Grateful Dead

Internationales Congress Centrum

Berlin, Germany

October 20, 1990

First Appeared in The Music Box, March 1995, Volume 2, #3

Written by John Metzger


This month's tape is one that's been in my collection for quite awhile, but last year I was able to pick up a rather nice FM soundboard. The show in question is from Vince Welnick's first tour with the Dead, back on October 20, 1990, in Berlin, Germany.

The show opens with a rather nice Jack Straw that picks up in intensity. It also features Bruce Hornsby singing a verse or two! The first set also contains Half Step and Friend of the Devil both of which are perfect for drifting and dreaming, as well as the all-too-rare (and recently revived on March 16, 1990) Black-Throated Wind.

The best part of the first set, however, occurs near the end with a pairing of Let It Grow and Box of Rain. This was quite a unique and incredibly played pairing of these songs. During Let It Grow the band ventured into a nice jam which had Welnick, Hornsby, Bob Weir, and Jerry Garcia playing off each other's leads and melodies. As the song wound down, Hornsby took the reigns and delicately executed a very pretty piano solo, leaving the rest of the band a little unsure of what to do. Finally, out bursts a full-blown Box of Rain to end the set!

The second set kicks off with a tasty Eyes of the World, which is a bit short, but very well played. As the song winds down, the drummers lead the way into Samson & Delilah which features some funky rhythm work from Weir. After a pretty Ship of Fools, Garcia noodled around a bit before launching into those familiar notes from the highlight of this set Dark Star. This version was full and complete, a rarity these days, that wrapped itself around the Drums and Space portion of the show.

This particular Dark Star is quite pretty, getting delicate treatment from Garcia as he floats in and out of MIDI-flute mode with his guitar. Meanwhile, the rest of the band keeps up a steady rhythm while Weir once again experiments with some funky backing rhythms. The song slowly dissipates into a free-form Space jam, and then the drummers take over to pound out their usual danceable rhythms, complete with a trippy talking drum solo. Dark Star briefly returns for the second verse before launching into a powerful Throwing Stones. It's hard sometimes to notice the good versions of this song, since it's played so often, but this is definitely one heart-felt version!


Set List

Tape 1, Side 1: Jack Straw, Mississippi Half-Step,
Walkin' Blues, Friend of the Devil, Black-Throated Wind, Jack-A-Roe

Tape 1, Side 2: Let It Grow, Jam, Box of Rain

Tape 2, Side 1: Eyes of the World, Samson & Delilah, Ship of
Fools, Dark Star, Drums

Tape 2, Side 2: Drums, Space, Dark Star, Throwing Stones,
Not Fade Away, One More Saturday Night


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Copyright 1995 The Music Box