Just to get things started..."Formerly the Warlocks" 10/9/1989 Hampton Coliseum, Hampton Va
I think, just to get things going, I'll post a copy of a review I wrote for the Live Music Archive of one of my favorite Dead shows I had the good fortune to attend back in 1989. This show was probably the pinnacle of my live concert experiences...nothing I've seen since then has equalled the total rush, the amazing thrill of that outstanding second set. Check the bottom of the review for some links where you can download and/or stream the show over the internet.
I. Feel Like A Stranger, Built To Last, Little Red Rooster, Ramble On Rose, We Can Run But We Can't Hide, Jack A Roe, Memphis Blues, Row Jimmy, The Music Never Stopped
II. Playin' In The Band-> Uncle John's Band-> Playin' In The Band Reprise, Dark Star-> Drums-> Jam-> Death Don't Have No Mercy-> Dear Mr. Fantasy-> Hey Jude Reprise-> Throwing Stones-> Good Lovin'
E: Attics Of My Life
Review: "Hey man, you got your Attics!"
I was one of the lucky few thousands that was at this monster show, and along with the birth of my baby girl, it is the memory that I will cherish most of all for the rest of my life. I have certainly never been to any live concert that comes close to equaling the experience.
It was the fall semester of my junior year at Penn State in 1989, and my buddy Mike and I heard about the "stealth" Warlocks shows from the daughter of a woman that lived in State College who used to date Rob Wasserman and was friendly with Bob Weir. We immediately agreed that there was obviously no option other than scraping together every dime we could and heading down to Hampton for the shows.
We got to the 10/8 show at around five o clock that afternoon, and no tickets were to be found. They had sold out, and though we tried as hard as we could, nobody kicked us any down in the lot. We missed 10/8. I was bummin', coming all the way down with no tix for either show was starting to seem like a big mistake. But later that night we spied a trailer set up at the far end of the parking lot outside the venue, with about fifty or so Heads lined up outside it. It turned out they were selling tickets for the 10/9 show. Both Mike and I scored tix and our outlooks suddenly changed mightily. Those lime green beauties with the "Warlocks" in gold embossed lettering were a joy to behold.
While the show was on that first night, I remember coming upon a pretty young thing hanging by a fountain right outside the Coliseum. We could hear the faint strains of Help->Slip echoing from inside the venue, and she was in tears that she couldn't get inside the show that night. I comforted her by saying that we were both going in tomorrow night, and that was going to be the big show anyway. I had no idea how prophetic my words were.
We couldn't afford a hotel room, so we partied in the streets all night long. As soon as they allowed cars back in the lot, around 8am or so, we pulled in and I sat myself down at the front of the line that had already started to form at the yellow police tape about 100 yards away from the Coliseums entrance. This was a general admission show and I wanted prime position on the floor. The ten or so hours before they let us in the venue flew by, and my perserverence paid off. I wound up in the best spot I could imagine when they let us in: right in front of the stage, smack dab in the middle of Jerry and Bob.
When the band took the stage, the boys were clearly in a fantastic mood. Phil was all smiles, pointing, laughing, and waving at people in the crowd. The first set smoked, but was not exactly mind blowing. Other than the phenominal Stranger ("long, long, crazy, crazy tour," classic Brent!) the Row Jimmy and Jack A Roe, there weren't really any songs that I was completely stoked to see. It certainly didn't give us any indication as to the history making set that was to come.
In between sets a mop topped Deadhead with a spiral bound notebook and pen in hand came by, interviewing folks and asking them what they thought was going to be played in the second set. I had heard about a week before that the band had been soundchecking Attics out west, and I had a strong feeling that this was going to be the breakout. When I told him my prediction, I remember getting a strange look of disbelief as he moved on. I also remember there was someone up in the lighting catwalks high above the stage with a laser pointer, and he had it right on my chest in between sets. I grinned and waved at him and he moved it along to others around me.
The boys came out for set two and we were blown away early. Playin was funky and amazing, the Uncle John's perfect with sweet harmonies slipping quickly into psychedelic scary jamming back into the Playin reprise. When those opening notes of Dark Star thundered out, I started jumping up and down like a pogo stick. I literally jumped out of my shoes. My buddy Mike had his hands on my shoulders behind me, and if he hadn't held me down I probably would have shot right out the roof of the arena like a rocket ship. Drums and Space were perfectly appropriate, and the Death Don't brought down the explosive energy in a haunting and profound manner. Fantasy->Jude, Throwin Stones, Good Lovin' brought us back to the standard set closers of this era with nice energy and a crowd pleasing finish. The encore was as beautiful an experience as I think I've ever had. I can't find the words to express what a moment it was for me. It's such a gorgeous, meaningful song, Hunter/Garcia at their poetic, melodic best. And the boys nailed it tonight.
After the show, everyone was stunned and drained. As the crowd was letting out of the arena, I saw the guy that took my prediction in between sets, and he pointed at me saying, "Hey man, you got your Attics!" I grinned back at him ear to ear. I sure had.
Stream a soundboard of this show: http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=16033
Download an audience recording of this show: http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=16257