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Dead of the Day: July 20, 1994

Deer Creek Music Center
Noblesville, Indiana
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July 20th is one of those strange days in Dead history when the band only played one show. In this case it is a 1994 date at Deer Creek. The show gets rolling with a Feel Like A Stranger that is a little down tempo, but contains a few nice runs by Jerry and a really solid effort from Bobby. A short Peggy-O comes next; this song always seems to have a little something special behind it, and this instance is no different as Vince dials up the keys and Jerry offers some lovely riffs. After Beat It On Down The Line, we get a really terrible High Time with Jerry flubbing lyrics and generally singing in a lackluster manner. Bobby and Vince come to the rescue on Memphis Blues, with the former providing some high-energy vocals and the latter taking over much of the meat of the playing with some fine keys. Then Phil comes to the fore on the first version of Childhood’s End, which was just the second song he wrote the lyrics to. His vocals do the tune justice, with his bass voice reinforcing the elder narrator of the lyrics. The set concludes with a rocking Don’t Ease Me In with, once again, Vince inserting himself with some sharp fills. With some nasty storms in the area and rain falling down, the boys open up the second set with a string of rain tunes. Box Of Rain starts it off, followed by Samba In The Rain, and then Looks Like Rain. Just as the precipitation ended and the sun broke through the clouds, the boys hit the first notes of Here Comes Sunshine. Reports from those who were there indicate it was a magical moment, which it certainly sounds like as the crowd goes nuts and the band delivers a tremendous version of the tune, save Jerry’s vocals. The energy sticks around for a rocking, jammed out Corrina that eventually segues into the debut of Matilda Matilda. After a powerful and enchanting Drums, the boys come out of Space with Uncle John’s Band, jamming it out thoroughly, but always sticking close to the theme. Following that, Bobby gives us a strong I Need A Miracle, which heads into Morning Dew. How good the Dew is really seems to depend on your perspective. If you are looking for a primal Dead, face-melting rendition, you are not going to find it here. But there is some real emotion from Garcia, great playing throughout, and a thoroughly original feel to the set closer. Finally, they send everyone home with a rocking Johnny B. Goode with Vince adding a series of hot licks at the end.

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