Today in Grateful Dead History: May 13, 1972 – Lille Fairgrounds, Lille, France

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in August, 2016.

This show’s backstory is pretty neat. While playing in Paris, the Dead were approached by a group of radical students who felt that it would be more appropriate for the band to play a free show for the masses instead of *gasp* charging for tickets. The Dead declined the students’ offer since they were already booked to play a show in Lille the next night and couldn’t very well cancel it. Members of the Dead’s road crew may or may not have thrown food at some of the students. In any event, the “revolutionaries” did not take too kindly to this rejection and sabotaged the band’s equipment truck, forcing them to cancel the Lille show (but not until the band was already in the building). Well, the folks in Lille (who had paid for their tickets) were none too happy with this turn of events and barricaded the theater. Certain members of the band had to sneak out through their dressing room window, but not before promising to return to Lille and play a free show. That would be this performance, which was indeed free AND outdoors, a rarity on this tour.

Musically, the show is pretty darn good, showcasing a fun China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider and the usual (for Europe ’72) smokin’ Playin’ in the Band. But the real highlight is the thunderous Truckin’>The Other One, which devolves into some serious weirdness before emerging into the sunlight as one tightly wound, massive jam. A great version, even by the standards of this exceptional series of shows.

Here is the link to the almost-complete soundboard recording:

A better sounding version of just Truckin’ through He’s Gone is here:


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