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Grateful Dead
Spring 1990: So Glad You Made It

Grateful Dead/Rhino

By 1990 this particular Grateful Dead lineup had been together longer than any of the band’s other eras. That familiarity blossomed into solos that found Jerry Garcia and Brent Mydland seamlessly handing off to each other while all six members played solidly in sync during jams with an unwavering focus that attacked each number.

Compiling 20 tracks from five dates – Landover, Hamilton, Albany, Hartford and Uniondale — So Glad You Made It offers a glimpse into the mind-melting goodness that was the Dead’s Spring tour. The two-CD set is the creation of Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux based on material recorded by John Cutler and mastered by Jeffrey Norman. Lemieux developed a setlist that would make 99.9% of any crowd attending a Dead show happy (minus that .1% who always have some complaint) while the engineers give listeners clarity and separation between instruments and voices as well as including the ambience of the “room”. Close your eyes while listening and you’ll either travel back to a particular evening or feel as if you’ve been transported back 22 years.

The show eases us into the night with the relaxed pace of opener “Let the Good Times Roll.” The following 10 tracks crackle and pop from the jubilant “Feel Like a Stranger” through a rare “Loser,” Mydland offering a scat solo during “It’s All Over Now,” an elegant “Bird Song” and finishing up with a rousing “Blow Away”.

Opening disc two, “Samson and Delilah” immediately raises the blood pressure. And you certainly get a strong dose of exploratory moments when “Scarlet Begonias” segues into “Estimated Prophet” followed by “Playing in the Band” and “Eyes of the World.” And the goodness doesn’t end until the hips sway hard to “Gimme Some Lovin’,” the heart cries during “Morning Dew” and the soul’s enriched on “Not Fade Away” and “Attics of My Life.”

So glad you made it? So glad I did.

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