Dave’s Picks Vol 13: Winterland, Feb. 24, 1974


1422806009_frontIt is such a treat to have an ongoing series of full-show releases of Grateful Dead concerts released by Rhino and the Dead (4 a year). Most of these shows were not originally recorded with the intention of commercial release, so many are imperfect insomuch as the mixes are not as precise as one might be used to on your typical “Live album.” But this is nothing new to even the most newbie of Dead-Heads.

The Grateful Dead were one of the few bands who not only allowed their shows to be taped by audience members, they actually encouraged it! As a result, different quality sound recordings are part of the Grateful Dead listening experience. And soundboard recordings, also of varying quality –not to mention generations (from back in the ol’ tape cassette trading days)– have always been with us, either through the generosity of folks at the board letting tapers plug in, or in those unintended releases that found their way into unofficial circulation like the famed “Betty Boards.”

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Dave’s Picks Vol 13: Winterland, Feb. 24, 1974

You Win Again: Copenhagen, Denmark April 14, 1972


The fourth show on the Grateful Dead’s first-ever tour of Europe landed them in a hall that was tailer-made for music. Located in the center of the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, the 1,700 seat Tivoli Concert Hall had been designed for classical music performances, though the Dead were not the first rock band to play there. Needless to say, it was a far cry from the dark and acoustically-challenged venues of the tour’s first three gigs.

Enjoying playing not only to an audience of Danish-speakers (though the Danes are well-versed in English, as I can assure you from having lived in Scandinavia for a time in my youth), the band was also performing for a culture of European hippies, the likes of which would not be seen again till the band hit Amsterdam. In the north part of Copenhagen is a small “town” called Christiania (or Freetown Christiania) which is an autonomous “commune” that exists outside of the drug laws that are somewhat enforced throughout the rest of Denmark. As a result, this Danish audience was more than a little equipped for this particular band’s visit to their humble city.

The results were, to say the least, perfectly in sync.

The sound on this recording is exceptional. You can “feel” the space itself and the energy of this more-than-ready-to-have-their-minds-blown crowd. From the first notes of BERTHA, this show soars. The tour’s first YOU WIN AGAIN makes a welcome appearance early on. WIN’s a song I’ve always loved and one the Dead sadly didn’t keep in their repertoire for very long. I always thought Jerry did justice to the heartfelt Hank Williams tune. Another short but highly experimental PLAYING IN THE BAND helps keep the first set loose and wiggly while Pig’s rendition of BIG BOSS MAN makes sure the dancing and swaying never loses momentum.

Set two gives us another steamrollin’ TRUCKIN’ (this was definitely the tour for that song!) and another heartfelt IT HURTS ME TOO, which I will never get enough of. The BROWN-EYED WOMEN is energetic and a perfect reminder of the Dead’s various roots and inspirations; there is no better reflection of American music than the Grateful Dead songbook. This is followed by the last LOOKS LIKE RAIN of the tour and the last time Jerry would play pedal steel with the Grateful Dead until 1987 (!) when they backed Bob Dylan.

Like all versions of DARK STAR on this tour, April 14, 1972’s is one of the best ever. Deep and spacey, while not quite as luxurious as the Wembley DARK STAR, it certainly takes us on a long, strange trip (though the second verse is left out in the nether-sphere for another night). Pig’s GOOD LOVIN’ may be one of the best examples of the man’s vast talent for rapping as he weaves in and out of GOOD LOVIN’, WHO DO YOU LOVE, CAUTION (DO NOT STOP ON TRACKS) and back into GOOD LOVIN’. It’s a wondrous thing to behold.

Well, the boys could have ended the show then and there and one wouldn’t have heard nary a peep of complaint from anyone in attendance. But they chose to add another five songs onto the evening including a rousing NOT FADE AWAY-> GOING DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD-> NOT FADE AWAY. And by the time the band completed their frenzied and energetic version of ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT, the audience, and this listener, was more than a little satiated. Oh, to have been one of those 1,700…

Thankfully, this would not be the Dead’s last stop at the Tivoli Concert Hall this tour. They departed briefly to do another show at Aarhus University in Denmark before returning to the amusement park and hashish aromas of the fabulous Tivoli Gardens.

You Win Again: Copenhagen, Denmark April 14, 1972

Happy Birthday, Phil Lesh!!!!!


Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh celebrates his 70th birthday today. Quite a milestone! This is particularly special since Lesh survived a liver transplant a number of years back and is still out there rocking and rolling with all the gusto and excitement he had in his early days. Currently playing with Grateful Dead partner Bob Weir in Further, Lesh continues the Grateful Dead legacy, as do the other surviving members.

Here’s to a happy one, Phil! Glad you’re here.

Much love…

And in honor of this special day, here’s a bit of Further jamming NOT FADE AWAY into, yep, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHILIP from this past Friday the 12th. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Phil Lesh!!!!!