Venue USAir Arena
Location Landover, MD
Date 10/10/94 - Monday
One Iko Iko ; Walkin' Blues ; Althea ; Desolation Row (1) ; Loose Lucy ; Eternity
Two Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower ; Estimated Prophet > Terrapin Station > Drums > Space > All Along The Watchtower > Stella Blue > Not Fade Away
Encore I Fought The Law
Comments (1) acoustic Bob
Nice rhythmic Iko intro with drummers then Phil - very nice work by Bob, before Jerry joins the party. Walkin continues the up-tempo pace , although does little else. Althea is really Jerry's awakening into the show, with some nice riffs between verses and then a hot extended ending jam, which included hitting those high end notes at it's peak. Really sweet version. Bob then breaks out the acoustic for a very well done Desolation Row, again with nice lead work from Garcia. I'm not a big fan of 90s Loose Lucy and I'm afraid that this version doesn't overcome by bias. The tempo is just too slow for me and the vocals take way too much effort for the minimal reward which the song provides.
Eternity shifts the mood very nicely, and one of the great 90s songs was performed very well. Jerry mixed in the "water" guitar effect very well, and Bobby Phil and Vince all had enough musical space. Spacey end jam was a good way to close the set, and set the tone for what was to come.
The tuning made it clear, that Help was On the Way. I remember being thrilled about this at the time (Swami was in attendance), but the recording confirms that this is an outstanding version of the trifecta. Especially the middle portion, my favorite portion - the Knot. With the drummers providing the spark, this jam caught fire with some spacey Vince keys, deep explorative bass from Lesh, and Weir's metallic guitar sound of Fall '94. When Jerry went from the free-form noodling to the chords strummed signalling the beginning of the reprise, it definitely brings the chills. Amazing timing. Franklin's begins in a quite industrial manner, like a machine at work with no-one operating it. Jerry is temporarily lost in space as Weir takes over, almost like an airplane's pilot taking a nap during a long flight. After 4+ minutes Jerry seems fresh again and the song resumes it's natural course.
Estimated is such a great follow-up and Weir is on his game. As is cousin Vinny, who really shines in the "sax" jam at the end. Now having been out for over 40 minutes in Set 2, what better a time for a 19-minute Station? While I wouldn't label this a swiss-watch version, I will say that it definitely satisfies the power slot and continues the spaciness that creeped in during Eternity and Slipknot. The spacey extended outtro paved the way for a serious Drumz-Space journey.
One of the requirements for being a fan of 90s GD is an appreciation for the Drumz & Space segment of shows, and at nearly 30 minutes this one gets pretty out there. When Jerry takes the stage for Space, he used what I will just call the 1994 effect which is hard to describe. It sounds like a loud, dischordant double note and the scales Jerry plays with it are non-melodic in terms of the traditional guitar scales. To the untrained ear this guitar tone sounds odd or out of tune, but some of you know an appreciate how Jerry used this effect - which was also used during a solo during Desolation Row in the 1st Set. They reached a weird place as in some other lengthy 90s Spaces in which the broader context of the show and 2nd Set in general are seemingly forgotten. All basis in musical normalcy is long gone. But a really nice, dramatic Watchtower intro is just what Dr. Weir ordered . Jerry continues the guitar effect in Watchtower to my delight, as the spaciness was not cast away with the return to "songs."
Stella Blue fills the ballad slot very nicely, and Jerry delivers a solid rendition - with those late-era "grandpa" vocals. Good, workmanlike Stella - not trying to over-reach or be the best version ever, but yet doing what a Blue needs to do. NFA gives the drummers one last chance to sound off, and the opportunity is not wasted. I Fought the Law worked for me, and signalled that it was time to fight the traffic getting out of Landover, MD that Fall night. Watch out for the cops on horseback.
This is probably my 2nd favorite show of the Fall Tour (10/18/94 MSG being current fav), and is a good example of the kind of jamming that the band was still capable of by this time. Yes there are the lowlights and Jerry's mental lapses in any 1994 performance, but there is definitely enough really good stuff here in this show to make it an enjoyable listening experience.
Even the blind man knows when the rain is falling.