Monday, January 06, 2003

DVD Review... Grateful Dead: View from the Vault

“Just like so many times before…”

What could be better than a Grateful Dead concert? How about a Dead DVD? Recorded live from Three Rivers Stadium (which no longer exists) on July 8, 1990 in Pittsburgh, PA, this video was produced using the master tapes from the original stadium screen feed and the two-track stereo soundboard audio mix. The graphics and images that appear during the video are the same ones the audience saw on the screens. Today, the graphics and visuals are dated, but in 1990 they were state of the art. But then again, no one ever went to a Dead show for the graphics. The show was just about three hours long. This video also included a bonus cut of less than an hour of a show from Louisville, KY two days before. The entire video was over 215 minutes… more than three and a half plus hours of the Dead.

Dead Guru Bruce Cohen said, “That summer in 1990… that was a good year for them. Brent (on keys) sounded new and fresh with them.”

I decided not to look up the setlist before watching the DVD, to go into it fresh, to keep it as close to a Dead show as possible, so I’d be surprised to hear some songs I’d like to hear.

They opened with Touch of Grey, which was a little sloppy, but that was the first glimpse of Jerry singing in a long time, so I quickly overlooked it. The first set highlights included Phil Lesh singing Bob Dylan’s Tom Thumb Blues. It’s a rare treat to see and hear Phil sing. Row Jimmy is a recent favorite song of mine, so that made it a good set for me.

Set 2 began with a kick ass Samson > Eyes > Estimated >Terrapin. The Eyes of the World was the highlight of the show, with Jerry sounding very smooth and Phil dropping a little funky bass in the jam out of Eyes. Seeing that made me really miss the Dead. Jerry was having a lot of fun during Estimated and seemed to amused by Bob Weir. Terrapin was the second highlight of the set. The Throwing Stones > Lovelight jam was sweet. A rare Lovelight indeed for the Dead. Bob Weir was cheesin’ it out, but that’s Bobby. Still a good version.

The encore, another Bob Dylan song, Knockin on Heaven’s Door, gave me chills to hear Jerry’s bittersweet voice close the show with a truly emotional song.

“Just like so many times before…”

It was eerie to hear and see it knowing that Jerry would die almost five years after that show. Brent Myland himself passed away soon after.

The bonus footage was from Louisville, KY on July 6, 1990. They included a killer Jerry tune Standing on the Moon. And He’s Gone, again was bittersweet to hear.

Setlist 7.8.90 Pittsburgh, PA
SET 1: Touch Of Grey > Greatest Story Ever Told, Jack-A-Roe, New Minglewood Blues, Row Jimmy, Mama Tried > Mexicali Blues, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, Let It Grow
SET 2 : Samson And Delilah > Eyes Of The World > Estimated Prophet > Terrapin Station > Jam > Drums > Space > I Need A Miracle > Wang Dang Doodle > Black Peter > Throwing Stones > Turn On Your Lovelight
ENCORE: Knockin' On Heaven's Door

Filler: 7.6.90 Louisville, KY Set 1
Standing on the Moon > He's Gone > KY Jam

This is worthy of a rental, and I'd consider purchasing this.

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