Grateful Dead Nightfall Of Diamonds

A choice release from the vaults of the Dead, Nightfall of Diamonds is a complete recording of the band's performance at New Jersey's Brendan Byrne Arena on October 16th, 1989. It was guitarist Bob Weir's 42nd birthday and their autumn tour was shaping up as their strongest in years, with the band digging out some songs they hadn't played live since the mid-'70s. This show stands out in its entirety, with a solid opening set that has rocking versions of some typically flaccid songs ("Picasso Moon," "Mississippi Half-Step" and "Feel Like A Stranger" kick it off at an incredible pace) and a rare performance of the Brent Mydland-sung blues shuffle "Never Trust A Woman." However, the real meat and potatoes of the show is in their second set. The band immediately launches into the first NYC area reading of "Dark Star" in more than a decade (since January 1979, but who's counting?) - getting to see a "Dark Star" or a "St. Stephen" live is like winning a lottery for many Deadheads; life just doesn't get better. The rest of the set sees the band jamming effortlessly from one song to the next, concentrating primarily on more '70s era material ("Playing In The Band," "Uncle John's Band" and a reintroduction of both the "Dark Star" theme and the "Playing" theme later on in the show), including a very rare take on American Beauty album track "Attics of My Life," only the second time it had been played in the last 17 years (or 1100 shows). The band really shines in the second set, and apart from a few vocal flubs in "Uncle John's Band," this is about as good as late '80s/early '90s Dead gets. (Arista)