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: 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.

Joined: Jul 17 2007
Real excited for this!!!!

But a November release??? Come on, why not September at least?

Dennis Wilmot's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2012
Looking forward to this.

My era, great recording.

giantnerd's picture
Joined: Jun 24 2007

I'm trying to order this from my phone but I can't as the "first name" field won't stay on the screen and I can't access it. I pull it down and it skips right back up.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015
The Holiday release

Not a mention of limited editions or other qualifiers this seems to be a real release for the masses.

They should put in the DVDs too, you know they have them...

Where's the Dave's seaside chat?

Joined: Jun 16 2007
RHINO again?

Is Rhino going to get this release right? Bc we know creating CDs now counts as rocket science. I can't wait to see how they screw this one up.

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

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