Nearly seven years since death of guitarist Jerry Garcia and the demise of the Grateful Dead, the band's substantial performance legacy continues to be solidified with a seemingly endless array of off
Nearly seven years since death of guitarist Jerry Garcia and the demise of the Grateful Dead, the band's substantial performance legacy continues to be solidified with a seemingly endless array of official concert releases. The latest pair from Grateful Dead Records comprises seven discs across two titles that document two distinct periods in the band's evolution -- 1978 and 1990.
"Dick's Picks Vol. 25" is a four-disc set recorded over two dates in 1978 in New Haven, Conn. (May 10) and Springfield, Mass. (May 11). Among the notable inclusions are the Caribbean and Brazilian-influenced "drums" section of the first show, which "dovetails beautifully into a powerful 'The Other One' > 'Wharf Rat' > 'Sugar Magnolia' sequence to bring it all home," according to the label. Along with beautiful performances of such favorites as "Tennessee Jed," "Scarlet Begonias," and "Stella Blue," the second night also offered a rare cover of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London." The latter track is one that the band, known as much for its covers as its own material, only performed a dozen times throughout its career.
Grateful Dead Records has also assembled the soundtrack to "View From the Vault III," a home video release recorded on June 16, 1990, in the midst of a three-show visit to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., outside of San Francisco. The show was one of 39 the band played at the venue, and that stand was the last played on the West Coast before the death of keyboardist Brent Mydland, who died on July 26, just a few days after the band wrapped that year's summer tour.
Like the DVD, the CD version of this release feature the entire June 16 show, including the first live recording release of Mydland's song "We Can Run," as well as six songs recorded at the same venue on Oct. 3, 1987 as a bonus. The VHS version of "View From the Vault III" omits a jam of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" that flows into Johnny Cash's "Big River" from the show's first set, and a cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," as well as the 1987 bonus tracks featured on the DVD and CD.
As with the past two "View From the Vault" releases, the audio is taken from two-track masters recorded during the show. The video stems from the three-camera production that fed visuals to the video screens at the venue, thus closely replicating the sights and sounds that the Bay Area audience experienced.
"Dick's Picks Vol. 25" and all versions of "View From the Vault III" are available via the Dead's online store at dead.net. The "View III" DVD and VHS, as well as a DVD compendium of all three volumes in the series will be made available Oct. 8 through traditional and online retailers.
All of the titles follow closely on Arista's "Steppin' Out With the Grateful Dead - England '72," a compilation culled from the band's first extended tour of the country that was issued earlier this month. The release activity also comes as the Dead's surviving principal members gear up for Terrapin Station: A Grateful Dead Family Reunion, an Aug. 3-4 event at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wis.
As previously reported, the concerts will see Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh perform as the Other Ones, as well as perform sets with their respective bands -- RatDog, Bembe Orisha, TriChromes, and Phil Lesh & Friends, respectively. Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, Warren Haynes, Jorma Kaukonen, the Disco Biscuits, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Donna The Buffalo, and Karl Denson's Tiny Universe will also perform.
As bassist Lesh recently told Billboard.com, he's "stoked to the eyeballs" about the reunion with his former bandmates following recent rehearsals. "Since we really couldn't recreate the Grateful Dead," he said, "we wanted to apply all the evolution that everybody has gone through in the last seven years and apply all the things we've learned through playing with others to playing together. So, it's been really, really, really exciting."