Cacophony n. 1. Frequent use of discords of a harshness and relationship difficult to understand see also 6/7/91
The Grateful Dead circa 1991 were a massive band – two guitarists, two drummers, two piano players and Phil. They could be slightly discordant at times. Tonight’s show at Deer Creek was one of those times, as evidenced by the above referenced cacophony that blasts us right out of the gate during Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo. There is just too much going on here for anything to work well, but somehow the Dead pull things off without going completely off the rails.
That’s the story for the entire night. Lots of noise, lots of Bruce Hornsby (who is turned up very high in the mix), lots of conflict. But sometimes, the conflict breeds interesting results, like during Loser, where Jerry plays off of Bruce, or in the transition between Truckin’ and New Speedway Boogie. However, even the relatively quiet moments get the Wall of Sound (Phil Spector version) treatment, for instance, Standing on the Moon, which is solid but burdened with a lot of extra background notes.
This isn’t to say that this is a “bad” show. But the mix of instruments never really works and we’re left with a somewhat muddy evening of good Dead tunes. Perhaps if Bruce wasn’t so loud, I wouldn’t complain about this so much, but that’s what we’ve got.