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Dead of the Day: October 30, 1990

Wembley Arena
London, England

Our Dead of the Day takes us out to the tail end of the 1990 European tour. The show opens with a solid Jack Straw, made all the better by Bruce’s keys, which seem to get Jerry going into a higher gear. From there, the first set continues off in strong, though not stratospheric, fashion. The Queen Jane is a high spot with Bobby’s inspired vocals and an all-around impassioned musical delivery. The Row Jimmy directly afterwards is also very nice with Jerry sending up a fine solo. The jam after Let It Grow is interesting being in the middle of the first set. Led by Bruce, it starts off hot and imaginative, but bogs down over time. But Valley Road, which opens with a fury, is tasty all the way through to the end, sending the set out. The second half opens with Picasso Moon and then goes into Foolish Heart, which Jerry scorches with relentless guitar runs. He changes gears, offering up more soaring licks, but keeps the heady playing going on Looks Like Rain, which combines with the vocal effects and drummers’ thunder towards the end to make a special rendition. The Terrapin that rolls out next has some exceptional drumming, clear and moving vocals by Jerry, and stellar jamming in the latter portion into Drums. Out of Space, The Wheel will bring a smile to your face as the boys seem to be having so much fun as evidenced by their bright vocals and joyful playing. And the Miracle up next provides more of the same with Bruce’s piano coming in towards the end and staying very involved throughout an almost jazzy Black Peter. The Lovelight has everyone trading licks, making for a thick and syrupy jam-filled version that has some great moments when everyone comes together in mind-meld form. 

After the Tiananmen Square massacre put an end to the Dead’s plans for a 1989 China-Singapore tour, the band started planning a Europe trip for fall 1990. And come October of that year, they played eleven shows in Sweden, Germany, France, and England. This night was the opening show of what was supposed to be a two-night run at the famed Wembley Arena, but was eventually extended to a third date. Musically, the tour was not exceptional, but it was a rousing success for the band and its fans as they played in four different cities in a newly reunified Germany and enjoyed the added energy and excitement that Bruce added to the mix. Thousands of Deadheads made the trip from the United States, joining the legions of European fans on the tour.

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