The Grateful Dead - Downhill from Here [VHS]

9786304580936: The Grateful Dead - Downhill from Here [VHS]

Made for hard-core Deadheads only, this two-and-a-half-hour-long concert video (released after the death of leader Jerry Garcia) captures an entire live show by the psychedelic pioneers. Shot in the summer of 1989 at Alpine Valley Music Theater in East Troy, Wisconsin, the Dead are caught during one of their latter-day musical peaks. Appearing jovial (Garcia actually moves during several tunes!), the band provides numerous patented extended jams during a two-set, 23-song performance. Lively highlights include Garcia's blistering solos during "Deal" and "China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider"; the spacey pairing of "Uncle John's Band" with "Playing in the Band"; and the tender ballad "Standing on the Moon." The motionless Dead were never a visually compelling live act, so viewers shouldn't expect anything more than close-ups of the sextet's faces and hands. However, such a conventional approach is preferred over the cheesy kaleidoscope of video effects that mar numerous songs here. --Dave McCoy

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