Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Grateful Dead: "Crimson, White & Indigo" (2010) CD

This CD contains the complete concert the Grateful Dead performed on July 7, 1989 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. It also contains a DVD of the show.

What was it about that summer for the Grateful Dead? There were a lot of gems that summer of 1989. On July 2, in Foxboro, the Grateful Dead opened with "Playing In The Band" into "Crazy Fingers." And that was the FIRST SET. Then the next show in Buffalo had more magic, which was captured and released on DVD as Truckin' Up To Buffalo.

And then this show, from July 7, 1989 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia. This was the final show at this venue before it was torn down.

"Hell In A Bucket" Opens The Show

The first amazing burst of energy occurs in the opening song with Bob Weir repeating the line, "At least I'm enjoying the ride." And with that wonderful, weird sort of falsetto that he does.

"Iko Iko"

That leads to Jerry Garcia choosing "Iko Iko," always a fun song, and one rarely done so early in a show. The crowd responds enthusiastically.

"Little Red Rooster"

In "Little Red Rooster," when Bob Weir sings, "The hounds begin to howl," the entire crowd howls. Perhaps they're a bit crazy from the heat of that day, but all were ready to take part in this wonderful experiment called a Grateful Dead concert. And when Brent Mydland takes a verse, holy moly, the band starts going mad. Right after his verse, Brent solos on the keyboard, and it's manic magic.

"Ramble On Rose"

That leads to a great version of "Ramble On Rose." When Jerry sings, "Take you to the leader of a band," it's clear who the audience believes he means. By the end of the song, Jerry is giving it his all. Amazing.

"Let It Grow"

This is a phenomenal version of "Let It Grow." It's a seriously energetic rendition, with the band putting everything they have into it. It has a great extended jam, and there is amazing intensity at the end when Bob sings, "Listen to the thunder shout I am, I am, I am!" Who would think the highlight of the first set was still to come?

"Blow Away"

Usually when "Let It Grow" appeared late in the first set, it meant the end of the set. But this night the Dead kept it going, launching into the Brent Mydland tune, "Blow Away." The song sounds a bit too busy at first, but just wait. About five minutes in, Brent takes control, his vocals fiery and brilliant. He makes the band stop for a moment, and then as they slowly build again, he starts vocally riffing to the audience on the subject of love. He completely captivates the audience and the listeners of this CD. Man, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan would have been incredibly proud, and incredibly moved.

Second Set Opens With "Box Of Rain"
The second CD (and second set) starts with Phil Lesh singing "Box Of Rain," a beautiful song written when his father was dying and originally included on American Beauty (1970). The band then jumps into "Scarlet Begonias," which has some wonderful jamming at the end, leading of course into "Fire On The Mountain." This is an incredible version of "Fire On The Mountain."

"Estimated Prophet" Into "Standing On The Moon"
The band then does one of its best songs, "Estimated Prophet." Bob Weir does something interesting things with his vocals in this version. Often "Estimated Prophet" led into "Eyes Of The World," but this night Jerry Garcia chose "Standing On the Moon." It's a really beautiful version of the song, with Jerry's vocals sounding clear and emotional, despite the one lyric flub. And of course it's from the lyrics to this song that this CD gets its name.

The first CD ends with an interesting version of "Drums," which is called "Rhythm Devils" for this release.

Third CD Starts With "Space"

The third disc begins with "Space," which is a free-form improvisational segment of the second set. This version is pretty cool. It leads into "The Other One." Phil Lesh's bass line for this song is always impressive, and this night it was monstrous. The rest of the band does some interesting things toward the end of the song.

"Wharf Rat"

That leads into a wonderful version of "Wharf Rat." It's so moving when Jerry sings, "But I'll get back on my feet someday/The good lord willing, if he says I may/I know that the life I'm living's no good/I'll get a new start, live the life I should/I'll get up and fly away." Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics to this song.

The Grateful Dead ended the second set with "Turn On Your Lovelight." It's a strange version in that it ends, and then Bob Weir starts it back up again. The encore that night was a beautiful version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door."

CD Track List

CD 1:

  1. Hell In A Bucket
  2. Iko Iko
  3. Little Red Rooster
  4. Ramble On Rose
  5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  6. Loser
  7. Let It Grow >
  8. Blow Away

CD 2:

  1. Box Of Rain >
  2. Scarlet Begonias >
  3. Fire On The Mountain
  4. Estimated Prophet >
  5. Standing On The Moon >
  6. Rhythm Devils

CD 3:

  1. Space >
  2. The Other One >
  3. Wharf Rat >
  4. Turn On Your Lovelight
  5. Knockin' On Heaven's Door

There is a fourth disc included in the set, and that is a DVD of the entire concert. The Grateful Dead have released a lot of live material over the years, especially since Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. It's interesting that they would release two consecutive concerts both on CD and DVD. (Here's hoping they'll release the July 2, 1989 concert also.)

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