The Grateful Dead deliver a standout performance of one of their concert staples, “Uncle John’s Band,” at their June 17th, 1991 show at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. That entire show is one of five previously unreleased concerts — all recorded at Giants Stadium — that will be released on the new box set, Giants Stadium: 1987, 1989, 1991, out September 27th. The band announced their latest archival box set on what would have been Jerry Garcia’s 77th birthday.
This rendition finds the Dead moving easily through the familiar groove of “Uncle John’s Band,” creating a particularly exhilarating moment when they all belt in harmony, “Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like?/Their wall are built of cannonballs, their motto is ‘Don’t tread on me.’”
In a statement, Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux said of this particular performance, “Usually a second set centerpiece, this rendition from Giants Stadium 6/17/91 finds the band locked into one of the Dead’s most beloved melodies, all seven of the band members playing spectacularly well, completely focused and in the moment. One of the many highlights of one of the best shows the Dead ever played, this ‘Uncle John’s Band’ emerges from another Workingman’s Dead standout (‘New Speedway Boogie’) and segues into the holy grail of Dead songs, ‘Dark Star.’”
Giants Stadium: 1987, 1989, 1991 captures a unique moment in the Dead’s story: Having outgrown their theater shows of the late Seventies, they were now big enough to fill stadiums thanks to the scores of fans they’d accumulated during years of touring, plus a new generation brought in by the success of their 1987 hit “Touch of Grey.” The five Giants Stadium concerts on the new box set were recorded July 12th 1987, July 9th and 10th, 1989 and June 16th and 17th, 1991, and they chronicle the evolution of the Grateful Dead stadium experience.
Lemieux added that the gigs “include music from three very distinct peaks in the Grateful Dead’s performing career. The first show finds the Dead on top of the world, carrying the renewed energy following Jerry’s return to performing in late 1986. Two years later, the Dead returned for their first two night run at Giants Stadium, beginning a sustained nine month run of excellence for the band. In 1991, a very different Grateful Dead returned to the Meadowlands, widely considered one of the most inventive, inspired, and creative lineups of the band. What they brought to the stadium in 1991 is still the stuff of legend.”
The Giants Stadium box set is available to pre-order and production of the box set is limited to 10,000 copies. Of those, 4,000 will be released as a 14 CD/two DVD set for $149.98, and 6,000 copies will be available as a 14 CD/Blu-ray set for $159.98. Audio from the sets will also be available via the Dead’s website as a digital download.
Along with the full box set, the Dead’s final Giants Stadium show from the collection will be released as the standalone set, Saint of Circumstance: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 6/17/91. That will be available as a three CD set, a five LP vinyl set, as a digital download and on streaming services.