I’m one of those people who actually likes Jerry Garcia’s late-era guitar tone, a haunting, processed, pseudo-acoustic vibration that cuts right to the bone. (Critics will rightly point to the “pseudo” as their ultimate reason for hating this sound). But for me, it works. Unfortunately, the rest of the 1993 Grateful Dead played instruments that didn’t sound anything like this, which makes Jerry sound like the guy playing a very loud classical guitar while Metallica grinds in the background. And on a night when Jerry isn’t perfectly in-sync with his bandmates (like tonight and many other nights to come), the tonal differences within the band create tension and ultimately make everything sound even sloppier than it probably should.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I didn’t really enjoy this show. The first set is pretty short (not unusual in 1993 land) and the only tune I found even faintly compelling was So Many Roads, which Jerry truly steps into, like he often did in these later years. The rest is a jumble.
The second set begins with a 24 minute Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain. No one in the band seems to be listening to each other, and while there is plenty of soloing, I think that it falls on the linguine side of the noodling spectrum. Estimated Prophet is another one of those 90’s cool-jazz versions, again with lots of noodling, mostly from Vince. Following this, we’ve got an 18 minute Terrapin Station. If you thought that the first three songs of the set were repetitive, wait until you get to this one . . . 18 minutes of Terrapin . . . In 1993 . . . 18 minutes of Terrapin . . . In 1993 . . . Out of Drums/Space, All Along the Watchtower sounds like it might turn into something good, with a neat little Jerry riff leading into the main body of the song, but when the band comes in, yeesh.
Yup, it’s one of those nights . . . Listen here: https://archive.org/details/gd1993-08-25.mtx.hansokolow.106287.flac16