At the very height of the Grateful Dead, between 1972 and 1974, the band performed the magical medley of Dark Star>Morning Dew one dozen times. You can hear all of them by clicking above.
This combination is the very pinnacle of the Grateful Dead experience. And I believe it's the very essence of the Grateful Dead, the wild space of the greatest song ever written by the band moving beautifully into a pace-slowing cover song that the Dead made their own, run at the creation of the group. It's funny, if you check the Dick Lavata clips below, he basically calls every version of Dark Star>Morning Dew, "the greatest version ever". Some goodies are here
1972 Versions, 7 of 12
05-18-1972 Munich Dark Star [26:28] > Morning Dew [11:12] Europe 72 Complete
05-23-1972 London Dark Star [31:12] > Morning Dew [11:17] Europe 72 Complete
08-24-1972 Berkeley Dark Star [27:14] > Morning Dew [13:00] The Perfect Show
09-21-1972 Philly Dark Star [37:06] > Morning Dew [11:05] Dick's Picks 35
10-18-1972 St Louis Playing In The Band [15:50] > Drums [2:45] > Dark Star [28:25] > Morning Dew [11:07] > Playing In The Band [5:13] 1st Playing Sandwich
11-13-1972 KansasCity Dark Star [31:19] > Morning Dew [11:09] Philo Stomp Dick's GEMS
12-15-1972 Long Beach Truckin' [11:37]> Dark Star [21:24]> Morning Dew [12:39]
The 'Dark Stars" from 8/21 and 8/24 are enormous. I need to re-listen to the 8/22 show, but it seems to me that the show from 8/24 might be the winner here.
Now to the really exceptional material. First up is 9/21/72- Philadelphia Spectrum. This show is one of my favorite shows ever. This version of "Dark Star->Morning Dew" might be the best one! (there is a jam segment that is very unique and thrilling, and one that I don't really think that I have ever heard before.)
The next most exciting show, is the middle night of the run of three at the fabulous Fox Theater, in St. Louis, Mo. , October 18, 1972. It took me awhile to hear this show correctly, but now it is a clear example of one of the very best, with a couple of unusual and unique treats within the "jam" segment before "Morning Dew".
Long Beach (12/15) was another matter. Although I don't think of it in the same class as the shows at the end of November, it does contain some excellent playing in the 2nd set jam that is highlighted by a long "jam" section that follows "Truckin", which contains some improvisational jamming that is especially unique, and then comes "Dark Star"! Sounds great, right? Unfortunately the only part that one notices as "Dark Star" are the lyrics. As soon as the words are over, the playing resumes in the unique style that preceeded "Dark Star". This very interesting part continues for many minutes before the chords of "Morning Dew" become apparent.
1973, The Duo
09-11-1973 Williamsburg Dark Star [22:09] > Morning Dew [12:41]
10-19-1973 OklahomaCity Dark Star [27:04] > Mind Left Body Jam > Morning Dew [8:12]
The 9/11/73-Williamsburg, Va. show is another favorite of mine. Well actually it isn't a favorite in the sense of the whole show, but it certainly has one of the finest examples of the famous medley "Dark Star->Morning Dew". (which, BTW, I find the 9/10/74- Alexandra Palace to be one of the highest of the high versions!!!)
I guess we can say with confidence that things take on new meanings on 10/19/73 in Oklahoma. This could easily have been the first of the DP series, except for the absolute awesomeness of "Here Comes Sunshine" on 12/19 /73. This has to be yet another example of the "top version ever", of "Dark Star->Morning Dew"!!! (and the jam within this incredible medley, of course!) There is another excellent version of "Eyes of the World" that goes into "Stella Blue" as the first encore!
1974, The Trio
02-24-1974 SF Dark Star [28:57] > Morning Dew [13:35]
09-10-1974 London Dark Star [30:53] > Morning Dew [12:37] Dick's Picks 7
10-18-1974 SF Seastones [24:38] > Jam [17:40] > Dark Star [17:37] > Morning Dew
I was never too thrilled by the opening 3 shows at Winterland. Clearly the 2/24/74 night is the one to get and give a good listen.
We all know how I felt about the shows at the Alexandra Palace in London (9/9->11). (see 1973)
Out of the 5 shows that closed the year at Winterland, I feel that the middle 3 are worthy of attention. I guess that 10/18 might get the nod over-all, but since these are multi-track recordings, I don't have a whole lot of effect on whether these are released or not.
03-16-1973 Nassau Dark Star [26:30] > Truckin' [8:26] > Morning Dew [11:33]
08-01-1973 Jersey City Dark Star [25:34] > El Paso [4:12] > Eyes Of The World [17:27] > Morning Dew [13:29]
08-17-1991 Shoreline 25 Years ago this month Smokestake>He's Gone>Drums>Space>70
seconds of a Dark Star Jam>Morning Dew>One More Saturday Night
In Reverse :)
12-31-81 Oakland > Space [7:40] > The Other One [11:09] > Not Fade Away [7:28] > GDTRFB [7:21] > Morning Dew [10:44]; Dark Star [15:16] > Bertha [6:32] > Good Lovin' [10:03]
timings from deadlists.com
In my era of the Dead, they once played this medley nearly in reverse. This was the only known reverse medley that ever occur, however the band played Dew followed by Dark Star on at least four occassions in the first set in shows in 1969.
Some comments are below
On The Bus: Review of May 23, 1972 in London
The "Dark Star" is everything you want from the song in 1972. The initial jam is melodic and fast, as the band finds new grooves and permutations of the theme to explore with fervor. They descend into a quick spacey jam that is cut short with a brief drum interlude. Phil joins Billy for quick, melodic drum-and-bass duet, and then it's off into deep space. Jerry plays wandering lines with that harsh yet clean tone, as Bobby, Keith, and Billy strive to find weirder and weirder ways to play the rhythm, ultimately settling on dissonance and chaos. Jerry finds some semblance of form coming out of the chaos, and Keith peppers his meandering notes with crashing piano chords. Billy swings like the rhythmic beast he is, and Phil helps steer the groove back to the light. Jerry takes some coaxing, but eventually they find release and re-emerge with the "Dark Star" theme, crisp and clear. However, it's clear this one traveled a long, arduous road to get back to the song. It must all seem trivial to Jerry, and he signals the dawn with the opening chord of "Morning Dew." What an epic way to end this sequence, with the gently building guitar lines eventually exploding into the crescendo and the nuclear ashes settling on the soundsphere. Ladies and gentlemen, we're not yet halfway through the first set!!
Review of December 15, 1972 Long Beach for Teens :)
Blair (I am getting to you soon)