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Dead of the Day: December 8, 1989

Great Western Forum
Inglewood, California
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Let The Good Times Roll opens the show, and the Dead make it clear that they are all happy to be there with each other, riffing off one another but coming in for some wonderful vocal harmonies. The rest of the set is quite good with a sweet Cassidy and earnest, rocking Blow Away at the end. The Help> Slip> Franklin’s out of the break is always welcome, and this one is quite satisfying, though probably not amongst the best ever. However, there is a palpable sense of joy emanating from both the band and the crowd, imparting a special note to the excellent suite. And after the Franklin’s, the boys turn in an incredibly powerful Looks Like Rain. Bobby cheeses out hardcore while, first Jerry and then Brent, deliver some insatiable runs, and the drummers create peals of thunder. That is followed up by a solid He’s Gone, which leads into Drums and Space. Out the backside, Brent comes out with another one of his tunes, I Will Take You Home. While the song is good, it is the transition from there into The Other One that is something else entirely, setting up a similarly singular, beautiful house of horrors rendition. Wharf Rat comes as a welcome relief from the electric chaos of The Other One, and the boys do a great job of soothing the rattled, acid-drenched nerves with their stupendous harmonies and spare playing. A typically rocking Throwing Stones> Not Fade Away then closes out the set.

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