Crimson, White & Indigo: Philadephia, July 7, 1989

Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Calling all Dead Heads! Grab your tie-dye t-shirts, your favorite beverage, and anything else that comes to mind because here is another live release from The Grateful Dead.

I read somewhere there are now seventy live shows officially for sale comprising about 250 discs. That, of course, is not counting the hundreds of concerts recorded by fans and exchanged and unofficially sold for years. The Dead always encouraged their fans to record their shows and so there are still an almost unlimited number out there.

While their studio albums sold well, if not spectacularly, it was as a live band that they became legends. Their newest release is Crimson, White & Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989. It is a massive three CD plus DVD box set and presents the show in its entirety.


The band arrived at JFK Stadium riding a wave of new popularity. Their 1987 release, In The Dark, was their highest charting album in The United States, reaching number six. It even produced a hit single, “Touch Of Grey.” They had become big business and toured constantly playing to millions of fans, many of whom followed them from show to show in a huge caravan.

The DVD is the star of this release. It presents every note from their three hour show. Technology was improving during the late ‘80s, and the multiple camera angles capture the performance well. It is the sound, however, that puts this release over the top as the 5:1 surround sound is crisp, clear, and loud.

I consider this concert as coming at the end of the second classic Grateful Dead configuration. The group consisted of lead guitarist and vocalist Jerry Garcia, drummer Mickey Hart, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, bassist Phil Lesh, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and keyboardist Brent Mydland. After eleven years with the group Mydland died close to a year after this concert. His soulful voice and ability to merge his instrument with Garcia’s would be missed. Garcia’s health began to deteriorate, and six years later he was gone as well.

The nineteen tracks contain a lot of familiar and some not so well known songs. “Blow Away” and “Standing On The Moon” were from their upcoming album. Two old blues tunes, “Iko Iko” and “Little Red Rooster” are given extended work outs. Staples such as “Wharf Rat,” “Hell In A Bucket,” “Ramble On Rose,” and the eternal “Turn On Your Lovelight” all presents the Dead at their classic best. When the last notes of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” faded away, it marked the last song ever performed at JFK as it was slated for demolition.

Crimson, White & Indigo is a fine addition to the live Grateful Dead legacy. It captures one shining evening in the life of one of America’s greatest rock bands.

Rating: A-

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