https://archive.org/details/gd1990-12-0 ... Straw.flac
Wow, wow, wow! This is a fantastic show! What a treat!
Hornsby's own music evolved significantly during this time period. Critics have suggested that the Dead's vibrant tradition of melding folk music and the blues with psychedelic rock in "loose-knit expressions" and extended jamming "further pushed [Hornsby] outside the confines of mainstream pop." Critics have also commented upon the "close musical connection" formed between Hornsby and Jerry Garcia, suggesting that Hornsby's particular style of jazz-fueled improvisation added to the band's repertoire, and helped to revitalize and refocus Jerry Garcia's guitar solos in the band's sound. Hornsby's friendship with Garcia continued, both inside and outside the band, as the two "challenged" each other to expand their musicianship through several other album and live collaborations. Above all, Hornsby's musical versatility and ability to slip in and out of extended freeform jams won over longtime Grateful Dead fans.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Hor ... teful_Dead
And while the whole show has a great "feel," a stand out for me (besides that Jack Straw) is Bird Song.
And while I was looking for some other Bruce shows I came across one I used to have a part of as filler on a cassette tape that I haven't listened to or thought about in twenty years (10/31/91), a eulogy for Bill Graham by Ken Kesey during Dark Star. And as he says, "it's a little heavy, but that's what it's about," though in some additional ways for me. I remember when Bill Graham died, and it's interesting to think about what I was doing around the time of this show (drinking Dr. Pepper on Haight Street a year before I knew anything about the Dead). And it makes me think of an old friend who was into 1991 (unlike me) and made me that cassette tape. And I didn't know as much about Ken Kesey''s place in the Grateful Dead's origins as I do now, so it's interesting to hear this again.
And maybe it's time to explore 1991 more. I can see how their reinvigorated energy that started in 1989 and (in my view) peaked in 1990 could have spilled over into 1991, and I can appreciate the addition of Bruce Hornsby more now than I did when I was younger (and I enjoyed seeing him play in that post-Jerry show I saw in Chicago in 2015), so I will poke around and see what all the fuss was about, starting with this article from 1991:
In a recessionary pop music environment in which tours keel over and die and radio and MTV stars hit the road only to cancel their tours, the Grateful Dead, 26 years old and counting, are doing better than ever. So far this year, their gross for live shows has been higher than any other band's. For the first six months of the year, the Dead earned $20 million. Playing stadium-size venues -- something no other tour has dared do this summer -- the band has sold out virtually every show it has played, and the prediction is that for the rest of the year, it will sell out everything that's left.
Yesterday the Grateful Dead arrived in New York to play nine sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden.
"If I knew what made us popular, I'd bottle it," one of the group's leaders, the guitarist Jerry Garcia, said in a telephone interview. "Whatever it is, it invented us, we didn't invent it. The audience thinks we're providing more than music, but we don't let on what we're providing, intentionally. We're elliptical. Someone once wrote that we're a real cheap vacation to Bermuda, which is kind of right. But insofar as we're providing a safe context to be together with a lot of people who aren't afraid of each other, which is real valuable in New York, I'd guess, we're important" …
Each show is an event, a spectacle that draws meaning from itself as much as it does from the music.
"With all the kinds of people that come, old-timers and kids, it's a little hard to tell what makes them all have a valuable experience," Mr. Garcia said. "I used to wonder about it and worry. Suppose we're misleading all these people? But it's not really like that, I realized, because we're not selling a point of view. We stay away from advocating much at all, so people are left on their own to imagine who we are."
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/09/09/arts ... iving.html
And since I used to have this one from 6/24 on an audience tape (which was surely a factor for me not liking it), let's see how it sounds on a nice Charlie Miller soundboard recording.
https://archive.org/details/gd1991-06-2 ... e+Way.flac
I'm still exploring this show (nice opening Help/Slip/Frank so far), and while I was looking for reviews of it I found this interesting interview with someone in a Grateful Dead cover band who mentions it:
When the Grateful Dead is brought up, it’s usually either followed by a roll of the eyes or some form of excitement and respect. The band’s magnetism became a cultural movement, but at its core, it was the music that spoke to people. Recreating different Grateful Dead shows each night, Dark Star Orchestra is most likely the closest you will come to the original Grateful Dead spirit in a small venue. IN pulled drummer Dino English away from zero degree Wisconsin weather to chat about why the music remains such a force in the world today.
IN: What is it about the Grateful Dead that makes its music so timeless and worthy of such dedication from a band like yours?
ENGLISH: The way they encompass so many styles of mostly American music. Rock and roll, country, R&B, funk, bluegrass, fusion. They were one of the first bands to bring the free form jazz structure into a rock and roll setting. People could hear it all. It also opens people up to other kinds of music. People who wouldn’t necessarily like a type of music would be exposed to it for the first time at Grateful Dead shows. It can really change whatever path you’re on musically.
IN: What was your personal journey in discovering the Grateful Dead?
ENGLISH: It happened that first show—6/24/91. I’m the baby Deadhead of the band. I had friends that could travel to see them and begged me to come with them. They’d play me tapes, but I just didn’t get it until I caught the whole live experience. It was an eye opener. It all made sense after that.
And now that I've had a chance to listen to this show with and without headphones, on the whole I'd put it in the "not bad" category. Highlights for me are that nice Help/Slip/Frank, an interesting It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, a nice Big River, a great China/Rider (starting after four minutes into China), a great Estimated Prophet, a strong Drums, an okay Other One and a great Morning Dew.