Truckin' Up to Buffalo: July 4, 1989

Truckin' Up to Buffalo: July 4, 1989

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by Grateful Dead
     
 

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Recorded on a stop near the end of the Dead's long, strange trip, this two-disc set presents the band at their most burnished and mellow -- in the mood to cuddle and coo rather than sweat and snarl. To that end, the Dead devoted a good portion of the show to lilting, good-time chestnuts like "Touch of Grey" (on which Jerry Garcia managesSee more details below

Overview

Recorded on a stop near the end of the Dead's long, strange trip, this two-disc set presents the band at their most burnished and mellow -- in the mood to cuddle and coo rather than sweat and snarl. To that end, the Dead devoted a good portion of the show to lilting, good-time chestnuts like "Touch of Grey" (on which Jerry Garcia manages to work in a sneakily snaky solo, despite the tune's relatively short six-minute duration) and a call-and-response-laden "Man Smart, Woman Smarter." As with any band rooted in improvisation, the Dead had a history of having one member get particularly hot on any given night, and for much of this Independence Day gig, that mantle fell to Phil Lesh. Early in the first set, the bassist all but runs away with "Row Jimmy," shouldering its rhythmic load for a full 11 minutes before shifting gears into a pensive, almost jazzy groove for "Looks like Rain" -- an appropriate choice, since the show was recorded in the midst of a driving storm. The set's second disc starts off a bit slowly -- perhaps due to the between-set refreshment intake? -- with somewhat listless versions of "Ship of Fools" and "Terrapin Station," but midway through the "Drums/Space" interlude, the x-factor kicks in, full-force. Garcia, in particular, picks up the pace on "All Along the Watchtower," which he criss-crosses with stinging riffs and solos that offer plenty of hairpin turns. He keeps up the tempo on a version of "Morning Dew" on which he and Weir skitter across Lesh's doomy bass lines with devil-may-care bravado before dovetailing into "U.S. Blues," which provides the most appropriate Fourth of July capper imaginable (with apologies to Francis Scott Key).

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Spread over two CDs, 2005's Truckin' Up to Buffalo contains the Grateful Dead's entire 1989 Independence Day performance. This date -- from Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, NY -- was the second of their summer East Coast tour. Many if not all of those gigs were documented by a six-camera crew under the direction of Len Dell'amico. The thoroughly favorable results can been seen and heard on the similarly titled companion DVD volume. Deadhead audiophiles will definitely want to avail themselves of that release, as the 5.1 Surround mix puts the consumer front row center. Dell'amico's résumé boasts several earlier collaborations with the combo, such as Dead Ahead (1980) and So Far (1987). During the '80s, the Grateful Dead's lineup featured Jerry Garcia (lead guitar/vocals), Mickey Hart (drums), Bill Kreutzmann (percussion), Phil Lesh (electric bass/vocals), Brent Mydland (keyboards/vocals), and Bob Weir (rhythm guitar/vocals). While glancing at the song list may not reveal any surprises, finicky and hard to please enthusiasts will be thrilled by above-average playing from start to finish. A prime example is the rousing coupling of "Bertha" and "Greatest Story Ever Told," kick-starting the festivities. Garcia seems to be in good spirits, as his resounding vocals and fretwork are consistent and exceptional. In his intangible fashion, Garcia is able to elevate the proceedings from being merely adequate into the occasionally rarefied air of excellence. In particular, the aggressive reading of "Deal," concluding the first set, boasts fierce instrumental interaction reminiscent of the intensity that accompanied "That's It for the Other One" jams of the late-'60s/early-'70s era (namely those from the legendary February 27 through March 2, 1969 run at the Fillmore West). They resume their feisty exchanges throughout with a note-perfect "Touch of Grey" that slams into an equally inspired cover of the calypso classic "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and a reprise of "Playing in the Band" that picks right back up where they had left off during the previous show. Despite the occasional lyrical flub, another high point is the emphatic "Morning Dew" that glides into a boogie-fueled "Not Fade Away" closer. Seeing as it was the Fourth of July, the "U.S. Blues" encore, while a somewhat obvious choice, is likewise a welcome one. Parties desiring more multimedia goodies from the Grateful Dead's 1989 East Coast summer jaunt should direct their attention to 1997's Downhill from Here, which captures the band at Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, WI, a few weeks later.

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Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
Label:
Grateful Dead / Wea
UPC:
0081227313920
catalogNumber:
73139
Rank:
17567

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Grateful Dead   Primary Artist
Mickey Hart   Drums,Group Member
Jerry Garcia   Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Bob Weir   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Bill Kreutzmann   Drums,Group Member
Phil Lesh   Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Group Member
Brent Mydland   Keyboards,Vocals,Group Member

Technical Credits

Bob Dylan   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
Grateful Dead   Arranger
Buddy Holly   Composer
Bob Weir   Arranger
Robert Hunter   Composer
Norman Petty   Composer
James Austin   Executive Producer
John Cutler   Engineer
Dan Healy   Concert Sound
Brent Mydland   Composer
Robert Minkin   Producer,Package Production,Package Layout
Blair Jackson   Liner Notes
Traditional   Composer
Richard Biffle   Cover Art
David Lemieux   Tape Archivist
Jimmy Edwards   Executive Producer

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