There are a bunch of under the radar shows from the mid-90’s that don’t make you want to head for the hills, and this little gem from Philly is a great example of one of them.
First of all, the setlist is pretty good for any era, featuring Jack Straw followed by Friend of the Devil to lead things off and a second set Playin’ in the Band>Uncle John’s Band. (More on that later). The highlight of the first set is a long, well done Deal. Even though there are a couple of lyrical flubs here and there, Jerry digs deep into the solos and never lets go over the course of 13 glorious minutes. He’s engaged and on top of things throughout.
The second set begins with Midnight Rider>Cumberland Blues. The Archive commentators, who by and large seem to have actually been in attendance at this show, love this sequence, but I don’t get it. That’s ok, because right afterwards we get the aforementioned Playin’ in the Band>Uncle John’s Band that segues into Drums, featuring Jerry onstage throughout with Billy and Mickey.
One of my criticisms of mid-90’s Dead is that the jam sections are cobbled together and none of the bands members seem to be interested in listening to one another. Jerry is usually the worst of the bunch. That problem doesn’t exist here, and the jammier passages of Playin’ and UJB are beautifully done, with contributions from everyone. The Jerry-Drums goes way out there, but it never relies to heavily on midi sounds, skirting around the other effects on the pedal board. It’s a neat passage.
This is definitely a show that holds up under repeated listening and it deserves at least a go. Here it is: https://archive.org/details/gd94-10-05.sbd.unknown.6483.sbeok.shnf