I missed last week and will surely miss more – sorry about that.
We’re back today with a show from 1993, a year that I don’t seem to find myself thinking about very often – it’s kind of the black hole of the 90s where things aren’t usually that great but they also aren’t remarkably bad.
Today’s show is a classic of the genre – it starts with a pretty fair version of Help on the Way>Slipknot!>Franklin’s Tower and the second set is highlighted by an entertaining Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain. But before and after those pairings, you’ve got a lot of pedestrian stuff like a half-hearted Corrina (which can be a good song under the right conditions) and a shambling Picasso Moon that ends the first set. Using this song as a set closer seemed pretty strange to me, and I thought that it could be a fairly unusual setlist position, but a glance through DeadBase only confirms what most of you daily readers already know – I often don’t have a clue. It seems that the Dead frequently closed the first set with this song. I still think it’s a crummy choice.
I’ve spoken about the mid-90’s drudgery before, so I’ll repeat myself quickly here. Until the very end in 1995, when Jerry was almost completely gone, most of the problems with these shows weren’t related to the band’s execution of the songs, per se. It’s more a lack of enthusiasm and ideas. Take a listen to The Last Time from today’s show and you’ll understand. You’ve got Bob Weir howling away while the rest of the band sits back like a casino band rehearsing for that night’s lounge show, plodding along. Ditto the Wharf Rat that follows. Most of the show is like this.
So you’ve got nothing too shabby here, and a couple of worthwhile songs. The rest is take it or leave it.