Download Series 11
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Download Series Volume 11 Download Series Volume 11 - Grateful Dead
6/20/91
Pine Knob Music Theatre 
Clarkston, MI
6/19/91 Bonus Tracks
 
 
 
Order: GDM or 
Downloads: link below
 
030105GratefulDead iTunes downloads

Grateful Dead Download Series 8 review

Download Series 11
6/20/91 at Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI.

Volume 11 of the Grateful Dead's download series brings us the first release since the year 2000 to feature Bruce Hornsby which was Dick's Picks Volume 17. The material for Download Series Volume 11 is taken from Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI and it includes the complete show from June 20, 1991, and key second set excerpts from the evening before. 

The first set is notable for Phil being quite aggressive. That is usually a sign of great things to happen. However, I found that the “Peggy-O” through “Maggie’s Farm” too accordian dominant. At least the latter track has enough other interesting things to salvage it. The set is fairly short and the only saving grace is a solid “Bird Song.”

I generally try to not look at the song list or at least ponder them too much before a listen. As I spun the second disc I figured I recorded the songs in the wrong order as the pre-drums material includes a few curve balls. The first of them is the opener, “Throwing Stones” to begin the set. It achieves its objective of setting the energy level to full blast to start the festivities. Jerry keeps the power on with a rendition of “Iko” that segues oh so smoothly from “Throwing Stones” that you’d think it was standard repertoire. Following are the next two curves, “All Along The Watchtower” > “Standing On The Moon.” While interesting because of the sequence neither of these tracks are among my favorites.

The post-drums material is very solid and generous in length. A melodic reading of “The Wheel” leads to a conflict of riffs between “I Need A Miracle” and ” The Other One” with “Miracle” winning out. The rendition of “Wharf Rat” has a solid instrumental, especially notable is Phil. A nice transition to a “Throwing Stones Reprise” and a well played “Not Fade Away” are both super charged with electricity and is a perfect way to close the set.

There is a generous helping of excellent filler, which is from the evening before that includes most of its second set. Rounding out disc one is a fine “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire On The Mountain” that is preceded with the jam out of “Victim Or The Crime.” Then to round out disc three we are treated to the end of the second set from 6/19 with another curve, “Stella Blue” > “The Other One” rather than the reverse order. Both are good Hornsby era takes, but more thrilling is a well jammed out “Johnny B. Goode” that doesn’t leave any band member on the sidelines.

The mix is good, especially if you are a Phil fan as he is thumping, leading, conversing, and walking with or through everything. The rest of the band are up to the task this evening as well. Bobby’s parts come through nicely. The sin of set one being below average was twice redeemed. First by leaving plenty of space for solid filler to round out disc one and secondly by a strong second set yielding a more than satisfying release. 
by Barry Small © 
Grade 
B + 
Order: GDM

 
Grateful Dead Download Series 8 review

Review # 2: by Ramble On Joe ©
Wow! I thought I'd had enough of this era, based on a show I'd heard from this same month. But this is a different animal -- admittedly helped by generous (and well-placed) additions from the night before. Since I don't consult setlists when first listening to a show (or, this case, release), some of my surprise was due to the placement of the filler, but why should that matter? It's good music, well-performed, and there's a lot of it. Those three facts pretty much cover my requirements ;-)

The "Touch > Greatest" opener is pleasantly energetic, even above average; I dig the way Phil doles out chunky basslines like a chugging train. Vince gives GSET a comically bluesy ending that Jerry follows, making at least one listener smile [me!]. Jerry is a little tentative at first, as he was wont to be, but you'd never know it by the way Phil throbs and pulses.

But it's the "Peggy-o" that follows which set my ears buzzing; Jerry patiently plucks the intro until Bruce's accordion is properly in the mix, and off they go. Too often this song suffers too fast a tempo; sometimes the attempt to be heartfelt just comes across flat. Here it is neither; Bruce is alternately pushing forward or settling back; Vince sparkles on the piano (and a dash of bell-toned synth), and Jerry rides the Rolls-Royce of rock bands with joyful ease. Boy, there's a lot going on; we just might be on notice for an unusual show.

As it turns out, we are; even "Mexicali" sounds fresh, appropriately lit by Bruce and Vince (it's hard to tell who does what!), firing Jerry into an even more joyful solo; in fact, the solo section goes on for several choruses between them. "Maggie's Farm" follows immediately to give each singer a verse; again, it feels fresh, and not at all too long at eight minutes. A fourteen-minute "Bird Song" closes this short set, and surpasses words; no one could possibly find it unsatisfying. There's clearly a lot of fuel in the band's tank tonight!

This still leaves a lot of room on the first disc, which is filled with a "Scarlet > Fire" from the night before. -- but not right away; first, there's almost three minutes of boiling mystery, a surprisingly intense drop into the primordial straight out of a "Space" segment. This would have been a surprising start to a set in any era, but was in fact the coda from 6/19's second-set "Victim or the Crime" opener. That song wasn't otherwise included, but there's really no reason to complain: the mysterious postscript and the "Scarlet > Fire" constitute 28 minutes of continuous magic.

-- Well, mostly; first, Jerry has to lapse on "Scarlet's" first verse, reminding us that he's merely mortal. Interestingly, the drums put a steady 4/4 beat under the "Scarlet" coda -- I guess if Mickey wanted to rap there, he could have done so ... Meanwhile, the band takes off, letting Vince take a synth solo. As if preserving some internal structure, they return to the post-"Scarlet" riff, and then head out for four minutes of sublime group consciousness. Listen on headphones, and you can dimly hear a fan way over to the right scream "Oh yeahhh!" at the outset; I can't improve on that for description.

"Fire" starts with a subtly sly decision on Phil's part: as the vamp begins, he spends eight bars playing sixths instead of root notes, transforming into relative minors the simple major chords used in this song. Before you can say "What the --?!", he thumps his way back to the correct tones, but not without first sitting on a Bb, an even more bizarre choice for a bass note. No, he's not lost, nor forgetful; it's just Phil having a bit of fun. After that, of course, we can't really be sure what he might do next; Jerry must have shaken his head and smiled. And then, of course, they take off on one leisurely exploration after another, for the next thirteen minutes. Mighty fine!

I haven't commented much on Bobby's contributions, but they are clearly audible in the left channel. There's just so much going on that it probably takes several listens to hear it all!

Disc #2 is where 6/20's second set really begins, but sounds like a perfectly logical follow-up to 6/19's "Scarlet > Fire" excerpt. Is that cheating -- expanding the show, as it were, beyond what actually occurred on a given date? We could, if necessary, skip "Scarlet > Fire" for purity's sake and begin here; on the other hand, it was a good addition. As it is, we have the option of hearing it either way; that should satisfy everyone.

"Throwing Stones" is a surprise in this early placement, and all the more welcome for being a short version -- halfway through, the band cuts away to an "Iko-Iko" that I found myself comparing it to the strong rendition from 9/16/90 DICKS PICK #9, and I just might like this one better.

Afterward, there's some hazy musical stabs, and "Watchtower" emerges -- and "Standing on the Moon" follows after that. By this point, I'd say that any newbie would be less confused than an old-timer -- "Watchtower" and "Standing" BEFORE the Drum/Space break? But enough with jaded expectations; it's performance that counts, and this set is building like it should. "Watchtower" is suitably brooding (and perhaps more enjoyable for being in the first part of the set), and "Standing" is entirely successful, as Jerry reaches into the very limits of his vocal passion. "He's Gone" gives us even more with an extended coda, but it's time for the mid-set break, and the drummers take over.

This is one of the longer Drum segments, and not a disappointment -- meditative, rather than exciting, but still entirely absorbing. "Space" brings on another lengthy discursion; in all, half an hour separates "He's Gone" from "The Wheel" (the next real song in the set), and none of it had me wanting to change the disc or hit fast-forward.

Naturally, "The Wheel" is only our first step in the transformative awakening that we've come to expect at the end of a show. There is only one flaw to come: "Wharf Rat" finds Jerry lapsing into the ending lyrics prematurely, almost derailing the band in the process. The fact that they get back in the saddle says something for how strong a mojo they had going this evening!

"Miracle" is energetic and appropriate, with clearly audible audience participation on the chorus; "Throwing Stones" is reprised and finished for the "Not Fade Away" segue and final blowout. Splitting "Stones" like this worked well, but DEADBASE lists no other instance of such a split. "Not Fade Away" isn't any longer than we'd expect from this era, but it is nicely played, with Jerry giving a frenzied farewell solo before the sing-out ending.

A suitable "Brokedown" ends the show, and we would have been satisfied with that; it's The End and it sounds like The end. But Download #11's third disc adds the "Stella > Other > J. B. Goode" finale from 6/19 -- nice additions, though not really necessary. The most notable moments here seem to be the endings; I guess Phil was in a definitive mood ...

In summary: strong performances (minus that weak moment in "Wharf Rat") -- and, with disc times at 75, 75 and 65 minutes, there's a lot of it. If there had actually been such a show on a single night, everyone would have been exhausted. As it is, most of it did indeed occur on one night, and nobody could have left disappointed.

Sound notes: I accept a less-than-ideal mix as part of the package (I don't remember anyone complaining about the mix on DICKS PICK #12, and that has a fairly mushy sound). I'm not certain what the Download series intends regarding sound quality, but the DICKS PICKS series seems a fair guide. FWIW, at least Vince's synth isn't as overly prominent as it was on DICKS PICK #9. For another comparison, Phil is more audible here than on the 1971 Download.

Last word? DD #11 looks (and sounds) like a mighty good value for the money, and I'm sorry I ever thought it might be otherwise. More like this would be just fine with me :-)
Order: GDM

Grateful Dead Download Series 8 review
Track List

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Disc One
1 Touch Of Grey > 6:39 (Garcia, Hunter)
2 Greatest Story Ever Told 4:44 (Weir, Hart, Hunter)
3 Peggy-O 7:48 (Trad. Arr. By Grateful Dead)
4 Mexicali Blues > 5:51 (Weir, Barlow)
5 Maggie's Farm 8:27 (Dylan)
6 Bird Song 14:22 (Garcia, Hunter)

Bonus Tracks from 6/19/91
7 Scarlet Begonias > 14:17 (Garcia, Hunter)
8 Fire On The Mountain 13:36 (Hart, Hunter)

Disc Two
1 Throwing Stones > 6:53 (Weir, Barlow)
2 Iko Iko 9:51 (Crawford, B. Hawkins, R. Hawkins, Johnson)
3 All Along The Watchtower > 7:40 (Dylan)
4 Standing On The Moon > 10:36 (Garcia, Hunter)
5 He's Gone > 10:07 (Garcia, Hunter)
6 Rhythm Devils > 20:31 (Hart, Kreutzmann)
7 Space 9:37 (Garcia, Lesh, Weir)

Disc Three
1 The Wheel > 5:10 (Garcia, Hunter)
2 I Need A Miracle > 5:04 (Weir, Barlow)
3 Wharf Rat > 10:40 (Garcia, Hunter)
4 Throwing Stones (reprise) > 4:42 (Weir, Barlow)
5 Not Fade Away 11:02 (Petty, Hardin)
6 Brokedown Palace 5:08 (Garcia, Hunter)

Bonus Tracks from 6/19/91
7 Stella Blue > 10:08 (Garcia, Hunter)
8 The Other One > 7:51 (Weir, Kreutzmann)
9 Johnny B. Goode 4:52 (Berry)

Grateful Dead Download Series 8 review
Musicians:       

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Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia: Lead Guitar, Vocals
Mickey Hart: Drums
Bruce Hornsby: Piano, Vocals
Bill Kreutzmann: Drums
Phil Lesh: Electric Bass, Vocals
Bob Weir: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Vince Welnick: Keyboards, Vocals

Grateful Dead Download Series 8 review
Notes:

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Released - March 7, 2006
Grateful Dead Download Series

A glance at the set lists from the next few shows following this reveal two shows that I'd like to hear from 6/22 and 6/24; "Shakedown," Foolish Heart," "Dark Star Jam," the second set from 6/24, and much more.

From the Grateful Dead website
The addition of Bruce Hornsby to the band brought with it another texture to compliment the existing lineup, and in addition to some masterful performances, 6/20/91 treats us to one of the most intriguing and spectacular second sets of 1991. Following a first set that is capped with a lengthy, inspired reading of "Bird Song," the band comes out for the second set and surprises virtually every Head in the house by opening the set with "Throwing Stones," followed by a peppy "Iko Iko." And if that wasn't a shocking enough song placement, the band then continues to obliterate expectations by playing a very rare pre-Drums "All Along The Watchtower." And just to remind us that they were paying attention, they end the show with a smooth return to the "Throwing Stones" reprise into "Not Fade Away."

Because there was some great music played the night before at the same venue, we have included a number of bonus songs from 6/19/91, including the post-drums segment from that show, an equally surprising "Stella Blue>The Other One>Johnny B. Goode" set closing jam.

Grateful Dead Download Series 11 review