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


comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015
The crazy thing

Is that I actually know what Fourier Transform means...

One Man's picture
Joined: May 17 2011
Loud Test Run

Have not had time to fully engage as yet, but wife (love her) went out to dinner with a friend and this thing is now filling my living room with immense sound. I agree with an earlier poster that if you just unleash the Full Norman on these ancient tapes, modern glory will result. Give him an impossible deadline (E72 box) and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will be squandered. Stop that -- don't get me started!

All of the Summer '89 releases thus far have been fab, and this one of course fits right in. I'm not often in the mood for post-70s Dead, but right now I am, and this huge sonic barrage satisfies in every way. Across the Rio Grandeeeeo...

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Re: Cone Kid / B&K 2032 Fast Fourier Transformer

Thanks.. but..

I've already got one.. it's verry nice-a.

Joined: Sep 10 2009

It worked after I installed iTunes as Jim recommended, I assume iTunes did the conversion. Thanks for the tip though.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

You can’t burn Apple Lossless (ALAC) to CD, you must first convert to WAV (PC) or AIFF (Mac), then burn those to CD.

Butch's picture
Joined: Aug 2 2017
Agree with LoveJerry

I dont appreciate Spacebrother's "if you don't like the 80s then you're a lame ass" attitude around here. He states his opinions as if their facts, and then gets nasty with people who don't agree. No class whatsoever. I believe anyone who makes the kinds of globally offensive remarks reposted by LoveJerry should be moderated off the site.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

You had me at Fourier Transform.....

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

I and many others had a defective CD3 on DaP24.
I also had a defective 5-5-77 CD2.
So, you are not alone.

Best to email Dr. Rhino.

Joined: Jul 9 2007

Has anyone tried purchasing/downloading the FLAC files? I plan on buying them but I'm waiting a bit in the hope that the process will be painless. It looks like a nice compact box but I've decided to minimize the physical "stuff" in my life.

Edit ... "duh". Someone a few posts ago said they bought the download. I guess I'll go ahead and give it a try.

Joined: Sep 10 2009
@Jim: Burn

Thanks Jim, I will try that.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Burn to CD

ITunes will do it.. it's a free download if you don't have it loaded.

To burn.. create a playlist, put a discs worth of songs on the playlist.. right click the playlist and select Burn To Disc. For GD there is a setting that MUST be selected.. it's called something like Gap Between Songs or something similar.. just select None.

Oh.. you would have to import the shows into ITunes. For that.. select File / Add Folder to Library and assuming you have one show per folder, it imports the whole show.

Joined: Sep 10 2009
Just bought the Apple Lossless version... do you burn it to CD? Windows Media returned an error.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Full Norman

I'm a fan of all era's too.. I think this set defines the term Full Norman.

I really appreciate it when they pull out all the stops restoring this stuff, making it sound as good as it can be. Does anyone remember the liner notes from Two From the Vault?

"The concert was recorded on a then-state-of-the-art, one-inch 8-track tape machine that was supplied by the band's record label, Warner Bros. The record company also insisted on supplying engineers who turned out to be unfamiliar with the close miking technique involved in recording rock music. Consequently, each of the eight tracks contained significant leakage from all of the other instruments in the band, resulting in severe phase cancellation problems.

Almost twenty-four years later, Don Pearson and producer Dan Healy solved this problem by employing a B&K 2032 Fast Fourier transform (FFT) digital spectrum analyzer to measure the delay in time between the different microphones, using the track of bassist Phil Lesh as the time centerpiece. The delay times were fed into a TC1280 stereo digital delay, which, along with careful mixing, resulted in a nearly perfect stereo image."

I get giddy when they go the extra mile. Like the stand-out job on Two From the Vault, This re-master does the music justice, almost exactly perfect.

Kjohnduff1's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2010

Thanks for the great write-up... love the great enthusiasm.
I’m a fan of all eras - these shows surprised me.
Set lists look average but i’m loving them so far - a lot more than I thought I would!

Joined: Jun 4 2007

Quick review...

Hell in a Bucket - Like the previous night, the second show begins with high energy. Phil drops that little Dark Star tease before launching into HIAB, and the crowd erupts. Of course, Jerry's just ripping the solos throughout like he's on a mission. The mix on this is incredible. Every element is perfectly audible and big sounding. Phat. Makes me yearn for the return of summer and cranking this up outdoors.

Cold Rain and Snow - Always a welcome song, and in the secong first set slot. A double opener. A good sign of a great show ahead. Again, the B3 sounds awesome in the mix. Always a most natural fit with the Dead's sound, going back to their roots. Soulful.

Little Red Rooster - Nice solid version of this. The crowd very audibly erupts when Brent takes his vocal turn and solo. He may have been in a lot of emotional pain, but in turn, his performances come from a very "real" place. Sometimes the most inspired art comes from pain and heartache. The expression of emotion through art is very powerful, and it really pushed the whole band to dig in deeper here.

Tennessee Jed - In comes Bruce. Top notch reading of a classic favorite. This is about the point the stereo gets cranked up, and who cares what the neighbors think. Bruce's back-up vocal contributions round out an aleady big vocal harmony. When I first saw Bruce sit in with the Dead at Buckeye Lake in '88, I was familiar with his music, but was somewhat on the fence with him at the time. After that experience at Buckeye Lake, I was sold on him. A natural and great fit with the Dead and perfect successor to Brent.

Stuck Inside of Mobile - They did this one at Buckeye Lake with Bruce the previous summer, and it worked well there, as it does here. This is a typically solid version.

To Lay Me Down - This song had become increasingly rare in the setlists by this point into their career, so anytime they broke it out was a special treat, and this version is beautifully executed. This recording captures the subtleties and nuances beatifully. No small feat considering this happened in a massive sports stadium in front of a massive crowd. Another case of "this song alone makes the set worth the price of admission".

Let It Grow - Epic. The clarity and fullness of this recording blows my mind. This is one of those versions that gradually builds up into this total beast. By the time the get into the solo section out of the "Rise and Fall" line, Jerry just unleases the beast and Brent chases him around nicely. They then settle into a nice groove on the key change for a while before coming in for the last vocals, then the final jam before the set break. "We'll be back in just a little bit." ~ Bob

He's Gone - Extremely rare for this as a set opener in any era, and this version jumps right in. Awesome version.

Looks Like Rain - Another well performed song where the clarity of the mix reveals the subtleties and nuances nicely. A perfect version of LLR.

Terrapin - The perfect song choice to follow He's Gone > LLR, and this performance is typically awesome for '89, where every version was equally epic. The natural direction for this song to evolve into is when they started adding the "jam" to the end of it during the Spring '90 tour. An area where the Dead clearly evolved for the better. Jerry is clearly engaged to the fullest capacity and inspired. His closing solo is a monster.

Drums - The first nights Drums started off as a more traditional drum solo leading into the beam. The second night goes into a more sonically explorative percussion jam complete with loops, trigger pad, delay/reverb effects. More of a psychedelic approach. They do add in some hand drums (talking drums) for good measure. Has to be heard. They pull out all the stops. The "Beam" sounds particularly nice on these recordings.

Space - Some hints and teases of The Other One leading into Brent doing an almost Bruce Horsby inspired intro into I Will Take You Home, making this a unique performance.

I Will Take You Home - Interesting how Brent could go from expressing his pain through sound, then to something as tender as this song. He was a musical genius.

The Other One - This performance rolls in like an oncoming thunderstorm that establishes the groove, then explodes into a cataclysmic onslaught. Jerry doesn't hold back one bit either. Awesome. The sonic dance between Jerry and Brent is something to behold.

Wharf Rat - A nice reading of a classic favorite. Jerry kills it. Brent on the B3 pours out of the speakers like a ray of gospel flavored sunshine on a summer day. Another powerful moment that benefits from a mix that reveals more subtleties and nuances (words of the day I guess).

Throwing Stones - A nice reading of this often played song. A couple of spots where Bob hesitates. The sound of the crowd response eads me to believe something must have been going on in the moment. SAt this point, it's a party.

Good Lovin' - A rare choice out of Throwing Stones, which was usually NFA. Like with throwing Stones, at this point it's a party.

US Blues - As strong as a version as one could hope for to close out a strong show. Jerry once again kills it.

Note - Bob sounded like he had some tuning issues during Hell In a Bucket and the first couple of notes he played on Cold Rain and Snow, which he immediately fixed.

All in all, a strong two show run during a peak period for the band. I will get a lot of mileage out of these.

Thanks again Dave, Norman and everybody else at Rhino and employed by the Dead to bring these out. When does the full Alpine run get released on CD?!

This review has been brought to you courtesy of Kid Rock, Nickleback and Katy Perry's left shark.

Joined: Sep 21 2011
Defective Discs, AGAIN!

Well, for the 3rd time in the last five releases (30 Trips, Get Shown the Light, and now this) I have defective discs.

Disc 3 of night one has some yellow crud on it that I cannot get off even with repeated uses of Disc Doctor.

Really loving that you can no longer talk to a customer service rep.

How is it that I never have issues with any of the Dave's Picks, but all these special archival releases are screwed up? Anyone else or am I just special?

Joined: Aug 24 2012
Strong Sets

This is not my favorite period for the Dead but the RFK concerts are really strong. The cuts with Hornsby are real treats.

possiblyMaybeAnother's picture
Joined: Oct 24 2017
What is this, kindergarten?

So-and-so needs to apologize? So much drama. I got my popcorn and my foldy chair. This is just too good.

David Duryea's picture
Joined: Sep 28 2009
For all you 80s kids

Midnight cafe has a free download of 4/7/85 at the Spectrum. With Why Don't We Do It In The Road and a Keep Your Day Job encore. I'm a woefully stuck in the sixties GD kind of guy, but I'm happy to see others find enjoyment in any Dead year.

Grateful Dead
April 7, 1985
The Spectrum
Philadelphia, PA

Download: FLAC/MP3

This is a flac encoded & tagged version of shnid: 3346


Seed Shns by Scott Z — Thanks!
Seeded to etree by darrin ( on 2/14/2001

–Set 1–
101-d1t01 – Why Don’t We Do It in the Road
102-d1t02 – Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
103-d1t03 – CC Rider
104-d1t04 – Bird Song
105-d1t05 – Dancin’ in the Streets
106-d1t06 – Deal

–Set 2–
201-d1t07 – Shakedown Street ->
202-d1t08 – Samson & Delilah
203-d2t01 – She Belongs to Me ->
204-d2t02 – Man Samrt (Woman Are Smarter) ->
205-d2t03 – Drums ->
206-d2t04 – Space ->
207-d2t05 – Gimme Some Lovin’ ->
208-d2t06 – Truckin’ ->
209-d2t07 – Smokestack Lightnin’ ->
210-d2t08 – Morning Dew ->
211-d2t09 – Sugar Magnolia

212-d2t10 – Keep Your Day Job


Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Hold grudges much?.... kinda sound like me when I saw the Dead play Black Muddy River for an encore three shows in a row. Kinda....

Joined: Jul 2 2015
SpaceBrother is fine with me

Glad he's happy and love his passion.

If you don't like the 80s, why are you in a thread about 89 rfk to begin with?

LetsGoCaps's picture
Joined: Feb 5 2008
Spacebrother Running Amok?

Please. Just PM the guy and spare the rest us from this BS.

LoveJerry's picture
Joined: Mar 19 2015
Spacebrother Still Owes Apologies

My position is simple. I'm not going to sit back while Spacebrother continues his pattern of abuse toward anyone who doesn't care of the 80s. He did okay for awhile and I was quiet. But then he offered this zinger last week (and I quote Spacebrother):

"It's the "Deader than thou" folks who won't pony up for this. It's cheaper than the cost of the Dave's Picks subscription for crying out loud. Great multi-track recordings of a couple of great shows from one of the bands geatest tours. Why would active music purchasing Deadheads pass on such a generous treat? If so-called fans listen to that Let It Grow from the Listening Party, and still pass on this, they might as well quit listening to the Dead all together and sell or trade their collections for Kid Rock albums. That's about as lame as they are."

So, in Spacebrother's own words, if you don't like the 80s, he attacks people in mass. He makes it clear that he holds you in contempt, and he speaks to you with condescension. You've been stamped with unflattering labels by Spacebrother: "Deader Than Thou", "so-called fans", "lame", etc.

This is unacceptable, because these are personal comments toward a very large group of participants who don't share Spacebrother's enthusiasm for the 80s.

Until Spacebrother apologizes, I will continue to call him out on his social offenses, and demand civilized discourse. I will no longer suppress my personal feelings about the 80s Dead, which I have been doing for many months after a talk with JimInMD. I am sorry to others besides Spacebrother who don't like my commentary on the 80s Dead, but it's just how I feel, and how many others here feel (I have an Inbox full of PMs from people who are also tired of Spacebrother's unchecked behavior, and who support me in my effort to hold him accountable).

Spacebrother is finished running amok here. If Space, you apologize to the room for your comments which I've copy/pasted here, I will consider it a fresh start. You almost got there for awhile, but as has been typical for you've reverted to your old ways, which is what happened here with your comment about all of us "lame" people.

Kayak Guy's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2015

A very detailed review, thanks for posting.
I really like the box, I hope all future "small box" releases follows this format.
Those multitracks sound fantastic, they do have overlap fades, like people still listen to CDs and need to be reminded the band didn't stop before the media ran out.
It's played well, all of Summer 89 was, but this box has the set lists laggards I find hard to get psyched about. Out of the whole Summer 89 tour this was the 2 shows I wanted released the least.
On the good side it means all the other multitrack boxes from the tour will be better from now on, because I will buy them all.
The Meet Up at the Movie of the 12th was a lot of fun, mainly due to the interaction of Jerry and Brent captured by the cameras.
Without the visuals, it's just a well played and recorded run at the end of the old set lists and before the Fall 89 tour when they broke out a bunch of older stuff to freshen up the stale set lists from summer.
I look forward to your review of the 13th.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

I want a divorce.....a Haitian Divorce....

Thank you Steely Dan.

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015

Someone mentioned the other day about splitting collections during divorce proceedings.

In this case it would be an easy split between 78-79.

Joined: Jun 4 2007
Marriage counseling

Sign me up for the prenup. ;)

If Kid Rock isn't to your liking, there's always Nickleback.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
It's Over the DSO Wedding Setlist

Space recommended 10/31/80 and the fireworks began.

In her defense.. she always dreamed of getting married to 6/10/73.

It's going to be a long week.

Thats_Otis's picture
Joined: May 12 2011

Nice write up :) 7/13 is even better (In my Humble Opinion..) The 1st set on that one is my favorite of the bunch on first go-through.

Who pissed in LoveJerry's Cheerios? C'mon, someone's gotta fess up...


Joined: Aug 6 2013
All Seastones...


JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
only one possible explanation

Love Jerry and SpaceBro are dating again.

I hope I get an invite to the wedding. DSO agreed to do the music, but they are having a difficult time deciding what show they are going to play for such an auspicious occasion...

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015
You would think

That someone who loves Jerry would love all Jerry...
Apparently not.

He sounds pretty good to me on this release.

Joined: Oct 27 2012
Still Not Shipped


Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Spacebro review is pretty much spot on....

....yeah. 80's Dead is a different animal than 70's Dead. We all know that. Then why, lovejerry, do you feel the need to re-stoke the fire? Guess it gets you off somehow. I don't understand....

possiblyMaybeAnother's picture
Joined: Oct 24 2017
oh and for anyone complaining about "copy-paste art"...

Ummm... Sgt. Pepper? Disraeli Gears? Great album covers using "copy and paste" technology

possiblyMaybeAnother's picture
Joined: Oct 24 2017
Re: JiminMD: totally agreed

Yeah I'm with you on this. I love the "mini box" format. Like you said, it allows the production to be the best quality and results in a product that's affordable for most. I'd totally be on board for 3-4 of these a year.

This sounds INCREDIBLE. I'm so glad I bought this. The booklet is high quality, as is the packaging. Well done, Dead people!

LoveJerry's picture
Joined: Mar 19 2015
Another Great Performance from the B Team

Doesn't hold a candle to the 70s Dead, but Space is in wet dreamville with Brent, so we can be happy for that. It's the best ever right Space? Wooopppeee, Spacebrother says that Hammond is all we need!!! Huge line at the Kid Rock store!

icecrmcnkd's picture
Joined: Oct 20 2015
Seamless transitions

Once again these CD’s were mastered as if they were cassette tapes: Drums ends, Space starts, after about 10 seconds Space fades out, fast forward to the end of side A, flip tape, press play, relisten to end of Drums, Space starts....

Don’t Dave and Jeff realize how stupid that sounds when listening on a portable music player, or even when using a CD changer?

Here’s what I did using Toast 15, which is basic compared to something like Audacity, but it works.
I didn’t compare waveforms, just listened to it and it sounded good to my ears.

Drums stop 09:14:00
Space start 00:18:00
crossfade 00:00:30

Drums stop 08:03:00
Space start 00:23:00
crossfade 00:00:30

I don’t have to do that with Charlie Miller shows......

guit30's picture
Joined: May 1 2009

I pretty much am a member of the 70's mafia, but this show just got put on youtube,and the sound quality is incredible for even a 24 track show.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

Already commented on the high energy renditions of Touch of Grey and an all time great Minglewood from 7/12/89. Here's my song by song take....

Missippi Half-Step - continuation of the high energy from Touch and Minglewood. The band is clearly on and feeling good. Inspired performance. Brent's embellishments are spot on perfect.

Tom Thumb Blues - fairly stndard, but well played. Phil was definitely "on" this night, as was everybody.

Far From Me - Brent proving himself to be an integral part of the Dead. He was channeling some dark emotions, but keeping it real at the same time. Life isn't always unicorns ands rainbows, and sometimes the most inspired performances come from "real life" emotions. As much as love, happiness and joy evoke inspired music, some of the most effective songs are born out of pain. It doesn't get much more real than that. Mad respect for Brent.

Cassidy - Energy level has only increased by this point into this high energy show. Anyone catch the song Weir quotes at the beginning of the main solo section....nah...hah/nah/nah/nah...nah/nah/nah nah...nah-nah-nah...nah-nah-nah...? Cool stuff. A solid performace. The version from Without a Net (12/9/89 Forum) is the definitive electric released performance.

FOTD - Despite Bob coming in a little early on the chorus, it's evident that the Dead are performing every song to near perfection. They were like a well oiled machine by '89. You have to go back to May '77 and '72 to find this level of consistency. I like Brent's choice of sound that begins with his solo. Usually he would implement a violin sound. Here he uses a saxophone patch. Cool stuff right there. Jerry's solo shines as well. Also of note, Jerry is in near perfect voice.

Promised Land - This song had been such a standard in their setlists, that they usually performed it well, even in their off years. This version is a typically nice capper to what feels like too short of a first set. They were playing so well at this point in their career, that the songs breeze by.

So far, I've found nothing to make me feel like they were dragging, or in "dirge" mode. High energy.

Onto the second set...

Sugaree - Back in the day, I used to say, "Oh no, there's that darn accordian again". I attended the Buckeye Lake show the previous summer in '88, so got to see the first Horsby accordian sit in. Now-a-days, I think the accordian actually added a nice different texture. Suprised Bruce didn't bust it out on Bob's cowboy/polka numbers more often. The '88 Buckeye Lake version still had that brand new accordian smell to it, where this version is executed as if it were pre-recorded, they are so tight. I loved seeing this song live, and this version makes me miss Jerry (and Brent) all that much more.

Women Are Smarter - Hearing Bruce on the keys with Brent on the organ together, makes me imagine if Brent had survived, and Bruce were added as a second keyboardist, the two of them together pushed this so far over-the-top, that this becomes definitive by proxy. For this moment in their history, this two-keyboards approach is a true few minutes of magic may be the best "two-keyboardist" bit of music from the Dead's entire 30 year touring career. You'll never find a Pigpen/Constantan, Pigpen/Keith or Vince/Bruce moment that comes remotely close to how awesome this is. I only wish this track would have been mixed with the Key's in the right channel and organ in left channel. If you're not listening in headphones, like I am now, this doesn't matter much. Just my opinion of course.

Ship of Fools - For some reason, the dead really seemed to dig deep into this song during the '89 Summer tour. This version is no different. played with precision and emotion.

Estimated - Every version performed in '89 was stellar, and this one is no different.

Eyes - Much like Estimated, another great version. I think my favorite estimated > Eyes combo from summer '89 might be 6/21/89 Shoreline. Watched the original "pay per view" broadcast, but these are also awesome. Like others, I welcomed the funky versions that began with Knickerbocker 3/25/90, and of course, that all time version with Branford. The uptempo ones from '89 will still quite epic. Another reminder of how much I miss Summer tours with Jerry. Nice little jam at the end of this 7/12 version.

Drums - One thing I really liked about the '89 drums segments are how Bill and Mickey would switch up their approaches from show to show. Some shows they would approach with a more traditional drum solo with their trap kits. Other shows would be heavy sonic exploartions with the MIDI trigger pads, while other times they would expore a variet of hand drums that originate from ancient, and even prehisoric cultures. Of course the Beam comes in and we get a "Holy fucking shit!" from Bill. Nice. I remember that from the Meet-up showing.

Space - One thing I wish would have translated onto tape were the surround sound effects from the '80s. I remember vididly how sound would bounce around between the front of house p.a. speakers and the repeater towers of speakers further back around the crowd. Dan Healy would control this with joysticks where he could mover any sound around an arena. I saw Pink Floyd do this at the one concert of theirs I caught in '94 (which happened to be the first complete Dark Side of the Moon performance since '76 or '77). I caught the Dead in Spring '89 for what would be among the final pre-MIDI Space segments, then caught them (first on the 6/21 PPV broadcast) at Alpine. '89 through '90 saw some major evolution/changes for the Dead. It was a great time to go to shows (except for Brent dying of course).

Miracle - Nice solid version. Short, well played. Average. I really dig the 3/14/90 Cap Center version. Jerry treally digs in deep on that one.

Mr. Fantasy - Awesome version. Jerry fully jumps right in on his solos and kills them. Another song that soared in '89, and this one follows suit. Another track that alone makes this set worth the price of admission.

Black Peter - I always welcome this song in any setlist. Amazing how well the bands dynamics on this aren't hindered by the fact that it was performed in a massive sports stadium. The subtleties are impeccable.

Lovelight - Coming out of Black Peter, it's always nice when a show ends on a bluesy/R&B note. Sure, it's not like the monsters from '70, that could strech for over a half hour, but it still captures some essence from that. Like Goof Lovin', there was ony one Pigpen to sing it. Of course every version that came after would never be the same without him.It's cool that they would still pay a tribute to him by performing these all the way up until the end.

Black Muddy River - One of the last of the truly great Garcia/Hunter ballads (along with Standing on the Moon and Days Between), and this one delivers.

Overall, the first show is a winner. Sounds awesome. Well performed. Inspired. More of these please!

Now onto 7/13/89...

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Thin posted "fun listening"....

....can't argue with that. Perfect mix. Liking the MIDI "clap" effects that Billy/Mickey throw out there during Eyes. Fun indeed. I recall those MIDI "claps" very well live. Who is this band and why do they keep following me, even now?....1989 was my most attended year. I will wait patiently for a Cal Expo box. Grate run worthy of release....

Thin's picture
Joined: Jun 21 2013
first impressions...

agreed - Man Smart is a fun ride. Always good for a jam, and this one rocks.

Anyone else notice how the pace on Sugaree in the last verse and chorus is inconsistent, with factions trying unsuccessfully to pull it in different directions? It definitely wobbles, but it works - adds character.

Raking leaves with RFK rockin' the headphones. So far I like it a lot - Reminds me of the impressive RT '88 shows (3/30 and 4/1/88) in terms of that late '80's "full-band sound", consistent execution - but in '89 they're a little more polished - especially Jerry. The mix is so uncluttered, and they're playing so well that you can HEAR them responding to each other from moment to moment. Fun listening.

Vguy72's picture
Joined: Jun 29 2007
Little boy sits on the corner and cries....

....big man come and asks him why? This set has a Man Smart, Women Are Smarter for the ages. Never thought I would say that, but yet, here I am, saying it. Dueling keyboards anyone?....

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
The great unanswerable question

Why no video with this box? Beats the hell out of me.

One Man's picture
Joined: May 17 2011

That "Formerly the Warlocks" box sounds really bad to me. They let someone other than Jeff Norman mix it, and why? If you ever wonder why digital sound gets a bad rap, listen to that. I can't even.

Why no video on this new box?

Forensicdoceleven's picture
Joined: Jun 17 2008
Finite to fail, but infinite to venture…………..

Everybody polka!!!

Hey there rockers, rollers, lovers, and others………..

The first of the wonderful three Fall 1971 Texas shows:

Or, if you prefer the Millerized version of Set 2:

In either case, the Live/Dead groupmindmusicmelt running like a well oiled machine, fantastic recovery from the Atlanta fiasco. If 11/11 was a bad acid trip, 11/12 is the mellow mushroom rebound. Some new things, some oldies, cowboy tunes, rockers, Black Peter (love me those 71 Black Peters!), and a mammoth Other One. What’s not to like about this fine fine show?

Looking forward to my possible upcoming sabbatical, perhaps more later………………..

Rock around the clock,

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present……….

guit30's picture
Joined: May 1 2009

I had the 89 show at Philly with 3 CDs and DVD. That was a great show. They did a lot of videos in 89,What I don't get is why the Dead were not really even in the ballpark of popularity compared with like the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin. I mean they did very well with their fanbase, They had a large set of material, They had 1 hit song, but musically they were more talented and played very well together, but it seems without Jerry Garcia, they dropped down a lot. Jerry was something special, even playing on a lot of opiates. I mean they didn't even consider going on without him. The group now sounds really pretty good, and they look like they are enjoying it ,I don't think I would enjoy a show now. But at least we have access to tons of their past shows. I would love to see them release the RFK stadium weekend from 73. I went to Saturday where the Dead played the afternoon and the Allman Brothers at night . It was a grate day!

MinasMorgul's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2015
Booklets Good

You don't love the smell of the fresh booklets and new CD packages? It's like the xerox copies from high school.

No, not at all a failure, quite the opposite. Will sell out eventually, and I believe a little more than 2/3 sold already has got to be enough to turn a profit.

JimInMD's picture
Joined: Jun 27 2011
Re: Awesome Smelling Booklet?

Did you get the sweepstakes winning, soaked in Kush Oil, linter notes made from Owsley blotter paper special edition?

Mine smelled.. like a CD.

I think this is a fine release. Honestly I have not finished a full listen, but the Lay Me Down Let it Grow is enough to at the very least not call this a failure. ...and really, hat's off to the care that went in to making it sound as good as it possibly could. This is really important.. they seem to not get a second chance on re-mastering.. once it's done, it's done, so do a great job on the first try, which they did here.

If there's something to learn from this release it's that Senor Norman can do a fine job if only we don't give him 30 shows to master in like 31 1/2 days or something. Plus.. it keeps the price tag a shy under $700.

These two, three, four and five show mini boxes are the way to go. A big plus for allowing them to fit on our CD shelves. Easy on the wallet, closet space and they just seem to sound better then monster efforts.. how about two or three mini box sets a year instead of a cardiac inducing monster box every year? Those with significant others would greatly appreciate it.

MinasMorgul's picture
Joined: Feb 4 2015
Better Than I Expected

Great sound, tight performance, awesome smelling booklet. They start strong with Touch of Grey and New Minglewood Blues, but I quickly lose interest on Mississippi Half Step, once the Brent starts singing. It just never gets tolerable for me guys, sorry to say. Cassidy aint too hot either.

From there on, 7/12 is kinda slow, I get those remarks. Friend of the Devil, more of the same with the backup vocals and midi nonsense. But there are great versions of other songs throughout the set. Throwing Stones has that awesome insrumental jam in the middle. Great Jerry on Eyes of the World (and great Phil too, and great Brent synths). Probably my favorite 80s version of this one. Dig the Lovelight. I can't not buy a Dead set, and some of these will go into my 80s / 90s mix, but largely underwhelming as a whole. I do like Jerry and Phil's performance a lot, and I really like when Bent is in "sustained synth mode", adding smooth texture and atmosphere, as opposed to zippy "synth-piano" fills. The Hammond is nice, but I prefer Pig's "sparse" playing style, as one of you fine people described it the other day.

Added to Cart RFK Stadium 1989 Box

You might also like these items

Add To Cart
Added To Cart
Add To Cart
Added To Cart
Add To Cart
Added To Cart
Continue shopping »