3/14/90
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews 3/14/1990

 

Without a Net reviewDozin' at the Knick review

3/14/90

Nightfall of Diamonds reviewView From The Vault II review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews 3/14/1990

The Grateful Dead
Capitol Center - Landover, MD
3/14/90 

03/14/90 (Wed) Capitol Center - Landover, MD

Set 1: Cold Rain & Snow, Feel Like A Stranger, Good Time Blues, Mama Tried > Big River, Loose Lucy, Stuck Inside A Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again, Row Jimmy, Let It Grow

Set 2: Crazy Fingers > Playing In The Band > Uncle John's Band > Drums > Jam > Dear Mr. Fantasy > I Need A Miracle > Black Peter > Lovelight, E: Black Muddy River

Review
3-14-90 Landover

It's always hard being a poor relation. 3-14-90 has several more popular or famous brethren: 3-22 was excerpted for the SO MANY ROADS box set, the Knick shows from the following week were compiled into a GDM release, and the very next night (3-15) was released in its entirety as a fundraiser. 3-29 featured the best guesting by Branford Marsalis. Compared with all that, what could 3-14 have to offer?

Well, things start inauspiciously enough; a fine "Cold Rain", a nice "Stranger", a cool "Good Times", but then I'm partial to those songs; others might not be. Bobby puts some real spit into his cowboy pair, but they really hit the audience between the eyes with the first "Loose Lucy" in 16 years; this has the audience roaring like Hampton crowd did for "Dark Star" five months earlier. Jerry really puts his lungs into this song, which is not in his comfortable range; every note is hit clean and strong, though he does miss a word here and there. This, at least, deserved release somewhere.

Bobby's "Memphis Blues" and Jerry's "Row Jimmy" both have moments of fun and embarrassment; the audience cheers Bob's lyrical lapse, and the similar lapse in "Jimmy" doesn't really affect that song. But it is evidently time to put up or shut up, for they close with the third movement of the "Weather Report" suite, "Let it Grow".

Jerry quickly turns to trumpet sounds to accompany Bobby's declamatory singing -- the hallmark of 1990 LIG's. Brent adds in similar synth trumpets, making it an interesting challenge sometimes to figure out who's doing what. But Jerry's clarion guitar solos leave no doubt. Mickey proves his place in the band, darting around Billy's heartbeat rhythms. Brent switches sounds seamlessly. For the first night of a tour, this is sounding remarkably together! The band has no trouble supporting Jerry's solo, whatever sound he chooses, and when he goes for the lead-out riff everyone is right there with him -- "just like a Swiss watch", as Bobby sometimes liked to say.

Bottom line: Strong starters, at least one gem, a decent closing jam, and a lot of promise. On to set two.

Starting off with "Crazy Fingers" will never make anyone mad, but it also sets a high standard for all that follows. Since they manage to fail this on the bridge section (Bobby sings harmony to the wrong verse), we can only hope for higher atonement in the post-jam; perhaps they do, though it is not a long one. Then comes the sharp turn, and they begin "Playing in the Band", and suddenly it occurs to me: in Jerry's lifetime, they never released a decent live version of this song (i.e., a current version that included a jam). In that light, we can really appreciate what STEAL YOUR FACE or DEAD SET failed to do; even WITHOUT A NET didn't address this. Only DICKS PICK #1 showcased a PITB while the band still toured, and that version was 20 years out of date!

You might think from my meandering comments that this PITB didn't really satisfy, and I suppose it doesn't quite -- they soon shift into UJB, making two halves of a moderately decent sandwich. This is followed by an even more interesting jam, and I do recommend it; for the Brent era, this is pretty out-there stuff.

The same can't be said for the drums, though they aren't dull -- just not really notable. The space section is a little more heavy -- just the sort of thing we'd expect for this era. Jerry bails first, and the result is a strong "Dear Mr. Fantasy", which ends too soon for my taste; it could have gone on for hours. A "Miracle " follows, with good crowd response; Jerry takes us thru "Black Peter" to follow. This is good, if typically not extended as much as it could have been, and it's a fairly strong "Lovelight" that takes us out.

So what was there to really take us in? Mainly the breakout of "Loose Lucy", with a decent LIG; then the "Crazy Fingers>PITB>UJB>jam" pre-drums. Each part might be short, but still worth hearing. "Space" is strong, if unfortunately cut by a reel flip, and "Mr. Fantasy" is very good indeed. Finally, there is a good "Black Muddy River" encore. Throughout, Phil, Brent and the drummers provide the kind of interesting commentary that makes for interesting (if not compelling) listening. A good start to what would turn out to be a very good tour :-)
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 3/14/90, at the
Capitol Center - Landover, MD
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews 3/14/1990

 

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