Being grateful on a day of thanks with two hours of live Dead at their peak. #thanksgiving #gratefuldead
1972 was a pivotal year for the Grateful Dead in many ways. Mickey Hart, who had joined the band in 1967, left prior to the European tour that would forever cement the Dead’s place in history. This left Bill Kreutzmann the sole percussionist with the band. Donna Jean Godchaux, a former back-up singer for acts like Cher and Elvis, joined the band. She also happened to be the wife of Keith Godchaux, the Dead’s pianist. And sadly, founding member and keyboardist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, would leave halfway through the tour due to failing health. He died in 1973.
All of this constant change in membership while in the middle of a major tour might have sidelined other acts. But not for the Dead. The band were riding high after their first major successes as a commercial recording outfit, and their fan base, not yet known as “Deadheads”, became critical to the long-term survival of the group. In spite of the odd counterculture audience the band attracted, they were welcomed everywhere they went.
The “official” 1972 release the band made in Europe, courtesy of being provided a 16 track recorder by their record company, would be the last they made for the label that signed them, Warner Brothers. The band has admitted they went back into the studio and re-recorded some parts, notably the vocals. Additionally, Dick Latvala, the Dead’s personal tape archivist, made in 1972 on the U.S. leg of the tour, feature the band with no studio trickery whatsoever.
“I’d rather work nine Grateful Dead concerts than one Oregon football game”, Police Det. Rick Raynor of Eugene, Oregon, said. “They don’t get belligerent like they do at the games”.
As an added bonus, some of the tracks on the tour were new compositions that the band had yet to record in a studio, giving the fans something new and fresh they could only experience by seeing them live.
These recordings, doctored or not, are considered by many long-time Dead Heads and critics to be the band at that some of their best, if not the best, ever live performances that the band would make. These two hours do not represent an entire Grateful Dead show, as it would easily be twice this length, but an overview of the group at different spots around the world to keep it fresh.
Grateful Dead Live 1972 First Hour
- Bertha (Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark 4/14/1972)
- Chinatown Shuffle (Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark 4/14/1972)
- Beat It On Down The Line (La Grande Salle Du Grand Theatre De Luxembourg, Luxembourg 5/16/72)
- The Yellow Dog Story (Wembley Empire Pool, London, England 4/8/1972)
- Friend Of The Devil (The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9/21/72)
- He’s Gone (Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado, 9/3/72)
- The Other One (Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado, 9/3/72)
Grateful Dead Live 1972 Second Hour
- Sugar Magnolia (Olympia, Paris, 5/4/72)
- China Cat Sunflower (The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9/21/72)
- I Know You Rider (The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9/21/72)
- Truckin’ (Lyceum Theatre, London, 5/26/72)
- One More Saturday Night (Lyceum Theatre, London, 5/26/72)
- Promised Land (The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9/21/72)
- Dark Star (Bickershaw Festival, Wigan, England 5/7/72)
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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