I’m not going to lie, the sound quality of this audience recording shifts from not very good to ok, but it never gets any better than that. Fortunately, a soundboard recording of the best parts of the show does exist, and when you couple the two pieces together, you’re in for one hell of a ride.
This show falls smack in the middle of a month of pretty fantastic shows that only improves as it goes along (the Waterbury and Jersey City shows at the end of the month are legendary). This Boston performance, the second of two nights at the Music Hall, is a high energy affair and it is also a rarity – the only time that Ned Lagin played live with the Dead in 1972, albeit only on Dark Star and Brokedown Palace.
Let’s talk about those two songs for a minute. Tonight’s Dark Star never pops up on the list of epic Dark Stars and I think that might be a mistake. The second half of this song, especially the last part, is incredible – a ball of energy that never gets too spacey but yet travels to some strange domains. Ned is audible on the soundboard and contributes some mighty fine electric piano work to compliment the rest of the band. Unfortunately, Phil is very low in the mix on all of the recordings. One commentator on the Archive remarked that you can feel Phil’s presence but you can’t exactly hear all of the notes, and I agree with that description. In any event, this is a very unique Dark Star and well worth your time.
To make things even cooler, the band launches into Brokedown Palace at the conclusion of Dark Star. I’m not going to pretend that the transition is perfect, but it’s a great way to end the sequence.
As I said at the start, this audience recording takes a while to perk up, which it does five songs in with a spirited rendition of You Win Again. It’s a good thing that the recording starts sounding better here, because two songs later we’re treated to a very interesting Bird Song that finds some furious jamming (notice I didn’t call it intricate jamming) before the second chorus. It’s fun to hear the Dead attack the song like this.
And, since this is 1972, things wouldn’t be complete without the obligatory 19 minute Playin’ in the Band explosion. This version is fine but nothing really stood out for me.
So there you go. You’ve got the Dead in the middle of a great month of music, you’ve got Ned Lagin sitting in on a unique Dark Star and you’ve got a handful of other great songs to explore. Go forth and listen.
Here is the link to the audience recording of the complete show: https://archive.org/details/gd72-09-16.degen.weiner.12932.sbeok.shnf
And here is the soundboard with Playin’ In The Band, Morning Dew, Greatest Story Ever Told, Dark Star>Brokedown Palace, Not Fade Away>Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad>Not Fade Away: https://archive.org/details/gd72-09-16.psbd.unknown.6683.sbeok.shnf