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Published: 2009/07/02

Road Trips To The Wall of Sound

The latest installment in the Grateful Dead’s Road Trips archival series focuses on 1974. This was when the band toured with its mammoth Wall of Sound. As Blair Jackson writes of that era, ‘Why, it seems like only yesterday that I was cowering in fear worrying that one of Phils bass bombs was going to topple the impressive array of speaker towers that sprawled across the Deads enormous stage and rose to a height of more than two stories! What a sightno one had ever seen anything remotely like it before (or since). What a soundthere had never been a cleaner and or more powerful system. At its peak, it was comprised of nearly 650 loudspeakers powered by 50 giant McIntosh amplifiers, and unlike traditional left-right P.A. systems, this behemoth gave each instrument its own vertical array, and vocals emanated mostly from a center honeycomb cluster above the band. Wow! It was an amazing thing to behold (and a mutha to transport and set up)!’ Road Trips Vol. 2, No. 3 draws from two concurrent performances during this era, at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa on 6/16/74 and Louisville’s Freedom Hall on 6/18/74, with a third bonus disc providing additional highlights from these shows.

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