(Note: Because this is a live compilation album rather than a studio album, I’m calling this an epilogue)
In 1992, Grateful Dead began work on a new album that was never completed. There were two reasons: first was the fact that the Dead never felt at home in the studio. (Garcia considered the studio a “necessary evil”) Both the band and their legions of Deadheads agreed that they sounded better on the road than in the confines of a studio. The second was Garcia’s death in 1995. Yet, in 2019, the remaining members of the band compiled performances of the songs that would’ve been included on the album, and Ready or Not was the result. It features Vince Welnick, who became a touring keyboardist with Grateful Dead following the death of Brent Mydland. (He was previously a member of The Tubes and also recorded with Todd Rundgren)
Jerry Garcia: vocals, guitar
Bob Weir: vocals, guitar
Phil Lesh: bass, vocals
Vince Welnick: keyboards, vocals
Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann: drums, percussion
- “Liberty” (recorded at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York) on 10/14/1994): Phil Lesh has a great bass line, and the drumming is great. Some beautiful harmonies on the vocals. One of my favorites from the album
- “Eternity” (recorded at the Memphis Pyramid on 4/14/1995): Some great vocals and guitar from Weir, with some good keyboards.
- “Lazy River Road ” (recorded at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on 3/25/1993) One of my favorites from the album. Some good rhythm and harmonies.
- “Samba in the Rain” (recorded at the Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia on 3/30/1995 ) : Excellent keyboard work from Welnick.
- “So Many Roads” (recorded at the Star Lake Ampitheatre in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania on 6/23/1992) This is the earliest recording on the album. Garcia sounds great on the vocals.
- “Way to Go Home” (recorded at the Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana on 6/28/1992) Welnick’s keyboards are great here, with some good rhythm and bass.
- “Corrina” (recorded at Madison Square Garden on 10/14/1994) This is such a jam! The Dead were known for their long jams, and this doesn’t disappoint. Best song on the album!
- “Easy Answers” (recorded at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 9/13/1993) Great harmonies from everyone.
- “Days Between” ( recorded at Oakland Arena in Oakland, California on 12/11/1994) Another great jam. I love Garcia’s starting vocals.
Final Verdict: The Grateful Dead’s live shows have been legendary for a reason. They never did the same show twice. This collection shows that they were at their best on the road. A great compilation!