The first shot of this concert tips off Grateful Dead fans they're in for a treat: Jerry Garcia sports a T-shirt not in his trademark black, but in navy blue--an unmistakable light, festive touch. It's an apt omen; the c... more »oncert, recorded on June 14, 1991, in RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., crackles with energy. Highlights include a rousing "Big River" and some blistering jams on several songs from the underrated Blues for Allah album, including "The Music Never Stopped" and "Help on the Way/Slipknot." Guitarist Garcia, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and bassist Phil Lesh hit their stride by the second set, joined by keyboardist Bruce Hornsby, whose jazzy melodic additions provide sparkle. The camera work is rocky at best--the picture seems about eight beats behind whoever is playing lead--but as an intimate home movie of live Dead, with terrific sound, it's sure to see many repeat viewings. --Anne Hurley« less
"There's nothing like a Grateful Dead concert, and unfortunately, that includes GD concert videos. It amazes me how such a boring band on stage could have such amazing live performances. This video is testament to the fact that the dead were boring to watch. However, when they got into the "zone", the music just couldn't be touched. That is why this DVD gets four stars. Jerry's gravely, weathered, strained, voice fits perfectly with the lamentations of the opening Cold Rain & Snow and sounds great on the Stella Blue (she needed the money ;). The Maggies Farm is fun as everyone takes their turn on the vocals. The 2nd set powers open with the Help on the Way->Slipknot->Franklin's Tower, and the Dark Star is really good. Jerry is on, Hornsby is on, Bobby's guitar sounds great throughout, Phil is thumping, and the rest of the band is following suit. As I said earlier, the boys stage antics aren't much to talk about, but there are some interesting subtleties to watch for. Jerry's hair blowing in the wind should bring back memories to anyone whose been to an outdoor Dead concert. Jerry also just can't seem to stop cheesing a grin at Hornsby. Mickey on the beam during Drums is great to watch, and it reminds me of times I was convinced the band was trying to summon the mother ship ;). The dynamics of the band are in full display during the opening of the lovelight, when Bobby is emphatically nodding towards the drummers, Mickey shrugs and smiles, and Hornsby gives Bobby the "what the heck are you talking about?" look. Cool stuff, but subtle.Overall, this was a great dead show. Having the video available takes a back seat to the music, but it is worth it nonetheless. The bonus material from 7/12/90 is great also, with the foolish heart and Dark Star especially good. With special effects, the video allueds to the fact that it was pouring at the show (thus the Box of Rain), but the video doesn't show the rain, or the soaked crowd. If you're a fan of the boys, you'll want this DVD, as it brings back some great memories. If you've never seen the Dead, well, this video is nothing like being there, not even close. But it is still good."
Excellent performance, so-so video work
Rex D Bennett | Champaign, IL United States | 10/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"June 14,1991 was one of the high points in an exceptional summer tour. The performance is excellent - it is obvious that the band is having a very good time and that they are all listening very closely to one another. The set list is also exceptional, with rare favorites like "Help on the Way" and "Dark Star" giving the band plenty of room for their inspiration to take hold. Any Grateful Dead fan should be happy with this video just for the performance.
The video work itself, however, is less than stellar. The focus often seems misguided, with closeups of drummers during a heated guitar jam, or of a keyboardist taking a smoke break during the final crescendos of "Dark Star." The camera operators also seemed to have some technical difficulties on this night, and some shots that start off tightly focused end up careening all over the stage as if the cameraman were tripped. Finally, the excessive use of "psychedelic imagery" or whatever it's supposed to be is just downright annoying - especially on the filler. It seems to come at the worst times: right when the band starts to loosen up and jam, the display turns into something resembling an early "Windows" screensaver. This type of imagery sometimes persists for several minutes at a time, which is maddening for those of us who would like to actually watch the band.
All in all, I have enjoyed the video and would recommend it to anyone who simply loves the Grateful Dead and treasures their performances. To the "uninitiated," I would recommend starting with "The Grateful Dead Movie," "Dead Ahead" or "Downhill From Here" before purchasing this one."
Great disc, some reviewers don't understand how it was made
jacob valverde | 06/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As this is only the second in the View From the Vault series, it is understandable that some of the other reviewers don't seem to understand the origins of this concert video.All of the View From The Vault series were filmed at shows in the late 80's and early 90's when the Dead were playing large stadiums and needed video screens at the shows for fans seated far from the stage to view the players.Thus, all of those shows with the large video screens have been fortunately recorded for posterity, although they were initially intended only as a much-needed aid for concert goers in large venues. Accordingly, these dvd's were not created with the home viewer in mind, but rather the concert goer who is enveloped in the rest of the trappings of the live show. These video screen projections supplied a view of the members playing for all in the back to see. They were not filmed with the intention of releasing them as a complete picture of the concert experience.With that in mind, this show is fantastic. One of the highlights of the summer 91 run. If you listen and watch the DVD imagining that you are at the show and the images you see are simply the images that are normally projected on the large video screens above the audience, then you will love this disc.Do not expect a professionally produced, made for resale to the DVD viewing audience, concert experience. We are very fortunate to have these shows preserved both on audio and video formats. Any live music lover should appreciate the View From The Vault series for what it is, a portrait, be it a moving one, of the band in action."
1991 was a good year for the Dead
jacob valverde | Austin, TX United States | 03/15/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is better than View I, I attended alot of the Summer Tour 1991 shows, including this one and the 1990 filler on this DVD. I must say that whoever decided to release this show on DVD did a good job. I have stated before that I have been very "surprised" at some of the Dicks Picks CD selections, and the first View From the Vault. As some one else already stated the reason to buy this DVD is for set II, the band is hitting on all cylinders as the did for almost every show in 1991. I was not a "big" Brent fan, I did like him, but in late 1990 and 91, with Hornsby and Welnick in the band the shows were a little different, the new sound of a grand piano and a keyboard was awesome. The band only really had Jerry and Bob songs to sing at this point and they started playing some songs they hadn't played in a while and looked liked they had been reharged for alot of this year to year and a half. This DVD captures one of those shows and was a good choice to release, I can only think of one or two shows from this tour that would have been better, maybe Sandstone(Kansas), or the Ginats Stadium show on 6-17-91 (my birth-day). So I recommend this DVD to anyone who would like to see the Dead at the end of thier last great run as a band. The filler from RFK 90 on this DVD is really good also, look at how different Jerry looks from both of these shows only a year apart. I also do not like the silly background and graphics that seem to come at the worst time, but remember they take the direct feed from the concert, so whatever you see on the DVD is what was on the screen at the show."
Out of sync
M. Lee | Chicago, IL | 07/07/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I second the comment of the reviewer that said that the video and sound are out of sync. I've loved this show on tape/CD for many years, and was looking forward to seeing the DVD, but watching the misaligned version of Stella Blue was very disappointing. I have stuck the DVD on the shelf, and am going back to my CDs."