Dead Road Trips: MSG 1990

The Grateful Dead Road Trips - Madison Square Garden: September '90

The Grateful Dead will begin Volume 2 of their Road Trips series with the exceptional Madison Square Garden run from September 1990.

These shows were heaving with emotional and historical significance as keyboardist Brent Mydland had died of a drug overdose just a few months before, ending his 11-year stint with the band. Mydland's tragic death was devastating to band and fans alike. Shows were cancelled and it looked like whole tours might have to be canned. But then Bruce Hornsby came into the picture, and having already been well versed in the band's material proved a sensational creative foil. Hornsby played with the Dead until they welcomed former Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick to the fold.

By early September, Vince had played his first shows with the Dead (in Cleveland and Philadelphia), and then the band moved on to Madison Square Garden - always one of the most magical places the group played - for a series of six shows spanning September 14-20.

Bruce joined the band beginning with the second concert in that series, and immediately the chemistry of this new septet was apparent. Bruce was a bold and assertive player who really pushed the band - and particularly Garcia - in some fascinating new directions, and the combination of his grand piano and Vince's electronic keyboard textures made for a big and dynamic sound. There were smiles all around as the new unit found its footing and with surprising confidence ushered in a new era of Grateful Dead music before roaring New York crowds!

Back in 1997, the late, great vaultmaster Dick Latvala pegged the September 16, 1990 Garden show to be Dick's Picks Vol. 9, but many fans of the run have long believed that the hottest shows from MSG that year were actually the two concluding concerts, September 19 and 20. So, for this Road Trips the band will offer some two-and-a-half hours of high energy rock 'n' roll and intense jamming from the second sets of 9/19-20 (as well as the moving "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" encore from 9/18). Included are spacey and beautifully developed journeys through "Dark Star" and "Playing in the Band"; a rare second set "Let It Grow" that rolls into a fantastic improvisation that really shows off the chops of the "new" band; a rousing "Uncle John's Band"; rockin' tunes like "Truckin'" and "Turn on Your Lovelight," and more. The spirit and life on these tracks is amazing! You can find the entire track listing below. As always, the discs have been expertly mastered to HDCD by our own Jeffrey Norman, and the package includes a 16-page booklet with lots o' groovy pix and an essay about the shows by Dan Levy.

This time out, the exclusive limited edition Bonus Disc was compiled entirely from the 9/18/90 MSG show, another sizzler. Highlights include "Foolish Heart," "Eyes of the World," the rare-in-every-era "To Lay Me Down," and an especially rollicking take on "Picasso Moon."

You can order the good times here.

Track List

Disc One - 9/20/90 and 9/19/90
China Cat Sunflower>
I Know You Rider
Playing In The Band>
Ship of Fools>
Playing In The Band>
Uncle John's Band>
Let It Grow>

Disc Two - 9/20/90
Dark Star>
Playing In The Band>
Dark Star>
Throwing Stones>
Touch Of Grey
Turn On Your Lovelight
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (encore 9/18/90)

Bonus Disc - 9/18/90
Mississippi Half Step
Picasso Moon
To Lay Me Down
Eyes of The World>
Estimated Prophet>
Foolish Heart>

[Published on: 12/8/08]

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schofizzl Mon 12/8/2008 02:19PM
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wilson021 Mon 12/8/2008 02:20PM
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All the road trip compilations look sweet, but they cost around $35 for the three disk set. If they would come out with mp3's for $9.99 that would be even sweeter.

fydo1974 starstarstar Mon 12/8/2008 02:39PM
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Agreed, I'd prefer $9.99 entire shows to these CD compilations. I wish they'd release 9/10/1991 MSG with Bruce, Vince and Branford Marsalis. That was one of my most-played Dead tapes back in college!

triad1 Mon 12/8/2008 05:09PM
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Too bad MP3's sound like ass. Although, I agree that they should release shows in their entirety.

aquariumdrunk Mon 12/8/2008 07:28PM
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Not sure where that $35 figure is coming from. Unless you're talking about express shipping, it's $19.99 for the three disc (assuming you get the bonus) and then $5.00 for USPS. While I agree, a few full shows to break up the Road Trips a little bit would be ideal, I've dug all the RT releases thus far. The last few in particular have been stellar!

lostsailor starstarstar Mon 12/8/2008 07:28PM
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Well, has this what it has come down to? Pieces of shows melded together? Are all of these Road Trip series this way? Might as well call it "The Best of the MSG Fall '90". I'd rather hear an entire show, front to end, warts and all. In fact i think I'll go to archive dot org right now, and listen to these shows, raw and not re-mastered. And if I am really feeling eager, i'll go find my board tapes from all of these shows. mp3's sound, well, just plain awful. Signed, disappointed.

Nick1257 Tue 12/9/2008 05:59AM
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Although i agree with you, not all fans of the dead are as die hard as you and I. This is probably geared more to fans who dont have full years of shows on disc and tape. And if you get the cd then burn it to FLAC or WAV you wouldnt ever have to listen to MP3's.


mfgoof Tue 12/9/2008 06:34AM
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This and the LivePhish series and the Warts and All series and the LivePanic series and on and on...They are all geared for fans that think they are "hardcore" or want "new" material and have some money. MP3 is a racket and sucks royally. Cal66 is right. This is a best of a run from one venue and one year; a compilation. You don't have to be "hardcore" to run BitTorrent. The Dead knows that anyone who is "on the bus", knows how to get recordings, Audience or whatever. This is for those aspiring to be on the bus. Like Mom, I really want the new Road Trips Dead CDs in my stocking for Christmas. Can't blame the band for wanting to make a buck on the capitalist many that are around. As some uncouth kids like to point out, they're just selling to the custies. You don't have to be hardcore to run BitTorrent and log on to a trader's site. You do have to be slightly off your rocker though to pay a ton of money for 30 yrs of music that is seemingly always available. :)

spaced starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/9/2008 06:58AM
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Road Trips Vol. 2, No. 1 Listening Party

terapin Tue 12/9/2008 07:41AM
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mfgoof - my problem is that I thought I got on the bus but it was a short bus......seemed like a good time but the setlist did not change that much...highlights were always the following jam - Wheels on the Bus < Mary Mack < Itsy-Bitsy Spider < Wheels on the Bus was wicked.....

ScIFreak Tue 12/9/2008 08:56AM
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Support the TAPERS!!!! SBD's are nice, but a good Akg source or matrix has a more eletric feeling to it. One reason I don't like, or They tottally fucked shit up for tapers.

DAMONCORY Tue 12/9/2008 10:13AM
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Complete shows would be better. I do love Without a Net though.

^^ What do you mean "support the tapers"?? They dont let you record the show so you can make money off it. Shouldnt the band be the one making the $$ off their art?

mfgoof Tue 12/9/2008 10:50AM
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"You're either on the bus, or off the bus" -- Ken Kesey Figure it out Terapin (Terrapin)

futhepharmer Tue 12/9/2008 07:57PM
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You can get plenty of SBDs on the bit-torrents like and and also the LiveMusicArchive.

I for one am not that concerned about sending Bobby's kids to college.

nuke_ticketbastard starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/10/2008 07:31AM
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cool! i saw two night out of this stint. nothing like walking out of the garden trippin balls and finding yourself in times square!!!! sick crazy m.c. escher sheets..... oh and the guy i sat next to the one night was calling every song like 30 seconds before it would start - he just kept leaning over and whispering a song name and then they were playing it.. i even started passing it down to my friends on my other side just to make sure it was real....haha fuckin miss those days....those nights

voodoobop Wed 12/10/2008 09:00PM
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i do beleive that this series is intended to pick up where dicks picks stopped. in addition, they are also supposed to be "highlights" of runs. the shows are out there, in their warts and all forms. how many sites do you have bookmarked where you can find any show at any time in most formats to stream or download.

i like these releases and hope they continue. just like everyone - i have hours upon hours of complete shows and all the dicks picks...but i do like these for ipod use or to check out a series without having to go thru 6 nights of music. i personally don't need another "space/drums -> 10 mins of what to play next jam" there's far too much music to enjoy by so many.

but..."that just my opinion, i could be wrong"

Dire46daysWolf Thu 12/11/2008 10:04AM
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what a set! this looks amazing for sure.

realtybreckenridge starstarstarstar Wed 1/7/2009 01:52PM
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I'd prefer $9.99 entire shows to these CD compilations.


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