Today In Grateful Dead History: March 15, 1990 – Capital Center, Landover, MD

terrapinThis is a really good show that deserves to be listened to from start to finish, as there are highlights sprinkled throughout the spirited performance.

The Dead open the evening with Jack Straw>Sugaree, and you can tell right from the beginning that this is going to be a good one – the band members are listening to one another and the interplay between Phil and Jerry on Sugaree is exceptional.  After Sugaree, Brent busts out the first Easy to Love You since 9/3/1980, and while the song hasn’t aged well (who am I kidding, it was never good), Brent’s voice has gotten much more confident over the decade, which is really apparent in the second set when he sings an impassioned I Will Take You HomeAlthea is another first set barn burner, with liquid Jerry runs all over the place.

The second set opens with a fast China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider that shows off the band’s connectivity once again as they bounce ideas to and fro during the transition between the two songs.  This is pure goodness.  A pedestrian Samson and Delilah comes next, but then it’s time for the main event, a huge twenty minute Terrapin Station that will blow your mind.

I like live performances of this song right up until the end of the vocals, at which point the song usually loses me.  I just don’t think that the Dead do a very good with the jam at the end of the song – it’s a repetitive bore most of the time.  But the first part of the song is so good, both musically and lyrically, that you can’t begrudge the ending.  That’s on most nights.  Tonight, that ending is anything but boring.  Instead, it’s an ever changing tapestry, especially from Bob and Jerry, who play together brilliantly here.  Just when you think the band is going to wrap things up, there is another movement in a somewhat different direction.  This continues for a long while, and at the end, you’re grinning from ear to ear.  I can’t recall a Terrapin Station that’s had this effect on me.

The rest of the show has its ups and downs, but we do get the first Revolution in five years as an encore.  Even though the boys aren’t at the top of their game, musically, with this tune, and despite Jerry’s lyrical flubs, the song still has the power to send a chill down your spine.  “You know it’s gonna be … alright!”  And it is.

Check out the Charlie Miller soundboard here:


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