Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain>Playing In The Band>Dark Star>Terrapin Station>Drums>Space. That’s the first hour and ten minutes of the second set of this show from the Spectrum in 1993. Do you really need to know much more?
OK, fine, since it’s 1993 and the Dead’s performances during this year were somewhat, shall we say, nuanced, I’ll give you a couple of additional details.
The Scarlet>Fire is fine but not mind-bending. It’s a great way to get things moving and Jerry does some nice playing here and there. The Playin’>Dark Star is really nice, especially the transition. The Dark Star itself is only five and a half minutes long, but it’s a good five and a half minutes, with Vince’s organ work at the beginning making it sound more like a Pigpen Dark Star. Then we get Terrapin Station, one of only two times that the Grateful Dead ever played Terrapin out of Dark Star. This too is a neat transition, and the crowd goes pretty wild with glee. Terrapin is above average for 1993, but Drums / Space is tremendous, with Vince and Jerry riffing on the Tubular Bells theme for a while during Space.
Now because it’s 1993, you all know what’s coming after Space, right? Easy Answers>Days Between>Good Lovin’ with an I Fought the Law encore. How on earth do you start a set with Scarlet>Fire>Playin’>Dark Star>Terrapin and then end it with this? Because you’re 1993 Grateful Dead, that’s why.
First set: average in every way. If you like Hell In A Bucket, Jack-A-Roe, The Same Thing, Stagger Lee, Black Throated Wind, Dire Wolf and/or Let It Grow, then these versions aren’t going to bother you. If you don’t like these songs (really the only clunker, setlist-wise, is The Same Thing), then don’t listen to the first set because this show isn’t going to make you change your opinion. Jerry’s guitar tone, as it is throughout this tour, is, in my opinion, fantastic.
At the end of the day, we’ve got an hour of pretty epic Grateful Dead music here, and, given the year, that makes this show (at the least the first part of the second set) a keeper.