G. Dead 1989 Stat's
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G. Dead 1989 Stat's
Misc. '89 reviews
Feb. 5 - 12 '89
Mar 27 - Apr 3 '89
Apr 8 -17 '89
April 28 - May 7 '89
May 27 - June 21 '89
July 2 - July 13 '89
July 15 - July 19 '89
Aug 04 -6 '89
Aug 17 - 19 '89

Grateful Dead concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Grateful Dead concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Grateful Dead 1989 tour summaries and statistics:
California Spring
East Coast Spring

Grateful Dead February 1989 concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Spring 1989 California Tour

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Statistics and Summary 

The Dead started out 1989 with a flat CA tour that provided only one show that captured the pure magic of the Dead, 2.10.89. The other shows were either downright flat, or were plagued by an inability by Jerry to create themes with his leads.

The band seemed to have either bad nights average nights or amazing nights. There was no in-between during this tour. Shows from the 70s and early 80s show many nights where the first set was average and the second set amazing. Not on the 1989 Feb CA tour. It shall be interesting to see if the band learned to correct itself and salvage good moments in otherwise bad shows. This was a startling trend because it suggests to me that the band was giving up on certain nights.

Foolish Heart was played two times (2.7 and 2.12) and each was very bad. On both occasions the first jam was not extended and the rhythmic progression flubbed. On both occasions the final outro jams were uneventful and lacked synchronous jamming. This tune was to be amazing in 1990 and it will be interesting to track its progression from this state to the polished 1990 state.

Let It Grow was played only once but was in my opinion one of the finest versions of the tune ever. The version on 2.10 marks the highlight of the tour.

Morning Dew was played on 2.5 and it was a flat version. Also, it seemed that the band performed this as a routine song instead of one that compliments the evening until that point.

PITBand was played twice, 2.5.89 and 2.10.89, and each version was quite different. On 2.5 the version was lazy and nearly boring. On 2.10 the version was extended and had numerous themes. Also the interplay between Garcia and Lesh was complicated. I rated the 2.10 version of PITBand as a 9.5/10 but it didn't get the highlight of the show because of the splendid Let It Grow.

Scarlet Fire was not performed. On 2.7 the band did Scarlet into LLRain which was quite disappointing in my opinion.

SOTMoon was played three times 2.5 2.7 and 2.11. Each version was raw and not well developed. The pacing was off for beginning of each version. There was no note developed theme at the conclusion, and only chord strumming. The tune sounded awkward at this stage. Jerry must have really wanted this tune because, as we all know, in 1990 this was an amazing song. It shall be interesting to see this progression.

The Other One was played twice 2.5 and 2.12. As noted on the 2.12 review, the band seemed to be attempting a new style for this song with an almost jazzy intro followed by a more upbeat in-between verse jam followed by a jazzy outro. On 2.5 the version did not work. On 2.12 it really worked. In fact the 2.12 version worked so well that I have relistened to it about 5 times. Jerry really is impressive on it. It will be interesting to see how this develops through the year because in this format the band has a lot of room to expand. Bravo to the Dead for changing the format from the standard early 80s jam1 and jam2 style to a more expansive stage.

Victim or the Crime was played once on 2.7 and the version was awful. This tune as well as SOTMoon and Foolish Heart were shiveringly great in 1990. It shall be interesting to track the development of this tune as well.

Finally, there is the Brent Factor. We Can Run was performed a bunch of times and each version wasn't very good. A bit too preachy for my taste. The band seemed to really be pushing this song. Just a Little Light was tighter and more precise but boring as the jam is really just interesting rhythm and Brent with no real Jerry platform.

Brent Factor Part 2. Brent keyboard rhythm throughout the first 6 shows except for 2.10 was very overpowering and at times annoying. Each solo he took couldn't just be normal or slightly aggressive, it had to be wild and way way way way over the top. For example, the structured keyboard solo after the second verse of Big River. Instead of a catchy rhythm that matches where the song was at the time of performance, and not outdoing the final Jerry solo after verse 3, Brent does a Little Richardeque style jam that is way too much. This was rampant throughout the Feb 1989 CA Tour. It will be quite interesting to see if Brent calms down, if he ruins more shows, or if the band rises above him and makes him fit in some how.

Brent Factor 3. I will Take You home. The band continued to perform this Brent song. It will not be interesting to track this song through the year but rather will be frustrating. It will be interesting to see how much space momentum Brent killed with each performance however. As noted on the 2.11 version, Jerry was deeply inside of jam that Bob, Phil and the drummers had yielded to. It was just Jerry on the stage noodling into various themes, and Brent walks up and starts playing I will Take You Home. Wow.

Summary – The tour has to be considered a success because of 2.10.89. 2.10.89 is one for the record books and if it is not ranked as one of the top 3 shows from the year than it will be an amazing year to say the least. Jerry was so on during this show that I found my mouth wide open at times. The band sizzled on 2.10 and everyone should here it at some point. See the review for more information about that wonderful show.

But, the tour had a lot of down points. Most notably was how bad the band played at times. The versions of tunes were not just flat but downright awful at points. I yielded a lot of 5 and 5.5 rankings of songs which is quite low. The low point of the tour was Jerry's performance on 2.11. He couldn't develop any themes and the songs were atrocious. It was hard to listen to. It shall be interesting to see if Jerry has any other nights like this as the year progresses. I should note that Garcia Band played on 1.28.89 and blew the fucking place into pure bliss. Jerry was so on and crackling with energy that I was again quite shocked. Thus, I don't speculate that his off performances on this tour, particularly on 2.11, were due to new year hangover.

The first sets ultimately proved better than the second sets. It will be interesting to see if that holds up. Here is how I ranked the tour.

Rating Scale is as follows, 5 is a horrible version of a song or show, 6 is a below average version of a song or show, 7 is average, 8 is above average, 9 is exceptional, 10 is for the Gods.
This is a compilation of all six shows into one for a summary ranking
* First Sets from the tour 7.0 Rating.
* Pre Drums Second Set 6.76
* Post Drums Second Set 6.72
* Second Set Total 6.74
* Whole Tour Ranking 6.86

Next up is the Spring Tour which began on 3.27 in Virginia. I'm listening to it right now.

  Rob Goetz ©

Grateful Dead February 1989 concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Spring 1989 East Coast Tour

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Statistics and Summary 

* The 1989 Spring Tour for the Dead was remarkably average. Perhaps this is to be the common denominator of 1989. With some years I hear tunes or shows with the presumption that each version is exceptional, and upon hearing the version work backward in my rating scheme. 1972 and 1973 are prime examples of this. With 1989, I think it is now appropriate to presume that each song or show average and work up or down from there. Legend has it that the 1989 Spring Tour was the worst large tour of the year, and that the Summer Tour was better, and the Fall Tour (with the looming Dark Stars) even better. Assuming legends mean anything, my experience with listening to the 1989 Spring Tour suggests that if the Summer or Fall Tours are anything better than average, than it may be true.

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* As can be seen with the averages from the first sets, the predrums second sets, and the postdrums second sets, the band was more likely to have stronger first sets, followed by predrums second sets, and followed by postdrums second sets. This suggests one of the following two things – if not both. First, that the band lost interest in the show as it progressed beyond the first set. Second, that the band got tired and found it more difficult to maintain a certain required energy for exceptional versions. This being the 24th year of their existence, I think lethargy may indeed be a strong factor. However, lack of interest as the show progressed is likely also a factor. For example, the post drums second set song repertoire was remarkably similar show to show. The band only had a handful of songs they would perform night to night after the drums segment as opposed to first sets. This redundancy in song selection certainly played a role in their lack of exceptional performances on average during the second sets. All in all, the listener is more likely to hear better song versions in the first set than in the second sets when listening to the 1989 Spring Tour.

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* The presence of only one exceptional show from the first song through the encore (that being in my opinion 4.3.1989) is alarming. The band was unlikely on average to be consistently in a hot groove as a typical show progressed. This being the case, I have to conclude that the 1989 Spring Tour was a disappointment from a listener’s perspective.

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* In comparison to the 1989 California February Shows, however, the band played better. As such, the band was improving, lending hope that this trend would continue on through the Summer and into the Fall Tours.

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* Regarding the best show of the year through the 1989 Spring Tour, the juxtaposition is between 2.10.1989 and 4.3.1989, in my opinion. I am inclined to lean toward 2.10.1989 because of the second set PITB.

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* During the February 1989 <st1:State><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:State> Tour, Mydland was noted by me as being a hindrance. Through the 1989 Spring Tour, however, Mydland performed significantly better. While Take Me Home was still a difficult song for my ears to swallow, Blow Away and Just a Little Light were stunningly impressive. In fact, on average the best song of the 1989 Spring Tour was Blow Away. In addition, his performances during regular non Mydland songs was much better. For example, I implore the listener to hear the Queen Jane from 4.15.1989 for classic Brent Mydland.

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* Regarding the progression of new Jerry tunes, the band dramatically improved upon Built To Last. This song, in my opinion, is another classic Hunter Garcia example. Foolish Heart was average. Standing On The Moon was also expanding nicely, but still had room to grow. The band was beginning to develop a nice Garcia led outro jam on SOTMoon by the end of the tour and this likely would increase through the next tours. In relation to the drab post drums second sets, SOTMoon would fill a necessary slot in the Jerry ballad section as Stella Blue, Wharf Rat and Black Peter needed a rest once in a while.

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* Regarding Lesh, I am surprised in retrospect at how little a role he played in each show with his bass plucking. Hopefully he would arise as a stronger presence during the next tours.

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* Regarding Space, I was consistently unimpressed. While I ranked each space for the most part as average, I was disappointed with how little the band did with Space. Typically, Jerry would create interesting 5 to 10 second runs that would not build upon each other. In addition, the band rarely seemed to join him for the majority of the Spaces. There certainly was not a consistent aim to develop interesting themes through Space that would build upon each other and create nice jams. Perhaps this was not the aim of the band in 1989. The transitions to songs out of Space typically lasted about 5 to 10 seconds, which in my opinion, is not creative enough for my juices. Hopefully this would change with the forthcoming tours.

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* In summary, because of never having heard 4.3.1989, I am inclined to be happy with this tour. But, the consistent lack of a strong extended performance was disappointing. My goal with doing this project is to weed out shows I should listen to over and over again from the shows which may collect dust in my collection. Because I found 4.3.1989, I am very happy.

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* Here are the rankings based on my ranking scheme (which is on a scale of 5 to 10; 5 being among the worst versions or shows ever; 6 being a below average version; 7 being average; 7.5 being above average; 8 being exceptional; 9 being highly exceptional; and 10 being among the finest versions ever):

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* Whole Show Rankings with ranking following date

1. 4.3 (8.47)<o:p></o:p>

2. 4.15 (7.7)

3. 3.30 (7.6)

5. 3.28 (7.5)

5. 4.12 (7.5)

8. 4.9 (7.4)

8. 4.11 (7.4)

8. 4.13 (7.4)

Mean 7.311

9. 4.6 (7.14)

10. 4.2 (7.1)

11. 3.31 (7.05)

12. 4.16 (7.0341)

13. 4.5 (7.025)

14. 4.17 (6.98)

15. 4.8 (6.9)

16. 3.27 (6.78)

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* Set 1 Rankings with ranking following date:

1. 4.3 (8.55)<o:p></o:p>

2. 4.15 (8.4)

3. 3.30 (8)

4. 4.13 (7.8)

5. 4.11 (7.75)

6. 3.28 (7.6)

Mean 7.42

8. 4.6 (7.4)

8. 4.12 (7.4)

9. 4.16 (7.36)

10. 4.2 (7.2)

11. 4.17 (7.07)

13. 3.31 (7)

13. 4.9 (7)

14. 4.5 (6.94)

15. 3.27 (6.8)

16. 4.8 (6.4)

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* Set 2 Pre Drums Rankings with ranking following date:

1. 4.3 (8.625)<o:p></o:p>

3. 3.28 (7.5)

3. 4.12 (7.5)

5. 4.8 (7.4)

5. 4.9 (7.4)

6. 4.13 (7.3)

8. 4.5 (7.25)

8. 4.11 (7.25)

Mean 7.23

10. 3.30 (7.2)

10. 4.6 (7.2)

11. 4.15 (7.05)

13. 3.27 (7)

13. 3.31 (7)

14. 4.16 (6.75)

16. 4.2 (6.7)

16. 4.17 (6.7)

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* Set 2 Post Drums Rankings with ranking following date:

1. 4.9 (8.2)<o:p></o:p>

2. 4.3 (8.14)

3. 4.12 (7.67)

4. 4.8 (7.4)

5. 3.28 (7.3)

8. 3.30 (7.2)

8. 3.31 (7.2)

8. 4.2 (7.2)

Mean 7.19

10. 4.15 (7.1)

10. 4.17 (7.1)

11. 4.5 (7)

12. 4.11 (6.9)

13. 4.13 (6.8)

16. 3.27 (6.6)

16. 4.6 (6.6)

16. 4.16 (6.6)

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* Comments are deeply encouraged.

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Rob Goetz ©

Grateful Dead February 1989 concert reviews by Rob Goetz


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