Grateful Dead

Road Trips, Vol. 2, No. 1 Bonus Disc: The Grateful Dead

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As a treat for initial mail-order buyers of Road Trips, Vol. 2, No. 1: MSG September '90, Grateful Dead Merchandising added this free bonus disc, which presents another CD's worth of recordings from the Grateful Dead's series of concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York City in September 1990. Previously, the Grateful Dead's archivists had delved into the run of shows for Dick's Picks, Vol. 9 (1997), which chronicled the September 16 performance. Road Trips, Vol. 2, No. 1: MSG September '90 is drawn primarily from the September 19 and 20 shows, with one track from September 18. The bonus disc comes entirely from September 18, and since so little previously had been heard from that show, it's no surprise that this turns out to be less interesting, from the standpoints of both performance and song selection, than other concerts in the series. The songs "Picasso Moon" and "Foolish Heart" derive from the Grateful Dead's final studio album, Built to Last, not one of the band's best, and the other songs are relatively minor entries in their catalog. Singer Jerry Garcia's voice is rough on "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo" and elsewhere, but he is actually more energetic here than in the September 19 and 20 shows. As in other concerts in the run, the real draw here is the interaction between the original bandmembers and the two new keyboard players, Vince Welnick (taking over from Brent Mydland, who died on July 26, 1990) and Bruce Hornsby. They bring new and interesting ideas to what is essentially a 50-minute jam on "Eyes of the World," "Estimated Prophet," and "Foolish Heart," making up two-thirds of this 76-plus-minute disc. (The seventh track, "Jam Out of Foolish Heart," was released previously on the So Many Roads box set. The rest of the album has not been heard on disc before.)