03-28-94 Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y. (Mon)
1: LTGTR> Bertha, Greatest, West L. A., Masterpiece, Roses, BIODTL, Peggy-O, Music
2: Rain, Victim> Box Of Rain> He's Gone> TWBS> GDTRFB> Drumz> Watchtower> Days Between> Lovelight E: Brokedown
Ok, the first set's source is pretty weak... nowhere near as good as the 2nd set's source.
But, the 1st set in itself, holds up, even surprises for a 94... 9 songs!
Jerry bungles his verse in LTGTR, which shouldn't bother me much, as I should expect it, but it did bother me.
Decent Bertha, no better, but a nice GSET to follow it up.
During West LA we get the first clue that Jerry is here for real, and a nice performance follows.
IMHBTR was a bit slow for me. I understand it is a slow song in general, but it was just a tad too slow, though still enjoyable. When every song isn't slow, its cool.
Peggy-O starts off lackluster, but is great by the end. And a very nice TMNS to close out the set.
The 2nd set is where the magic happens. Rain opens the set, and Jerry does some nice, unique work near the end of it. Very sweet Victim! Jerry is in full form here.
This is followed up by Box of Rain, which is like the Roses in the 1st set, a bit to slow at the start. Again, slow or not, still a good performance.
He's Gone steps to the plate, apparently in the "power slot" (though 2 more song follow pre-drums!). The first solo is solid, with great, crisp Garcia tone. After the "vocal jam" Jerry kicks it straight into TWBS, which the drummers seem to bungle a bit at the beginning despite it being incredibly easy. I think it is a case of Mickey Hart trying to do too much where less is more. I can't figure out why Swami detests this song, as here is another cool version. The lyrics, while simple, are cool, as is the beat. Just like, oh, say... Mathilda! At the 2 minute mark they head into a little structured jam. This was a great little transition tune for going into...
GDTRFB! Who saw that coming?! At this point in the set, you would think Jerry would be knee deep in whatever activities he would do while the Drums were wailing. Jerry instead signalled the GDTRFB, and the drummers were hyped, tempo doubled. Jerry was clearly in a good mood here, it shines through in his voice. Jerry does an excellent job on his solo, and Vince joins in for the second part of it, but not in any kind of overpowering way. The return to the verse finds them very energized, and this was yet another great GDTRFB.
Drums takes over, I love the drums from 94-5, because they really get out there, particularly when Mickey really gets going on the string machine, which is easily my favorite part of drums. This is the part between percussion, and Jerry's entrance of course. In other words, it really is Space. Jerry hits the stage, and it continues down through the weirdness. As I listen, I know Watchtower is coming up, and I am thinking... this may be a bridge too far for Jerry in 94, it usually is. The first hints of it come around 8:30 into space. It is pretty clearly the call, and they head into Watchtower. Jerry is pretty prominent in the build up. Vinny does some sax MIDI in the intro, as they segue quite nicely out of space. Bobby is playing loud and strong here, good stuff. The intro work features nice Jerry, and unless I am crazy, the first solo also has nice Jerry, way better than I expected. After the hour gets late there is way to much cymbal, but just the right amount of Jerry, who wails away. The final jam is awesome, with some great teamwork and some definite X-factor. This Watchtower completely surpassed my greatest hopes as far as Jerry is concerned in 1994!
Can't go wrong with Days Between, still my favorite ballad, probably always will be. Its appearance out of the crumbling Watchtower is one they did a few times, with great success. About the song, it builds perfectly, and Jerry's singing is great. This is a good song for a bedraggled old man to sing, it really adds to it. Vince is a key to this song too, he has to make the background boards push the song ever higher in intensity. Jerry pretty much hits all the lyrics (except "the timid" in the timid plead their pleas and the shoes verse closer to the end), important in this song (and all ballads really). The end jam starts off really mellow, almost too much so considering the strength that Vince had been building prior to this in the song. It does build up again and is very nice, with Bobby really laying in to it, and Vince clearly more in his element.
This fizzles into Lovelight, led by Bobby, no doubt about it. Short but sweet, I felt like they could have done more with this.
For the encore we get a nice Brokedown Palace. A bit too much of a sing along for my taste.
If you have any interest in 94, this show is certainly worth checking out. If the SQ on the 1st song doesn't appeal to your ears, you may as well skip all the way to Rain, because it stays the same until then, when it becomes pristine. The 2nd set is solid. As far as 94 goes, this is one of my top 5 easily. As far as all time goes, this is probably a 7/10. I would have certainly been a very happy camper to have seen this one.