Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Europe 72 Revisited Part Nine

This was the first Europe 72 show selected for an official release. Hundred Year Hall, a two-CD compilation from 4-26-72, was released shortly after Jerry’s death in 1995. Hundred Year Hall includes fifteen of the twenty-eight songs performed on April 26 in Frankfurt. There were two Pigpen tour breakouts, “The Stranger” and “Turn on Your Lovelight,” and the twenty song first set features a diabolical “Greatest Story Ever Told.” Trcuckin’ > The Other One was epic on this night. Here’s an excerpt from Europe 72 Revisited:

Pigpen and company kick off set two with a rowdy romp through “Good Lovin’,” followed by a fine version of “Dire Wolf.” The stage is set for masterpiece theater. As is common practice on this tour, Weir delivers his “Truckin’” preamble, “To the benefit of you chart watchers out there, this here song that we’re going to do now rose straight to the top of the charts, that’s Number One, Numero Uno, Big Apple, in Turlock, California. That’s a fact, you can check it out. You may never heard of it, but they love it there.”

            Frankfurt would soon be loving “Truckin’” too. Garcia’s licks fill the space between and underneath Weir’s emphatic singing. The band delivered excitement and flawless execution on this tune all tour. As the band progresses through the instrumental crescendo, Garcia’s firing on all cylinders—rampage city. The jam rises, falls, and rises again. The jam after the chorus reprise is concise and robust as it pivots towards “The Other One.” Billy takes his drum solo and then Phil’s rumbling blasts incite a thirty-six-minute “Other One.”

            There’s no teasing here as Jerry and the boys unleash a series of aural tornados. One surge fuels the next surge—atomic jamming. Suddenly, there’s a decision to reverse course. It’s all purposeful as Garcia’s guitar streams like a summer breeze. Weir works up some funky chords and the jam dissipates into a peaceful abyss.

As a listener, you’re stripped of your sense of place. Did Bobby sing the first verse yet? Where am I? Does the band know where they are? Seemingly out of nowhere, Bobby sings: “Spanish Lady come to me she lays on me this rose.”

            Phil’s conducting the symphony and Garcia’s garrulous guitar work shines on as they toy with the song’s melody line. Phil suggests a “Clementine” jam and the band joyfully rides that theme for a while. The Grateful Dead have lots of time to burn so they go into orbit—shrieking grinding noises and some “Tiger” space. They don’t overstay their welcome in never ever land—lots of jazzy jamming follows. They glide back into “Other One” terrain and the jam is lean, mean, long, and linear. This rendition meets all the requirements to be classified as a masterpiece. 



Preview COVID Blues, a novel about almost famous musicians pursuing their muse in the thick of a global pandemic. 



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