Grateful Dead to Release 6-CD Live 1989 D.C. Set

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The Grateful Dead will release Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, D.C., July 12 & 13, 1989, a six-CD boxed set that includes all of the music from two previously unreleased concerts. The set is taken from the band’s master 24-track analog recordings, which have been mixed by Jeffrey Norman at TRI Studios and mastered in HDCD by David Glasser. The collection’s slip case features original artwork by Justin Helton and a perfect-bound book with in-depth liner notes written by Dean Budnick, editor-in-chief of Relix magazine. The set will be available on the band’s website as a digital download in Apple Lossless and FLAC 192/24.

According to the band’s press release, “The Grateful Dead battled the elements in July 1989, enduring drenching rains and stifling humidity during back-to-back shows at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in the nation’s capital. In spite of the bleak weather, the band thrilled the massive crowds both nights with triumphant performances that rank among the very best of a busy year that included 74 shows and the release of the group’s final studio album, Built to Last.

The boxed set can be pre-ordered here.

“RFK Stadium ’89 fell right in the middle of one of the best tours of the last 15 years of Grateful Dead performances, with these shows being the sixth and seventh of an 11-show tour,” says David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set’s producer in the press release. “This tour is widely considered the start of a nine-month period of sustained excellence, which ran from summer ’89 through spring ’90.”

Related: BCB’s review of the documentary Long Strange Trip

Pianist Bruce Hornsby—who briefly joined the band between 1990 and 1992—is featured on both shows. For fans of Brent Mydland’s tenure with the Dead, which began in 1979 and ended in 1990 with the keyboardist’s death, “these stellar shows capture that incarnation in peak form,” the release states. Among the long list of highlights are performances of live staples such as “Eyes Of The World,” “Wharf Rat” and “I Need a Miracle,” along with rarities like “To Lay Me Down,” which was played only a few times in 1989. The July 13 show also features the band road-testing “I Will Take You Home,” a track Mydland wrote with Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow that would appear later that fall on Built to Last.

The Grateful Dead circa 1989 (l. to r.): Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Brent Mydland, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann

Set Lists

R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7/12/89)

  1. Touch Of Grey
  2. New Minglewood Blues
  3. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  4. Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  5. Far From Me
  6. Cassidy
  7. Friend Of The Devil
  8. Promised Land
  9. Sugaree>
  10. Man Smart, Woman Smarter
  11. Ship Of Fools>
  12. Estimated Prophet>
  13. Eyes Of The World>
  14. Drums>
  15. I Need A Miracle>
  16. Dear Mr. Fantasy>
  17. Black Peter>
  18. Turn On Your Lovelight>
  19. Black Muddy River

R.F.K. Stadium, Washington, D.C. (7/13/89)

  1. Hell In A Bucket
  2. Cold Rain And Snow
  3. Little Red Rooster
  4. Tennessee Jed
  5. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
  6. To Lay Me Down
  7. Let It Grow
  8. He’s Gone
  9. Looks Like Rain
  10. Terrapin Station
  11. Drums
  12. Space
  13. I Will Take You Home
  14. The Other One
  15. Wharf Rat
  16. Throwing Stones
  17. Good Lovin’
  18. U.S. Blues


Watch the Dead play “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo” at RFK Stadium in 1989

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