Grateful Dead

View from the Vault: Collection I

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This triple-DVD box set includes the three volumes in the Grateful Dead's multimedia View from the Vault series. Disc one looks back to the 1990 summer tour -- which included the final outings with keyboardist Brent Mydland. Parties who can tolerate the haplessly dated computer-generated graphics that seem to randomly take over the screen at various points throughout the festivities are treated to rarities such as a Phil Lesh-sung redux of Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb Blues" from July 8, 1990, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA. Similarly, the July 6th gig from Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, KY, has a strong reading of "Eyes of the World." The second View from the Vaults disc captures the combo at R.F.K. Stadium in Washington, D.C., during two consecutive years -- July 12, 1990, and June 14, 1991. Additionally, there is an MTV-style music video for "Liberty" -- one of the final efforts between Garcia and his lyric collaborator, Robert Hunter. Among the other standouts are "Row Jimmy," the '90s revival of Bob Weir's "Black Throated Wind," the Blues for Allah-era "Help on the Way/Slipknot!"/"Franklin's Tower" suite, as well as the audio-only "Rubin and Cherise" -- which can be heard as background music on the menu screen. Although the tune was primarily a Jerry Garcia Band outlet, during the spring of 1991 tour the Grateful Dead gave it four airings before retiring it once again. The third and last installment contained in this package is loaded with the Dead's June 16, 1990, and parts of the October 3, 1987, shows at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA. On the "must-see" list are Mydland's short-lived eco-ballad "We Can Run" and rare first set appearances of "Truckin'" and "One More Saturday Night" -- which were toted out during the latter half of a typical concert. Weir's "Estimated Prophet" is a keeper, as is "Terrapin Station," particularly for Garcia's emotive fretwork. Saving some of the finest extras for last, the update of the Meters' "Hey Pocky Way" from October 3, 1987, is not to be missed. While 2002's View from the Vault: Collection I is a thrifty way to get these goods, each title can be purchased separately.