Today In Grateful Dead History: October 26, 1989 – Miami Arena, Miami, FL

dancing-bearI’ve been away for a few days – it’s nice to come back with this classic 1989 show that was selected to be a part of the 30 Trips Around the Sun box set.

If you read the comments on the Archive, you’ll find out very quickly that this show was considered a “spooky” show with a really menacing vibe in the arena that apparently freaked a lot of people out.  It’s hard to pick up on that vibe on the recording of the first set (it starts with Foolish Heart, a relentlessly upbeat – at least musically – song and ends with Don’t Ease Me In), but the second set certainly has a dissonant feeling, due in large part to the very spacey 28 minute Dark Star.  This song meanders along for a while before exploding into a very atonal experiment, with sound effects galore and several incredibly heavy passages with screeching feedback, crazy piano thumpings and drum fills.  Add to this stew Jerry’s slurred, tired-sounding vocal delivery and you have a very dangerous Dark Star indeed.  The last fifteen minutes could very easily be called Space because we’ve lost all semblance of the Dark Star melody, but whatever you choose to call it, it’s an intense piece of music, and probably my favorite Dark Star of the year.

The second set has several other “freaky” sounding bits.  Before we even arrive at Dark Star, we hear a pulsating Estimated Prophet that leads into a super pissed off version of Blow Away, with Brent swearing at the world and the whole band smashing along behind him.  Fortunately, after Drums/Space >The Wheel>All Along the Watchtower (also kind of creepy sounding)>Stella Blue, we get a thrilling Not Fade Away that brings everyone back to earth before And We Bid You Goodnight as an encore.

So there it is – an intense South Florida show that deserves repeated listening, if you’re in the mood for something a little angrier than your typical Grateful Dead concert.

Here is a matrix version, which I think picks up a little more of the vibe than the soundboard:  https://archive.org/details/gd1989-10-26.125695.mtx.dusborne.flac16

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