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Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound (Live)

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Album Review

Rumored to be in the works for over a year before its release, the Jerry Garcia Band's Fall 1989: Long Island Sound, in a six-disc slipcased box on ATO, is actually more plentiful than the preceding fan buzz imagined it would be. Within are two complete shows by the group and opening duet act Bob Weir and bassist Rob Wasserman September 5 at the Hartford Civic Center, and the following evening at the Nassau Coliseum in New York. Taken together they provide irrefutable evidence of what fans already knew: that the JGB's flowering musical evolution peaked about this time, with the guitarist playing better than he had in years inside and outside the Grateful Dead. The box is set up with three discs devoted to each night. Discs one and four are devoted to the Weir/Wasserman opening sets; the rest reflect the two sets Garcia's band played each night. The Weir/Wasserman gigs are delightfully ragged — Bob's guitar is slightly out of tune on half of the first night, especially on an otherwise moving version of "Looks Like Rain," but the performances are inspired nonetheless — check "Throwing Stones" and "K.C. Moan" in Hartford and "When I Paint My Masterpiece," and "Easy to Slip" that gives way to a long Wasserman improv in New York. The bassist is the highlight in this duet; he uses a boundless and heartfelt creativity in each song, making Weir invest his voice fully in the lyrics. To be honest, save for hardcore Deadheads, these gigs need only be heard a couple of times, and are included more for historical than musical import. The Garcia Band sets, however, are positively electric, crackling with energy and an obvious awareness among all players that what is transpiring is special. There are too many highlights to list — there isn't a lot of overlap in the performances — only "The Harder They Come" (both versions are stunners), "Evangeline," and "Deal" are repeated. The Bob Dylan tunes — "Forever Young" and "I Shall Be Released" — are excellent, as are "Like a Road," "Deal," and a rarity of sorts: a killer performance of Delaney & Bonnie's "Lonesome and a Long Way from Home," which hadn't been played live by the group in six years. The New York show features great reads of Van Morrison's "And It Stoned Me," the Beatles' "Dear Prudence," Smokey Robinson's "I Second That Emotion," Holland-Dozier-Holland's "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," and the Ray Charles' nugget, "That Lucky Old Sun." The sound throughout is thoroughly remastered from soundboard tapes and is crystalline. The booklet is nothing special — there's a historical essay by Blair Jackson and memorabilia reproductions, but that's about it. It's clearly the music that matters. At this price point — retailing for about five dollars a disc — Fall 1989: Long Island Sound should prove irresistible for fans.

Customer Reviews

Pretty good

It's fun, although I'd prefer a '70's show. But the real gripe is the lack of Jerry's studio albums and older live releases! Gosh dang it! Put that stuff up already. It's a joke that they aren't avaable at this point. Boooo!

AbSOULutely FANomenal

Just from the previews you will hear this is the best sounding recordings ever. Sounds like they are in your living room. Great songs acoustic songs, sweet jams. This is outstanding

"Oh, the hours I've spent inside the Coliseum..."

I've been picky and choosy about the Dead, and Dead-related releases that have come out recently, and there have been a bunch, but I can't wait for this one.
The sound quality is ridiculous, the setlists are inspired, and this particular time-period was MY Grateful Dead. Plus I grew up on Long Island so this collection is of (formerly) local interest to me. JGB, Weir-Wasserman, Fall of '89, sign me up.

Biography

Born: August 1, 1942 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Though he was chiefly known as the leader of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia was much more than that. For many, he was the embodiment of the freewheeling artistic spirit of the 1960s. A masterly guitarist and songwriter, and a highly underrated vocalist, Garcia was a true music lover, involving himself in numerous non-Dead projects over the years. His most widely known project was the Jerry Garcia Band, which formed in 1975 and produced one studio album, 1978's Cats Under the Stars. Regular live...
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