The Grateful Dead In The Dark Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP
Michael Fremer Rated 9/10 Music, 11/10 Sonics!
Numbered, Limited Edition! Half-Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir’s Dynamic Magnified, Bluesy Riffs Properly Textured! Gatefold Jacket!
Rolling Stone 2015 Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Jam Bands: The Grateful Dead Rated 1st!
The Dead Will Survive: 1987 Album Gave Band New Lease on Life, Best Studio
Effort in More Than a Decade
In the Dark Contains “Touch of Grey”: Dead’s Only Top 40 Hit
Entire Album Boasts Continuity, Flow, and Cheer of a Memorable Live Show: After
More Than a Decade, Group Finally Tallied Another Studio Masterwork
Part of Mobile Fidelity’s Amazing Grateful Dead Reissue Series:
Live/Dead (MFSL 2-365),
Skull and Roses (MFSL 2-367), and
Wake of the Flood (MFSL 1-366) also available on 180g LP!
In the Dark will forever be known as the Grateful Dead record that propelled the
iconic band into the mainstream conscious more than two decades after its career
began. Thanks to undeniable hooks, sing-a-long refrains, and shrug-it-off
sentiments on the survivalist anthem “Touch of Grey,” the Dead was exposed to
new generations of listeners and, in the process, became celebrity figures that
packed football stadiums with fans. But In the Dark remains significant for many
other, more important reasons—Jerry Garcia’s stunning recovery from a coma,
Garcia and Bob Weir’s compelling dynamic, and an impeccable batch of tunes. It
also stands bar-none as the sextet’s finest output since 1975.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes and part of the label’s
unprecedented Grateful Dead reissue series, Mobile Fidelity’s numbered limited
edition 180g LP of In the Dark presents the Dead’s long-overdue breakthrough in
attention-grabbing fidelity. Even in an era in which the most revered artists
succumbed to the day’s prevailing sound (namely, slick textures and artificial
keyboard-heavy production that evoked the feel of Saran-Wrap) the band remained
obstinate in its allegiance to revealing fidelity. As it happened, the Dead
recorded most of the record live onstage at Marin Civic Auditorium using the
then-newly introduced Dolby SR—a technology that permitted astounding
instrumental separation, even when playing live. The group’s inimitable blend
now sounds better, more immediate, and natural than ever.
Everything including the clip-clop of cowbells, Mickey Hart and Billy
Kreutzmann’s rhythm-devil grooves, Phil Lesh’s supple bass lines, Garcia’s
sweetened timbre, and Brent Mydland’s pastel-shaded keyboard melodies converges
into a delightfully balanced, animate entity. The music possesses tube-like
warmth and glow, and the band’s renewed vigor and, particularly, Garcia’s
mellifluous guitar tones and rippling passages, come across with irresistible
immediacy, heft, and vitality. Several effects—the revving of a motorcycle
engine, which moves with precise imaging across an extremely wide soundstage and
various synthesizer interjections among them—highlight lyrical turns and add
winking humor. In the Dark is a late-'80s anomaly: A great and great-sounding
rock album that isn’t the least bit dated.
While there’s no single secret behind the record’s success and its position as
the greatest studio achievement of the Dead’s last two decades, In the Dark
boils down to the essential ingredients of great songwriting and the kind of
loose, spirited, frolicking chemistry that the sextet so often demonstrated
onstage. Weir and Garcia engage in a friendly competition of gamesmanship. The
rhythm guitarist’s cleverly cynical “Hell In a Bucket” is one of the toughest,
nastiest songs in the Dead’s catalog; “Throwing Stones,” his image-laden treaty
on greed, politics, responsibility, and the environment, benefits from a complex
arrangement sent up with marching bridges and spidery guitar work.
For his part, Garcia’s haunting slow blues “West L.A. Fadeaway” makes room for
Weir’s skillful slide-guitar fills while the poignant, merciful reflection
“Black Muddy River”—dressed in gospel gowns and Biblical allusions—completes the
circle the Dead began back in the late 1960s when the group ended its marathon
shows with the traditional spiritual “And We Bid You Good Night.” The
white-bearded legend clearly has fun throughout, and, obviously energized by a
second chance on life, pours his soul into the music.
Mydland’s performance and presence aren't to be overlooked. Equipped with the
vocal harmony potential of a choir of angels, his poignant backing singing on
“Black Muddy River” aches with beauty. Similarly evocative, his lead on the hobo
country-blues “Tons of Steel” evokes equal parts move-on sympathy and
regrettable loss. It can be strongly argued that his piano lines and right-hand
fills throughout constitute the most valuable the Dead ever received on a
record. Chalk them up to an integral part of an album on which every star
aligned, good fortune prevailed, and the Dead finally achieved the widespread
recognition it had long been overdue.
The prototypical portrait of final-era Grateful Dead, In the Dark belongs in
every record collection.
Mastered by Krieg Wunderlich at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Sebastopol, California on The Gain 2 Ultra Analog System.
"The original pressing was mastered DMM, uncredited, at Masterdisk. And that sounded great. But this Mobile Fidelity reissue is much better. Much better. It loses none of the original's spaciousness and transient clarity while sounding richer, fuller, more, dynamic, more three dimensional and depth-charged on bottom. The transient dynamic accents will have you jumping out of your skin if not your seat."
"If just as an example of the pinnacle of the analog rock and roll recording art, Mobile Fidelity's reissue of In The Dark is worth having." - Michael Fremer, analogplanet.com, Music 9/10, Sound 11/10!
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Special Static Free - Dust Free Inner Sleeve
• Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
• Gatefold Jacket
1. Touch of Grey
2. Hell In A Bucket
3. When Push Comes To Shove
4. West L.A. Fadeaway
1. Tons Of Steel
2. Throwing Stones
3. Black Muddy River