Saturday Dead (Zimmer's Picks): 4.16.72 & 4.17.72

Words By Andy Zimmer

This week I’d like to offer up another double-feature of quality Dead shows. It occurred to me that over the course of my many picks I haven’t highlighted any shows from the Europe ’72 tour... at least I don’t think I have. It seems as though now is a fitting time to put an end to this oversight. Especially since we a smack-dab in the middle of the 39th anniversary of that tour (the Dead played venues across Europe throughout April and May of 1972).

In many ways, the Europe ’72 tour is like the spring tour of 1977... it’s virtually impossible to find a bad show. Both these periods found the band playing some of their most inspired music in a live setting. The “Europe ‘72” double-album, released in November 1972 and comprised of live cuts from the tour is unquestionably one of the finest records put out under the Grateful Dead name. The tour was also the last tour that the band did with Pigpen before his passing in early 73'.

The first show, from April 16th was played at Aarhus University in Aarhus Denmark. The band actually played in the cafeteria of the university (called the Stakladen) for a crowd of 600-700. Those fortunate enough to get a ticket were treated to a superb show. The first set is full of the standard short-but-sweet Dead tunes. The “Tennessee Jed” and “China/Rider” are probably the standout tracks from the set. The second set really cuts loose and the band delivers wave after wave of energetic jamming, starting with a 20 minute version of “Good Lovin’” with Pigpen giving a fantastic vocal performance. Also, the version of “Truckin’” is definitely one of the finest of the tour. The band plays a unique, and interesting, version of “The Other One” that slides into “Me and My Uncle” before returning home. And the “Not Fade Away”>”Going Down the Road Feeling Bad”>”Not Fade Away” is always a fitting way to end the show. The sound quality of the first set is lacking, but the performance makes up for it.

Oh yeah, check out the venue... pretty neat if you ask me.

Grateful Dead Live at Stakladen, Aarhus University on April 16, 1972.

The following night the Dead traveled to Copenhagen to play the Tivoli Gardens. This specific performance was unique because it was filmed by a French television crew for broadcast on European television. The concert was split into three sets, with only the first two sets airing on television. Consequently, these numbers are less jammed-out; but are all fantastic, in-the-pocket versions of classic Dead tunes. The versions of “China/Rider”, “Big Railroad Blues”, “Ramble on Rose”, and “He’s Gone” make this show worth your time. Of course, if you are looking for some tune with a little more “mind expanding” potential, the 30-minute “Dark Star” may be just what you are looking for. And the incendiary version of “Caution (Do Not Step On Tracks)” is one of the best that I can think of. Much of the portion of this show that was filmed for television can be found on the internet. Here’s a taste to wet your appetite...

Grateful Dead Live at Tivolis Koncertsal on April 17, 1972.


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