RFK Stadium 1989 Box
LESS THAN 5000 LEFT
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.
Release Date: 11/10/17
Limited Edition of 15,000
A Dead.net Exclusive
Listening Party: THE BIG ONE
Far From Me
To Lay Me Down
Looks Like Rain
R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7/12/89)
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LOVED the Scarlet > Fire Friday. Luckily it didn't start too slow like the 11/6/77 one! haha Kayak...
Again, my preference for 1st set Friday was likely due to them playing songs my son DID know. The peril (and sometimes the upside) of bringing a newbie to a show is you look at it through their eyes, and he got "lost" after Scar>Fire cuz he didn't know the songs... Drums>Space didn't help!!!! I recall my first show - I was totally appalled at Drums>Space. "Don't they know this sucks?" I actually felt embarrassed for them. Too funny.
I enjoyed the Friday show. My review is probably in between Kayak Guy and Thin, so take it for what you will. I did prefer the second set. First set was up and down and didn't really take off for me until Althea, which I thought had some real nice moments. Sugaree ripped. Not too much of the rest was notable in the first half. Second set got off to great start with Scarlet>Fire and I think D&C do a nice job with He's Gone--heard it a few times and always seems to strike me right. Space needed a little something and that's when Chimenti righted the ship and drove the jam to the right space. Good closure to the set. And I like it when Mayer goes acoustic so a real nice ending with Ripple. Definitely worth seeing D&C and I think they all are playing really well together.
Was that Tower records the best record store in the country? I was living in Boston 82-4 and my landlord was seeing a woman living in a loft on 7th and Madison (?) With 2 other women all artists. Once a month I'd go down with him to visit. We'd get there a couple hours before any of the women got home so Tower was the logical place to go. Memory is a bit weak but if I remember correctly it was on 3rd street and was 7 floors. The one thing I don't miss about the city was that was the peak of the crime period. 3 times as many murders on down the line. Thanks for the memories that was a gpod couple of years. And just my opinion but 83 was the best year of the 80's for the dead. Saw almost 40 shows ( helps working for an airline). Without looking it up wasn't MSG where they brought back St. Stephen?
He was underrated, no doubt. Saw AC/DC several times, and the biggest takeaway was always the tight playing and showmanship.
I saw a comment about Bob Weir also being one of the most underrated rhythm players. I think because he doesn't play rhythm half the time. He has a unique stylet for the rock genre (if you can even give the Dead that label). He's more like a chord filler-inner. Sure, songs like Bertha and Jack Straw feature him in a traditional rhythm role, but half the time or more, he's just hitting sharp chords between beats (Scarlet / Fire, Estimated Prophet for example). And then you have Jerry playing rhythm on something like Franklin's Tower or Eyes of the World, and Bird Song, and Keith holding down the rhythm primarily (while Jerry plays lead and Bobby just jumps in where it sounds good, sometimes he'll play the rhythm part, then drop out and do chord fills). This isn't all the time as I hear it, and less in the early days, but I think that's part of the reason he's not often talked about as one of the greats. The somewhat open form of the Dead makes the synergy between band members more important than most live bands, because in a case like I described with Weir, you have to play off each other, as opposed to memorizing your parts. Magnificent band.
In between Dead shows and work life, I clocked a LOT of nights at Maxwell's and at the Lone Star, great friendly atmosphere at both, less uptight than many other club venues. Metro area shows by REM, Robyn Hitchcock, Elvis Costello, Springsteen were usually worth the effort. (I, tragically for me, overlooked Zappa for decades.) Tower was open late, and 80s records by Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel and U2 remain benchmark joys for many around my age (57). All-in, 80s music was good enough, until jazz got into me and I got into jazz starting in 1988.
Getting acquainted with this set, it got pushed in the queue for the new Dylan Bootleg Series but it holds its own. I really liked Spring '90, TOO was the first set I got, but I think between this, 7/7 and the Warlocks set, I'd say '89 may have been a better year than '90. Don't know..there was some good stuff on those Spring '90 boxes..need to go back to that. 3/14, 3/30 and 4/2 for me.
On officially released 1989, I'll say I haven't gotten into the 30 Trips inclusion from Miami. If I'm not mistaken, one of only a few multi-tracks in the box, but never stood out. Another one to replay.
In the RFK set, both first sets have been enjoyable and the sound quality literally can't get any better. I think the second set gives 7/13 an edge, Terrapin always win.
The thunderstorm overdubs on Looks Like Rain are a bit kitschy, but as I understand it reflects the actual ambiance.
Lot of good listening here lately..8/25/72, RFK, Dylan Bootleg Series, new Langhorne Slim, Dylan live last weekend. Streamed all or part of each of the D&C Fall shows so far. I need more shows.
The Dylan gospel Bootleg has me listening to some of the shows I have from the era..Jerry joined him for several tracks on 11/16/80 at the Warfield. That was the night after Bloomfield joined him for what would be his last live performances. None of the Jerry or Mike songs made the official release, but there are good recordings out there. Great live stuff from this box, underrated. Dylan even employed two drummers for a spell there in '81...what a crazy notion..
Peace be with you, too.
By the way I'm loving this new box. I'm on my second listen. Awesome sound, and Jerry rips it on that Fantasy. I love all phases of the Dead.
I'm thinkin' of paying for the D&C stream tonight. It starts at 4 PM PST, I'd like to start watching around 7 PM PST. My question: once you pay for it can you start watching it from the beginning any time or is it only available live? Thanks in advance for your sage advice.
Died 7 November. The man who (imo) ruined Terrapin Station (and was hired by Jerry to do so). What were they thinking? I still remember taking my freshly purchased copy round to a frends place to play (his hifi was better than mine). We were really getting into the Terrapin suite when.....wtf was that? We ended up rolling around laughing. I really wish they would release a version without all the orchestral and choir overdubs.
Anyway, Paul Buckmaster only did what he was paid to do, and many other of his orchestrations were much more successful (Stones,Bowie, Elton etc.) RIP (but maybe stay clear of Jerry up there!)
I'm a curmudgeon, so I'm not suprised by Thin and I enjoying different sets.
It was a good show, but nothing like the Water's show, which was probably the best thing I saw this year.
I'm usually a huge fan of the Drums, but that one was disappointing and had me yelling it needed more cowbell, it seemed to lack a theme and never found one.
I was surprised how much I did like, out of the lackluster Drums was a Jazz Jam, Wharf Rat into Wheel that were done well, Sugar Mag, you can't get any better than Bobby doing Bobby and the Ripple tied it together with a nice bow.
No matter what Thin says the Viola Lee made my night.
I did smile during the Scarlet Fire knowing Thin was in attendance with the 11/6/77 up as the next Dave's ;)
The Cowboy Junkies came along in the 80s, the late 80s. A band we go see every chance we get. Lots of old Dead types there. Loved the GD in the mid 80s. The scene was still fairly mellow. While Jerry was clearly not well, and at times sounded like froggy, he still had his chops. The band had changed their sound, but not in a bad way IMHO. It's a shame someone like Betty wasn't recording back then.
I'm very thankful for the excellent work Mr. Miller, and others, have made available from that era.
You are so right, the 80's sucked big moose c*@k. The Grateful Dead were the only thing going at the time, the rest were pretty much crap. There were a few bands out there still trying to turn us all on...The rise of Peter Gabriel for instance, he came out of the 80's, well, that's one anyway lol.
Good posts David D. I myself, think reality is overrated too, but unfortunately, it has a way of taking over, unless you're tripping every day. Do tell your Disney experience, besides not being let in for long hair, which I had heard about but never experienced. I worked for the construction supervisors at EPCOT and at the time, I had long hair, which did get me some strange double take looks as I was walking thru the underground tunnels doing what my job was. And yes, there is a brig down there, looked bleak, don't recommend a visit. Every time I think about it I'm reminded of that Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers comic, when they went to Disney and were beat up by those Disney goons with the mouse ears on....funny, but true? Remember, it's a three beer two joint ride to Disney.
We lost a true rock and roller with the passing of Malcolm Young. Him and Bobby must be the two most underrated rhythm guitarists ever. Saw them in 85, those about to rock tour, was up front in the pit before it was called a pit, got so hot and jammed I had to get out of there, was laughed at as I waded thru all the faithful, but it was like being sealed in a sardine can, it was so packed and hot and no air, leave or fall out. They rocked hard, the cannons were really loud as was the bell they rang for Back in Black, for rocking hard, these guys were up there with the best, gave it their all. Never forget Malcolm, the man never stopped moving, just playing the crap out of that guitar, but all eyes were on Angus who was rolling around on the stage and bending strings with the best of them. And during all of that, Malcolm kept the beat. I can compare them a bit with Foghat, they rocked so hard too.
Thanks for the review K guy and Thin, interesting that each of you loved different sets, the good thing is, it was loved. I can't think of a concert I have wanted to see with such anticipation since Roger Waters this last summer. He did not disappoint and I'm sure hopeful that D and C will not either. How was the Drums>space segment? Did they let Mickey play the beam? was there coherence in the space? What song did they segue out of space with? Always loved it when they did the Wheel out of space.
Kayak - Sorry to miss you Friday night. I, hilariously, had the exact opposite review of Friday. I thought set 1 thru Scar>Fire was great but then it faded. BUT, I was there with my son - his first show. I ALWAYS see the show differently when I bring a newbie.... instead of enjoying it for myself. 1st set was an amazing setlist, 2nd set had a lot of songs he didn't know after Scar>Fire which probably shaded his/my opinion. My review to my buddy was that it reminded me of Saratoga '85: "Great first set, 2nd set starts good but fizzles - best stuff of the night was 1st set". Had I gone without him, I probably would have seen it your way. But overall, they CRUSHED it.
Space - you wrote "Perhaps some of the ill will towards the Dead in the 80's is motivated by the fact that the Dead stood up in the face of a shitty sociol-political climate... ". Where do you GET this stuff??? What "ill will toward the Dead in the 80's" are you talking about? If you've actually inflated the "I wish they'd release more 80's" into a socio-political culture war, I think you've jumped the shark. If I'm totally missing you're point, I apologize. Respect.
there is not so much fun in later comments.
This morning as I awoke on Sunday I had a dream: a gift was awaiting in the letter box.
I realized I forgot to check on saturday, and eventually I found the rfk show and have a good french breakfast and lit the fire place before listening to disk One. The sound and the playing is much more better than The Buffalo or Crimson Show...I imagine many of you received the new box days before Europe? hox is it?
the 5000 copies won't left for long...Thank you Dave & Jeffrey
~ 3.16.73 ~
"Surely looks like rain"
I feel sorry for you, I really do. To go through life believing everyone who says have a nice day is insincere says a lot about you. I say it all the time, and I mean it. To be so cynical (as you seem to be), to think people are being shallow, well, I think there has to be a ton of negative cognition going on with you, and that's a painful way to live. Embrace the idea of good vibes and you will live better, truly. Peace be with you.
I don't think there is ill will toward the 80s Dead Spacebrother, I would respectfully disagree. If you're talking from a socio-political standpoint, neither Reagan nor anyone else liked them any less in the 80s than the 70s. If anything I think their mass popularity increased in the 80s. But the people who disliked them for non musical reasons in the 80s, didn't like them any better in the 70s.
From a musical standpoint, I wouldn't say anyone bears "ill will" toward the Dead either . There's just a slight backlash toward Brent Myland because he was just kind of an average keyboard player, who many people feel frequently ruined songs with bad keyboard tones and a really really poor singing voice. And he was fine enough in concert if you were there, I suppose, but he just doesn't hold up on tape. But some people enjoy him, so rock on, but there's no "ill will" as you put it. Just longing for what could have been if the gang did things a little differently.
My favorite part of his is in Thunderstruck. Angus starts with his opening lick, then Malcom comes in after 20 or 30 seconds and it's just awesome.
My first real concert.1984.
Me & my step-brother got to go to Greensboro Coliseum from Raleigh with older brother & his friends.On a school night no less.
My first sugarcube too.
Yup...was worthless in school the next day.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK...
That Ripple, tho. Had me in tears. Buriful, Man.
The new Greta Van Fleet album dropped yesterday. Listening to it now. Ho Lee Chit. These guys are gonna be HUGE-A!
I think it was Vguy, who turned me on to them. Thanks, bro!
"YO, VGUY, Get my lighter man!"
....hard to argue against that band from down under....
It's true. Malcolm Young was the heartbeat of AC/DC and a highly underrated rhythm guitarist.
.... Malcolm Young dead at 64. One of the stalwarts. R.I.P.
....edit. died after a three year fight with dementia. I can relate. My Dad died after a two and a half year bout with Alzheimer's. A sad, painful, lingering way to go....
....edit deux. Dirty Deeds was one of the first records I ever owned. Saw them twice. Rock n Roll lost a good one today. Fate decides my listing setlist today.
The show last night was a good time with the tribe.
The first set was laid back and never really caught fire for me, but the 2nd set was good enough to go back again tomorrow. though not good enough to quit my job and go on tour like the old days ;)
Scarlet>Fire and Viola lee were the highlights for me and the Ripple encore made it even better.
I went in with low expectations, and the 1st set was much like I expected, but that 2nd set is one of the best sets of GD music I've seen since PLQ was on tour.
hard to believe someone said the T word and said he was the greatest. If it was a joke, it's not funny. I'm sure they are the same ones who said that Reagan was a great guy. Anyone who was not a child during those years knew how bad Raygun really was, but if you were a child, well, read history books and not the ones they gave you in school.
Dosing at Disney was the best time I ever had there, altho it was not Disneyland, but Disneyworld. Space mountain was a real experience as was laughing at all of the tourist in their tourist outfits. Had a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat. (sure would like to try it again on those red dragons or gold dolphins) The Police came out of the floor at the tomorrowland theater and blew us all away. Giant steps are what you take, walking on the moon....
Caught D and C last night on Colbert, wow, who was out of tune and off key and flat? Way too slow. These guys really need to work on their tempo cause it's just off. Sure hope they get it together before the Fla shows, would not be good if they got booed or worse yet, people just got up and walked out. It's all ready obvious that they are not selling out these shows, which must be a real surprise to them. I realize they are old and slowing down, but this is spoon fed Dead if I ever heard it, sure can't say without a net anymore, more like with a net and pillows. I realize they only had 5 mins to do a song, which just ain't enough time to do a Hunter/Garcia tune and do it right. loved Mickeys wig, the only one who was weird, which is a good thing in deadland. Bobby looked good but as my wife said, "he's not young anymore, hope he doesn't wear shorts at the fla shows" lol.
On an early summer evening in 1985 my brother and I were driving around the back roads with our friend Scott, deciding what to do with the night, when we decided to make a quick stop at some unfinished office buildings to answer natures call. Unfortunately the police were also cruising around the area and pulled up to investigate, subsequently making us the first to be pulled over and cursorily searched on Ronald Reagan Boulevard in Warwick, NY. My friend and I were just of age, but my brother was not and there was casual discussion of the idea of charges relating to corrupting a minor before they confiscated our beer. Good thing the search was cursory or it might have really derailed the evening.
That same friend and I used to talk a lot of shit about a young actor around that time or a little later, a young guy named Johnny Depp making it look cool to be some kind of narc arresting high school kids on 21 Jump Street, a show doing what looked a lot like propaganda for the 1980's drug war. Just some random recollections sparked by the earlier Reagan posts.
I'm envisioning winding up in the Disney Brig, three floors below crowd above in the belly of the theme park.. being berated by Chernabog.
There's a story here just waiting to be told.
I know when the Dead played at Hershey Park in 85.. lots of people dosed and played the day away in the theme park.. I bet Dennis remembers...
Whatever you do ... don't dose at Disney.
I know the feeling. I was attending Pasadena City College when MLK and RFK were assassinated and felt the same way.
"This place should be like Disneyland"
Never got to see it. When I lived in SoCal 50 years ago they wouldn't let me in because I had 'long hair'.
"...being punched in the face with political BS."
"Nothing about that NFL statement takes a side on the issue."
Something is not like the other.
Maybe you meant to say: "Even when I turn on NFL football, people are engaged in political talk and activity, and I do not want to deal with it. I want to separate my entertainment and my politics." Which is fine, and takes no side.
But I responded to what you did say--violent, dismissive, deriding, and contemptuous. If that is not you, all to the good. There won't be comparable things written.
I am confused and not a little disappointed that a significant number of people who post on this site are totally unable to either take any sort of criticism, however mild, or to accept other people's points of view on various subjects without feeling the need to verbally lash out in all directions in a (dare I say it) Trumpo the clown-like manner. This, naturally, only demeans these people themselves but it does make me wonder why people are so intolerant of the views of others these days. It doesn't bother me if people post mildly political posts or suchlike on here. It bothers me far more that some people react to them in a manner that suggests that they themselves have some underlying personality defects which they are unable to control.
PS: I agree wholeheartedly with Spacebro's assertion that for the most part, music in the 80's sucked. The Grateful Dead were also not immune, but their music did suffer less than that of most of their contemporaries.
For the most part, music in the 80's sucked. The entire political climate in the '80's sucked.
The Grateful Dead were clearly the best thing happening in the '80's musically and socially, and they stepped-up to the plate and delivered big time, despite the time frame. The Dead were able to channel the shitty represive climate of the 80's and create something beautiful.
Perhaps some of the ill will towards the Dead in the 80's is motivated by the fact that the Dead stood up in the face of a shitty sociol-political climate and delivered some of the most inspired and well played performances of their career.
On another note, I make no apologies for making an honest assessment of how I see things. If someone expects one, don't hold your breath.
RAYGUN won the pres when I was attending SDSU. I remember thinking..."The world, as we know it, is over." TG 4 Jerry and the Boys!
No rhyme or reason as I ordered half dozen for my crew just last week, delivered 2day....all 11000+
I was interested in David's post about The Dead in the 1980s. Music doesn't exist in a vacuum, and I always find it helpful when someone describes a perspective on how the world was, at the time music was created.
To say this place should be like visiting Disneyland doesn't appeal to me. To me, getting into The Dead, and music in general in the 1970s was part and parcel of dropping out of mainstream society. I definitely dropped back in again-but I was a very different man when I did, as a consequence of my experiences on the outside. Me and millions of others. If this hadn't been the case, we would still be living in the 1950s. To liken the culture of The Dead to Disneyland seems hugely reductive.
I have also never been a big fan of so called "good vibes". It always reminds me of people who say "Have a nice day". Insincere and shallow. An honest exchange of disparate views amongst people who respect each other is surely preferable. Who knows, we might even learn something.
Hey sun, ya don't know me, so please stop pretending like you do. Nothing about that NFL statement takes a side on the issue. You just self righteously decided to take a side for me, and then belittle it with some sophomoric snark. Way to go!
"It's bad enough we can't even watch football on Sundays without being punched in the face with political BS."
Here, I'll fix that for you: "Because I have the privilege of not being affected by the issue that concerns the NFL players who protest on Sundays, I am unconcerned with it, nay, I declare it is imaginary. And anyone who points out it is not imaginary for others is interrupting my peaceful enjoyment of the human-on-human violence I paid for."
This and other 'no politics' comment are also a strange reaction to a pretty mild, history review.
Speaking of the imaginary, seems to me the level for 'genius' is being set fairly low. Lots of the people mentioned are right (high level) talent at the right time at the right place.
And if I had to vote, I might put Don Glen Vliet above Frank Zappa--Captain Beefheart more fully realized his peculiar vision, whereas Zappa (to me) never could quite reconcile the juvenile/adult and sarcastic/serious axes, among others, in which he found himself. I love Zappa, in many of his incarnations, yet in the end he was a traditionalist revolting against his perception that the classic was being forgotten/degraded, while Beefheart was building on and then finally rocketing away from his loved tradition (Zappa more classical and doo-wop, Beefheart the blues). Zappa certainly produced more, in more different directions. A Zappa concert was interesting, energizing, and invoked wonder; Beefheart ('68-'73) changed your life.
Just goes to show you just because someone is brilliant in the area of music doesn't mean he knows squat about other areas. And organising against Reagan in '84 how'd that work out. Oh yea learn the difference between conservative and reactionary. For those who get upset at discussions about something other than GD here sorry NOT. Go to a university safe space
I get that people enjoy their free speech, and I'm not saying you don't have a "right" to mention politics, but in the general interest of keeping the vibes good here, I think we all make out by keeping on the topic of the music. It's nice to have an oasis from the world's ugliness.
I agree. Keep your politics to yourself and I promise to do the same. It's bad enough we can't even watch football on Sundays without being punched in the face with political BS.
Please, let's just enjoy and discuss the one thing all here agree on. The Grateful Dead are the most authentic and soul moving band ever assembled.
My wife made me give the painting back. She said "Couldn't 450 million dollars be better spent on upcoming Grateful Dead releases?" And I said "Maybe even a Grateful Dead barstool. OK honey. You're right."
If the local radio station did make a copy, then the chances are that they have been approached by the Cypriot mafia who buy up and release all such recordings that they can, on a wide variety of labels. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands of such shows listed on their website.Under European copyright law (and Cyprus is in Europe) this is all perfectly above board, even though the bands never see a cent from sales. However, some of our American friends view such releases as bootlegs and will not go near them, which is naturally their prerogative.
David Durea, Music is one of the few refuges from politics. Why poison this forum with reminders of our political struggles in this country. This place should be like Disneyland, you know, happy all the time. I don't want reality here.