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Spring 1990, So Glad You Made It

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 18, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 two CD archive live release from the Rock legends featuring 20 live performances hand-picked from five shows by David Lemieux, the band's archivist and the collection's producer. Similar to 2011's Europe '72, Vol. 2, the two-disc set is a showcase for the best of the 1990 tour. For those familiar with the Grateful Dead's glorious live performance history, the spring 1990 tour represents an important zenith, one fully equal to the golden ages of Europe '72 and spring '77. During this truly epic three-week spring fling, the band played as good as it ever had, with energy, sophistication and joy. Recorded during the Grateful Dead's 25-year anniversary, the band - Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Brent Mydland, and Bob Weir - played as though it was on a mission to prove something. The pieces just fell into place that spring - impassioned vocals, the Brent/Jerry mind-meld, the MIDI expansion of the band's sonic vocabulary, and a bunch of new tunes and choice revivals.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 18, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Grateful Dead / Wea
  • ASIN: B008RPXQ2O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,691 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For much of my 17 years of Grateful Dead fandom I was, admittedly, what Deadheads refer to as a 60's & 70's snob. Out of my massive collection of live tapes and Dick's Picks, only a handful were from the Brent Mydland years of '79-'90 or later. It took me rediscovering--five or six years back--1990's 'Without A Net,' with it's excellent versions of "Bird Song" and "Eyes of the World," for me to rethink my stance. Through Archive.org, I've now come to appreciate every era of the Dead, and I believe the Spring 1990 tour to be their most consistently stellar since '77. They've had other runs in that span that may have had higher peaks but, with this tour, one could basically pick any show at random to listen to and it's virtually guaranteed to be a winner.

'Spring 1990: So Glad You Made It'--a compilation whittled down from the 18-disc box set released last month--is an excellent companion piece to the aforementioned 'Without A Net,' featuring highlights from six of the best shows in March. We finally get an official release of the legendary Albany "Loser" from March 24th, and the Brent Mydland-sung "Blow Away" from March 16th in Landover, MD. Brent, without a doubt, had the best pure singing voice of anyone in the Dead at this point, and its a shame he died a few scant months after these shows. Even though he was their longest tenured keyboardist, I would love to have heard more from him, considering the band were in the middle of a live mini-renaissance beginning the year prior, which was unfortunately cut short by his untimely death. He's one of the most talented backing keyboardists of all-time, imo, even if it did take me a while to get used to the (at times) "carnival-ish" sound of his keys.
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Seven Reasons to Love this Record:
1) Brent is on Fire, actually leading the band to new heights
2) Brent's organ, lead and accompaniment, is inspired
3) Audio quality is amazing. Much better than most DP's
4) The Entire Band is at their telepathic best and functioning as a unit
5) Drummers never sounded better
6) Cool new instrument sounds--very MIDI
7) Vocal Harmonies are strong, with Brent leading the way.

Six Reasons to Hate this Record:
1) Brent is on Fire, actually leading the band to new heights
2) Wasn't this a Guitar band! Where are they? Where's Bobby?
3) The Captain is in the back seat both instrumentally and vocally way down in the mix and delivery. Maybe he always just to be a session player.
4) Brent Songs--don't have the same mystique as the rest of the Dead's work. And somebody please tell Brent that nothing says "Real Love" more than actually being there despite his overly earnest Michael Macdonald-like vocal delivery.
5) Brent's tinkle keyboard casio circus sounds. Makes Todd Rundgren sound like he was not deaf in the high range
6) Cool new instrument sounds--very MIDI

Sure I like this record. Been listening to it in my car all week. It's the Dead! But as my two lists show I have some conflicted feelings. You can probably tell I preferred it when Brent was just the humble keyboardist, but I also give him his due; he is upping the overall musical reach He's definitely "on;" I just wish he wasn't. I think Jerry was more present in the Dozin' at the Knick release which is also from the same tour so I prefer that if I'm going to reach for 1990's Dead.
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Format: Audio CD
I tended to think late Dead albums weren't so hot until I bought the GarciaLive album from the 1990's and thought that it was fine. So I bought this, and it's really good. It isn't a single concert but selections from a tour, and the selections have been very well made. I don't think I've heard the Dead cover "This could be the last time" on any other album, and they do a nice job here. Also "Loser," which is on many concert albums, really comes across well here -- Jerry's vocals are particularly strong. And I agree with the reviewers who praise Brent Mydland's work here. I love Keith Godchaux (and really miss Donna Jean's vocal contribution) but Mydland is his own man -- in some ways more interventionist in the aural mix than Keith tended to be. His songs and singing are fine with me too, though I realize he's an acquired taste. "West L. A. Fadeaway" and "Feel Like a Stranger" were new to me, and very attractive. On the second disc, The opening three songs were strong, and I love "Morning Dew" (soulful stuff), which is really nicely done here. A nice mix, then, of the familiar and unfamiliar, well performed and in good sound.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the two cd "Best Of" version of the big Spring 1990 (Limited Edition 18-Disc Box Set) box set. As with the big box, these shows are taken from John Cutler's two track DATs rather than the multi tracks from the tour so the sound isn't up to Without A Net or Nightfall Of Diamonds quality. While this cd set is nice, there's just so much good stuff missing here. I really wished that they had just made all six shows available separately for people who couldn't afford the box instead of this two cd version. Fortunately, I was able to get a copy but feel bad for those that couldn't. Had they released these shows separately, it also might have given the vault guys a bigger budget so that they could've actually mixed the 24 track masters.

As I said earlier, if you missed out on the box, this isn't bad way to go but you're gonna miss out on things like the hot Deal from 3-19, It Must Have Been The Roses and Believe It Or Not from 3-22, the cool Feel Like A Stranger, Half-Step->The Weight, and He's Gone->The Last Time from 4-2. Don't even get me started on the Playing jam from 3-30-90 as well as several stand out Drums/Space segments. Thankfully, these show do exist on torrent sites in their complete form. This set does generate some heat and the playing is very good so it is a worthy addition to any Head's collection.
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Spring 1990, So Glad You Made It
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