN THE USA!

Easywind54's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
HDCD Has to End

It's becoming extremely difficult to find any new hardware that contains a DAC chip that decodes HDCD. This technology is at its end and is subject for debate if it was really any good to begin with. PLEASE STOP USING HDCD and START USING SACD.

Regarding the release, this may be the first I don't order. I have a ton of 1989 and don't feel it's necessary for my collection. However, if the DVD's of both nights were included, would be a no-brainer.

Miss you Jerry, always; but on your birthday especially. Cheers....

EdTheHead's picture
Joined: Oct 16 2013
Order problems (what else is old..)

Trying to buy one of these. Added to cart, went to checkout, nothing in cart. Went back thinking maybe it didn't get added and did it again. Now have a "2" in the upper-right on dead net, but nothing shows up, "Cart is Empty" on gratefuldead.warnermusic com. Like dead net isn't comunicatin' with warnermusic. Anyone else having a problem ordering?

Joined: Aug 8 2016
Glad to see some satisfaction

...for the 80s fans.

Now, I won't feel so greedy if Dave's 24 is a 60s or 70s release.

Joined: Aug 1 2017
Why no DVD?

Why aren't the DVDs being released? Especially since you know they already went through the trouble of syncing the audio to the video for at least the first show for the movie event. Please include the DVDs in this box set! It's been 7 years since Crimson White and Indigo and we would love to see another DVD release

Joined: Jun 8 2007
How about RFK '73 ?

Thanks; have ordered.

How about a deluxe set of the '73 Dead/Allmans RFK shows. Include the openers Wet Willie and Doug Sahm too.

Joined: Sep 1 2014
Why these?

There must be something lurking under the surface. As it stands I'm definitely not going to get this one. I may be into The Dead-but its nice to at least try for a bit of discernment.

Joined: Jun 6 2007
Gonna have to spring for this...

Haven't spent money for dead in a LONG time - we usually just stream shows. But this is part of my history - I think I need it!

mbarilla's picture
Joined: Aug 8 2013

GOOSEBUMPS when i think about


"Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again"

"To Lay Me Down"


May 30, 2017 - 6:50am #1082
mbarilla's picture
Joined: Aug 8 2013
Send PM
"Go get one" ~ the Last 5
would love to hear these shows !!

last 5

~ 11.22.68 ~

~ Ladies and Gentlemen April 1971 compilation ~ lots of graduation parties over the weekend and neighborhoods full of people. Perfect time to cruise around and blast this one !!

HAHA one huge party had cars lined up the street for as long as the eye could see got treated to a special serving from the MAN himself ~ PIGPEN !!! "Uncle John's Band -> Turn On Your Lovelight" ~ 4.27.71 , served em up just as PIGPEN was staring his "Pocket Pool" rap on the recording. Really hope to see the May 1971 RSD (anniversary today) release on CD, that one never really gets mentioned.

~ 12.30.86 ~ start of 2nd set Grateful Dead Hour ~ WCBE 90.5

~ 7.8.81 ~ Tapers Section from yesterday

~ 7.13.89 ~ Tapers Section from yesterday , sweet 1st set and this combo was a real treat for me, certainly not the best but i could only imagine for the newer audience at show , must have floored a lot of people ~ Skull Splitter stuff

"Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again ; To Lay Me Down"



*+*+* ~ TO LAY ME DOWN ~ *+*+*

*+*+* ~ LET THE WORLD GO BY ~ *+*+*

*+*+* ~ To wait beside you
*+*+* ~ my love still sleeping
*+*+* ~ to tell sweet lies
*+*+* ~ one last time
*+*+* ~ and say goodnight

giantnerd's picture
Joined: Jun 24 2007

You fixed it!!! Thanks!!!

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
What's in the box

It seems like a rush job on the page and lots of info left to be filled in later.
Warlox 89 had the nice rolling tray and other schwag as part of the box and just recently sold out.
The Buffalo and Philly 1989 Summer releases both have DVDs, the meet up at the movie tonight is one of these shows and probably a special announcement of the release will be part of the movie tonight.

Maybe they just haven't told us about the DVDs yet, C'mon add some special surprise bonus DVDs Mr Pinkus.

On the other hand with no preorder bonus this will probably be available in a lesser cover on Amazon like the Sunshine Daydream set with "exclusive" slipcover the only difference.

Joined: May 9 2017

What were the first six MEET-UP AT THE MOVIES'?

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015
To satisfy the call for a Brent release

Which means that DaP 24 will not be a Brent show.

Fingers crossed that DaP 24 = 6-14-76

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011
For the record

Dave is all about the DVD', if they aren't included, its above him. I'll still remain optimistic that we'll see another DVD release, of whatever show, eventually.

Slow Dog Noodle's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007
There has to be DVDs too

For $65 right? Isnt that steeper than usual for two shows? Im thinking the video will be included.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011

Yea.. they should offer the DVDs. I pushed Dave on why they don't release DVDs a few years back. I didn't get a direct answer, but I suspect if sales of prior DVDs were more robust, we would have gotten more DVDs released. Perhaps its a Rhino decision, not sure.. I can't help but think Dave would be all in.. I mean.. they already have the video for these shows.

Perhaps a slow but steady drum beat would help? DVDs please.. DVDs yes.. :D

On the bright side.. at least they remembered Jerry's birthday!!

MLavallee's picture
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Well now this came out of nowhere...

Of all the 2 night runs this is what you go with? Still, nice to venture out of the 70s. Maybe these are better than I recall. From memory these nights weren't very remarkable. No matter, no holes in my collection, ordered. Shame about the lack of DVDs, that's almost criminal negligence right there.

Sixtus_'s picture
Joined: Nov 8 2014
Love '89

This is fantastic and also caught me off guard. I love me some '89, '90, '91....damn all of it. But '89 had some interesting setlists and the bust out of the MIDI, which I thought helped to bring everyone to new directions.

Very happy to see this.


Thin's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2013

Awesome! "Why not 2 box releases per year, Spring and Fall?" I recently commented. And here we are. Balances out the '70's-centric Dave's picks series, so releasing stuff from all eras. If we plodded along at 1 box/yr it would take forever to release gems like Ark box '69, Winter/Spring '71 box, Feb 73 box, Spring or Summer '73 box, Summer '76 box, Fall '77 box, Jan '79 box, '83 '84 Greek boxes, '91 Boston box, etc....

I guess they figure this box won't eat into Dave's Picks subscription sales. Given the recent outcry about DaP selling out so fast, I'm guessing they're not worried about this cannibalizing DaP sales.

Yes, interesting that they are only releasing the audio, not the pro-shot video. Still waiting for the optimal video format/delivery method I guess.

Joined: Jul 7 2017
Only tangential

Also for Garcia's bday today, NPR's The Takeaway used all Dead for its interstitial music. I know I caught Peggy-O and Don't Ease Me In. Not sure what else they included.

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011

Yes, where are the DVD's? Add the DVD's and charge more. Everyone will be happier!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
They must have rushed this up on the site

Many typos, but they seem to be fixing them on the fly. Warf Rat?

two 7-12-89 shows? second is obviously 7-13

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Caught me off guard...

I caught these.. I think I have just one listen since, years ago.. so this is a pleasant surprise.

yea.. where are the DVDs? You're not holding out on us, are you Dave? :D

Joined: Jul 3 2007
24 Track Mix!

Love those multi-track mixes so keep 'em coming! Though with this release and the previous July 4 Buffalo release I'm starting to doubt I'll ever get my Alpine '89 Box:(

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011
More 80's?!?

Did they forget about the 70's...geez, if they'd only release more shows from the 70's.

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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