The latest installment in the Grateful Dead‘s All The Years Live archival video series is available now on the band’s YouTube page. This twofer entry highlights the Dead’s performance of “The Wheel” segueing “All Along The Watchtower” at Buckeye Lake in Thornville, OH on June 11th, 1993.
This clip joins fellow 6/11/1993 entries “Eyes of the World” and “Foolish Heart“. Buckeye Lake, now known as Legend Valley, was a regular touring stop for the Dead, playing there five out of the last seven years they were on the road.
The video comes in just as the Dead are coming back down to Earth following “Space” and rolling into “The Wheel”. The song is sad here as Jerry Garcia sings “you can’t let go and you can’t hold on/you can’t go back and you can’t stand still” at his state in 1993. The Dead couldn’t let Jerry go when he requested to leave in the mid-1990’s, and even after he attempted to get his health back on track following his diabetic coma in 1987, the damage was already done. He couldn’t just go back. Lastly, he couldn’t stand still, as the legions of Deadheads, Grateful Dead Productions, and even the other band members wouldn’t let the gravy train pull out of the station.
The smooth transition into Bob Dylan‘s “All Along The Watchtower” provides some semblance of relief to Jerry’s melancholy performance. But even Bob Weir isn’t in the greatest of shape by 1993, giving out a hoarse yell of the timeless track. Despite all the limitations of this late-career performance, Garcia still manages a fiery solo during “Watchtower” that provides some understanding as to why everyone would hold on to the dream for another couple of years.
Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux said of the video,
The Wheel debuted on Jerry’s first solo record in 1972, but wasn’t played live by the Grateful Dead until 1976. From 1977 onward, it was generally (but not always) a song that came out of Drums, and a bit later, Space. The introduction to the song on Jerry’s solo record includes some of Jerry’s best recorded pedal steel playing.
Watch the Grateful Dead perform “The Wheel” and “All Along The Watchtower” at Buckeye Lake on June 11th, 1993.
Grateful Dead – “The Wheel” > “All Along The Watchtower” (Bob Dylan) – Thornville, OH – 6/11/1993
[Video: Grateful Dead]
Previous installments of the Dead’s ongoing All The Years Live series have included: