Brent Mydland’s last show with the Grateful Dead took place on this date in 1990. He passed away three days later from a speedball overdose.
I talked a little bit about my “coming to Brent” experience a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t repeat that discussion here. Suffice to say, Brent’s death capped the end of an era – he was the Dead’s longest serving keyboard player, after all. The next year would see the introduction of Vince Welnick as the band’s full time keyboard player and Bruce Hornsby’s short but sweet tenure as a second keyboardist. But things would never be the same after Brent’s death.
As a show, this performance is pretty mushy, but there are a few inspired moments, including Brent’s final Never Trust a Woman followed by a rollicking Stagger Lee. Even though it’s messy, I like this version of Foolish Heart, especially the ending.
Of course, the encore of this show has passed into legend as one of those “only the Grateful Dead” moments. The Dead played The Band’s The Weight as the encore, and Brent’s final sentence as a member of the Grateful Dead ends up being “I’ve gotta go but my friends can stick around”. Haunting.
Here is the soundboard link: https://archive.org/details/gd1990-07-23.sbd.walker-scotton.miller.95898.sbeok.flac16