Sept. 18, 1990
Madison Square Garden
In a way the song didn’t end, as the Garden was rocking (literally) and the thumping conclusion kept playing in my head while the vibrations pulsed through my body for ten minutes into the break. Sort of like being wobbly yet thrilled after a carnival ride… well yes, it was that too! Happily, I still haven’t recovered from this Promised Land – or the show, which was my favorite of the run (I was fortunate and thankful for mail order success for all six). I fire up this vid fairly regularly to help relive the memories. There’s an excellent article in the New York Times (Hunting for the ‘Promised Land,’ Haunted by Chuck Berry 9/11/17), and the author puts forth some erudite interpretations which are likely to increase your appreciation of the song. Included is a Chuck video of the song, complete with duck-walk strummin’, matching the author’s opening point that the song is “all about motion.” To me, when the Grateful Dead played this song, there was always both a certain reverence connected to the roots of rock and roll and the celebratory rapture of the live moment – that no one could sustain longer than the Dead. Having just enjoyed the Chuck Berry version, it’s time to check in with 9/18/90 to further refresh that eternal motion. Amen.