May 27, 2022

May 25, 1972: Lyceum Theatre, London

CAUGHT IN THE ACT: GRATEFUL DEAD

There's a lot of enjoyable bands around at the moment and there's a few exceptional bands around too. But there's only a handful of the exceptionally enjoyable - the enjoyably exceptional - in this world today and one of them played four nights at the London Lyceum last week. 
The Grateful Dead, on an extended European tour, jamming exhaustively at Bickershaw and broadcasting from Luxembourg, started with an enthusiastic Tuesday crowd, built through an exciting Wednesday show, an ecstatic Thursday gig (the night I caught), and on to Friday's grand finale. 
They attracted a larger proportion of Americans to the Lyceum than usual and the whole atmosphere must have been similar to that in the West coast ballrooms of the sixties with the uninhibited shouts and whoops of appreciation and encouragement. 
There's no showmanship to the Dead. It's just a case of walking on stage - to great applause - and getting on with the job in hand, which is boogie, as in "Big Boss Man," a good, hard blues opener. 
It's a very interesting stage, musically, that the Dead have reached. A well developed blend of their early rhythm and blues-rock roots with their Workingman/American Beauty country influences producing one of the most complete synthesis of white American music in an individual style. 
Mighty guru Garcia stands smilingly at the back picking out the most relaxed and pointed lines while Bob Weir, to the front, stands with head on one side singing high and true. It's really only in live concert that the full qualities of Lesh and Kreutzmann as a rhythm section become wholly apparent. Added to Weir's rhythm guitar chord patterns, which play closer to Garcia's lead than to the actual rhythm team, Phil and Bill give the Dead's music that loose, rolling and purposefully fragmented feel. 
It's a sensation that often teeters on the brink of anarchy. You suddenly think "This song is coming apart at the seams" and suddenly the whole band is together again tightasthis. 
The insidious infectiousness of the Dead's music is clear. On Thursday there was never any need for the "c'mon everybody clap yo' hands" stuff, but, all the same, the whole Lyceum is suddenly clapping hands. 
Pigpen's almost invisible, hidden at the back and to one side of the stage. But he comes out front for "Good Lovin'," perhaps a little weak to those who remember the Young Rascals' frantic rendition, but there's some nice organ from Keith Godchaux who takes over the keyboards from McKernan. Keith's wife Donna comes on stage for a fantastic "Playing In The Band," a title which reflects what the Dead are all about. Anyone who's ever picked guitar or smote the snare in anger would love to play in such a band. 
A simple string of song titles tends to reduce the stature of the Dead's performance, but some of the notables were "Casey Jones" (which closed the first set), "Big Railroad Blues," "Uncle John's Band," and the smoky, moody "Wharf Rat." 
The highlight, however, is still the epic "Dark Star." It's a marathon stellar piece launched by Lesh and Kreutzmann, fuelled by the consistently interesting interplay between Garcia and Weir with the leader pinging out high precise notes and the whole band building a series of stunningly powerful climaxes. 
So how do you follow such a musical journey? Well, you relax and play what you want to. In this case what they wanted to play was a series of oldies and goldies going right back to an "El Paso" that Marty Robbins just wouldn't have believed. 
All of this tended to eclipse the set played by the New Riders of the Purple Sage earlier in the evening. I enjoyed their first album but found "Powerglide," their second, disappointing. The NRPS set, notwithstanding an enthusiastic reception from U.S. expatriates, was similarly good/bad. "Last Lonely Eagle" (first album track) was fine with good steel guitar; "I Don't Need No Doctor" (second album and latest single) rocked well; "Louisiana Lady," "The Weight" plus "Willie And The Hand Jive" proved highspots in the set. 
But the night was the Dead's, whose extraordinary musical stamina has given us four excellent nights at the Lyceum. Let's hope that other bands of equal stature follow their example. (Is four nights at the same or a similar venue too much to hope for from the Stones?). 

(by Geoff Brown, from Melody Maker, June 3, 1972)

* * * 

DEAD: ONE OF THE BEST

The Grateful Dead are an exasperating band. Carve away all the semi-mystical claptrap that surrounds them and they still have an indeniably high presence. 
On-stage at the Lyceum last week they played so quietly, so completely laid-back that, you would imagine, an audience brought up on ear-battering rock and roll would become restive and bored. But as the music floated over in waves from the front of the stage and percolated into the crowded, labyrinthine maze of corridors and iron balustrades, they sat there gripped with wonderment that a band should fill the whole of the hall, not just with its music, but with its very presence. 
The Dead seemed to be at home in the intimate warmth of the old-time Lyceum with its dim, smokey lights and tuned in perfectly to the people, who captured, magnified, and returned to the band that relaxed, magical good-time feeling. But the Dead are still exasperating. 
On the Thursday of their four-day stint last week, their first set was beautiful, and as they ended with a red-hot Casey Jones, the second promised to take off sky-high - but didn't. It turned into a meandering, shambolic feedback jam illuminated with the occasional flash of dazzling, almost telepathic brilliance. 
I picked them up at "Big Boss Man", which they play with great assurance, rolling bass from Phil Lesh and wailing harp, and stayed through until the end of the second set. Song-titles have never struck me as of great interest in the Dead's music: even the song-albums like "American Beauty" just flow through like a continuous set. The continuity is even more overpowering in performance, and breaks seem to come, not so much when the song reaches its conclusion, but when the band decide that they have explored to the full that particular feeling for that particular evening. 
During the first set, what struck me most forcibly was not the role of Garcia as leader and controller, but Bob Weir, the best vocalist and the linkman. While Garcia takes off on his guitar excursions, it is Weir who pins the sound together, lifting the pace with his immaculate timing and full chords, then suddenly taking a stride forwards to the mike to pick up a chorus as Jerry Garcia's towering solos suddenly drop back into the main theme of the song. 
The Dead's improvisation technique is actually quite simple: they take a song out to the end of an instrumental break; then, where others would reach a peak of intensity and fall back into the song, they take it on out from there, building beyond. 
The intensity is not governed by volume, either: there are whole areas of space which are implied rather than hammered out (for which credit to Lesh's bass, whose silences are almost as eloquent as the fastest jumping runs), allowing the top layer of instrumentation (the interplay between Garcia's and Weir's guitars and Keith Godchaux's piano) to develop with almost telepathic understanding. The crowd understand it, too.
Some of the more complex transitions were incredibly achieved, drawing roars of admiration, but it was when they got to "Dark Star" in the second set that the cohesion seemed to be falling apart. Maybe I lost them somewhere down the line, but when drummer Kreutzmann peters out into tricky cymbal work and Lesh's bass loses the raunchy, jumping feel that underlies all the Dead's R and B-based music and leaves a throbbing pulse with no apparent timing implied, I feel that they start to degenerate into self-indulgent rambling. 
Too harsh, maybe; but it is a sign of the Dead's assured status that they can carry it with an audience. From a playing point of view, the Dead have surely confirmed that they are amongst the best around bar none. For total impact there still remains a certain ambiguity - but it was a great evening. 
The New Riders of the Purple Sage earlier proved themselves to be a stronger, raunchier band than their light, delicate country music album would suggest. Spencer Dryden is a powerhouse at the drums and by the end of their set they had the audience up on their feet and clapping. 

(by Martin Hayman, from Sounds, June 3, 1972)


Thanks to Simon Phillips


See also other Lyceum reviews: 

May 26, 2022

May 16, 1972: Radio Luxembourg

THE DEAD IN LUXEMBOURG
A sign of hope

In the past few weeks one has seen Radio Luxembourg progress an aeon in one bound from its tenacious image of the Ovaltiners and Horace Batchelor. 
By encouraging first the Beach Boys and then, a week later, the Grateful Dead to broadcast live throughout Europe, Lux has both conclusively shown that the enterprising future of rock radio lies with the little duchy and drawn the milk-teeth from the flabby gums of BBC's Radio One. 
In fairness to the BBC, it's true to say that under the rules of the Musicians' Union here, American musicians are forbidden to play (though they can sing) directly on British radio. A fact of broadcasting life that dates back to the wholesale Merseyside invasion of the American music markets, when it was felt that some protection was required on both sides of the Atlantic. 
To let it go at that, however, is to condone the meek acquiescence of the mighty media monopoly. It should not be allowed to take credit away from a commercial station which at least appears committed to what it is doing. 
Bear in mind that Luxembourg's broadcastings of whole programmes devoted to Tamla Motown, the Beatles, and Presley have all subsequently, and in a miserably belated fashion, been scavenged by Radio One. 
Thank God for people in the music business with gumption and guts to match. To present a band performing live for three hours, as was the case with the Dead last Tuesday, involves obvious technical difficulties of ensuring no unscheduled breaks in playing time. 
This is difficult enough in the context of festival and concert performances, but to be willing to cope with the unexpected in such circumstances on radio deserves a pat on the back in my opinion. 
Just think, there are people who do believe radio should be exciting, and that its spontaneity is not confined to a telephone call to provincial housewives about their zodiac signs or culinary habits. 
Radio Luxembourg has been bold in more than a technical sense, however. Like all commercial stations, it exists on sponsorship, but the decision on these live shows was to feature no advertising. 
Certainly, in this instance loss of revenue equals increase in prestige with the public, but why not accept their explanation that it was done because "we knew the kids would dig it"? 
The important point to remember is that the success of these two shows creates a foundation for future ventures. 
It's already been suggested that what has begun as a casual experiment may lead to permanent broadcasting of all major American artists who arrive on the shores of Europe and wish to play free for what amounts to virtual publicity before a 40 million-strong audience. 
And not just Americans. There's no reason why The Stones, say, or any British group couldn't play to an audience here that is fed up to the gills with Night Ride. 
It's not that easy, of course. Lux's officials at the British end have yet to overcome entirely the entrenched petit bourgeoisie mentality of a tiny European state, which looks on at the recent parade of long-haired visitors to its radio station in the old castle with a mixture of perplexity and hesitation. 
A neutral country, prominent, like Switzerland, for its banking interests, it doesn't need the hassles that occasionally become associated with rock artists and their followers. 
Regretfully, the programme with the Dead had this unfortunate aspect to an extent. Because of a rather silly announcement on the French service of Luxembourg, several hundred Deadheads travelled from France thinking they would see a free concert with admission to all. 
They found that the station's small theatre, where the recording took place, held only 350. Some were left outside. There were scuffles with the two security men (really, just jobsworths). One guy in the crowd tried to climb in, fell ten foot into the waterless moat, and suffered spinal injuries. 
There was fifty quid's worth of damage to a door. Doubtless, seen through the eyes of many Luxembourg citizens, for whom the major spectacle in their lives has been the signing of the EEC papers there, it appeared like some riot. 
How can they know it was merely a lack of French foresight and a blatant inadequacy of security? How can they be made aware that reaction to the Beach Boys show came in from as far away as San Francisco and L.A.? 
It's a pity these bankers, restaurant owners, and shopkeepers could not have been inside that recording theatre last Tuesday. To see Jerry Garcia smile and smile and smile is something on its own. 
Still, if you were tuned in, you must have got the picture. There's almost a visual element about live radio. You dig?
 
(by Michael Watts, from Melody Maker, May 27, 1972) 
 
* * * 
 
In concert with Radio Luxembourg: 
THE GRATEFUL DEAD
 Riots at the entrance of the Villa Louvigny 
 
The "Grateful Dead" concert last Tuesday (midnight to 2am) will be remembered by many as the worst possible organization in the Villa Louvigny auditorium. Something that cannot be said of the concert with the Beach Boys that took place a week ago. How did this mess come about? A few questions arise.
Why was the entrance moved? Why weren't the umpteen people who stayed in front of the wrong entrance until midnight (the start of the concert) and longer, and who all had an invitation card, not informed about this? Why, and this seems to us to be the most important thing, was Radio-Luxembourg's Hangwellen transmitter used for a "concert gratuit", as it was called, and why weren't the listeners made aware that an invitation was required? Why were about 100 French people admitted before those who had been invited were seated in the Villa Louvigny?
Of course, you can't blame a Frenchman who came from Paris in response to the tempting offer of a "Free Concert" - that he really wanted to see the Grateful Dead after he'd already come here. The gentlemen from Radio-Luxembourg would have saved themselves smashed windows if they had kindly informed the French not to force their way in, since they were willing to let them in once everyone who had an invitation had been seated.
The "L W." critic was fortunate to enter through a back door at around 1:15 a.m. and still be able to see the "Dead". Under these circumstances one can hardly expect a detailed assessment of the concert from him.
On a colorful stage and in front of a surprisingly not even fully occupied hall (?), about two dozen community members of the Grateful Dead sat down next to the musicians and their instruments and amplifiers.
The "electric cowboys" from San Francisco, as they are often called in the trade press, had built their entire repertoire very much on the guitars of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. Garcia often let a very delicate lead guitar be heard, but the sometimes too loud volume of the whole group shouldn't be able to excite us beyond measure. The approximately 60 million listeners (according to the organizer) on the radio were given a far better sound quality than those present in the hall.
If you continue to plan such concerts, which would be very gratifying, you should take into account the mishaps of last Tuesday.
 
(by Rene Thill, from the Luxemburger Wort, May 19, 1972) 

 

May 25, 2022

May 23, 1972: Lyceum Theatre, London

THE GRATEFUL DEAD
LYCEUM
 
The Lyceum, with its warm Regency decor and intimate atmosphere, must have reminded the Grateful Dead of the Californian ballrooms where they first rose to fame six years ago. Returning to London on the last leg of their European tour they chose to work out on some of their new material. 
 Although the first set was somewhat repetitious, the high points were still very high. It was rock music devoid of theatrical effects but glittering with expertise. They confirmed their unique status. Most of the material is written by the group for the group, and they play it through a superb sound system designed to their own specification in San Francisco. 
Their music transcends styles: just as the audience think they are cooling down into a bit of chamber jazz they effortlessly push the tempo back up into a jet-propelled boogie. Stetsoned organist Pigpen sang a couple of saucy R&B numbers, taking a honking Chicago-style harmonica solo after some fine bluesy licks from master guitarist Jerry Garcia. Pianist Keith Godchaux and vocalist-guitarist Bob Weir starred on several powerhouse country-rock numbers, with Keith's wife Donna joining in for some joyous gospel-inflected choruses on "Playing in the Band", always a highlight with its racy, thunderous guitar and piano figures. 
After a half-hour interval they returned, bringing whoops of approval from the balcony as drummer Kreutzmann and bass ace Phil Lesh rumbled into "Dark Star", their intergalactic free-jazz classic. Pigpen rattled the maracas, Kreutzmann peppered his four cymbals, and Garcia sent out bell-like high notes, in clusters, then one by one like tracer bullets into space. Bob Weir crouched by his amp amidst a growling earthquake of feedback. Thunder and lightning. The stage is bathed in emerald and ultra-violet lights as Garcia steps forward to stretch his husky voice: "Dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes." After 40 minutes it builds into a colossal squealing, snarling crescendo. 
And then the Dead soar on into their fourth hour with a gorgeous "Sugar Magnolia", accelerating up through the gears, into another boogie, "Not Fade Away". And finally, after many requests, their magic ballad, "Uncle John's Band". Uncle Jerry punches out the sweet liberating lead guitar lines and they take it in three-part harmony. Their voices are almost worn out and a thousand hands join to clap them through it: "Like the morning sun you come, and like the wind you go, Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait. Oh-ho what I want to know, Where does the time go?" Where indeed, I thought, looking at my watch. It was 1.50 a.m.
 
(by Myles Palmer, from the London Times, May 25, 1972) 
 
Thanks to Dave Davis
 

See also other Lyceum reviews: 

May 20, 2022

May 18, 1972: Kongress-Saal, Deutches Museum, Munich, West Germany

 GRATEFUL DEAD IN MUNICH

The Congress Hall in Munich's German Museum is long and narrow - it has a stage, tiers, seating and aisles. The group had set up a fairly large system, so there was not much freedom of movement. It was very crowded, the prices were affordable, and the tickets were sold out for a long time. You knew that the group was one of the best live groups, you knew their records that emphasized that they've been together for a very long time. Everyone also knew a little bit about their history: The group was formed around 1966, a community that has grown to 50 people today. So far they seem to have been able to solve the music-maker's well-known problems in their own way - e.g. they are doing the tour as a whole, long in preparation, also through a fund. The managers - they've all been the 'Dead' for a long time. The vibrations were corresponding - clear calm in itself. You knew that, you felt something and you were excited.
These expectations were then subverted for a long time: you hear this music and you're disappointed - just music, rock music, number music, across the entire music garden, more to pass by, music from next door. You already know all that - just not so boring, it seems - so skillfully distanced, so gently demonstrated. And you withdraw first - you don't need that in a concert, where you always counted for little and the performance, the group everything.
You go out, you get mobile - you go to the restaurant, very practical, there is a lot of space in the corridors. You think. You see yourself and feel the others. You relax and have space for yourself. The music is just there, among other things, far away, always familiar, sometimes you come closer again and follow along a bit: That's how you would do it, free guitar and bass lines, melodious, piano, organ and drums, order from personal experience. A rock band plays, of course, musicians like you and me. "We're just a rock'n'roll band" comes to mind from the interview with Jerry Garcia, one of the guitarists. You begin to understand, to hear what you have read. "In the normal world - the world of media etc. - we're just a rock 'n' roll band. But that's not all we are. We are signposts to a new space, a different reality." Their music is a means of doing that, they make it, but they aren't. It's just supposed to get you high, uplift you, "so you forget yourself, and forgetting yourself is seeing everything else, and seeing everything else is becoming an understanding molecule of evolution, a conscious tool of the universe." That's the task of every human being, they say. 
"We're kinda like a sign post" - "we only point the way there."
"It's a cosmic conspiracy." It's like a cosmic conspiracy from which no one is exempt. The differences are only due to the fact that our knowledge about it is different and we consider the corresponding appearance to be real.
A concert on a tour is not a concert - "it's [a] happening, it's not so much telling the people, but doing that thing." The music designates a different event, the cosmic togetherness, which one cannot talk about, which one has to live.
That's why it's so easy to be disappointed by them at first, because you're not used to it. You think music is music is the group. But today it's about "post-revolutionary activities," "living productive lives." We have to put our knowledge into practice, create productive forms that come closer to THE reality. It can be anything, because the outer, physical form ISN'T - it is the inner knowledge, the detachment and inner peace in every possible outer form. Some are musicians. Everyone is something. Jerry Garcia: "Just keep on keeping on." Just keep doing what you're doing.
After the break, the music became freer - more like a session in the rehearsal room, so clear, you have peace, you're not dependent on the local scene, you have your own with you and rest in it. You can be yourself. Four hours as a matter of course, music without problems and stars - 6 people out of 50 make music. Dance music, free sounds, music history...
They know the other reality from their own experience - they helped make it happen: the 1966 acid tests with Ken Kesey. The LSD experiences showed the illusion of the visible, so-called real world and gave an idea of our real function. They were the real revolution - inside. 
"It has already happened. We're living after the fact. It's a post-revolutionary age. The change is over." Today is the time after the big change. 
"The rest of it is a clean-up action. Unfortunately it's very slow. Amazingly slow and amazingly difficult." It remains for us to sort this out practically, to clear away the old rubble. Unfortunately, this is very slow - amazingly slow and amazingly difficult.
There's the name: Grateful Dead. You can hear that now too. It comes from Northern Irish, Scottish mythology. You die but you're not yet done with the world. The soul wanders around disembodied and has its experiences until it is done with them - a grateful dead - now calm, detached from the world, the illusion, Maya, and is reborn, happy, at peace, walking a path in this world and yet is more - it knows that now.
Old souls in young bodies - old wine in new bottles.
This is how the Dead see themselves within all of us: "We are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. That's the sort of thing that everybody knows..." - we are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. And basically everyone knows that...
Lots of normal applause, clear applause. You have understood. The great event is no more - illusion. You feel like a schoolboy who realizes that your ears are no longer glowing.
Less? - Yes, less appearance, but more truth.
Cosmic Conspiracy. Trust in us. It can be that easy. Just keep on keeping on.
 
Quotes from Rolling Stone No. 101 from 3.2.72, Interview with Jerry Garcia by Charles Reich and Jann Wenner.

(by Rainer Langhans, unknown paper - quotes in italics were printed in English)
 
Thanks to Uli Teute. 

 
* * * 
 
The original German article: 
 
GRATEFUL DEAD IN MUENCHEN

Der Kongresssaal im Muenchener Deutschen Museum ist lang und schmal - er hat Buehne, Raenge, Bestuhlung und Gaenge. Die Gruppe hatte eine ziemlich grosse Anlage aufgebaut, so dass ihr nicht viel Bewegungsfreiheit blieb. Es war sehr voll, die Preise waren ertraeglich, die Karten lange ausverkauft. Man wusste von der Gruppe, dass sie eine der besten Livefgruppen ist, kannte ihre Platten, die das betonten - sie sind sehr lange zusammen. Ein jeder wusste auch ein wenig von ihrer Geschichte: Die Gruppe entstand um 1966, eine community, die bis heute auf 50 Leute anwuchs. Sie schien die bekannten Probleme des Musickmachers bisher in ihrem Sinne loesen zu koennen - z.B. macht sie die Tournee als Ganzes, lange vorbereitet, auch durch einen Fonds. Die Manager - alle sind sie die 'Dead', schon lange. Die Schwingungen waren entsprechend - in sich klare Ruhe. Man wusste das, fuehlte etwas und war gespannt.
Diese Erwartungen wurden dann lange und lange unterlaufen: Man hoert diese Musik und ist enttaeuscht - einfach nur Musik, Rockmusik, Nummernmusik, quer durch den ganzen Musikgarten, mehr zum Vorbeigehen, Musik von nebenan. Man kennt das alles schon - nur nicht so langweilig, so scheint es - so distanziert gekonnt, so sanft demonstriert. Und man entzieht sich zuerst - sowas hat man nicht noetig in einem Konzert, wo man selbst immer wenig galt und die performance, die Gruppe alles.
Man geht raus, wird beweglich - man geht ins Restaurant, sehr praktisch, auf den Gaengen ist viel Platz. Man denkt nach. Man sieht sich und fuehlt die Anderen. Man loest sich und hat Raum fuer sich selbst.
Die Musik ist nur da unter Anderem, fern, immer vertraut, manchmal kommt man wieder naeher und geht ein Stueck mit: So wuerde man es auch machen, freie Gitarren- und Basslinien, melodioes, Klavier, Orgel und Schlagzeug, Ordnung aus eigener Erfahrung. Eine Rockband spielt auf, selbstverstaendlich, Musiker wie Du und ich. "We're just a rock'n'roll band" faellt einem wieder ein von den Interviews Jerry Garcias, des einen Gitarristen. Man beginnt zu verstehen, zu hoeren, was man gelesen hatte. "In der normalen Welt - der Welt der Medien usw. - sind wir einfach eine Rock'n'Roll Band. Aber das ist nicht alles, was wir sind. Wir sind Wegweiser zu einem neuen Raum, einer anderen Wirklichkeit."
Ihre Musik ist dazu ein Mittel, sie machen sie, sind sie aber nicht. Sie soll nur high machen, einen erheben, "dass er sich selbst vergisst, und sich selbst vergessen heisst alles Andere sehen, und alles Andere sehen heisst, ein verstehendes Molekuel der Evolution zu werden, ein bewusstes Werkzeug des Universums." Das ist die Aufgabe jedes Menschen, sagen sie.
"We're kinda like a sign post" - "wir weisen nur den Weg dahin."

"It's a cosmic conspiracy." Es ist wie eine kosmische Verschwoerung, von der keiner ausgenommen ist. Die Unterschiede ruehren nur daher, dass unser Wissen darum unterschiedlich ist und wir den estsprechenden Schein fuer wirklich halten.
Ein Konzert auf einer Tournee ist kein Konzert - "it's happening, it's not so much telling the people, but doing that thing." Die Musik bezeichnet ein anderes Geschehen, die kosmische Zusammengehoerigkeit, ueber die man nicht reden kann, die man leben muss.
Man ist deshalb so leicht enttaeuscht zuerst von ihnen, denn man ist das nicht gewohnt. Man denkt Musik ist Musik ist die Gruppe. Heute aber geht es um "post-revolutionary activities," "living productive lifes." Wir muessen unsere Erkenntnisse praktisch umsetzen, produktive Formen schaffen, die DER Wirklichkeit sich naehern. Das kann alles sein, denn nicht die aeussere, grobstoffliche Form IST - es ist das innere Wissen, das Losgeloestsein und Insichruhen in jeder moeglichen aeusseren Form. Manche sind Musiker. Jeder ist etwas. Jerry Garcia: "Just keep on keeping on." Macht einfach weiter, was ihr macht.
Nach der Pause wurde die Musik freier - mehr eine Session im Uebungsraum so klar, man hat die Ruhe, man ist nicht abhaengig von der oertlichen Szene, man hat die eigene mit und ruht in ihr. Man kann ganz man selber sein. Vier Stunden wie selbstverstaendlich, Musik ohne Probleme und Stars - von 50 Leuten machen 6 Musik. Tanzmusik, frei Klaenge, Musikgeschichte...
Die andere Wirklichkeit kennen sie aus eigener Erfahrung - sie haben sie mit gemacht: Die acid tests 1966 mit Ken Kesey. Die LSD-Erfahrungen zeigten die Scheinhaftigkeit der sichtbaren, sogenannten wirklichen Welt und liessen unsere wirkliche Funktion erahnen. Sie waren die eigentliche Revolution - innen.
"It has already happened. We're living after the fact. It's a post-revolutionary age. The change is over." Heute ist die Zeit nach der grossen Veraenderung.
"The rest of it is a clean-up action. Unfortunately it's very slow. Amazingly slow and amazingly difficult." Uns bleibt, all das praktisch zu klaeren, den alten Schutt wegzuraeumen. Das geht leider nur sehr langsam - erstaunlich langsam und ist erstaunlich schwierig.
Da ist der Name: Grateful Dead - Dankbare Tote. Auch das hoert man nun. Er stammt aus der nordirischen, schottischen Mythologie. Man stirbt, aber ist noch nicht fertig mit der Welt. Die Seele irrt koerperlos umher und macht ihre Erfahrungen, bis sie damit fertig ist - a grateful dead - nun ruhig, losgeloest von der Welt, der Taeuschung, Maya und wird wiedergeboren, gluecklich, in sich ruhend, einen Weg gehend in dieser Welt und ist doch mehr - das weiss sie nun.
Alte Seelen in jungen Koerpern - alter Wein in neuen Schlaeuchen.
So sehen sich die Dead innerhalb von uns allen: "We are all one organism, we are all the universe, we are all doing the same thing. That's the sort of thing that everybody knows..." - wir sind alle ein Organismus, wir sind alle das Universum, wir tun alle das Gleiche. Und das weiss im Grunde jeder...
Viel normalez, Beifall, klarer Beifall. Man hat verstanden. Das grosse Ereignis ist nicht mehr - Taeuschung. Man kam sich vor wie ein Schuljunge, der merkt, dass die Ohren nicht mehr gluehen.
Weniger? - Ja, weniger Schein, aber mehr Wahrheit.
Cosmic Conspiracy. Vertrauen in uns. So einfach kann es sein. Just keep on keeping on.

Zitate aus Rolling Stone No. 101 vom 3.2.72, Interview mit Jerry Garcia von Charles Reich und Jann Wenner 

Rainer Langhans 

May 14, 2022

May 5, 1972: Lille, France

MEETING WITH...GRATEFUL DEAD

The famous American band from the West Coast, "Grateful Dead" is currently on a two-month tour in Europe. This tour takes Jerry Garcia's band to Copenhagen, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Paris and Lille...
Yes, to Lille! Unprecedented event, one of the most endearing, most inventive American groups, will perform on Friday May 5, in the village hall of Faches-Thumesnil, in South Lille.
The Dead's family includes 50 people and 4.5 tons of material. And this time, in addition two mobile recording trucks. Because the group's concerts will be recorded for a "live" album of their European tour.
The Grateful Dead consists of seven musicians and hails from San Francisco. They have a large discography... [line missing] ...a personal music, which is sometimes linked to rock, to blues... We'll go into more detail next week about this group called "Grateful Dead."

*

GRATEFUL DEAD
May 5 at Faches-Thumesnil

The Grateful Dead have been scheduled to tour Europe for so long that this visit may seem suspicious to all those who have been waiting impatiently for them for several years.
But, it must be said that "the Dead" does not move easily: fifty people, four and a half tons of equipment, recording trucks and the trifle of eighteen million in transport costs to come from San Francisco! Still, they will be at the Faches-Thumesnil village hall on May 5th.
On stage there are seven: Bob Hunter, lyricist and singer; Keith Godchaux, pianist; Bob Weir, rhythm guitarist; Bill Kreutzmann, drums; Ron (Pig Pen) Mc Kernan, organist; Phil Lesh, bassist; and Jerry Garcia, lead guitar.
Grateful Dead is the biggest band in the United States. They're the only ones who can play it all: blues, rock, country western...
Last year, the Grateful Dead's seventh album went gold. This year, the 8th album is barely published that it also becomes a gold record and sells several million copies.
It is this group whose tours have moved hundreds of thousands of people, this group which has more than 200 titles in its repertoire, the best in the world on stage, whose ease and spontaneity are combined with the most swinging music, this group which will be in our region on Friday May 5th. The rental is open at Pop Shop, 4. rue des Ponts-de-comines, in Lille.
 
(date/paper unknown) 
 
Thanks to Dave Davis.  

May 13, 2022

April 7, 1972: Empire Pool, Wembley

DEAD MEN'S GRIP
 
 A Grateful Dead concert is an extraordinary experience. In recent rock history, one can remember flashes of brilliance and milestone moments, but nothing so gripping as the three hour marathon par excellence at the Empire Pool, Wembley, on Friday. 
Gathering inexorable momentum, the six patently alive musicians, on their first major British showing, carefully paced their output, occasionally rising in rhetorical force, never giving it all away. An essential difference in the basic approach of English and American musicians became pointedly apparent, namely the latter's skill in restraint and timing. Also worthy of note is their way of springing off the beat, and not crashing down stiffly. Simple as they sound, these attributes gave [the] Dead the power to swing at all times, lay back and sock home real excitement, without recourse to bludgeoning violence. 
Apart from the novelty of such a long performance, there were other aspects of the concert which helped to convince that here was one of the great bands, playing at a peak of creativity. Their ability to interpret, convincingly, country music, free improvisation, rock and blues, seemed in retrospect, truly astounding. 
Yet there was no blatant clashing of idioms. As one became absorbed in the complex interplay of "The Other Side," it was hard to recall that half an hour earlier we had been jigging to goodtime "Casey Jones." The styles merged, blended, became one music. 
Arriving late, it was impressive in itself to enter the cavernous gloom of the mighty Pool to find several thousand Dead freaks seated in serried ranks from wall to wall, the band already strumming quietly at the far end. It was like missing the first reel of an epic Biblical movie, and walking among fellow patrons already absorbed in the plot. 
Sound baffles hung like parachute silk from the roof and made a considerable difference to the acoustics. Throughout the concert, the band provided an object lesson in balance and volume level. Powerful without ever becoming painful, nobody missed having their ear drums punctured. 
Behind the band a huge screen displayed Joe's Lights, now sadly homeless following the demise of the Rainbow Theatre. Their inventive visuals proved a great boon when the band sunk from view behind those who insisted on standing up.
Above the diminutive figures on stage, towered a massive gantry supporting lights, speakers, screens, etc., on a mobile proscenium arch. The first half hour was deliberately low-keyed, and unexciting. It helped settle the audience and showed the Dead were going to play it their way. 
Occasional yells and shrieks rent the air between numbers, as per the "live" Dead album. The atmosphere was slowly charging with electricity. Tempos began to shift into higher gear as the country tunes gave way to an easy boogie. All the while, Jerry Garcia, moustached, amiable, brilliant, rocked his lead guitar in harmony with Bob Weir (second guitar), never flashy, but fast as quick silver. 
Around 8.45 pm dancing broke out at the rear of the hall and Pool attendants hustled them back to their seats. Donna Godchaux, wife of the pianist Keith, joined in for a few hot vocal choruses, and there came the first outbreak of cheering. The light show began to soup up, and it all became too much for one of the congregation, who began running at breakneck speed around the blocks of seats. Even plainclothes gents sniffing the air began to tap their feet. 
The Dead drove harder yet, and as the words of "Casey Jones" were flashed on screen, the crowd sang along. After the break at around 9.25 pm the Dead walked again, a quiet riot developing all around as fans stood up, then perched on seats to combat loss of vision. But dancers were left to stand somewhat awkwardly as "The Other Side" developed, a free blow that cleverly built a floating, out-of-time mesh of sound, one of the most interesting sequences during the entire rockathon. 
The drum sound was surprisingly good in view of the size of the place, and the cymbals cut through even as far back as my seat, about five omnibus lengths from the stage. At about 9.45 pm the music was becoming ghostly, tragic, almost macabre, when suddenly - they were back to 4/4 and rockin'. 
At 10.30 pm I saw men jump in the air and hug each other. Still there were more surprises. At 10.36 the Stones' classic "Not Fade Away" paved the way for "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad," and stamping feet kicked up clouds of dust that could not stifle lusty throats cheering Grateful Dead to the echo. An encore? Mals certainment. "One More Saturday Night" was duly supplied - "our next single." There was no need for another encore. We were sated. 
As the hall cleared, a few hundred lucky customers, clutching identifying pieces of paper, fought their way into a party for the group, where the mighty musicians took their ease, seemingly unperturbed by the mayhem around them. 
Said Jerry Garcia, eyeing sandwiches and beer with a benevolent gaze: "We play longer sets than that in the States. It takes us a while to loosen up." 

(by Chris Welch, from Melody Maker, April 15, 1972)

*

The Dead made it at last! Friday evening at the London Wembley Pool saw the culmination of the hopes of thousands when the Grateful Dead finally took the stage after months of false hopes as to their coming. The concert was to start at 7 p.m. As there is usually a warm up band playing for a couple of hours, many did not turn up until nearer nine. 
By then, the Dead had been onstage for an hour and a half. They did the entire concert themselves, stopping for a 10-minute break at 9 p.m. By the interval, the stadium was full and the atmosphere was at fever pitch. 
The band won their audience song by song. They opened with pianist Keith Godchaux's wife Donna helping with the vocals. Garcia stayed fairly much to the background as Bob Weir carried most of the singing. "Big Boss Man" was the first well-known song they hit with - Pigpen coming out from behind the seclusion of the organ to play harmonica. 
The sound was turned up after a while, although the acoustics were already almost perfect. Huge pillow-slip affairs had been hung from the room to baffle the sound. "Me And My Uncle" - a track for the double Dead album - misfired slightly as there seemed to be some confusion between Garcia and Phil Lesh, but they picked it up again. They really broke the wall when they began "Playing In The Band." 
All of the audience which wasn't actually penned in the sides of the Pool, came forward to the front and crowded the aisles. Those at the back who couldn't see, stood on chairs, and eventually everyone was on their feet. But "Casey Jones" topped the lot, it was easily the most popular song they did, and the words were flashed up on the light show screen behind the band so that everyone could sing along. 
The second half proved to be more of an instrumental show rather than the first, which was a straight run through of about 15 numbers. They intermingled three or four songs, including "Spanish Lady" which had some words, and achieved quite a science fiction sound to their music. 
Everyone who had been clamouring at the front, was awed into silence during this rather doomy set, and when they broke back into rock and roll, the relief was apparent. 
The rock and roll numbers really went down better than their other stuff, and they actually did "Not Fade Away" twice, with another number in the middle. They slipped from song to song often without announcement and certainly without the fuss and tuning up so prevalent among lesser bands. 
Many of the songs came from the double album - "Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad" and others already mentioned - and "The Same Thing" which is an old track just released again on "Historic Dead." 
At the end, there was a long pause while they decided what to do as an encore and the audience was going mad. They'd already been asked to move back from the front of the stage because of the pressure the Pool officials were putting on the band - fire hazards, etc. - and Lesh had announced, "You'd better go back, the cops in the front don't have room to dance!" 
Eventually they came out and played Bob Weir's new "solo" single "One More Saturday Night" which has the Dead and some of the New Riders of the Purple Sage on it. Donna Godchaux came out at the end - she also sings with the New Riders - and finished the last, great, rock and roll set. 

(by Rosalind Russell, from Disc & Music Echo) 


It might have been the place, it might have been that I just wasn't close enough to the stage, or it might just have been the way I was feeling (quite likely a combination of all three), but I didn't come away from the Grateful Dead's first night at the Empire Pool Wembley on Friday with anything like the sense of elation and satisfaction that I'd anticipated. 
Primed by the excellence of their records and their reputation as one of the best, if not THE best live band in America, I was disappointed to find that a lot of what they played sounded a bit scrappy and untogether - almost tired. There were some moments of great beauty, but I found their 3-hour-plus set decidedly patchy and the musicians - with the possible exception of Jerry Garcia, rather erratic. It wasn't what they played, it was the way they played. 
It was strange, but for a lot of the first half, they played like a support band, and when they played the beautiful "Sugar Magnolia" in the second set, it was like a cover version. You knew perfectly well how it could have sounded, but it didn't. 
The yawning cavern of the Empire Pool didn't help at all - it must be incredible difficult to set up any kind of general warmth and atmosphere in a place like that - though I felt that if I'd been right at the front - physically closer to the band - I would have found it a lot easier to feel involved in what was happening. Beyond the first few rows, something was lost. But there were some excellent moments - many from the guitar work of Jerry Garcia, and there was one section, soon after they loosened into the second half, where they got into creating shapes rather than playing lines, in a really effective way. Bill Kreutzman's drumming was pretty solid throughout, and there was a nice surprise in Donna Godchaux's singing. I'm glad I saw the Dead after all this time, but I'm sure I'd enjoy them more in a more relaxed and open environment. Maybe Bickershaw will provide that - then we'll all have more room to breathe. 

(by Steve Peacock, from Sounds)


Thanks to Simon Phillips. 

See also: 

May 12, 2022

May 1972: Dead Recap

 THE CULT OF THE DEAD
 
 Faster than a speeding speed freak...more powerful than their 16-track recordings...able to leap tall speakers with a single bound...look...up on the stage - it's a gang of freaks...no it's a psychedelic movie...no...it's the Grateful Dead. 
To their legions of cultists, the Grateful Dead is not just another electrified rock group. Keith Godchaux, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutman, Bob (Pigpen) McKernan, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, cumulatively the Grateful Dead, represent music carried into a world without time or space, the ultimate trip of an ever-present electric consciousness. 
To the Dead, a concert isn't a concert - it's a "turn-on." Judging from their recent turn-on at Frankfurt-Hoechst's Jahrhunderthalle, not only were they turned on, but the audience was turned on and tuned in to their brand of cosmic rock. 
The Dead began their musical conversation with a soft, folk-oriented set, shifting then to country and rock-styled country standards. 
Leading the audience through the world of rock, they finally arrive at the total unity of the evening as they launch into a forty-minute version of "Saint Stephen." 
 
The San Francisco-based group got its start in 1964 when Garcia, McKernan, and Weir met in a music and record store in Palo Alto, Calif. and formed Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, a country bluegrass group. 
Mother McCree couldn't get any jobs so they decided to go electric rock. The music store owner loaned them equipment and played bass guitar in the group, which was then joined by drummer Bill Kreutzman. The Dead, known then as Warlock, did fairly well in bars and clubs, and then discovered that another California band was also using the name Warlock. 
Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir describes how the group came up with their present name: "We decided to thumb through the Oxford Dictionary, so Jerry got up and walked over and spun the dictionary, stuck his finger in, and came out with the grateful dead. 
"It's an ethnological term, it has to do with a guy named Childs who went around and catalogued a lot of folk ballads from Northern Ireland and Scotland back before the turn of the century. There was a whole section that he did on what were the Grateful Dead ballads, the Grateful Dead ballads being visitations and stuff like that, generally having to do with people that had died and come back and been kind of glad." 
Bearded lead guitarist Jerry Garcia explained further: "Let's see, the classic story is the one where somebody dies, but there's some dishonor connected with the death, so they can't really rest until the matter is settled, and then when it is settled that puts them in the category of being Grateful Dead. It's just what it sounds like...Grateful Dead." 
 
Red-haired pianist Godchaux joined the Dead after jamming with Garcia in several small clubs in the San Francisco area. Godchaux' wife, Donna, helps out with the group's vocals and according to Weir, "is being worked into the group more and more." 
Bassist Phil Lesh is the only member of the Dead who has a classical background. Lesh was a child prodigy on the violin and later a Stan Kenton-style jazz trumpeter and arranger. In the mid-60s Lesh was working as a part-time engineer at radio station KPFA while he was composing twelve-tone electronic music. 
Garcia talked him into joining the group and says of the lanky ex-prodigy, "Phil has absolute pitch and this vast store of musical knowledge, just the complete classical music education." 
 
During this period, the group was living in La Honda, Calif., a block down the street from Stanford University resident writer Ken Kesey, who at the time was engaged in government-sponsored research into LSD. 
As Tom Wolfe said in his book, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test," recounting those days, "The Dead got on the bus, made that irrevocable decision that the only place to go was further into the land of infinite recession that acid opened up. They were true explorers. They decided to cross the great waters and bring back the news from the other side." 
Much of the book, which recites the adventures of the Dead, Kesey, and his band of "pranksters" during their six-month long tour of the United States in the first psychedelic school bus, is "erroneous," according to Weir. 
During an acid test, the Dead would play a gig in a rented hall while the pranksters created light shows. Everyone - audience, band, pranksters - were on LSD and the point of the test was to see what happened. 
Garcia has described those days as "a tapestry, a mandala - it was whatever you made it. When it was moving right, you could dig that there was something that it was getting toward, something like ordered chaos. The test would start off and then there would be chaos. Everybody would be high and flashing and going through insane changes during which everything would be demolished, man, and spilled and broken and affected...just people being there, and being responsive." 
"It wasn't a gig, it was The Acid Test where anything was okay. Thousands of people, man, all helplessly stoned, all finding themselves in a room full of other thousands of people, none of whom any of them were afraid of. It was magic, far out, beautiful magic." 
 
The Acid Tests stopped in the spring of 1966 when Kesey escaped the narcotics squad by tripping to Mexico. In June, the Grateful Dead moved into 710 Ashbury in the center of San Francisco's famed Haight district. 
"Happy families are all alike," said Tolstoy, but the happy family at 710 Ashbury was so different that they became an institution to the burgeoning hippie community. The Dead gave free concerts which gave rise to their reputation as a "people's band." 
That same year, the group signed with Warner Brothers records and their first album, "The Grateful Dead" was released. 
The album, their straightest musically, proved unsuccessful although several of the numbers, "Beat It On Down The Line," "Good Mornin' Little Girl," and "Morning Dew," are now Dead classics. 
Their next album, "Anthem of the Sun," released in 1968 was recorded in four studios and at 18 live performances. The album contains "Alligator," which has become, more than any other, the group's theme song. 
 
The Grateful Dead was busted for possession of marijuana during narcotics raids in 1967 and again in 1970. 
After the 1970 bust in New Orleans, the group returned to San Francisco and recorded "Workingman's Dead." As a promotion for the album, the Dead joined Janis Joplin, Big Brother, Ian and Sylvia, The Band, and Bonnie and Delaney for a concert tour across Canada by train. This vast assemblage of rock talent managed to play only three halls and the trip has been recorded in rock annals as the biggest rock-and-roll drunk of all times. 
But 1972 promises to be "The Year of the Grateful Dead," Their latest live double-album "Grateful Dead" earned the group its first gold record and they're in the middle of a sell-out European tour. 
The Dead will perform at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw May 10. The following evening the Dead will appear at Rotterdam's Civic Hall. 
The Deutsches Museum in Munich will be the scene of a May 18 concert, followed by a three-day engagement at London's Rainbow Theatre May 26-28.
A solo album by Garcia was released this January, and Weir and Pigpen are also working on solo albums. 
 
Songwriter Bob Hunter has been with Garcia since 1960 when both were released from the Army. 
"When Hunter first started writing words for us," Garcia explained, "originally he was a poet. He was into that magical thing with words, definitely far-out, definitely amazing. The early stuff he wrote that we tried to set to music was stiff because it wasn't really meant to be sung. After he got further and further into it, his craft improved..." 
Bob Hunter's words and the music of the Grateful Dead, cosmic, mind-blowing electrified rock, have become part of the common language of young people today from Berlin to Berkeley.

(by Cal Posner, from Stars and Stripes, May 9, 1972) 

Thanks to Dave Davis.

May 10, 2022

May 10, 1972: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands

 GRATEFUL DEAD MUSICALLY OVERRATED

AMSTERDAM, 12 MAY - The American pop group The Grateful Dead, which had two long concerts on Wednesday and Thursday evenings in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Rotterdam Doelen, cannot live up to its reputation on all fronts.
The rock group from San Francisco, which was highly regarded in America during the so-called psychedelic era (around 1965), performed for the first time in the Netherlands on Wednesday evening in a sold-out Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Although musically the group is somewhat overrated here, in technological terms the Americans completely surpassed all previous pop groups. A sound system stacked towering high and wall-wide turned out to be excellently tuned to the hall. With flawlessly functioning lighting equipment, even of a king-sized format, the group was sprayed with refinement with bright hues and twilight mists. A multitude of vapors and smells emanating from a massive smoking crowd seemed entirely in style with the colorful spectacle.
Despite the more than four hours (!) that were allotted for the concert, The Grateful Dead remained musically below expectations, even though the six Americans turned out to be a close music-making unit with their broad repertoire in songs such as "Not fade away" by The Rolling Stones, "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, and "Me and Bobby McGee" by Kris Kristofferson.
Although the group was definitely stronger vocally than instrumentally, there were really no spectacular moments. The Grateful Dead resembled an Ajax playing in width that couldn't deliver deep passes. Jerry Garcia, who is noted in America as a star guitarist, did not come to any heartwarming, decisive actions despite a lot of solo dribbling.
The sparse interesting sounds were most evident in organist Ron McKernan's harmonica playing and Keith Godchaud's honky-tonk strikes on piano.

(by Peter de Vries, from NRC Handelsblad, May 12, 1972)

* * *

DOUBLE CONCERT BY GRATEFUL DEAD

The Dead gave an exceptionally atmospheric and lengthy concert in Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. A sold-out Concertgebouw was already enthusiastic from the first tones and for about one hour they clapped for an encore, persistently but in vain.
Grateful Dead built up the mood with ease in the hours they were on stage. Getting easier, after we were plagued at first with a not-too-good adjustment of the knobs; until the intermission mainly with short songs, then with more decoration and solo work. The construction is completed with a smoky, vague lighting in which the group feels at home.
They play in a relaxed manner through an almost endless repertoire of old, new and borrowed songs. Jerry Garcia stays pretty much in the background, leaving most of the singing to rhythm guitarist Bob Weir. 'Pigpen' is behind his organ doing a lot of other things and comes out from behind it to blow blues on harmonica. Most of the time they stick to their acid rock, a pretty solid kind of flower music. They still hark back to San Francisco's beautiful past.
With the fast pace at which things are finished and the craftsmanship of the Dead and possibly above all the pleasant mood in which everything takes place, the hours fly by unnoticed. From that point of view, the concert is a complete success. Friendly, relaxed and unpretentious. With highlights, lesser parts and stuffing, like double LPs often owe their four sides to friendly people who don't think only the best songs are good enough. That's a kind of friendliness that can be felt a lot at times, as well as for open-air Dead concerts. Concertgebouw plush leaves too little room for the knees, in the long run.

(by Rob Bishoff, from De Waarheid, May 12, 1972) 


Thanks to Dave Davis. 




*******************************
 

The original Dutch articles....

GRATEFUL DEAD MUZIKAAL OVERSCHAT

AMSTERDAM, 12 MEI - De Amerikaanse popgroep The Grateful Dead heeft met twee lange concerten woensdag - en donderdagavond in resp. het Amsterdamse Concertgebouw en de Rotterdamse Doelen haar reputatie niet op alle fronten kunnen waarmaken.
De tijdens het zg. psychedelische tijdperk (rond 1965) in Amerika hoogst aangeschreven rockgroep uit San Francisco trad woensdagavond in een uitverkocht Amsterdams Concertgebouw voor het eerst in Nederland op.
Wellicht dat de groep muzikaal hier enigszins wordt overschat, in technologisch opzicht overtroefden de Amerikanen alle voorgaande popgroepen geheel. Een torenhoog en muurbreed gestapelde geluidsinstallatie bleek voortreffelijk te zijn afgestemd op de zaal. Met feilloos werkende lichtapparatuur, ook al van king size-formaat, werd de groep geraffineerd met felle tinten en schemerachtige nevels besproeid. Een veelheid van dampen en geuren die ult een massaal rokend publiek opstegen leken geheel in stijl met het kleurige schouwspel.
Ondanks de ruim vier uur (!) die voor het concert werd uitgetrokken bleef The Grateful Dead muzikaal beneden verwachting, ook al ontpopten de zes Amerikanen zich met hun brede repertoire als een hecht musicerende eenheid in nummers als "Not fade away" van The Rolling Stones, "El Paso" van Marty Robbins en "Me and Bobby McGee" van Kris Kristofferson.
Hoewel de groep vocaal bepaald sterker dan instrumentaal op dreef was, ontbraken echt spectaculaire momenten. The Grateful Dead leek op een in de breedte spelend Ajax dat maar geen dieptepasses kon afgeven. Ook de in Amerika als ster-gitarist genoteerde Jerry Garcia kwam ondanks veel solistisch gedribbel niet tot hartverwarmende, beslissende acties.
De spaarzame interessante geluiden kwamen nog het meest naar voren in het mondharmonicaspel van organist Ron McKernan en de honky-tonk-aanslagen van Keith Godchaud op piano.

(door Peter de Vries, NRC Handelsblad, May 12, 1972)

* * *

DUBBELCONCERT VAN GRATEFUL DEAD

De Dead heeft woensdagavond in Amsterdam een buitengewoon sfeervol en langdurig concert gegeven. Een uitverkocht Concertgebouw was al enthousiast bij de eerste tonen en over enen werd nog, volhardend maar vergeefs, om een toegift geklapt.
Grateful Dead bouwde in de uren dat ze op het podium stonden met gemak de stemming op. Steeds makkelijker, nadat we de eerste tijd geplaagd waren door een niet te beste afstelling van de knoppen; tot de pauze voornamelijk met korte nummers, daarna met meer versiering en solowerk. Het bouwwerk wordt afgerond met een rokerige, vage belichting waarin de groep zich thuisvoelt.
Ontspannen spelen ze zich door een schier eindeloos repertoir oude, nieuwe en van anderen geleende nummers heen. Jerry Garcia blijft tamelijk op de achtergrond, laat het meeste zingen over aan slaggitarist Bob Weir. 'Pigpen' zit achter z'n orgel een boel andere dingen te doen en komt er achter vandaan om blues te blazen op harmonica. Het meeste houden ze zich bij hun acid-rock, een vrij stevig soort bloemetjes-muziek. Nog altijd grijpen ze terug naar het mooie verleden van San Francisco.
Met het hoge tempo waarin een en ander afgewerkt wordt en 't vakmanschap van de Dead en mogelijk voor alles nog de genoeglijke stemming waar alles zich in voltrekt vlieden de uren ongemerkt heen. Uit dat oogpunt is het concert volledig geslaagd. Vriendelijk, ontspannen en met weinig pretenties. Met hoogtepunten, mindere delen en vulling, zoals dubbel-elpees hun vier kanten nogal eens danken aan vriendelijke mensen die niet alleen de beste nummers goed genoeg vinden. Dat is een soort vriendelijkheid waar bij tijden veel voor te voelen is, evenals voor Dead-concerten in de open lucht. Concertgebouwpluche laat te weinig ruimte voor de knieen, op de langere duur.

(Rob Bishoff, De waarheid, May 12, 1972)