Grateful Dead: Road Trips
Vol. 2 No. 1 - Madison Square Garden, September 1990

CD361 - 2-CD set
Grateful Dead Productions, 2008

Go to the Shop



Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 1
Madison Square Garden: September '90

To kick off Volume 2 of our Road Trips series, we're making our first foray into the '90s - specifically, the extraordinary Madison Square Garden run from September of 1990!

You'll recall the unusual historical circumstances surrounding this famous series of shows: In July, Brent Mydland had died tragically after a glorious 11-year stint as the Dead's keyboardist. With both the band and Dead Heads in shock, a few planned summer shows were cancelled, and it looked as though the group's long-scheduled tour of Europe might be in jeopardy, as well. But then, two things happened: friend and fellow traveler Bruce Hornsby, already well-versed in the band's music, volunteered to venture into the breach temporarily once his summer tour was over; next, the group settled on former Tubes keys man Vince Welnick to step into Brent's big shoes on a permanent basis. Fortunately, he was a quick study! By early September, Vince had played his first shows with the Dead (in Cleveland and Philadelphia), and then the band moved on to Madison Square Garden -- always one of the most magical places the group played-- for a series of six shows spanning September 14-20, before jetting off for the big European tour.

Bruce joined the band beginning with the second concert in that series, and immediately the chemistry of this new septet was apparent. Bruce was a bold and assertive player who really pushed the band--and particularly Garcia--in some fascinating new directions, and the combination of his grand piano and Vince's electronic keyboard textures made for a big and dynamic sound. There were smiles all around as the new unit found its footing and with surprising confidence ushered in a new era of Grateful Dead music before roaring New York crowds!

Back in 1997, our late, great vaultmaster Dick Latvala pegged the September 16, 1990 Garden show to be Dick's Picks Vol. 9, but many fans of the run have long believed that the hottest shows from MSG that year were actually the two concluding concerts, September 19 and 20. So, for this Road Trips we offer some two-and-a-half hours of high energy rock 'n' roll and intense jamming from the second sets of 9/19-20 (as well as the moving "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" encore from 9/18). Included are spacey and beautifully developed journeys through "Dark Star" and "Playing in the Band"; a rare second set "Let It Grow" that rolls into a fantastic improvisation that really shows off the chops of the "new" band; a rousing "Uncle John's Band"; rockin' tunes like "Truckin'" and "Turn on Your Lovelight," and more. The spirit and life on these tracks is amazing! You can find the entire track listing below. As always, the discs have been expertly mastered to HDCD by our own Jeffrey Norman, and the package includes a 16-page booklet with lots o' groovy pix and an essay about the shows by Dan Levy.

Track List

Disc One - 9/20/90 and 9/19/90
China Cat Sunflower>
I Know You Rider
Playing In The Band>
Ship of Fools>
Playing In The Band>
Uncle John's Band>
Let It Grow>

Disc Two - 9/20/90
Dark Star>
Playing In The Band>
Dark Star>
Throwing Stones>
Touch Of Grey
Turn On Your Lovelight
Knockin' On Heaven's Door (encore 9/18/90)