For those of us enjoying the virtual Europe 72 tour on its’s 50th anniversary, we’ve reached the month of May which means were almost halfway home. The Dead played ten shows in April, three in England, three in Denmark, and four in West Germany. These shows were remarkable, yet improbably, the band soared to new musical peaks in May. In no particular order, my favorite May shows are, 5-7 Bickershaw, 5-11 Rotterdam, and 5-23 + 26 London.
The Grateful Dead would perform the following songs for the first time on this tour in May: Morning Dew (four heroic versions), Sing Me Back Home (eight performances), Promised Land, Sitting on Top of the World, Rockin’ Pneumonia (debut), Hey Bo Diddley, and Black Peter.
` Here’s an interesting stat: The band didn’t play Ramble on Rose or Brown-Eyed Women during their April shows in West Germany, but they played Loser on all four nights (Loser was sound checked at the Beat-Club).
Before moving on to the awesome opening night in Paris tomorrow, let’s hand out the awards for the best of April 1972.
Most Brilliant Transition: 4-8-72 Dark Star > Sugar Magnolia 4-8-72
Best improvisational negotiation: 4-26-72 Turn on Your Love Light > GDTRFB
Patient Exploration Award: 4-11-72 Truckin’ > The Other One
Most Improved Jam: 4-26-72 Greatest Story Ever Told
Extreme Disorientation Award: 4-24-72 Dark Star > Me and My Uncle > Dark Star > Wharf Rat
Best Surprise Opener: 4-17-72 Cold Rain and Snow
Hottest Video Jam: 4-21 The Other One
Best Pigpen Performance: 4-8 Caution
Hottest jam in cramped space: 4-16 Playin’ in the Band
Hottest Masked Jam: 4-17 Big Railroad Blues
Best El Paso Sandwich: 4-7 Other One > El Paso > Other One
Old Weird America Award: 4-24 first set
The Perfect Set: 4-8 set two
Best show: tie 4-26 Frankfurt and 4-8 Empire Pool
Check out Howard’s new novel, COVID BLUES, about a band on the run pursing their muse in the thick of a global pandemic.