Formerly The Warlocks Box
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Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release

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Notes

Formerly The Warlocks Box Formerly The Warlocks - Grateful Dead
Hampton, Virginia
October 8 and 9, 1989
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
030105GratefulDead iTunes downloads

Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release

Formerly The Warlocks Box
October 8 & 9, 1989
Hampton, Virginia

The release of Formerly The Warlocks Box contains the complete concerts from The Warlocks (Grateful Dead) performances on October 8 & 9, 1989, in Hampton, Virginia; no  missing songs or bonus material added. These shows were not announced through the regular ticket distribution channel so they were "secret" shows, which avoided the carnival of ticket less fans invading the area. 

I was following the Grateful Dead closely at the time these showed occurred. I had seen a number of the Shoreline shows in preceding these, as well as some concerts following at the Oakland Coliseum in December. The band was certainly playing exceptionally well on this tour. 

Hearing of the surprise shows and pulling out so many surprises was big news. The treats included numerous songs they hadn't played in years including:
“Dark Star,” (last performed 7/13/84, and that version was the first since 12/31/81)
“Help on the Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower,” (last performed 9/12/85)
“Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (played just once at Shoreline 11 days earlier, prior to that, last performed 3/21/70), 
“Attics of My Life” (last performed 9/27/72, Dick's Picks Vol. 11). 
Also noteworthy is "We Bid You Goodnight was just the fourth time played since it's comeback prior to that, it was last performed 12/31/78
I thought the Shoreline shows I saw were good, hmmm. 

The first set from October 8, 1989, starts off nicely with "Foolish Heart," its instrumental section demonstrates the bands cohesiveness. Jerry's other song selections are much to my liking. During "Candyman" Garcia plays this one guitar filler line right after the "pass the whiskey around" that comes across pretty good on tape, really trippy, that must have been awesome live. Bobby's songs are well played, even if they may not be fan favorites. No question "Big River" offers some fireworks. The conclusion is a sure high point of the set. First, "Bird Song" is explored nicely that builds through peaks and valley before landing into the "Promised Land," a superb send off. 

The second set is where the jaws drop. Skipping over the standard favorites, the band opts for the trio of “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower,” last played in 1985. More excitement that can be put to words in the arena upon hearing these opening chords. It's a tight execution no question. They continue with "Victim." Jerry lightens the mood with a concise reading of "Eyes of the World." 

As thrilling as the first half of set two is, things don't let up. The high points are a rousing "Gimme Some Lovin'" and a version of "Morning Dew," which arguably stole the thunder of the set opener. 

The previous evening's performance was dominated by the Jerry songs during both sets. To counter, Bobby bookends the 10/9 first set with two of his classics, knockout versions of "Feel Like a Stranger," and "The Music Never Stopped." The rest of the set is pretty ordinary, with no real standouts.

During the second set, it starts of with a spacey "Playing in the Band." It's characteristics rolls over to a non-hurried "Uncle John's Band" that morphs seamlessly into the conclusion of "Playing in the Band," Jerry seems in charge here and he and Bobby lock together with the song melody to bring the "Reprise" to its close.  While that was surely intense. The notes of "Dark Star" follow. This is not one of those teases, but a full blown 20 minute "Star," the first version since 7/13/84. 

Out of "Space" there are mysterious hints of "China Doll," "Miracle," and even "Stella Blue." Rather, it's the resurrected rendition of Blind Willie Johnson's "Death Don't Have No Mercy." The Grateful Dead's 1970 versions Jerry handled the vocals, but the new remake they share vocal duties; in the style of the "The Weight." This morbid song retains the intensity of the sets mood, but during the instrumental they get a bit more lively. They segue into "Dear Mr. Fantasy" bringing a much needed upbeat atmosphere. The Brent led song is perfectly placed. The "Hey Jude Coda" transition is really tight. A few Bobby songs to close, and adding "Good Lovin'" to follow "Throwing Stones" gave the fans even more to cheer about. 

To top things off, Jerry resurrects "Attics of My Life," dusting off this American Beauty classic. Brent takes a very dominate  singing role along with Jerry, at times helping to hit the high parts.

This October 1989 tour was a really touch notch. I had most on tape and there's no question the band  was inspired. They kicked it off in high fashion with these two shows, now available in 24 track remastered format. While the box-set isn't the least expensive release from this period, quality wise, Formerly The Warlocks Box rises to the very top. 

by Barry Small © 
Grade  A +

 
Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release
Track List

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TRACK LIST

DISC 1
1. Foolish Heart
2. Walkin' Blues
3. Candyman
4. Me and My Uncle
5. Big River
6. Stagger Lee
7. Queen Jane Approximately
8. Bird Song
9. Promised Land

DISC 2
1. Help On The Way
2. Slipknot!
3. Franklin's Tower
4. Victim or the Crime
5. Eyes of the World
6. Rhythm Devils

DISC 3
1. Space>
2. I Need A Miracle
3. The Wheel
4. Gimme Some Lovin'
5. Morning Dew

Encore
6. We Bid You Goodnight

DISC 4
1. Feel Like A Stranger
2. Built To Last
3. Little Red Rooster
4. Ramble On Rose
5. We Can Run
6. Jack-A-Roe
7. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
8. Row Jimmy
9. The Music Never Stopped

DISC 5
1. Playing In The Band
2. Uncle John's Band
3. Playing In The Band
4. Dark Star
5. Rhythm Devils

DISC 6
1. Space
2. Death Don't Have No Mercy
3. Dear Mr. Fantasy
4. Hey Jude
5. Throwing Stones
6. Good Lovin'

Encore
7. Attics of My Life

Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release
Musicians:       

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Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals 
Mickey Hart - drums, percussion 
Bill Kreutzmann - drums, percussion 
Phil Lesh - bass, vocals 
Brent Mydland - keyboards, vocals 
Bob Weir - guitar, vocals  

Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release
Notes:

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Released -  Sept. 2010  
Produced by David Lemieux
Recording by John Cutler
CD Mastering - David Glasser at Airshow mastering, Boulder, Co
Mixed by Michael McGinn, assisted by Brad Dollar
Plangent Processing - Jamie Howarth and John Chester
Photos - Jim Anderson
Art and packaging - Steve Vance
Special thanks - Bob Weir, John Cutler, Jeffrey Norman, Mike Johnson
Additional images - G. Dead Archive UC Santa Cruz


Recorded by Grateful Dead sound wizard John Cutler in the Le Mobile remote truck, and mixed recently by longtime Grateful Dead-associate and Bob Weir/RatDog studio engineer and front-of-house mixer Mike McGinn.

The listening party part 1
"Bird Song," and "Death Don't Have No Mercy

A note regarding the contents of the box. From the product description:
"This time out, they’ve packaged the CDs in a wooden replica of a cigar box (Virginia being a tobacco state dating back to colonial times), and filled it with all sorts of goodies, from a photo-laden historical essay by your humble narrator, to various pieces of cool memorabilia from the time/shows we won’t spoil for you by describing here."
- Certainly some nice goodies. 
Photos
Review by Blair Jackson
Newspaper clipping from 1989
Miniature sample tickets
Postcard
Flyer of the "camping out" rules
More....

Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release
From the Grateful Dead website
Our First ’80s Box: The Complete 1989 Hampton “Warlocks” Shows on 6 CDs! 
By Blair Jackson

Formerly The Warlocks Box
It is a measure of the Grateful Dead’s confidence going into their fall 1989 East Coast tour that they decided to travel with the state-of-the-art Le Mobile remote recording truck so they could capture a bunch of their shows on 24-track tape, with an eye towards putting out a live album in the summer of 1990 in conjunction with a European tour that was already in the works. (Indeed the band recorded a number of shows on multi-track through the spring of 1990. The eventual album was Without a Net, released in September 1990.)

There’s no question that the band had been on fire for quite a while. If you’re familiar with the CD/DVD releases Truckin’ Up to Buffalo from July 4, 1989, Crimson, White & Indigo from July 7 (Philly) and the video-only Downhill From Here from July 19 (Alpine Valley, Wis.) — not to mention the earlier nationwide telecast of the Summer Solstice show from Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountain View, Calif., June 21) — you know the group was playing at an exceptionally high level, arguably getting stronger each tour since Garcia’s remarkable resurrection following his Summer ’86 meltdown/near-death. The band had also been in the studio working on a new album, Built to Last (released Halloween ’89), and that newish material was starting to sharpen up on the road, too.

When the first few dates of the October ’89 East Coast tour were announced, the Hampton (Virginia) Coliseum, long one of the band’s favorite places (and the site of many a fine Dead show) was not included on the list. You see, there had been some problems outside the last shows the band had played there — too many ticketless folks, too crazy a scene — and the powers-that-be in Hampton weren’t sure they wanted the Dead back at all. This is a problem the Dead encountered a lot during their post “Touch of Grey” renaissance, so the band got creative: Just ten days before the tour was to begin, the Dead suddenly announced a pair of “stealth” shows at Hampton set for October 8 and 9, 1989. There were no mail-order tickets sold for these gigs (as was common in those days); in fact, ducats were only sold in Southern Virginia through local ticket outlets, as a way to keep out the inevitable Dead Head invasion that followed the band everywhere. Instead of “Grateful Dead,” the tickets said “Formerly The Warlocks” on them, and when fans arrived at the gig those nights, the marquee read “The Warlocks.” Non-Deadheads passing the Coliseum must have been very confused seeing a band they’d probably never heard of headlining the arena. That, of course, was the point.

The folks who were lucky enough to score tickets for the “Warlocks” shows in Hampton were treated to two of the most exciting shows of the year. Because not only was the group playing great, they had also taken the time to rehearse some old favorites they hadn’t tackled in a number of years, including “Dark Star,” the glorious triumvirate of “Help on the Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower,” “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (played just once at Shoreline 11 days earlier), and perhaps most surprising of all, “Attics of My Life” (unplayed since 1972!). Not surprisingly, the crowd greeted these “revivals” with ecstasy bordering on hysteria. Can I get a “Woo-hooooo!”?

Over the course of the two concerts, the band offered up what was practically a career retrospective, delving into crowd pleasing nuggets ranging from “Playing in the Band” to “Bird Song” to “Uncle John’s Band” to “Eyes of the World” to a spectacular “Morning Dew”; raucous rockers including “I Need a Miracle,” “Good Lovin’” and that incendiary Brent-Phil stomper “Gimme Some Lovin’”; and recent tunes such as “Foolish Heart,” “Victim or the Crime” and “Built to Last,” among many others (“Dear Mr. Fantasy”! “Stuck Inside of Mobile”! Lotsa good stuff, for sure.) You can find the complete set lists here.

The Formerly The Warlocks box collects every note of the band’s two nights there, spread over six CDs. The concerts were originally recorded by Grateful Dead sound wizard John Cutler in the Le Mobile remote truck, and mixed recently by longtime Grateful Dead-associate and Bob Weir/RatDog studio engineer and front-of-house mixer Mike McGinn. As always, the discs have been mastered to HDCD specifications, so needless to say, it sounds like you’re there, in the best seats in the house.

As this is the latest in a distinguished line of remarkable complete-run boxes (which includes Fillmore West 1969, and Winterland 1973 and Winterland June 1977), the folks at Rhino have gone above and beyond to design a package that’s (almost) as exciting as the music. This time out, they’ve packaged the CDs in a wooden replica of a cigar box (Virginia being a tobacco state dating back to colonial times), and filled it with all sorts of goodies, from a photo-laden historical essay by your humble narrator, to various pieces of cool memorabilia from the time/shows we won’t spoil for you by describing here.

All in all, it’s a potent blast of the Dead at their late ’80s best that you won’t want to miss. To order your copy of the Formerly The Warlocks box, www.dead.net

From the GD website

Formerly The Warlocks Box

In October 1989, the folks who were lucky enough to score tickets for the “Warlocks” shows in Hampton were treated to two of the most exciting shows of the year. Every song was recorded with the state-of-the-art Le Mobile remote recording truck and recently mastered to HDCD specifications, so needless to say, it sounds like you’re there, in the best seats in the house.

The Hampton “Warlocks” box collects every note of the band’s two “stealth” shows spread over six CDs. This collector’s set comes packaged in a wooden replica of a cigar box (Virginia being a tobacco state dating back to colonial times), and is filled with all sorts of goodies, from a photo-laden historical essay to various pieces of cool memorabilia from the time.

Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release
Formerly The Warlocks Box - New release