Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DVD Review: Grateful Dead View from the Vault IV

View from the Vault IV: DVD Review

I bet you my neighbors were very bummed that I got my hands on this DVD because that's about 4 hours of live Dead that was played at full volume over the course of 2 nights.

The shows are from 1987 - most of 2 sets from Oakland Coliseum and most of 2 sets from Anaheim Stadium.  The shows are tight.  This is the Grateful Dead putting on excellent performances in front of large audiences on the "Dylan & the Dead Tour."

It is kind of hard to believe the Dead would continue after two sets and put on a 3rd set with Bob Dylan singing.  Although I am a huge Dylan fan, I am glad this DVD doesn't feature any of his sets.  Dylan's live performances are mired in a strange vocal delivery that is as eccentric as Dylan himself.

The Anaheim Stadium show I watched first and I think I have to give a slight nod to this show over the other. The show starts with an Iko Iko which is just great to behold during a bright sunny outdoor show - what fun everyone must have had.

The Anaheim  show heats up with a nice West L.A. Fadeaway and a great version of Mexicali Blues.  There's a Bird Song with some crazy sound effects.  Throughout both DVDs there's some great psychedelic video effects - sometimes completely drowning out the image  but usually just perfectly enhancing the video without stealing the show.

The highlight of the second set (for me) was the performance of Terrapin Station. This song is also during the day - kind of a weird setting for Terrapin if you ask me.  I appreciate that they cut out several songs but opted to leave in Drums/Space for both shows.

The Oakland Show is really great because the band is in such comfortable environment and you really get to see Brent and Jerry vibing off each other as they sing together on songs like Dear Mr. Fantasy and Uncle John's Band.  The beginning of Dear Mr. Fantasy is really rough but I think the interplay of Jerry and Brent on this song is my favorite part of the DVD set.

The rest of the show is good, and Jerry is wearing his flannel at this show which is pretty rare.

View from the Vault 4: Highly Recommended.

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