9/13/93
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 9/13/93

 

Dick's Picks Volume 9 reviewView From The Vaul II review

9/13/93

Dick's Picks 17 reviewDick's Picks 27 review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 9/13/93

The Grateful Dead
The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

Set 1: Hell In A Bucket, Jack A Roe, The Same Thing, Stagger Lee, Black Throated Wind, Dire Wolf, Let It Grow

Set 2: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain > Playing In The Band > Dark Star > Terrapin Station > Drums > Jam* > Ain't No Easy Answers > Days Between > Good Lovin', E: I Fought The Law

Back To Front
1993 is an odd bird -- not yet rundown as 1994 - 95, but definitely altered from 1990 - 91; the band had set out with a renewed sense of direction, just as they had many times before. While it may not have reached such peaks as their earlier statements, it is not to be dismissed. Jerry's voice doesn't really sound any worse than he did in 1980 -- surprising, considering how distinctly worn his voice sounded a year later. And the band certainly has life in it. Let's take a look:

First, the sound. A bit heavy on the bass drum, but this doesn't seem like too much a problem. Otherwise the instrument & vocal mix is pretty darn good, with just enough awareness of the audience to keep it from being sterile. Highs are clear, Phil is plainly audible if typically trebly [the sound he favored at that time].

Checking the set list, I see I began well into set two -- I popped in disc two assuming it would be set two complete, and consequently missed a whole 'Scarlet > Fire'!! Woops! Well, that must be rectified. But that's only going to add to what I'm hearing already: 'PITB' finds the band more than willing to go right into jam mode -- admittedly not any more remarkably than most 80s shows, but no less either. 'Dark Star' was more of a nod to audience desire in the later eras, so I didn't expect much, although it does sound nice. 'Terrapin' is even better (a rather heavy set for Jerry tunes). 'Terrapin' sounds good & gets off the ground with a nice jam. Jer seems keen to go back to the riff during the post-jam, which makes for an interesting juxtaposition of ideas. Whether it was intended to be like that or just a fleeting experiment of his is hard to say; it doesn't really work, but the band energy is strong enough that it doesn't clunk either.

'Drums' find the percussionists playing with energy & enthusiasm, and I had no urge to skip the track. The post-drum jam may not thrill some by dropping into 'Easy Answers' but I can't fault it; it sounds fine & is played strong. Hey, they can't ALL come out into 'The Other One' ;-) Jerry tires of Bob's 'Answers' and soon enough starts up his elegiacal 'Days Between', a lovely song I have yet to really form an opinion of. I just can't decide; the somber energy is so static, so mantra-like, that it's almost dull; and yet, it is also so convincing. There is no real solo -- that would have been almost inappropriate -- it's just starkly beautiful, as every version I've heard.

Well, Bobby knows what HE would rather do -- parTEE, and he makes the transition into 'Good Lovin', rousing the audience and giving his usual sermon. Good enough fun here that I skip the encore as unnecessary ['I Fought the Law' -- I mean, really!], and toss in disc one to visit the 'Scarlet > Fire' I missed: lively & clear guitar-playing, and Jerry's singing is effective & reasonably clear. All right then; let's see where *that* goes!

'Scarlet' ends with the usual riff; the band seems almost hesitant to embark from there. Jerry plucks out a few tentative threads, and grows in confidence the more he tries. The drummers pick up their support, if a bit simple in rhythm; Vince is rather static though lively enough. Phil lends minimal direction. Soon enough, Jerry pauses to switch on the Mu-tron filter we know so well. Not one of their more adventurous outings between these two songs; less than ten minutes from 'Scarlet's start to 'Fire'. More to follow, perhaps? Energy is still good, and seems to pick up a bit on the first 'Fire' chorus. And Jerry goes for the first solo.

It's a good one: fluid, friendly, and imaginative -- if within the usual parameters. Rather longer than shorter, very pleasing! And Vince pops in a few bars of his own before verse two starts, which is a welcome addition.

Second chorus, and second solo: a little more fire in the sound & playing. Vince is using a sound very reminsicent of steel drums -- very appropriate. Jerry sounds like he's in one of those moods where he can solo all night without running out of ideas; without effort, without even thinking -- just turn on the tap & let it go. And soon enough we'rre in verse three, then chorus three, and solo #3 takes off. Nice, but Jerry finally seems to think it would be a good idea to save something for later, and brings the combo to an end at about the 20-minute mark.

Checking back to the beginning, I try the set-opening 'Bucket', which is pretty darn hot. The band burns like a Shelby on nitro, and Jerry spits out sizzlingly ferocious leads. Heck, he hardly lets the song end before starting up a very uptempo 'Jack-a-roe', using his digital acoustic simulator (and a very convincing simulator it is). Jerry's singing is a little hoarse, but supple enough, and his playing is fine. Vince adds nice support.

I know some people have no patience for the Dead playing 'Same Thing', but I've enjoyed it both time I've heard it -- on DP-27, and now here. Vince contributes nicely, and Bobby emotes well, but Jerry's searing slide is just a monster. No wonder they kept him in the band ;-)

How could it get better? Well, it doesn't; Jerry promptly blows the opening lyrics to 'Stagger Lee'. You knew it had to happen, didn't you? Go on, you can say so. Jeezus, it's Jerry in the 90s, so we have to wait for the 'other shoe' to drop! Still, he recovers quickly (probably Jerry's most consistent quality), and it's nice enough after that, if (predictably) a bit fast. No real heat on the outro, and it ends rather sooner than the drummers expect.

Ah well, so what. Then the startup of 'BTWind' is muffed by Bobby starting the lyrics sooner than Jerry expects. Does it really matter? Vince will never be Bruce, or Keith, but we've got exciting performances in both sets. 1993, folks; it must be worth looking into a little further.

I should say: that lackluster 'Stagger Lee' seems to be the low point; 'BTW' ends strong (thanks largely to Bobby's impassioned singing), and 'Dire Wolf' swings nicely. 'Let it Grow' is, not surprisingly, taken at a maniacal clip, and Jerry shows no sign of intimidation -- burbling along gracefully or frenetically as required, switching from overdrive to acoustic without any apparent difficulty or loss of continuity. Strangely, sometimes the band sounds less energetic than Jerry does. Not bad for a guy who had to take half the previous year off ;-)
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 9/13/93 at the The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA.
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 9/13/93