Well, with this show, pretty lucky. It far surpasses the May 24th Memorial Stadium show and ranks pretty high up there for 1995 shows in general. Part of this is the setlist. While there are definitely clunkers in there (I’m looking at you, Eternity and Easy Answers), the majority of this performance is full of epic Dead songs. And the good news is that they aren’t train wrecks, even though there are many, many lyrical issues, as there always are with 1995 Jerry.
The show busts out of the gate with Help on the Way>Slipknot>Franklin’s Tower. While the Slipknot! passages in particular are sloppy, the Franklin’s Tower is sweet spring time music. Skipping ahead a little, Loose Lucy (lyrics!) is fun and Don’t Ease Me In rocks as hard as 1995 Dead are going to rock. I know this isn’t a complicated song, but it was really nice to hear the boys turn it loose and seemingly enjoy themselves, and Jerry’s guitar playing was on point and uplifting.
So, speaking of setlists, the second set opens with Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain>Playin’ in the Band>Uncle John’s Band. I hate always having to write this when it comes to this year, but, for 1995, this is great stuff. The jam on Playin’ in the Band is interesting, the vocals on Uncle John’s Band are not bad, and the Scarlet>Fire is fired up, although it’s nowhere near as good as some of the commentators on the Archive seem to think it is. Still, if you are looking for a good 45 minute slice of 1995 music, you would be hard pressed to find anything better than this.
A special note about Space here (Drums appears truncated). This is a really delicate Space and worth listening to with your eyes closed. Don’t let the fact that it pours into Easy Answers dissuade you – give it a quiet listen and enjoy where it takes you. Other than this, the post-Drums highlight is definitely Stella Blue, which is its usual 90’s self – long chorus (is the phrase “Stella Blue” sung over and over again a chorus? does this song have a chorus at all? discuss) and a pretty guitar solo, which is the best you can ask for with this classic song.
I think that we’re going to have a hard time topping this for 1995 shows, but let’s stay on the journey and see what happens. Listen here: https://archive.org/details/gd1995-05-26.sbd.popi.8371.shnf