Why is it that every time I have a show this good to write about, I don’t have the time to do it justice? I’ve owned this one for years – it was officially released as Rockin’ the Rhein with the Grateful Dead, and it was the first full concert from the band’s famous Europe ’72 tour to be commercially released – and it’s a whopper . So I could have written this earlier and been more thorough. Sorry. If you don’t want to read my random notes, just pop it on any song – it’s that good.
The key takeaways from this show are as follows:
- For my money, this European tour represents the greatest stretch of amazing playing in the history of the Grateful Dead. Barring a few mishaps, almost every show from this run is incredible from start to finish.
- The opening Truckin’ is flavored in so many ways by Keith Godchaux, who just excels tonight. This is the first of many songs that he simply crushes.
- China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider. There are no words.
- Good Lovin’ is one of the best ever, with a jam through the middle third that is waaay out there and a superb ending.
- This up-tempo He’s Gone features a loud Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir in total communion.
- Dark Star, which is a two-parter separated by Me and My Uncle, is 40 minutes long and goes through every possible Dark Star mutation possible except for the most obvious ones. You’ve been warned – this is one of the greatest of all time in a year that is just loaded with amazing Dark Stars.
- Sugar Magnolia and Not Fade Away are as hyped up as it gets for this band in 1972.
- Ditto One More Saturday Night.
This show is the real, real deal. Unfortunately, the sound quality on the Archive versions is garbanzo. The good news, for those of you who don’t own it, is that Rockin’ the Rhein is on Spotify and other streaming services, so if you can’t find a copy to buy, you can listen to a much better version there. For those of you who want the Archive version, here it is: https://archive.org/details/gd72-04-24.sbd-aud.cotsman.16332.sbeok.shnf