This is one of the canonical shows and has been commercially released as a CD/DVD combo that you can purchase here. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, the Dead played this show as a benefit for Ken Kesey’s Springfield creamery in front of thousands of delirious hippies on one of the hottest days of the year. As I’ve done with a couple of other important shows, I’ll give you a list of the highlights:
- China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider is spectacular, with fluid runs throughout the transition and a powerful ending.
- Playin’ in the Band is an all-time great performance of the song, twenty minutes of power that never lets up, even in the quieter moments. There is nothing subtle about this version, just a band at the top of its game wailing away.
- The middle/end portion of He’s Gone features that beautiful crescendo that pierces right through your soul – it’s crystalline.
- The Bird Song from this show is often listed as the best Bird Song ever. I think the 6/22/1973 version from Vancouver is better, but this one is definitely one of the best.
- Where to begin with Dark Star? I’ve listened to this version more than 100 times and it blows my mind every single time. Just listen.
- After the madness of Dark Star we get dumped into El Paso and that flows into Sing Me Back Home, which is a sentimental, mournful version that, in a perfect world, would have ended the performance. To me, that would have been perfect. But if we stopped here, we wouldn’t get to . . .
- Blazing versions of Sugar Magnolia, Casey Jones and One More Saturday Night.
- The stage announcements are all incredible. Take your pick.
There are a number of versions of this show online, but the best one is the official release, which is well worth your hard earned money. In any event, here’s one option for online listening: https://archive.org/details/gd72-08-27.sbd.braverman.16582.sbefail.shnf