August 4, 2022 Subject:
Bill Graham's Mountain Aire II
The idea was that you could leave the San Joaquin Valley, with its 105deg temps, and come up to the foothills ... where it was only 95deg (i. e. not actually high enough for mountain air). This was the final show of the finest tour (incl. Jul stadia) of the late '80s. There are no great sources. If you listen to the in-house FM feed or AUDs, you can ascertain that sound qual was not optimum in person either; maybe one reason why they never returned. SBDs on this date are Healy mic-matrix, but they are true SBDs.
First Set. Skydivers jumped a demo as the Dead came on, landing behind the stage a few mins into Box of Rain. The set starts solid enough, dips, then peaks. Jack Straw is uptempo and starts to cook halfway. Then it's good clean fun. At least, until the dip at the middling High Time. Bobby is doing better than Jer by Walkin' Blues. Things change when Santana joins. They feel it out during Iko Iko, but Carlos finally has something he can get a piece of with Watchtower. It's short for a Watchtower but great, and one cool thing about it: we know which guitar is Bobby, Jer or Carlos.
Second Set. The verses are bad on Scarlet but the jam is okay. Fire is better; brief parts are even great. But Playing is where the set hits X factor, with Brent the crucial player. Drums>Space are not as good as elsewhere on this tour, but coming out of them is a Miracle that stands out for the year – even if the shrunken jam makes it a shorty. The rest is mostly above average, though Morning Dew isn't much until the last min. By Not Fade, Bobby thinks it's Not Fide a Why and Jer seems spent. The encore then benefits from the brief respite.
1st Set: C+ 2nd Set: B-
Overall = 3¼ stars
All Along the Watchtower – energized by Sir Carlos
Playing in the Band – Brent-powered ace
I Need a Miracle – shorty but goody
SOURCES: The 152484_healy is the in-house FM. The miller_103629 and the 42151_sbd are pitch-corrected and balanced, but they have glitches and low volume. The 142157_UltraMatrix_sbd is the upgrade. It has more freqs represented and is re-pitched but not balanced or levelled. It does have a hum but it's not bothersome. Older SBDs run fast. There's a great AUD (151156_fob_senn).