After two days of poor performances from the 80’s and 90’s, I picked a show from 1972 and was reminded of just how tight the Grateful Dead were at the beginning of that decade. This particular show from Seattle features almost no really long jams other than Playin’ in the Band (a great version) and yet it is very well played and every song has something to offer. Quite the contrast to the last few days of material.
My favorite song from this show has to be Cumberland Blues, which is positively unhinged as it flies along for seven minutes of fun. This comes on the heals of a nice version of Big Railroad Blues and precedes the aforementioned Playin’.
The centerpiece of the second set is He’s Gone >Truckin’>Sugar Magnolia followed by Morning Dew. Out of these, Morning Dew is the only song that really gets going (gets going for 1972 – if they played Truckin’ like this in 1984, heads would have exploded), but boy does it, with some wonderful soloing from Jerry. Interestingly enough, Bob is really low in the mix and then halfway through the long solo, he pops up really high and throws Jerry for a five second loop. Garcia recovers and the song proceeds to a furious conclusion – it’s an interesting passage.
As I said at the beginning, shows like this one, with no truly transcendent songs but lots of really tight playing, make you truly appreciate the power of the Dead at this period in time. They could almost do no wrong, even on a “quiet” night.
Here’s the link to the Charlie Miller soundboard, which is patched all over the place but at least its complete: https://archive.org/details/gd1972-07-22.sbd.miller.94112.sbeok.flac16
(Parts of the show were also included as the filler on the Download Series, Vol. 10, which you can hear on Spotify if you’d like to hear the “tuned up” version)