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Dead of the Day: June 8, 1990

Cal Expo Amphitheatre
Sacramento, California
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For our Dead of the Day, we head to the beginning of summer tour in 1990 out at the Cal Expo Amphitheater. The Cold Rain and Snow that opens the show is ordinary, as if the boys are still shaking off the cobwebs at the start of summer tour. But things start to get hotter with the Walkin’ Blues and Brent’s Easy to Love You. Queen Jane and High Time are excellent as well, but the Bird Song is the undisputed highlight of the first set, shooting off into some ethereal spaces at times. The second set begins with a surprise Uncle John’s, almost like the boys of summer are celebrating the beginning of another awesome tour now that they are firing on all cylinders. A short China Cat follows with a breathtaking jam into Rider. Then an Estimated begins with Brent tickling the keys in fine fashion and Jerry layering on some tasty licks on top of Phil’s bombs. By the halfway point of the tune, Bobby is raging on vocals and the band is delivering expressive jams in between lyrics with the crowd roaring their approval. The Estimated peters out a bit too soon, but before anyone can get too disappointed, the boys head into an exquisite Foolish Heart. Jerry’s vocals are fresh and his guitar playing is so sharp, leading the rest of the band forward into a lengthy jam before leaving the stage to the drummers. After an exploratory Space, The Wheel emerges like an oasis in the desert, shimmering in the distance and slowly coming into focus, until suddenly you find yourself in the midst of it. After a short Miracle, the Dead head out with two tunes – Black Peter and Sugar Magnolia – that had been in their repertoire for a long time, but they create two more perfect renditions here. On Black Peter, Jerry’s guitar is insane and his vocals are so sadly expressive, making for ten minutes of magic. Then, on Sugar Mags, Brent blazes away on the keys and the entire band forms around him, making for a slightly different twist on the always spirited song.

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