On March 14th, 1990, the Grateful Deadopened a six-city, 16-show tour at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Singer-guitarist Bob Weir remembers that sprint as “the high point of that era.” The following July, keyboard player Brent Mydland suffered a fatal drug overdose. In August 1995, lead guitarist Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack, effectively ending the band.
But in the spring of 1990, Weir contends, “We were hot, feeling our oats and surprising each other on stage. The jams had personality and space. We were in good shape and had nothing better to do than get down on the music.”
The proof officially arrives on September 1st in an 18-CD box, Spring 1990, released by Rhino and available for pre-order at dead.net. The set, limited to 9,000 copies and costing $199.98, features six complete concerts, one from each venue on that tour, with deluxe packaging and a 60-page hardcover book. The shows in Spring 1990 will not be sold individually, but Rhino is also issuing a two-CD compilation drawn from the box.
Aside from a few tracks from a date in Albany, New York, the shows are previously unissued, and the set lists cover the Dead’s lifetime to that point, from “Morning Dew” on their 1967 debut LP to “Picasso Moon” from 1989′s Built to Last. “The improvising is great,” says the box’s producer, Dead archivist David Lemieux, who saw 10 shows on the tour as “a 19-year-old Deadhead.” But what distinguishes Spring 1990 “is how the Dead play smaller songs like ‘Big River’ with such furious energy – and nailing it.”
(content courtesy of rollingstone.com/Fricke; image courtesy of veramararts.com)