Bruce Hornsby’s time as a member of the Grateful Dead was coming to a close when the band pulled into Maryland for this show, and throughout this performance we’re reminded time and again of what an important contribution he made to the Dead’s early 90’s sound.
Bruce is all over this recording and all for the better, as his ideas tonight are incredible. There are definitely some moments of musical tension when the very-high-in-the-mix Bruce seems to push the lower-in-the-mix Vince out of the way, but these events are fleeting and everyone gets on the same page again pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, despite Bruce’s performance tonight, the show itself is pretty short and uninspired. The first set, in particular, is devoid of any true highlights, although none of the songs are train wrecks. The second set has some interesting moments, especially at the end of Corrina when Jerry leaves the stage for a few minutes and the band improvises until he returns and launches into a very sparse Dark Star. Drums is a typical version, but Space is long and reaches some pretty interesting places, driven, again, by Bruce, until the band flies into an energetic version of I Need a Miracle. Morning Dew comes next, and the first part is seriously marred by forgotten lyrics and some really off tempo playing from Jerry. Fortunately, the band recovers, and the second portion of the song is decent. Satisfaction is the encore, and, at least to my ears, it’s one of the better versions I’ve heard, so long as you don’t mind the Bob Weir shrieks (I don’t).
All of you Bruce Hornsby fans should definitely check this show out – the haters should stay far away. Listen here: https://archive.org/details/gd92-03-09.sbd.braverman.9755.sbeok.shnf