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Dead of the Day: April 1, 1991

Greensboro Coliseum
Greensboro, North Carolina
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The music is so good, we just have to return again to 1991 at the Greensboro Coliseum for our Dead of the Day, finishing off the two-night run that we started yesterday. The sound is just as light and airy as the day before, but with more purpose. Bobby sounds more involved and, at times, he keeps a bit of a faster rhythm, which seems to have an effect on everyone else. The Jack Straw opener is solid, but the boys really get going with the Peggy-O, with Jerry leading the way on vocals and guitar. Candyman and Bird Song - an epic one - are also first set highlights. However, as you might have guessed looking at the setlist, the real fireworks come out in the second half. The set-opening China> Rider is fabulous, just unbelievable, particularly the Rider. The jam in the Rider is so solid, but on top of that you have Jerry using some sort of strings section MIDI for part of it. That softer sound allows Bruce to be heard more clearly, opening a space for him to jam alongside Jerry, which, as you might expect, ends fantastically. In the LLRain that follows, Jerry continues playing profoundly. The version also has a little bit of Bobby vocal cheese, including an incredible echo effect at one point that was probably caused by Healy, in one of his better interventions. Then, after teasing it the night before, the Dark Star finally comes out. Given that they start off noodling on the theme, though, it would be several minutes before anyone could be absolutely certain the band was going fully into the tune. Even once they get into the first verse, the boys are still playing in a desultory fashion, warming to the music and drawing in the crowd. Slowly, the jam takes on more and more form, building an intricate lattice of splendor and glory. By the time they leave the stage to the drummers, things have entered into a seriously weird realm somewhere in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Drums and Space takes things out even further into worlds unknown before briefly returning to the lusciousness of Dark Star. Then, the boys finish off some more business from the night before, almost stumbling into a short Playing reprise. The rest of the set is good too, though the Lovelight is far too short.

The Dead played seven shows at the Greensboro Coliseum over the years, and this, sadly, was the last one. They certainly went out on a high note though, with this sweet little two-show run that is a real highlight of spring 1991. The coliseum itself opened in 1959. Its original seating capacity of 23,000 made it one of the largest indoor venues in the South. The Monkees headlined the first major concert at the venue, and Richard Nixon visited during his failed 1960 presidential campaign.

You can also watch the entire show on video here.

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