When we last got together, I was lamenting the lack of interesting material in the September 4, 1980 show at this same venue. Well, fast forward seven years and we arrive at a performance that makes that 1980 effort look like Europe ’72.
Granted, a few minor things (like Jerry’s diabetic coma) happened in Grateful Dead land between 1980 and 1987 that might account for the lack of dynamism here. But the frustrating thing about 1987 is that the band could bring it when they felt like it. Tonight, however, there is just nothing going on. It’s not that the performance is sloppy – it’s just boring.
So instead of focusing on the specific songs (since there’s not much to discuss), let’s point out a couple of positive things about this show. First of all, there are significant portions where Phil rises over the top. Second, Brent’s interplay with Jerry, especially on the Scarlet Begonias-less Fire on the Mountain, is tremendous at times. It’s shows like this that remind me of what a talented player Brent was during all of his years in the band. Finally, this show has a mystery. If either of my readers could please tell me what Bob shouts at the end of Turn on Your Lovelight, I will be in your debt.
Here’s the link to the show if you’ve got nothing else to listen to today or if you want to help me figure out Bob’s shoutings: https://archive.org/details/gd1987-09-08.sbd.miller.106715.flac16