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: Nov 5 2010
Don't worry LoveJerry

My comment was just a little irony about all the recurrent situation when this era discussion happens, it's always the same.

Everybody has his own tastes and I respect that. In fact, I prefer 60's and 70's GD. But I like almost all they did. Even there are good 90's shows.

Clearly Spacebro is a fan-atic of 80's GD, and when shows from that era are released he is overenthusiastic and passionate about it. Sometimes to the point to be offensive.

But we are all sometimes fanatics too, we aren't?. It wasn't my intention to create a bad mood.

Mhammond definition of genius is a interesting definition of genius, a definition that it isn't a definition, "can't define it but I recognize it when I see it."

IMO, Just like Kayak Guy said about Blake, genius it's in the process, not in the outcome. -:)

Joined: Apr 23 2008
@ mhammond

Ha!! I Think that was the best post on the subject yet

LoveJerry's picture
Joined: Mar 19 2015
oh you're welcome luis

but I would have given you mine:-)

But besides, my post was more directed at Spacebrother and his need to apologize to the people who don't care of Brent.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Dirk Diggler

Since it was brought up.

Joined: Sep 15 2009
!!!!! PORNOGRAPHY !!!!!

HeHeHe. That got your attention.

Genius is like pornography. I can't define it but I recognize it when I see it.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015

Blake is great, the prints are detailed and unique. Trying to figure him out, is like trying to guess what Jerry was thinking 10 minutes into a Dark Star.

The Blake fourfold path of thought, as described by Robert Anton Wilson, "IT is A, IT is B, IT is both A & B, IT is neither A nor B, and therefore something new".
Of course IT being what ever you are thinking about, as it is a process not an actual object.

Joined: Sep 1 2014

There are so many great poets who are worth discovering-the list is endless. But to me, the most complete artist was William Blake. His poetry was truly original, transcendental and opposed to oppression in all forms.

He also illustrated many of his poems-and his art work is inspiring in its own right. But the best way to approach him, to my way of thinking is to read the illustrated books. That way you can read the poem accompanied by the illustration. The most approachable are "Songs of Innocence and Of Experience"-buy a copy of that and it will stay with you forever. The most complex are the epic poems-"Jerusalem"- which you can get in beautiful editions-but it will take you forever to understand it. It has me anyway.

He also actually printed these books himself, too.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Slooooow day at work today.... how about some more Long Beach! Sure Vguy, thought you would never ask! My pleasure, for your listening pleasure....
....they open the second set with a Tenn Jed -> Cumberland. Genius! They had me at that....

Joined: Nov 5 2010
To be kind

I totally agree that sometimes we need to be kind (miself first).
Simonrob, why not? Maybe we all have a bit of genius inside.
If others saw it, it would be fine.

David Duryea's picture
Joined: Sep 28 2009

Bill Watterson
Gary Larson
Gahan Wilson!!!

Joined: Feb 2 2010
Rex Foundation and Live Music Archive

Today is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota, where citizens are encouraged to financially support MN charities, non-profits, art organizations, and civil-rights defenders. So here is my annual plea for everyone here to please stop right now and give some money to Live Music Archive and the Rex Foundation, non-profit and charitable organizations near and dear to Deadheads.

I'll also mention the Southern Poverty Law Center, to whom an anonymous donor recently gave Jerry's Wolf guitar for auction. Someone else stepped forward to match the auction price, raising $3.2MM for the SPLC. That makes it Dead-related, so I'm mentioning it here.

Be kind.

Slow Dog Noodle's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007

Great topic.

I would put Pynchon at the top of my list of living authors. The dude (at least we think he may be a dude) is on a whole different level. I'm also a big fan of Joyce, Dostoyevsky, Borges, Ishiguro and Danielewski. There's so much great stuff out there.

Joined: Nov 5 2010
Genius and consensus

I agree with Shakespeare and many of the mentioned by Purpleerik69. I would add Cervantes and some more. The guitar and piano teachers, I don't know because they probably are not well known. Think of Van Gogh.

But to me for an artist to be socially recognized as a genius there must be a consensus, and with contemporary artists we probably haven't enough perspective.

But it's all right, we're all working at it.

About the RFK box, to be honest, I bought it three days ago. I don't know why, But when Lovejerry writes a post telling how bad was Brent and 80's GD, I go and buy the release immediately. Thanks, Lovejerry!!!

Dennis Wilmot's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2012
Genius or just a joke...

My wife is a huge reader (and not the supermarket shit), her vote for a genius might be David Foster Wallace, writer of Infinite Jest.

simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Dictionary definitions

Now that we have not one but two dictionary definitions of "Genius" courtesy of Luis, I realise that I fit the definitions on all counts. Maybe tomorrow I'll be made ruler of the cosmos, otherwise I may have to just ask the boss for a pay rise.

Dennis Wilmot's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2012
Jim - Missing Mom

FYI - picked up a second-hand Mom at a Garage Sale the other day cheap, could pass her along for almost no profit. She's good with the dishes!

Musical genius'? My musical brother says there are two types of musicians, refiners and definers. I would think definers would be genius'.

purpleerik69's picture
Joined: May 24 2015

well , that depends on my mood


thursday's child's picture
Joined: Mar 29 2012
Jack Kerouac and Hunter.....

.....both fine writers. But James Joyce and Virginia Woolf beat them to stream of consciousness writing by many years. Both Joyce and Woolf are in the argument for "genius" in their field.

Personally, I'd go with Shakespeare. BIG genius. No one has been his equal in the last 400+ years. Just putting that out there.

Joined: Nov 5 2010

Collins dictionary:

"A genius is a highly talented, creative, or intelligent person."

"great mental capacity and inventive ability; esp., great and original creative ability in some art, science, etc."

Royal Academy of Spanish Language dictionary:

"Extraordinary mental capacity to create or invent new or admirable things."

"A Person endowed with genius"

So I think it depends, if I consider a person is intelligent, creative, and he/she does new things, then it's genius. It's all relative.

For one person somebody would be a genius, for another wouldn't be.

It's a bit like the 70's vs 80's Dead debate. :-)

Meanwhile waiting for DaP 24 and RFK box here.

Joined: Apr 23 2008
The Duke

If you're referring to HST as a genius I'm not sure I'd put him there but there is no question he along with Keroac developed a new style of of consciousness. Not to mention he was hilarious

Joined: Aug 6 2013

Hunter S. Thompson


Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007

david byrne....danny elfman

Joined: Apr 23 2008
Definition of genius

Just one man's opinion but I think people are mistaking high level talent with genius. The names put out here are without question superior in musical talent and some may even approach the level of genius (thinking of Ray Charles) but for the most part don't make the cut. By definition the number geniuses are few and far between. An example that comes to mind is the Dead. No question Jerry was steeped in and greatly talented in all forms of Americana from bluegrass to rock to country he was tops at playing many styles and was able to write quality songs. That doesn't make him a genius but as to developing a new style of music not really. Phil excellent on the bass but ditto. Micky on percussion probably exceeds almost all in playing and of equal importance composing. I have loved the Dead for 50 years and these stated opinions in no way detract my respect for them as musicians. I will go back to my original choice of Frank Zappa. As a musician a composer an original thinker he has no equal in the field in the mid to late 20th century. Miles Davis might just be his equal. Again I come back to by its nature there are very few. Add to that Frank's total disregard for people's opinion in 2017 many have a hard time getting past his total disregard for political corectness his view that musicians were simply tools to work with and a lot of people don't like him in the least. That kinda fits into my previous point that geniuses are often not nice people. Many people want their icons to be great people me I want them to be great ar what they do. No question there are musical geniuses I haven't mentioned but my point that there are very few by simple nature can't seriously be challenged.

Joined: Sep 15 2009

Ahh Joni. She always falls through the cracks doesn't she? Sought out and befriended Mingus at the end. Truly a genius in the sense that genius is not constricted by genres or labels but still produces art that speaks to us. Joni Mitchell. That's a good call.

Joined: Sep 15 2009
Re: Snafu

The present day composer refuses to die.

Joined: Apr 23 2008
@ mhammond

Frank wpuld be very upset with you. Leaving off Edgar Varese without him who knows what direction etc FZ would've taken

Joined: Feb 2 2010
Great list, Mhammond

to which I would add Joni Mitchell. Took the folk idiom, merged it with jazz vocalist phrasing, pushed pop melody and harmony as far as they could stretch while still maintaining some semblance of song structure, and made the whole thing burn and soar. She's been imitated about 1000 times, but never duplicated.

This RFK box is suh-WEEEET! What glorious sound and inspired playing. The '78 box, the '77 box, the Eugene show, the show from 8/25/72, and now THIS?! Thank you, Dave and Rhino.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Re: Dragon With Matches

Just the booklet should be an easy fix.. try PM'ing MaryE here. She's four stars above an 800 number (and she love's Dalmatians, how cool).

Sixtus.. be careful repeating VGuy's Pagan chants and number combinations out loud. I think I've lost close family members that way. Without a trace, no explanation.

Miss you mom.

kyleharmon's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2007

Great playing on this night. and a wonderful 16 minute Eyes Of The World. inspired playing. jerry shines on this one. everyone got a great show that night if they were open to it. I hope this one gets released. it made one of my 90's shows that should be released list. <3 this show

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Sixtus my dear, dear friend....'s not odd at all! 30th of 3rd. 3's abound. Ever wonder why they primarily played 3 day runs? The answer is right in front of you. (Pretty cool Morning Dew that night in Long Beach. Broke my Dew cherry with aplomb!)....
...and no Dragon. I got my booklet. Sorry for the lack of help. That's the 1st I've heard of that snafu.

Joined: Jun 6 2007
RFK Box Set Book Missing

Just putting this out here, but I just received the RFK box and was surprised that the book is missing.
I emailed customer service and waiting for the reply,but has anyone else experienced this.

Sixtus_'s picture
Joined: Nov 8 2014
re: VGuy 30th of 3rd


This is the most specific, yet oddball anniversary I've encountered in the past four days.
I Like it. And will listen.


Joined: Sep 15 2009
Musical Geniuses Response

Making a list of "Musical Geniuses" is by definition exclusionary. There is a ton of artists that are "Honorable Mentions" in my mind that didn't make my final cut. Make your own list with comments to make your case. It's not that easy, taking the term "Musical Genius" seriously, but it's great fun.

Robert Johnson and Ray Davies are the perfect example.

boblopes's picture
Joined: Jan 13 2009
Two Words for Dave, David and Jeffrey: Dilly Dilly!

Dilly Dilly!

Listening to this fine release and my perceived "enthusiasm emitting from the stage" had me think of that recent Bud Light ad.

It's amazing how good the multitrack source sounds on CD. I do agree with most of the comments about the performance posted here - the positive and the negative. I am not a big fan of angry Brent, but besides those two tracks (FFM,LRR), I am loving his contribution on keys and organ and his contribution on Dear Mr Fantasy. Loving the tones from Tiger. Very good release, maybe not a top tier show, but thank you for releasing it. This bodes well for other multitrack shows from this tour I hope.

Dilly Dilly Mr Lemueix, Mr Norman and Mr Glasser!

Joined: Sep 1 2014
Someone else, too

How about Robert Johnson? His recordings from the 1930s took the blues to a higher plane. He took styles and lyrics used by earlier bluesman, added his own unique skill and talent and created a body of work that still sounds astounding today. His voice, and guitar style-particularly when he played slide-is in a class of its own.

His blues also rocked more than earlier bluesmens did, too, so in a sense he was playing the first rock and roll. I think he was the first one that utilised that bass figure used on so many recordings by Chuck Berry, and then by literally thousands of others. Without Robert Johnson, no Muddy Waters. Without Muddy Waters, no Rolling Stones.

gben's picture
Joined: Nov 5 2014
Musical Genius

I would have to add Brian Wilson, and Ray Davies

Joined: Sep 15 2009

Forgot Bill Monroe. Created bluegrass. Sorry.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Today is the 30th anniversary of my 3rd show...

Long Beach Arena 11.15.87. Pretty good show. Missed the first two songs gawking in the lot though. Oh well. Get Some!! this time, I was seriously getting IT.
edit.....anyone who likes and appreciates the Grateful Dead is a genius in my book....

Joined: Sep 15 2009
Contemporary Musical Geniuses- My Stab At It

1-Louis Armstrong. Introduced the concept of a jazz combo and the virtuoso soloist.
2-Duke Ellington. Synthesized blues, gospel, classical music, and jazz into a unique and instantly recognizable sound.
3-Charlie Parker. Shredded contemporary standards of what could be played by a jazz musician.
4-Frank Sinatra. Transformed the American pop song into an art form. His sense of timing and dynamics is pure genius. Try singing along with him, he will frustrate you no end. Also invented the "concept album".
5-Ray Charles. Synthesized gospel and blues into a whole new genre, rhythm and blues.
6-Miles Davis. Was responsible for creating about 4 or 5 jazz genres, single-handedly.
7-James Brown. Created Funk.
8-Elvis Presley. Took black music, bluegrass, and gospel and added pure sex into a unique blend that changed the world and opened the door for The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Basically created rock and roll.
9-Bob Dylan. Blended a literary and intellectual stew into folk music and rock and roll that is still evolving to this day.
10-Frank Zappa. Incorporated doo-wop, Stockhausen, Cage, Stravinsky, into a unique blend that also added a savage attack on contemporary social norms combined with a virtuoso guitar.
11-Grateful Dead 1967-69. Every possible musical influence you could name transformed by LSD into a musical stew that had never been heard before.

Joined: Aug 13 2017
regarding Phil's comments...

I wonder if that had a lot to do with the fact his voice was shot and he stopped singing. That in and of itself had to have an affect on his spirit. Like you said... It's just life. None of us are the same at 40 that we were at 20 (even though we may try to convince ourselves we are)....

I like Jerry's comment on Dave's Pick 24, before Sugar Magnolia... paraphrasing... we don't even play like that anymore, man, you know, you know, all things must pass and all that sh!t ....


mdboucher's picture
Joined: Apr 2 2009

I think Jim is right on this, in that "masterful" or some other term that means "very, very good" is more appropriately used for most examples than "genius."
For me an actual "Genius" is someone who simply sees things differently, whose innate behaviors (playing music in this case) are unique to them. The things that seem unique to the listener are obvious/natural to the Genius.
Many people can have moments of genius--it comes up in their solo or songwriting, etc. A big G Genius just approaches everything with a different perspective from the beginning, and takes them to a different place.
I feel pretty strongly that Phil is a genius. No one else is like him, his bass is unlike any other player. His beginning perspective was certainly influenced by his modern classical background and not really knowing how to play bass when he joined the band.

shirdeep's picture
Joined: Sep 5 2017

Joined: Sep 10 2009

Genius does not necessarily refer to brain capacity and high IQ.
I'd say Duke Ellington and Gershwin could be considered 20th century musical geniuses. Could make a case for Ray Charles too.

Slow Dog Noodle's picture
Joined: Jun 12 2007

Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.

simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Genius x2

John Hartford ?

Doug Sahm ?

Not being frivolous here!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
RFK Cover Art

Great stuff Jeff! Thanks for posting. Love the Square covers!!!

Sixtus_'s picture
Joined: Nov 8 2014
Mister Duryea

Awesome story my friend. It was able to place me right back into that groovy decade, complete with anti-long locks mandates and big collars. I can definitely see why you got turned off from the sauce so early on; I am glad that your buddy was able to see the forest for the trees and apologize each time afterwards. It's almost like it could be a period-comic book or after school special. But, this line gave me the best chuckle of all; you are quite the humble man: "Anyway, being loud, obnoxious and doing stupid things I'd regret the next day came naturally to me." Sometimes additives aren't unnecessary! In fine contrast to your conversation with the talkative flower bed.

Happy Days, All!


MinasMorgul's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2015

Nice post. You summed it up about as accurately as can be, and sifted out the negativity of the LoveJerrys, and the overexuberance of the Spacebrothers. This release is another day at the office for the 89 Dead. The set lists feature a lot of down tempo or B songs. Agree with Space, the TOG is damn fine. I can't say the same for Minglewood. While it's one of the better 80s versions, to rank it BOAT is detached fanboy talk. You need only go to Dave's 23 in Eugene, or Cornell, or even 4/29/71.

direwulf's picture
Joined: Oct 15 2007

Not that I care but you can't cherry pick quotes as black and white proof about people's opinions. I mean if we did that we should post about Billy's quito from his book saying how he thought the buck stopped with Keith in his opinion. I believe it's in the same few pages as his comments about Brent. Dont care enough to find it, maybe someone does.

But I like it all, some more than others oh well, truly to me the real issue is the return of Mickey. One drummer is what this music and that drummer is the kid.

David Duryea's picture
Joined: Sep 28 2009

I never got into alcohol. I had a good friend who was the kindest gentlest guy you could ever meet. I would pick up his girlfriend at her house so that they could go out together. Her parents hated him because he had been kicked out of school for his hair and was attending continuation and I was getting straight A's in advanced courses.

I was still at the local high school and just pushing the dress code as far as it could bend. Spent quite a lot of time in Vice Principal Grabowski's office. At that time the rules were that hair couldn't be one length or touch the collar or the ears. Their justification was it distracted the other students.

Now what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Lee liked to drink beer. When I came to take Pam back home later in the evening after he had had a six pack or so he would accuse Pam and me of having an affair behind his back and want to fight me. With me being a stone pacifist it never came to blows. And the next day he'd apologize profusely.

After observing firsthand the radical changes he went through I never had a desire to drink. Anyway, being loud, obnoxious and doing stupid things I'd regret the next day came naturally to me.

I never talked to God, but did have a very colorful conversation with a flower bed walking home after seeing Big Brother at Speedway Meadow on psilocybin .

A piece of sage advice: Never break open an amylnitrate popper when you're halfway up a ladder.

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