Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Landover '90

3/15/90 Grateful Dead @ Capital Centre - Landover, MD

Holy crap. Please tell me it hasn't been 20 years since these shows.

There was always a lot of excitement surrounding the start of Spring Tour. It was always on the east coast, where most people hadn't seen the band in 4-5 months. For some reason they liked starting the Spring in my backyard - Landover, MD - about 15 minutes from where I lived at the time. Fine by me. No preconceptions with setlists. No recent shows. Anything could happen.

1990 was my favorite year of following the band around. It's the year when we had changed from ex-college kids who didn't want to grow up - to full-blown Deadheads. And they were just killing it in 1990. Every show was just fantastic. These 3 were no exception.

I'm listening to 3-14-90 as I type. Damn they were good then. Our seats this night were at the very back of the floor - on the riser 3 rows up - straight back from the stage. We were just behind the tapers, which mean we had some mic stands in our way, but the sound was terrific there.


What better way to ring-in Spring Tour than with a song called "Cold Rain and Snow." Always a favorite. Get everyone bouncing and singing along right off the bat. Here we go.... I got my first version (of only 2 that I ever saw) of "Never Trust A Woman." Some people hated that one, but I loved it. Good, dirty blues. The highlight, of course, came a bit later when they broke out "Loose Lucy" for the first time in about 15 years. The song is very different live than on record - slowed down to a bouncy, mid-tempo shuffle. It wasn't until the lyrics came that most of us recognized it and the place just freakin' exploded. It was one of those cheers of joy I've rarely heard since. Everyone was just elated and singing REALLY loud when Jerry sang "Thank You.......For a real good time!" And everyone lost it again. What a great moment. The rest of the show was a typically great 1990 gig. The "Let It Grow" from this show is included on "Without A Net."


This may have been the most anticipated show of the tour - Phil's 50th birthday. If you hold this ticket under a blacklight it reads "Happy 50th Phil!" Even the tickets were fun in 1990! Actually, all of these tickets say something under a blacklight - I just don't have a blacklight handy.

This show had quite a few highlights as well. Enough that The Dead eventually released it in its entirety as Terrapin, Ltd. The show opened with "Jack Straw" - complete with Bobby screwing up the lyrics, much to our delight. We got another breakout tonight - "Easy To Love You" - a Brent tune that hadn't been played in about 10 years. Lots of "We Want Phil" chants during the first set. Phil finally gave-in and sang Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" - complete with the line "I'm going back to Foggy Bottom, I do believe I've had enough!" Nice. That "China>Rider" certainly didn't suck. The musical centerpiece of the night was the "Terrapin" that clocked-in at over 20 minutes. Yowza. No wonder they released this show. One more musical surprise for the night - the encore was a cover of the Beatles' "Revolution." First time in about 5 years for that one. They'd only play it one more time before they'd retire it forever.

"Walkin' Blues" and "Althea" from this show are also included on "Without A Net."


The last night of the Landover run. Our seats were exactly one row in front of where they were the night before. We were surrounded by the same people from the previous night. I used to love it when that happened. You could end up with new best friends for 2-3 nights in a row, sometimes it even happened in multiple cities.

This was the most mellow of the 3 nights. Things actually started a bit slow, but turned around quickly when the broke out "Black-Throated Wind" for the first time in 15 years. Damn - they did it again. So many tricks up their sleeves. They followed that with a nice trippy "Bird Song" followed by an unexpected "Blow Away" to end the set. Wow. The rest of the show was standard 1990 awesomeness, with the encore being a cover of The Rolling Stones' "The Last Time" It was only the 2nd time they had ever played that one, so we were thrilled to hear it.

We walked out of that last show thinking we had already seen what would be the best shows of the tour. Not even close. There was so much more to come.

Oh - I found the flyer sent with my tickets. Back in the pre-internet days these seating charts were awesome to have handy.

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