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Published: 2009/07/01
by Dan Alford

Great Britain Grateful Dead

Great Britain Grateful Dead
Quick Picks:
Phish 6/4/09—The whole first set, but esp. "Divided" and "Ghost"
Phish 6/4/09—The whole second set, but esp. "DWD" >"Twist"
Phish 6/7/09—"Sand" and "Tweezer"; also "Wolfman’s" and "Fee"
Phish 6/10/09— "Waves" > "A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing"
Phish 6/21/09—The whole second set
A quick note that Im dishing out tunes for Stormy Mondays in the Hidden Track section of . Come check it out.
GD, London, England 4/8/72— ‘Dark Star’ > ‘Sugar Magnolia’ > ‘Caution’
This monster show closer from the very beginning of Europe ’72 is close to an hour long, a weighty piece of psychedelic fogginess. "Dark Star" grows ethereal very quickly, each band member trailing off on his own and then falling back to some sort of collective center from which a shiny rising groove appears. Keith is particularly smoking here, and all over the whole jam in fact. Garcia too is screaming like lightning, and Billy is totally responsive during one especially hot upward swing in the lead. This version is loaded with distinct segments, many taking shape long before the first verse. Its an odyssey to undertake, delving into deep, deep caverns of frightening emptiness and space. At somewhere near 17 minutes, a crazed, aggressive jam starts to take shape. Pigpen joins in and the tone grows creepy, and everything descends into meltdown madness. Eventually the band eases into that gorgeous "GDTRFB" passage that shows up periodically in early 70s GD in any number of places, and it glows. The jam bounds upward, and the group tears into "Sugar Magnolia" and then very surprisingly, into the first "Caution" in a year and a half. Phil and Jerry pound into the final train wreck with stunning, evil grin eliciting force—awesome.
GD, London, England 5/23/72— ‘Dark Star’ > ‘Morning Dew’
A brilliant moment from a justifiably famous show, which also includes a fantastic "NFA" > "Hey Bo Diddley" > "NFA," this "Dark Star" is another of the massive, thirty minute versions. Its golden right from the first moment, rich and full and energetic, although it does descend into some loud, scary places before too long. The movement between terrains here is much more gradual than the version played in to the same town over a month earlier, so that mid-song "Drumz" is just a natural part of the journey rather than a distinct song. Garcia and Phil climb out of the low spot with steady, confident strides that run over the long slope to a beautiful plateau that houses the first verse. Whew! A vicious meltdown follows, filled with tiger growls and twangy chords and vibro-bass, and somehow they are able to pull it together into a jazzy little walk that sounds like its heading back to the second verse, but instead floats into "Morning Dew"—not a moment to be missed.

Dick’s Picks Vol. 7 9/9-11/74 Alexandra Palace, London, England
This Dick’s Picks is culled from the first three dates of a seven date European mini-tour with the Wall of Sound. The release is very song oriented with strong performances of any number of tunes. Check out ‘Black Throated Wind’ with Phil’s potent bass, Brown Eyed Women and the exceptionally fluid, 16 minute stand alone ‘Not Fade Away.’ The jams include a slow, ethereal ‘Dark Star’ > ‘Morning Dew,’ a classic meltdown Playing and a perky ‘Truckin’ > "Wharf Rat" from September 9. The last one is missing the culmination of the jam, "Uncle Johns Band" and that is an indication of the flaw with Vol. 7: its too much of an amalgamation for an archival release. Most of what is here is taken from 9/10, and it wouldve been a stronger release if the whole show was included.

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