Issue May 19, 2010

Crimson, White and Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989

Grateful Dead
RHINO

Following the unexpected success of “Touch of Grey,” the Dead toured to larger audiences in their final eight years. Lacking the explosiveness of their late ’60s work, or their late ’70s post-“retirement” umph, they could still deliver on a good night. The title comes from a lyric in the emotional highlight of this concert, Jerry Garcia’s achingly beautiful “Standing on the Moon,” which flows out of a jamming “Estimated Prophet.” Seeing late-period Dead play with such conviction and joy is a pleasure. Besides well-executed songs (“Box of Rain,” “Loser,” encore “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”), the improvisation on “Blow Away,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “Fire on the Mountain,” the “Rhythm Devils” segment and more shows the Dead still had their creative juices flowing. Needless to say, the audio and video quality is superb.