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DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

May 11th, 1972.

Rotterdam sees the Dead in better spirits than Amsterdam did. And while I think this show is certainly better than the previous night, I don't know that I agree totally with one Dick Latvala, but it has made me want to listen to this show again when it's all over, for that 'Dark Star' in particular. But we'll get there in a bit. First off comes the rare show opener of 'Playin' In The Band' and it's a great version. I think generally I prefer these shorter ones than the bigger ones they did, but even these shorter versions see some great jamming. 'Mr. Charlie' feels a little faster here than it has in the other shows and there's a fun early 'Mexicali Blues' before the 'China'/'Rider' makes up for the previous night. 'Hurts Me Too' follows. Pigpen sounds great, Jerry's slide also sounds great (soon to be eclipsed by one Bobby Weir of course). It's a pretty common first set. 'Jack Straw' sees Jerry share the singing again so maybe they've decided to make it permanent, there's another 'Good Lovin' that's worth a repeat listen. I've noticed that Pigpen loves to mention being on a "four day creep" to the point that it's going to start entering my lexicon.

The second set opens with a surprise 'Morning Dew', our first one of the tour. It's nice to hear it, though I'm not a fan as a set opener. It probably would have worked coming out of 'Dark Star' at least. We get another rollicking 'El Paso' before 'The Stranger'. I've said enough about this song already and I'll probably have more to say about it but this is another great version, slightly angrier than the ones we've head before. This is true of the song as a whole, though it was only done a scant few times, Pigpen could sound wistful, with yearning, or just bitter. What a gift, and great accompaniment from the band again. The centrepiece is this mammoth 'Dark Star'. Taken as a whole it runs some 45 minutes, amazingly Garcia doesn't get to the first verse until about 25 minutes or so have passed. At one point you get a flurry of musical conversation as the band talk about where to go next. There's some 'Bird Song' there, some 'Going Down The Road Feeling Bad', 'Caution', maybe 'Wharf Rat' too before eventually settling on 'Sugar Magnolia' for another stellar performance before 'Caution' takes over. At one point I was sure they were going to go into 'The Other One' too but they restrain themselves before a tired Bobby sings 'Truckin'. There's no break, and the band are clearly spent (a running theme of these shows getting to be how tired they are at the end) and so they go out with 'Uncle John's Band'. We all sing along with the acapella part.

Next Time: Lille Fairgrounds, where the Dead make up for a show they missed.

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trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

Today's 72 show in Lille is a really good one. The China -> Rider really smokes, and that momentum carries through the end of the first set, honestly think this is one of the better first sets of the tour so far. Truckin' rocks, 30 minutes of The Other One gets really spacey and jazzy without completely falling apart, and the Sugar Magnolia/Not Fade Away/GDTRFB/Not Fade Away that lead up to the closing Saturday Night are all full of some really sweet licks by Jerry.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

Lille Fairgrounds, France. 13th May, 1972.

The story goes that on their second night in France, a student approached the band asking for a free ticket (though I did read another account that said he asked the band to play a free show). When the band waved him off words were exchanged, the student telling them they were Capitalist pigs, and Rex Jackson dumped Ice Cream over him. Later he came back, putting sugar in the gas tank and making sure that their equipment didn't make it to the next show. Bobby and Phil had to break the news to an angry French crowd who didn't care for the promise to make it up to them. Nor did the French promotor, who likely screamed obscenities at them as they climbed out of windows to get away. Still, the band returned to perform a free show, mostly in front of students and French families on a day out. The same promotor was in tears when he saw that the band did indeed stay true to their word.

After some tuning shenanigans, the band kick things off with 'Bertha'. It's nice to hear some Pigpen playing organ in the background on this. There's a slower-paced 'Mr. Charlie' that doesn't do much, but a really nice 'China'/'Rider'. 'Me & My Uncle' and particularly 'Big Railroad Blues' are played hot. There's a very good 'Playin' In The Band' and 'Sugaree' before the standard set closer of 'Casey Jones'. The second opens with a lively 'Truckin' before 'Drums' and Phil sends us crashing into a near 30 minute 'The Other One' that at one point just becomes a siren. It crescendos from the deep before launching into the vocals, which then descends nicely into 'He's Gone'. There's another stellar 'Hurts Me Too' before a rollicking 'Sugar Magnolia' trips over into 'Not Fade Away' for the final suite of the show, 'Going Down The Road Feeling Bad' being the highlight again. Everyone sings along. The encore is a supremely energetic 'One More Saturday Night' that Jerry doesn't seem ready to let go of. See, even after all these versions there's still something good to say about it.

All in all it was a decent show, some really strong playing and a nice respite before the final leg.

Next time: Munich!

trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

Today in 1974 was the 3rd Wall Of Sound show, but by some accounts this was the first one where they had worked out the kinks, and it is just superb. Keith in particular was really on top of his game, and the set lists at this point were :discourse: I really love '74 so much.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

La Grand Salle Du Grand Theatre, Luxembourg. 16th May, 1972.

In the Chekov's Gun of the European tour, the show that Sam Cutler mentions on the first night finally pays off in the third act. Playing to a small crowd of a few hundred in what was basically a sound stage, the Dead played a show for Radio Luxembourg. As David 'Kid' Jansen explains, this is going out pretty much everywhere. After a pretty great intro from Jansen the band launch into a lively 'Bertha'. It is played with a looseness that's reminiscent of the one later in Veneta. But this one lacks the special solo that one has. The band sounds great though, as does this recording, making this possibly one of the tour's best renditions. Technically before that we got two songs from their soundcheck, including them working out 'Big River'. They technically played this one before, in 1971, but they wouldn't actually play it on a show until September and we hear working out the arrangement. They're a bonus, but I don't think you really need them at the start. Similar to 'Bertha', we get another well played 'Me & My Uncle' that sits along the many like it. Most of the songs in this first set are along the same lines. The band is on their best behaviour for the Radio crowd. It's not until maybe 'China'/'Rider' that things get turned up. 'Hurts Me Too' is another highlight, played with a blistering tone by Garcia. As is 'Playin' In The Band'. We end the first set this time with 'Promised Land', a song they had performed a few times in 71 but hadn't played in over 50 shows by this point. It would, of course, go into regular rotation from here, still being played even in their final show. It occupies the same space as 'One More Saturday Night' for me.

The second set is shorter and subdued, and we kick things off with 'Truckin'. There's some Pigpen organ as we fall into the jam (listening to these shows, of course Pigpen isn't the musician the rest are but he could still hang just fine with them. I never got the idea that they outgrew him really. But I think it's true the band loses something without him). We get a taste of 'Drums' before dropping into 'The Other One'. We get a little spaceish on this and on any other night I think they would have taken it to another place, but perhaps being cognizant of who this was for, Jerry pulls it back again and they round off the song. There's a brief stop before 'Sing Me Back Home' takes over and it's another beautiful version. I started thinking, I wonder if they picked this up again for a while because Donna joined. They perform it a bunch in 71 and then drop it come August, save for one performed in November, picking it up earlier on in this tour. They play it a few more times throughout this year before it pretty much dies out by the end of Summer. Oddly enough there's a couple (literally 2) of stabs at it again in 73 when they play it as an encore and then its gone. Jerry wrings every bit of sadness out of his vocal and the band are a worthy backup. They were pretty good at this singing thing too when they wanted to be. You know the rest, it's a pretty standard closer, impossible not to send the crowd home feeling good after this. 'Going Down The Road Feelin' Bad' is always going to get the crowd on their feet, particularly by the end. More Pigpen organ for 'Not Fade Away' though Bobby is doing the end bits on his own. Ominous end.

There's not much more to say about this one. Played well all the way through. Excellent but not exceptional. Has the feel of a private gig.

DrVenkman fucked around with this message at 17:21 on May 16, 2022

hatelull
Oct 29, 2004



The Dark Star -> Morning Dew today was pretty righteous.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

Kongressaal, Munich. 8th May, 1972.

We're in the home stretch now with this being the last the Dead will see of Europe until their go in 74, which went somewhat less well for them. The remainder of the shows will be played in the Lyceum and we'll get to them in good time. For now, we have this German show which sees the band in great form. The first set in particular is a standout, and perhaps the stronger of the two? They kick things off with a boisterous 'Truckin' that the band eases up on towards the end, perhaps conscious that it was still only the first song. But their eagerness to play provides us with a nice 'Sugaree' and a lively 'Mr. Charlie'. Is this the song we've heard the most? It's been played near enough every show I think. Bobby steps over Jerry's part on 'Jack Straw', but it's still a decent early version. The 'China'/'Rider' is a little slower than normal and it gives the band some space to play. They give it a nice, leisurely go. 'Hurts Me Too' is another stormer. Jerry getting everything he can out of that slide. Pigpen sounds great. The first set ends with the triplet of 'Playin' In The Band', 'Good Lovin'', and 'Casey Jones'. 'Playin'' gets the band back to that 'Truckin'' place and they go for some deep jams which continue with another stellar 'Good Lovin' which apparently has Jerry playing the organ for the last minute or so.

The second set opens with the rarely-played 'Sitting On Top Of The World'. Played mostly through 1969, it would reappear in the next Lyceum shows before vanishing again. Jerrybase has it noted that it was played at a soundcheck in 87, but after that it's just this parking lot performance with Los Lobos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuzp1TEl6AU

Phil is ready to drop into 'Me & My Uncle' but the rest of the band isn't so the gently caress it up, but they quickly get back on their feet and keep their energy up through some great renditions before 'Dark Star'. Shorter than a few of the others we've had, this nonetheless plumbs the depths early with some sonic booms from Phil. Its loose and spaced out and really just seeing the band explore it rather than stick to a theme. Phil is all over this one, and again at the end gets some sounds out of his bass that probably sent some Germans to the toilet. No jokes now. Emerging from all that comes 'Morning Dew', which I think is probably the second time we've heard it this tour. They make for an appropriate thematic pairing and Jerry gets everything out of an impassioned vocal. As our friend hatelull said:

quote:

The Dark Star -> Morning Dew today was pretty righteous.

There's a nice 'Sugar Magnolia' but apparently Jerry isn't content with sending people home happy so he rounds it off with 'Sing Me Back Home'. It's another killer rendition, particularly the backing vocals, and we finally say goodbye with another 'One More Saturday Night' that's sort of half played. For a moment I thought they had found a way to jam out that song, but instead it was just Bobby forgetting a verse.

Next time: It's London, baby.

hatelull
Oct 29, 2004



Hearing these full albums makes the official Europe '72 release such a weird thing to me. That was probably my first exposure to the Dead back in the early 90's and I just took it as "oh, this is their thing." If that live compilation had even hinted at the stuff they get up to in those epic "Dark Stars" or "The Other One"s I would have got on the bus along time ago.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


hatelull posted:

Hearing these full albums makes the official Europe '72 release such a weird thing to me. That was probably my first exposure to the Dead back in the early 90's and I just took it as "oh, this is their thing." If that live compilation had even hinted at the stuff they get up to in those epic "Dark Stars" or "The Other One"s I would have got on the bus along time ago.

I think more than one of them noted that they're perfectionists, and as we know their early adventures in studio recording was to waste a lot of time and money in getting things sounding just right. The overdubs and somewhat conventional tracklisting on the finished record felt like maybe there was a stab at mainstream play. I don't think anyone would argue that it has all the edges sanded off, it doesn't even try to reflect the general run of those shows. It feels less like a live album and more like an album put together of live takes.

Noise Machine
Dec 3, 2005

Today is a good day to save.



Home stretch folks, just four days/shows left.

Fun fact - I started this project technically single and going to finish it married.

hatelull
Oct 29, 2004



Noise Machine posted:

Home stretch folks, just four days/shows left.

Fun fact - I started this project technically single and going to finish it married.

Congratulations!


I wasn't honestly sure if I had it in me to do the whole European tour. I figured I would tap out and not have the mindset to listen to the same set of songs over and over.

Turns out, I do. Still waiting for the moment when "Mr. Charlie" clicks for me though. I think all the "jooba joobas" and "wooly bullys" grate on me.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

Lyceum Theatre, London. 24th May, 1972.

Finally arriving for the home stretch, the last run of shows see the Dead playing not in a hastily converted swimming pool from the start of the tour, but in the more suitable Lyceum Theatre. Eager to play, they burst out of the gate with 'Promised Land' and a version that's already better than the debut a few shows previously. It's still not for me though. Chuck Berry often only really works when Chuck Berry is doing it. Or maybe it's just that you can't help but sound like every single pub/bar band you've ever heard when you start those Berry riffs. 'Mr. Charlie' is another good one, though I guess hatelull will disagree on that front. I understand the reservations, particularly the "wooly bully" bits, but I don't mind the kitsch of it. With the riff as well it almost slips into novelty song. But it's a little too groovy for that. And it's one of those songs that they always sound like they're enjoying. A mid-set highlight comes in the shape of another great 'The Stranger'. And another 'Playin In The Band' (which I've pretty much run out of things to say about). There's a better 'Sittin' On Top Of The World' and uh, 'Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu'. Speaking of your novelty songs...I don't know about this one. Lets mark it tentative for now.

Second set opens with the surprising 'Ramble On Rose' before we get into 'Dark Star'. Jazzy, exploratory but still contained, I don't think this one ever takes off but it does ride through a few different moments. There's a part at about 10 minutes where it should be 'Drums', but it's mostly a Phil/Bill combo until the others join back in. Jerry gets to the first verse at the nearly 20-minute mark, and after all that, we segue into 'Morning Dew'. Starts soft, goes big at the end. You know the drill. 'He's Gone' is nicely done and then we get another good 'Sugar Magnolia'. There's been so many good ones of these, they could probably do them in their sleep at this point, but it always works as a shot in the arm. They get brought back down to earth with 'Comes A Time'. Sparse and haunting, they wring it for all it's worth with Jerry's guitar, Phil's bass and Pigpen's organ despairing until the final definitive note. 'Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad' emerges softly out of silence and we get a roaring version that goes into the standard 'Not Fade Away', but here is the rare addition of 'Hey Bo Diddley'. They played this before, with Bo Diddley no less, in March of 72 in the run up to this tour. You can hear that one on Dick's Pick's 30 (And you should, the whole show is excellent). Jerry belts it out, barely holding on to his vocals, before dropping into 'Not Fade Away' again to close out the night with some attempts at fancy flourishes from Jerry. There's the nice encore of 'Uncle John's Band', but the band sound pretty spent by this point, and they still have more to give.

Next time: We're not going anywhere as we hit Night 2 of London.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

Lyceum Theatre, London. 24th May, 1972.

The second night in London sees the Dead a little tired, but delivering a notable show with some real highlights. First off is 'Cold Rain & Snow', it hasn't been played much on this tour, but it's a welcome opener. Soon is a scorching 'Me & My Uncle' that can barely contain Jerry and the band are close behind. It's followed up with a perfect 'Hurts Me Too' with both Pigpen and Jerry keying into the melancholy of the song with their solos. The band must have liked it too being as it's the one that would be used on the 'Europe '72' release. It is also, sadly, the last time the Dead would perform it.* There's the odd placement of 'Dire Wolf' to follow, and it's alright, but things pick back up again with 'China'/'Rider' and then a pretty great 'Playin' In The Band', that, in parts, had me thinking forward to '73. It's followed by 'You Win Again' and is again the version they would use for 'Europe '72' and why not. Like 'Hurts Me Too', they could probably just pick any performance of this and it would fit in.

The second set opens with 'Rocking Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu'. With a title like that you bet I'm typing it out every time. It's...inconsequential? I don't know. I feel about this one the way others hatelull feels about 'Mr. Charlie'. There's the rare 'Black Peter' making its only appearance on this tour. And it's a nice, slightly unsure, version. It would go on to become somewhat of a mainstay for the band, but not yet. They trot it out a few more times in 72 and 73, but it's not until 77/78 that it enters regular rotation. After that comes 'Truckin' which dissolves into 'Drums' before it Phil thunders in the sound of 'The Other One'. Jazzy and strange, this goes to some different places than 'Dark Star' does and like that its followed with another 'Sing Me Back Home'. Another emotional version, I wonder why the band decided to drop it. Vocally it's some of the best work they do, particularly since Donna joined. It's followed by 'Sugar Magnolia', which I'm too lazy to check but pretty sure they've played near enough every night now. The highlight though is the rare Pigpen closer of 'Turn On Your Lovelight' and 'Two Souls'. 'Lovelight' sounds great and after Jerry has gutted the crowd it's down to Pigpen to get them on their feet. It's another where the band sound like they're having a blast. Their backing vocal calls sound like some of those 60s versions. It's also the last one the band would do with Pigpen, not to be a downer but that's going to be a theme with these shows. It wasn't until 1981 that they found themselves suddenly playing it again on stage in Amsterdam (given Bobby's 'I guess we're doing this' shrug it was likely a surprise to them) and a year later it would enter rotation with Bobby singing it. Finally, it's the highlight for me with another lovely 'Two Souls'. A little sadder, a little sorrowful, Pigpen carries this with the band close behind with his plea to love one last time ending the show. And this is the end for this little song. There's no second life years later, no covers or lost recordings. It only exists in those 13 performances. Did the band know this was the end? I don't think so. Even knowing what health Pigpen was in, you wouldn't think from these shows that he couldn't keep doing this for much longer. Still, what a run for that song and I'll have more to say about the man called Pig on our last show. Oh yeah and they play 'One More Saturday Night'.

Next time: You know.

*There's this early early version from 66, just to contrast where they've come in that time https://archive.org/details/gd66-05-19.sbd.lestatkat.6516.sbeok.shnf/gd1966-05-19d1t04.shn. It's also worth checking out the 'Good Lovin' on that one as well. It's played at about triple the speed, and just the one time (That we know of, it may have been played in those lost early shows) but oddly the band would shelve it until 1969. In fact, that show is worth it for a look at very early Dead. They're much more blues/surf/garage rock at this time.

hatelull
Oct 29, 2004



Really enjoying this freak out in "The Other One" that's going on right now. Crazy good. I was listening to the early portion of this album on the drive in to work. Who did Bobby dedicate the show to at the beginning? \

Who takes over "Mr. Charlie" duties after Pigpen? He would only be in the band for a short time after this tour ended, right? Is that last show with him anything special?


For the career span, did the shows always typically take this format I've come to expect having spent so much time in Europe where the first set sees some more traditional renditions of the songs with maybe a small amount of widdly wah and jamming and then the second step they start to open them up to spaces, textures and sounds?

Are their shows that set on the separate extremes? Was their an era with little to no jamming or an era where they just come out of the game slightly formless and weird and stay that way the whole time?

hatelull fucked around with this message at 15:55 on May 24, 2022

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



hatelull posted:

Who takes over "Mr. Charlie" duties after Pigpen?
That would be nobody.

quote:

For the career span, did the shows always typically take this format I've come to expect having spent so much time in Europe where the first set sees some more traditional renditions of the songs with maybe a small amount of widdly wah and jamming and then the second step they start to open them up to spaces, textures and sounds?
Pretty much

quote:

Are their shows that set on the separate extremes? Was their an era with little to no jamming or an era where they just come out of the game slightly formless and weird and stay that way the whole time?

The early 60s shows are a little different but by the mid 70s there was a formula.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


hatelull posted:

Really enjoying this freak out in "The Other One" that's going on right now. Crazy good. I was listening to the early portion of this album on the drive in to work. Who did Bobby dedicate the show to at the beginning? \

Who takes over "Mr. Charlie" duties after Pigpen? He would only be in the band for a short time after this tour ended, right? Is that last show with him anything special?


For the career span, did the shows always typically take this format I've come to expect having spent so much time in Europe where the first set sees some more traditional renditions of the songs with maybe a small amount of widdly wah and jamming and then the second step they start to open them up to spaces, textures and sounds?

Are their shows that set on the separate extremes? Was their an era with little to no jamming or an era where they just come out of the game slightly formless and weird and stay that way the whole time?

Bobby dedicates it to Reverand Gary Davis, an early blues and gospel man. Blind as a young child, he became hugely influential because of his guitar playing. I think you can hear Jerry's fingerpicking style in his work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1RIoalqKgw

Tomorrow really serves as Pigpen's last hurrah. He plays the show at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17th, which is their only show in June but got the word from his Doctor that he shouldn't continue touring. Dead historian Dave Lemiuex mentioned that he saw a picture of that show and Pigpen "wasn't looking great". He was already gaunt-looking on this tour, so things must have gotten pretty rough for him. As it it, there's a few Pigpen songs that they stopped playing once he left. 'Caution', 'Hurts Me Too', 'Two Souls' etc.

Noise Machine
Dec 3, 2005

Today is a good day to save.



I'm almost done with Set 1 of 5/25/72 and woo boy they sound exhausted.

One thing that is actually really sad is how we've gotten no Pigpen rap during the last two "Good Lovin'"s

trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

It is pretty wild to see how his appearance changed between like 1970 up to the Europe 72 tour :(

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

25th May, 1972.

Well we're almost there. It's the penultimate show of the tour and like the Dead, I'm not really feeling tour fatigue. The reality of touring Europe is that it's so much smaller than America and so despite Jerry's protests of them not playing enough and having too much time off on this tour (which I get for a bunch of people who are just so eager to play), it did afford them to keep their energy high going into these 4 shows. Things get off to a slightly rocky start with 'Promised Land' that has some missed vocals and an odd moment at the end where no one is on the same page. It's a standard, well played Set One until 'China'/'Rider', which I liked a lot. I have to the listen to the others but it has been one of my favourites of the tour. It's not flashy and a little lower on energy than usual, but the jams are melodic and the song builds to some scorching solos during 'Rider'. 'Good Lovin' is another highlight, with Jerry on organ through the first part before some jamming and at around 12 minutes, a return back to the main theme with some foundation rocking work from Phil. Though noted, it's sad we haven't had another Pigpen rap out of this. I'm going to miss hearing what he did on a four day creep. 'Playin' In The Band' follows and while there's not a ton to say about this song that I haven't already said. It's impressive how versatile a vehicle for jamming it can be, and they'll go on to explore that even more in the years to come. 'Brokedown Palace' is gorgeous, haunting and spare.

Set Two opens with the odd choice of 'Me & My Uncle', and we get the "usually reserved for Set One" 'Big Railroad Blues' and 'Chinatown Shuffle'. 'Ramble On Rose' comes early too rather than its usual role as catharsis towards the end of the set, but it's a well played version to open with some nice Keith piano. Paired up with it is 'Uncle John's Band', finding more to do here than it does in its encore role. It's a crowd pleaser and then remarkably it drifts off into the beginnings of 'Wharf Rat'. Jerry sounds amazing and delivers an angered, rather than hopeful "I'll get up and fly away" at the end. Like 'Two Souls', it's easy to twist the same song from hope to despair. Then we find ourselves in 'Dark Star', but it doesn't really announce itself until half way through. It's not the deep dive into confusion we might usually get with these long 'Dark Star's and at about 20 minutes they find the 'Feeling Groovy Jam' (is that tremolo on Bobby's guitar for a while there?). It's only at the end that we finally descend and then rise up out of the noise with 'Sugar Magnolia' and once the joy fades it's the death-cycle double of 'Comes A Time' and 'El Paso' to finish it off. 'Comes A Time' is, like 'Brokedown Palace' earlier, a Jerry showcase. After that we get the last 'Sitting On Top Of The World'. I wonder why they dropped this one given they often featured it in surprising parts of the set. Boredom is usually the easiest answer, but that's no fun. And it sounds really good here. We end with the powerhouse of 'Going Down The Road Feeling Bad' and this one is hot hot hot. Impossible not to walk out without a smile on your face after it, and credit where its due but they end on a dynamite 'One More Saturday Night'.

Next Time: The end.

DrVenkman fucked around with this message at 14:55 on May 26, 2022

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


Trip Report:

26th May, 1972.

This might be a big one.

Well, there we are. Europe is in the books and through the melancholy we get a pretty great show. I've seen that people consider this the best of the tour, a culmination of all their playing up to that point. And I agree to an extent. However, there are a few shows that I remember loving and I'll need to check them out again before I could give anything definitive. But first, lets talk about the show. A tidbit - and something that speaks to the band's professionalism - is that according to Sam Cutler a number of European promoters who had taken a gamble on the Dead by reputation alone came to the final show that night. I didn't really think about this, but it's somewhat remarkable that not only did this tour even happen but and that it went off relatively problem-free but that those weird University Halls and the like were booked without knowing much about the band or what audience they would attract. I think about that French promoter crying at Lille and if he made it out.

Anyway, enough yakking and lets talk about the show. I think from the start the energy levels are high. Bobby tells everyone that Pig is polishing his organ. 50 years later it still gets a chuckle. They open with a lively 'Promised Land' that I'm still not so keen on, before giving us 'Sugaree'. It's a fine version and I'm sure people can pull out 10 better ones easily enough, but I like the touches of Pigpen on this one too. That piano+organ combo is underrated. I already feel like I'm just going to spend the rest of this saying that every song was "great". But their playing can't be denied. They barely play a note wrong. 'Black-Throated Wind' might be the best of the tour. There's actually one final 'Two Souls' despite what I thought before. This one hit me hard. The crowd love it. Pigpen appreciates it. But more on that guy later.

Upending conventional wisdom, 'Playin' In The Band' comes in the back end of the first set and it's the most impressive one we've had yet featuring some jamming that would point the way to 73 and beyond. 'He's Gone' is another that's already starting to break from its bounds. I love the end as it softens into near silence. 'Jack Straw' is great, 'China'/'Rider' is great and then something remarkable happens and that's that the crowd start to hash out the beat to 'Not Fade Away'. I had wondered if they were spurred by something the band had said maybe, but it seems like a groundswell that came from someone who really didn't want to wait until the next set (Listen on headphones, I'm pretty sure you can pinpoint the one audience member who starts it). It starts quiet and gets louder and louder until the band kind of have to go with it. And so, for what I'm pretty sure is the only time ever, the band does 'Not Fade Away'-->'Goin Down The Road Feelin Bad'-->'Not Fade Away' to close the first set. I don't know about anyone else, but this did cause some confusion as I kept thinking we were at the end.

The second set opens with a stellar 'Truckin'. It's the one they'll use on the album, but it's wild to see how it's probably the best one they've done on the tour but is still finding places to expand. The band are so attuned with one another, someone just has to throw out an idea for the others to run with it. Personally, I think they hit a little weak patch with 'The Other One', which I didn't love, but after some jamming bring it back around again for the version which (kind of) graces the official album. This is where the 'Epilogue' comes from. Famously, this falls into 'Morning Dew' and if you've seen 'Long, Strange Trip' you'll know this is the performance where Dennis Leonard, who has experienced this tour from a production truck, drops acid and decides to leave so he can watch them do 'Morning Dew', knowing full well that if there's any issue they're hosed and they won't get the rest of the show on tape. He sits at the side of the stage, crying, Jerry spots him and over the top of his glasses gives him a little look to let him know its alright. Lovely. Then it's BACK into 'The Other One' and another gorgeous 'Sing Me Back Home'. Bobby mentions that Billy vetoed 'Me & My Uncle' but has been overruled tonight (It's funny because Billy wrote somewhat disparagingly about Bobby's cowboy songs). I can never get enough of these guitar lines that Jerry does for this one. I know they get dismissed, but Bobby's cowboy songs are where the band remembers to have a bit of fun. 'Ramble-On Rose' is a late set singalong and we get the closer of 'Casey Jones' (where it was clearly meant to close the first) before the real end of 'One More Saturday Night'. With a final "See you soon" from Bobby that's the curtain closed on Europe and a pretty special tour.

And now a few words on the man called Pig.

Given everything that's been written about the Dead, I'm surprised there isn't more about this tour and the end of Pigpen. It wasn't intended this way, but here is the last goodbye of a group who started as a jug band and then onto The Acid Tests where a man who had a deep aversion to performing for anyone other than his friends was foisted front and centre because he could sing better than the others and knew a bunch of blues songs. He carried them through those early years as the band plied their trade. It was Pigpen's showmanship that allowed the band to go where they wanted, knowing they had an anchor in the crowdpleaser who could play organ and blow harp. The Dead didn't stop of course, the Dead never stopped really, but whether they knew it or not, save for one date in June that saw Pigpen play organ for a little while, this was it for that band was. We have the tapes of course, there's no end of those, but it's sad to think of this significant part of the band dying. Personally, I had never paid that much attention to Pigpen. Like a lot of you, my first experience with the Dead were the post Pigpen years and only occasionally diving in and thinking oh right yeah, they did the bluesy thing too. Jerry had mentioned that Pigpen was arguably the most naturally gifted musician among them and lamented the years that he felt the band wasted by trying to make songs as challenging as possible (It's funny to think that by this point - still so early in their career - they had already ditched a lot of the songs with the weird time signature/changes) because it alienated someone like Pigpen, who really didn't have much of an interest in that style (Indeed, Bobby and Pigpen were 'fired' at one point, seemingly as a scare tactic to get them to play to Phil and Jerry's standards). But whatever rockiness there might have been clearly didn't mean anything as the band carried on stronger. I don't think that Pigpen would have turned into Rick Wakeman given a few more years, but it's interesting to see if he would have continued with the band - It's hard to imagine him talking up going on a four day creep in 1987 - or if his interest would have waned altogether. I've made my love of 'Two Souls' known plenty as it is, but it's emerged here as one of the more memorable and altogether sadder songs of the whole tour. "One more time," indeed my man. Earlier in the thread I posted this show https://archive.org/details/gd66-05-19.sbd.lestatkat.6516.sbeok.shnf/gd1966-05-19d1t04.shn , it is only about 6 years previous to what we're listening to now. But check out that 'Good Lovin' or 'Hurts Me Too'. First thing you'll notice is how much better the band sound, but also what a force they were with Pigpen up front. It's fair to say there's no Grateful Dead without Jerry, but it's just as true to say there wouldn't have been a Grateful Dead without Ron McKernan.

DrVenkman fucked around with this message at 15:02 on May 26, 2022

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Pigpen was a perv

Noise Machine
Dec 3, 2005

Today is a good day to save.



I love those NFAs with Bobby and Pigpen doing call-and-response at the end, and it's sad when we hit the NFA at the end of set 1 today with it just being Bobby.

Going to sync up later tonight with my friend in New Mexico for Set 2.

DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


BigFactory posted:

Pigpen was a perv

Who among us has not been, from time to time.

Planet X
Dec 10, 2003

GOOD MORNING

Thanks to this thread I've been on a huge Dead kick, been listening to the podcasts and absorbing a lot of the 70s shows. Been going back to some of the 60s shows and dabbling a bit in the 80s. It's got me down a guitar rabbit hole on major scales and modes trying to play along with Jerry, and this is something I've been needing to do for a while.

My buddy said "I heard the worst version of Estimated Prophet the other day"

I said "by who"

He said "The Grateful Dead"

lol I was like what year and he said I dunno, 89 or something. Of course, not their best period. We had a good laugh

With all the Pigpen chat, I want to go back and dig into some of that some more. I lived on the Peninsula for 7 years and never visited his grave, I don't even think I knew it was there in Menlo Park or wherever :smith:

I rewatched that series on Netflix about them too, super interesting. I'm probably going to pick up Billys book, I don't know if anyone here has read it and has thoughts.

Planet X fucked around with this message at 21:42 on May 26, 2022

Noise Machine
Dec 3, 2005

Today is a good day to save.



Planet X posted:

I rewatched that series on Netflix about them too, super interesting. I'm probably going to pick up Billys book, I don't know if anyone here has read it and has thoughts.

Billy's book is... a thing. Definitely gives me the vibe of him smokin' a big joint with the "author"'s tape recorder going and transcribing his anecdotes. He does tend to throw people under the bus, but things I wish he'd go more in-depth for he just glosses over.

Phil's book however does give the details I want, even if it's a little overblown in spots. I recommend picking that one up too.

trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

While I admit I started to get a bit worn out on the 72 tour about 2/3rds of the way through, I'm glad I persisted, it was fun and I enjoyed the ride :)

algebra testes
Mar 5, 2011




Lipstick Apathy

I read everything posted by everyone and it was some great reading yall's thoughts.

Edit: one thing I will note is apparently the German shows were patronised mostly by US servicemen who heard an American Rock Band were in town.

Sharks Eat Bear
Dec 25, 2004


Good Mr Charlie from 5/26. Great R&B music they dont make it like this anymore

Noise Machine
Dec 3, 2005

Today is a good day to save.



I can't believe I listened to the whole thing. Great time with you all for the ride!

Sway Grunt
May 15, 2004

Tenochtitlan, looking east.


Nthing that I have been lurking this thread and also enjoyed reading all the thoughts on the '72 tour. I was never big into the Dead because my parents overplayed them in the house/car when I was a kid, but always maintained a grudging respect for them (and secret affinity for Althea and Terrapin Station). I've gotten into them a little more in recent years but especially the past 6 weeks or so, for whatever reason (this thread? maybe).

Here's a question for those of you who've been listening a long time: did Billy and Mickey become somewhat more... unruly, let's say, over time? Listening to some of the stuff from the 80s and onwards I feel like there are so many unnecessary drum fills everywhere. They are really making themselves present in a way that's honestly kind of distracting. But then I put on something from '77-'78 and they're so much more laidback and restrained, sometimes you don't even notice there are two drummers.

I have a very small sample size though since I haven't heard enough to make a determination. I know Mickey is an occasional target of some fans but I don't know if it's really just him going overboard. Apparently he wrote Fire on the Mountain though so if he hadn't come back we wouldn't have Scarlet/Fire, and that's a hefty price to pay.

JamesKPolk
Apr 9, 2009



Yeah, definitely. 79 was the Apocalypse Now soundtrack and the start of the Rhythm Devils thing in earnest, and I'd imagine they physically had more stuff on stage to hit by then. Mickey's general insanity seems like the driving factor but I mean you're not gonna let your drumming partner quadruple his kit without doubling yours, are you?

Healy running the boards vs Betty or Owlsey might also be in the mix

Sway Grunt
May 15, 2004

Tenochtitlan, looking east.


That makes sense. The "Drums" segments do seem to regrettably get longer and longer once you leave the 70s behind, too.

I'm probably a little biased towards '77-'78 at the moment but the Betty boards I've listened to from that era are perfectly mixed imo. Pinpoint.

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



I think Jerry Garcia was a good singer and guitar player.

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



Also, listening to todays date in 1980 and itís really good so far. Thereís a completely unnecessary El Paso>Mexicali that I couldnít skip fast enough and a Brent song that sucks poo poo but the rest has been cool. Some Iowans had fun 42 years ago

Sharks Eat Bear
Dec 25, 2004


BigFactory posted:

I think Jerry Garcia was a good singer and guitar player.

This takes courage. Thank you

trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

BigFactory posted:

Also, listening to todays date in 1980 and itís really good so far. Thereís a completely unnecessary El Paso>Mexicali that I couldnít skip fast enough and a Brent song that sucks poo poo but the rest has been cool. Some Iowans had fun 42 years ago

Far From Me is consistently a blight on those early 80s shows that are frequently great otherwise.

I heard the Sept. 19, 1970 Dark Star for the first time yesterday, and let me just say: :vince:

Llyr
Mar 24, 2010

Music is the best


I also enjoyed following the thread for Europe '72. I didn't listen to every show but 4/14 Copenhagen & 4/26 Frankfurt are my favourites.

I looked into the '74 Europe tour out of curiosity and the general consensus is that it was not good, mostly because of shady promoters and hard drugs. Cliff Hucker on the internet archive has a good writeup on it. He mentions the lone bright spot on the tour is the 9/18 Dijon which I have yet to hear.

trem_two
Oct 22, 2002

it is better if you keep saying I'm fat, as I will continue to score goals

Fun Shoe

I just listened to all of today's 1980 show in Des Moines while doing chores, that's a super great sounding AUD recording. The two guys next to the taper were so polite and excited about Candyman. Good show (once you skip the Brent song and Drums).

BigFactory
Sep 17, 2002



trem_two posted:

I just listened to all of today's 1980 show in Des Moines while doing chores, that's a super great sounding AUD recording. The two guys next to the taper were so polite and excited about Candyman. Good show (once you skip the Brent song and Drums).

The audience clapping politely when they start Althea is pretty great too. You can tell most of them havenít heard it yet.

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DrVenkman
Dec 27, 2005

I think he can hear you, Ray.


I've instead skipped ahead in the year. I'm going to write a little about what was left in 72 for the band, but it's wild that even if you skip ahead a little to July (which is only really like 3 shows removed from the end of the Europe tour), they're already starting to sound like a different band. Losing Pigpen meant Keith stepped up more and they're about to start bringing in songs from 'Wake of The Flood'. Obviously things hit a high point with the Veneta show, but September 72 is one for the ages as well.

By the time they debut 'Eyes Of The World' in their first show of 73 they feel fundamentally different.

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