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Dead of the Day: July 7, 1989

John F. Kennedy Stadium
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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There were several shows on this date in Dead history, but none stands above the last event at John F. Kennedy Stadium back in 1989. The show rips off with a Hell In A Bucket opener as the crowd goes wild. The band keep the audience rocking with Aiko next before slowing it down just a little bit with a steamy Little Red Rooster. Ramble On Rose, Stuck Inside of Mobile, and Loser are all excellent, but then the boys break into a charismatic Let It Grow that harnesses the best of what they were doing in the late 80s, namely that mind-meld sort of jamming in which each member is not just keying off the others, but finishing their bandmates' musical thoughts, sometimes before they even had conceived of them. Following the Let It Grow, Brent delivers an immensely powerful performance on Blow Away to close out the first set; this rendition is something to behold. After break, a short, but solid Box of Rain opens up the action again. Then Jerry starts playing the first notes of Scarlet Begonias, and the race is on as the band blasts through a fast-paced, heady version before dropping into a monstrous, eighteen-minute Fire On The Mountain. The drummers go nuts on the Fire, refusing to relinquish the theme as the entire band torches the tune. A similarly hot Estimated rolls forth into an outstandingly beautiful Standing On The Moon. Drums and Space are up next, and in the latter, a rough, baritone sounding MIDI from Jerry’s guitar starts leading the way towards The Other One, but it is a long time coming. Finally Phil and the drummers more or less announce its imminent arrival with a series of earth-shaking movements. All told, The Other One is very interesting with some seriously funky sounds and interesting compositions with Jerry MIDI-ing it up, the drummers dishing up some fantastic runs, and Phil, Brent, and Bobby blasting away. The Wharf Rat that they finally lead into is spectacular as well, as Jerry’s vocals are particularly lovely. A Lovelight, complete with some peppy energy, closes out the set before a Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door encore.

While doing a standard inspection the day before the show, authorities found the venue to be in such a state of disrepair that they moved to cancel the show. However, there were already so many heads in the parking lot that they wisely decided that it would be less of a problem to let the show go on. Immediately afterwards, John F. Kennedy Stadium was shuttered, just one more venue the Dead saw out.

The Dead released the show as Crimson, White, and Indigo

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