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The Grateful Dead

Downhill From Here DVD

Review by Gary Hill

The three Grateful Dead gigs in 1989 at Alpine Valley are legendary. I personally have some attachment to this video because I there the third night. The bulk of this video is from the first show, but the final songs of the first set come from the show I was at.

With any concert from any band there will always be debate over the set-list. Perhaps that's even more true of the Dead since their set list changed from night to night. To me, a Dead show really isn't about the individual songs. It's about just getting into the groove and letting the music swirl around you. This is top-notch from that point of view.

The camera work is good, and the sound is solid, too. I love how they avoided any trendy video effects and just presented the show. It's filmed via multiple cameras, and they do switch viewpoints, but it's never jarring or weird.

The band really look like they were enjoying themselves. Keyboardist Brent Mydland would be dead a year later. The Dead were banned from playing Alpine Valley again because of the condition of the place after the three nights. Those things make this an important historical document.

I don't really think this needs that historical element to sell it. It's just a great video. Still, that's a bonus angle. 

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at:

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