The best Grateful Dead is the live Grateful Dead. You can hear everything that Jerry Garcia wanted this band to be. In 1972 the Grateful Dead were in their heyday. I am very grateful for Rhino Records to release this show from Houston in 1972 on Record Store Day (Black Friday) in 2014. This show represents everything I love about the Grateful Dead.
The songs on this album are actually the 2nd set from this show. They are a little out of order but if I played this album for you, you’d never know it. “Bertha” leads off with a upbeat tune with Jerry singing wonderfully. The smooth transition directly into “Greatest Story Ever Told” is meticulous and too easy. “Deal” is next but in the set it actually is after “He’s Gone” and “Jack Straw.” Which both songs are on Side 2 of this record.
However these songs are great, this is not what this show is known for. Grateful Dead is known for their long and insane monster jams. Well I want to present you with the 25 minute “Playing in the Band.” This song has Side 3 all to itself and much deserved so. Lesh destroys on here up front with Jerry killing each note next to him. The rest of the band keeps up and for 25 minutes you are lost in with the Grateful Dead truly are, magicians of notes.
The band ends it with “Mississippi Half Step” into “Sugar Magnolia” which are by no means throw away songs. The actual set ended with “One More Saturday Night” and an “Uncle John’s Band” encore. Both are great songs but to be honest I wouldn’t have cared if the set ended with Sugar Magnolia after listening to this record.
My long strange trip with the Grateful Dead albums ends here. It’s a perfect one to end on as well. A deep and fun live vinyl that was put out 50 years later. I have enjoyed ever second and every note of these Grateful Dead vinyls. The last month has been incredible for my ears and well being hearing these songs. Maybe I was born 20 years too late but hearing these guys is perfect in the best possible way, vinyl.