“Crimson, White and Blue” – The Grateful Dead in Concert DVD, July 7, 1989 – Review
This DVD took me by surprise, got to listen to it last night without any distractions, It seems like 89 was the year of Concert Videos and possibly the hottest year of the Dead, Being a Seventies Dead Fan, I have listened and watched all of the Others like “Down Hill From Here” and “Truckin’ Up to Buffalo”, the companion to this one, recorded three days earlier, Which was good, but nothing to jump up and down about. As soon as I put on my headphones and put in the DVD, I was captivated by the quality of sound, the excellent camera work, You spend the show on the stage with The Grateful Dead, You see some very neat and candid things that you normally would not see. I was totally transported by the DVD to like being there, it is just incredible, best camera work I have ever seen on a concert film. I had my Oppodigital DVD player set on 5.1 instead of stereo for the Phones and I must say , the sound was out of this world. As usual, it would take the Dead a few songs to get everything tweaked just right. The first set was a bit unusual, putting “Iko Iko” as their second song. “Little Red Rooster was third song”. They were destined to rock out that night. Their vocals were stellar that night. Brent Mydland turning in some great performance, especially on “Blow Away”, where he started this like talk part of the song that put the huge crowd in his hands, The rest of the band kinda backed off and let Brent shine. It was quite an emotional moment where Brent had the crowd in his hands. It was the set ender and after Brent was done, you could see Jerry smile at Brent with a big proud papa type smile, they always had a good musical relationship, feeding off of each other.
The DVD goes right into the second set, in the fully packed JFK Stadium, which held close to 100,000 and it looked packed. “Box Of Rain” started out the next set and Phil plain nailed it and there was some great vocal harmony at the end, Weir, Garcia and Lesh. A great version of “Scarlett Begonias” was next, by this time the band was firing on all cylinders. The drummers were hot, Bobby was doing his Bobby thing , backing away from the mike and then sort of attacking it again. Phil’s bass is playing in his very all over the place, but right where he was supposed to be mode. There were smiles all around, it just was so cool, being up so close to the action, you could hear lots of little comments, it showed a shot of the Drummers from the back once where they were watching Jerry and talking to each other. In the seventies , The Dead used to take a long time between songs, Their show in the late 80s was tight, I did not notice words being forgotten, and as usual, Jerry was phenomenal in his playing, you would hear a lull, and then Jerry would rip out a solo that was so tight and hot, and Brent was so hot in his responses to Jerry’s playing.
There was a very good selection of material from all over there career, From “Turn On Your Lovelight” to newer material like “Standing On The Moon”. This is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but this is the Dead at the peak of their game. A Great show for older Dead Heads and newbies too, wished I had seen one of the rare screenings, There was one very close to my house, the week before the package was released. Rhino got this one right, wish that the DVD could have been sold separately, because I am not going to be listening to the CDs, I’m going to listen to The DVD thru my Oppodigital universal Disc player, great sound. A plug for it too.