ACD2-8634 Without A Net
Produced by John Cutler and Phil Lesh
Released on September 1990
US CHART POSITION #43 . . . GOLD RECORD (11/27/90)
Find it at GEMM
ACD2-8634 cover  

Y ou’d be forgiven for expecting a perfunctory live performance here, especially in the wake of Reckoning, Dead Set, Dylan & The Dead, but Without A Net is without a doubt a real delight. The title reflects the sense of adventure: replete with pungent participation from all, this show plays loose with songs you thought you knew, embellishing them at every turn and darting down new avenues with inspired energy. In a very real sense, it’s like hearing these songs for the first time, a comment I’ve heard made before by Dead fans but never fully understood. Granted, I don’t own any of the band’s avowed wonders (Live Dead, Europe ’72), which I’ve read are equally fearless in their reinterpretation of the originals. The selection from this show is predictably eclectic; albums as seemingly disconnected as Wake of the Flood, Go To Heaven and Bob Weir’s Ace constitute the bulk of the material, swirled together into the Dead’s magnificent memory blender. The performance is all over the place, and sometimes so is the mix, but in exchange for accuracy is a vitality that I haven’t heard from their recorded output in years. This is how the Dead should be remembered in their waning years, easy in their confidence, their curiosity undaunted by age, proud lions possessed of a gentle touch. As with any great performance, the best song is the one playing at the moment, though the Bob Weir tracks seem to sparkle (“Cassidy,” “Looks Like Rain”) and “Eyes of the World” (featuring Branford Marsalis on sax) is sixteen minutes of bliss. Sadly, keyboardist Brent Mydland wouldn’t pass this way again, but he left us one more reason to be grateful.

ACD2-8634 booklet sleeve
ACD2-8634 booklet sleeve


    disc one
  1. FEEL LIKE A STRANGER    (John Barlow/Bob Weir)    7:32
  2. MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP UPTOWN TOODELOO    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    8:00
  3. WALKIN' BLUES    (Robert Johnson, arr. by Bob Weir)    5:44
  4. ALTHEA    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    6:55
  5. CASSIDY    (John Barlow/Bob Weir)    6:36
  6. BIRD SONG    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    12:57
  7. LET IT GROW    (John Barlow/Bob Weir)    11:54

    disc two
  8. CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    /    I KNOW YOU RIDER    (traditional, arr. by Grateful Dead)    10:24
  9. LOOKS LIKE RAIN    (John Barlow/Bob Weir)    8:04
  10. EYES OF THE WORLD    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    16:14
  11. VICTIM OR THE CRIME    (Graham/Bob Weir)    8:04
  12. HELP ON THE WAY    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)    /    SLIPKNOT!    (Jerry Gacria/Phil Lesh/Bob Weir/Bill Kreutzmann/Keith Godchaux)    /    FRANKLIN'S TOWER    (Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia/Bill Kreutzmann)    18:58
  13. ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT    (Bob Weir)    4:50
  14. DEAR MR. FANTASY    (James Capaldi/Christopher Wood/Steve Winwood)    5:44


JERRY GARCIA -- guitar, vocals
MICKEY HART -- guitar, vocals
PHIL LESH -- bass, vocals
BRENT MYDLAND -- keyboards, vocals
BOB WEIR -- guitar, vocals
Branford Marsalis -- tenor and soprano saxophone (10)
John Cutler -- engineer
Jeffrey Norman -- engineer
David Roberts -- engineer
Peter Miller, David Gallo, Andrew warwick, Justin Kreutzmann -- additional engineers
Dan Healy -- concert sound
Rick Griffin -- cover illustration, pull-out poster, picture CD
MIKIO/William Giese -- mini-jacket illustration
Ken Freidman -- mini-jacket photo, photography
Susana Millman, John Werner -- photography
Carolyn Quan -- design
Amy Finkle -- art coordinator

return to GRATEFUL DEAD discography

US September 1990 Arista 3LP/2CD/2CS AL3/ACD2/AC2-8634 picture sleeve
UK September 1990 Arista 3LP/2CD/2CS 303935 picture sleeve
JPN 1990? Arista 2CD BVCM-37144/5 picture sleeve
JPN 2000 BMG Int'l 2CD 180417 K2 digital remaster


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