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Dead of the Day: October 8, 1989

Hampton Coliseum
Hampton, Virginia

Foolish Heart gets things going in magnificent order, culminating in a mellow jam with Brent pulling off some seriously groovy runs while Jerry deals. A song later, Candyman goes off the rails in face-melting fashion, making you wonder what the boys had in store the rest of the evening. The next couple songs keep you guessing, as they are all real solid, but not mind-bending. And then the Queen Jane starts to dance out with some funky, low-key jamming, unfolding rapturously from there. The Bird Song that rolls forth next has some incredible moments, all of them driven by the steamy interaction between Jerry - working his MIDI - and Brent. Then the set closer, Promised Land, bores out. Though not as tight as some versions, the “Norfolk, Virginia” line gets the crowd riled up, and, in turn, the band fires it up.

The second set is even better than the first, beginning with the first Help On The Way in over four years. It and the Slipknot! that follow are excellent, but the Franklin’s soars a little higher on the wings of Brent’s insane keys and Jerry’s phenomenal effort. A solid Victim> Eyes follows, taking it into a tasty Drums and Space. Miracle gets the boys out of Space with a lovely Wheel coming after that. Then, the opening of Gimme Some Lovin’ is phenomenal as the band comes together, busting through the first notes in perfect mind-meld form before nailing the opening lyrics. The rocking, high-energy playing continues as the song charges on. If there was any question just how much the boys were enjoying the evening, their performance on this tune should clear it up. And then, suddenly, and to our great delight, the band drops right into Morning Dew, which you know could not be anything but fantastic, full of masterful power and deep texture. 

The two-show Hampton run was released by the Grateful Dead as Formerly the Warlocks. The band billed themselves by the same name for the concert, which was not included in the official, pre-tour list of dates. The concerts were only announced ten days before the show with tickets sold through local outlets, making for a special atmosphere. Both of the shows are off the hook, but the following night is generally considered the better of the two, though there are more than a few who make the argument for today’s show.

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