Of the many keyboardists in the Grateful Dead’s history, the longest tenured of them all is Brent Mydland. The San Francisco musician joined up with the band in 1979, adding his bountiful talents to the band’s rich performances. By contributing harmonies, songwriting, and more, Mydland helped push the band through the tumultuous era of the 1980’s.
His presence helped the Dead make a comeback towards the late 1980s, but his story has an unfortunate ending. Struggling with the Grateful Dead lifestyle, Mydland turned to drinking and eventually harder drugs to cope. He died of an overdose on July 26th, 1990, just days after the Dead’s summer tour had ended.
The band’s final performance was at the World Music Theater in the village of Tinley Park, IL, held on this day in 1990. Of note, Brent’s final performance came 10 years to the day after the death of Keith Godchaux, the former Dead keyboardist Mydland had replaced in the band following his death in a car accident in 1980. Interestingly, the last song that Mydland sang was a cover of The Band’s “The Weight,” on which Mydland took the line “I got to go, but my friends can stick around.”
In honor of Brent Mydland and his Grateful legacy, we wanted to put on that memorable performance at the end of summer tour. You can listen to the full show below:
Grateful Dead – 7/23/90 – Full Audio
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
[Originally published 7/23/16]