There are several fine shows on this date, especially the two nights from the mid-70s, but our Dead of the Day is the sweet first evening of a two-night run at the University of Oregon in 1990. After Little Feat opened, the Dead’s first set starts off with a mellow Feel Like a Stranger. West L. A. Fadeaway arrives next, maintaining the loose and relaxed vibe. While the next few songs are all great, it seems the band really starts to turn up the power and tempo with Brent’s rendition of Far From Me, and the They Love Each Other that follows reaps the benefits. On the latter tune, Brent twinkles the keys and adds some lovely organ effects while Bobby scorches and Jerry throws in some tasty guitar licks. The band brings out Cassidy next, and it is a killer version as the boys come together perfectly and then set off on a thrilling jam in the latter half with Billy and Mickey taking the fore. To finish off the first set, the Dead then play a hot Tennessee Jed and a rocker of a Promised Land. The first set was excellent, but the second eclipses it right from the beginning with a thrilling Eyes, jazzy and spacey in the usual early ‘90s fashion, but still a good notch better than many of those estimable versions. From there, they go into a fabulous Looks Like Rain, which Bobby cheeses out in a magisterial way while Jerry and Brent put on some phenomenal runs, building to such a climax in the latter half. From there, they roll into Crazy Fingers without missing a beat. The Playin' in the Band> Uncle John’s> Playin' that follows is pure Dead gold, busting at the seams with energy and lusciousness and seemingly embodying the essence of the band, their music, and their outlook. Coming out of a Space that seemed to be toying with China Doll, the boys head into The Wheel instead, creating momentum throughout the song and rolling right into Miracle. But the post-Space highlight has to be the monumental Morning Dew that closes the set; spilling off starlight and raising thunder throughout, it is face melting.
Autzen Stadium, University of Oregon