Day 328: Crazy Fingers, 3/21/90

Grateful Dead Spring 1990 The Other One Hamilton 3/21/90 album cover artwork

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Crazy Fingers? Undoubtedly I have. After my last Crazy Fingers selection I was a little rueful of my pick. What I thought was going to be solid version teetered on the brink a bit.

Fast forward a year and we’re in the vaunted Spring 1990 tour and I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I unapologetically acknowledge that I am basically a sycophantic yes-man when it comes to endorsing the superlatives of this tour. The book that came with this set had commentary on each show from Blair Jackson and he didn’t seem to be high on some of the Crazy Fingers, or perhaps more accurately the way the band treated transitions like a game of chicken rather than gently folding the flour into the batter.

While Crazy Fingers is a structured song with a lot of changes, there are still some a few areas to stretch out, my only complaint would be that those are a bit short. However, I’m thankful for what we do get, even if it’s a few measures of brilliance at the end of the song, as is the case here somewhat.

Finally, to those that celebrate, Merry Christmas. Put those Crazy Fingers to work opening presents (and for some of you putting together your kids’ toys)!

Crazy Fingers rolls in slowly here. Brent is in the right channel and he’s got that dreamy vibe nailed down pat. He plays some crystalline keys and even seems to throw in a Fender Rhodes sound for a measure or two if you listen closely. The backing vocals aren’t as evident here as they were in other renditions, but Brent’s keys takes their place surprisingly well. It’s almost like they’re still there, but not. Of course as I write that, the “Gone are the days” section comes up with some strong backing vocals. Go figure. Jerry’s solo is slow and methodical, teasing out the melody line and taking liberties where he deems fit. There’s a moment right around 4:55 where he and Weir enter the same tonal territory, and while this could be a train wreck in some situations, for a brief moment it’s almost as though the music is emitting from their guitars in the form of a double helix. The outro section starts just after the 6 minute mark. Phil is much more articulate here, and Jerry is free to explore. He cues some minor intervals that really re-shape the feel and flow of the song for a few measures, offering some darkness before re-emerging into the light with a little help from the man on bass.

Complete Setlist 3/21/90

Previous Crazy Fingers DFAY Selections

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