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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

45 Years Ago: The Best Live Band In America Finally Comes to London, April 7-8, 1972



The Guardian



So 45 long years ago, the Grateful Dead Finally came to London for a couple of "warm up" shows to their 22 night European tour. Of course, they made a splash and the rest is history.  While most prefer the four tour closers across town in late May, these shows, being  vintage 1972 Dead are tremendous as well. Which you all know already.  When the Complete Europe 72 came out in 2011, it was so nice to get complete amazing recordings of certain shows like April 7 that I had never heard in full potential.  These April 1972 short (relatively) Playing In The Bands are magic.

Several UK publications wrote up the Dead of course which are included below. enjoy




The Grateful Dead: Dead Come Alive

Danny HollowayNew Musical Express, 15 April 1972
IT'S TAKEN a long time for the Dead to get themselves back over here. They probably made it more by good luck than good judgment. Their camp is as diverse and unpredictable as any under the sun – but there must be some sort of magical karma guarding them for they always seem to pull through.
The Dead have brought a large family of 43 friends with them on this visit.
And so it was hard to find a private comer at their hotel to speak to guitarist Bob Weir, writes DANNY HOLLOWAY. But after settling down, we talked of Keith Godchaux, the new member, as well as the music and life of the Grateful Dead.
Reports of their London Wembley concerts have been very favourable. It would be a good idea, feels Holloway, if you could catch a performance while they're here.
HOLLOWAY: What was the reason for Keith coming in on keyboards?
WEIR: I think it happened like this. Pigpen got sick and we were about to do a tour, so we needed somebody. And just about that time, Garcia had met, and I think worked, with Keith in San Francisco.
We've always been looking for somebody, really. Pigpen's not really a virtuoso keyboard player – that's not exactly what he does with us. So Garcia suggested we give Keith a listen, and he sounded good to everybody, so we just worked him in.
It was a short notice, but he was incredibly adept. He picked up on everything fast. That was one indication of how it worked good, and another was how well he could pick up on feelings that we played.
I mean, he picked up on really minute subtle differences. Every one of us was mind blown by how well he fitted into the whole musical scene we've conglomerated over the years.
When you first started you seemed to have a hard time putting down on record what you were all about Are you more satisfied now?
It's getting better. As we learn what we can do in a studio, we start working with the studios in mind – rather than simply playing our music. And were finding that we play different kinds of music for different situations. At first, we didn't know that you can gear to a studio. We're learning to do that a lot more now.
Looking back, do you consider yourself involved with the San Francisco scene any more?
Well, I more or less consider myself involved with the world, musically. There's a lot of cross-fertilisation among musicians in Marin County where we live. And I guess you could call it the San Francisco scene, because the nearest big city is San Francisco and we do most of our recording there. But there's no specifically localised thing that I consider myself a part of. Just music in general, really.
How do you feel about your name being mentioned synonymously with the 1967 San Francisco scene? That's what I meant really.
Well, it's history, it's blown over. It's not a reality to me. It used to be fun. I used to feel like a part of it. It was a flash – a good scene – but it went away. We're all a lot more mature now. We're all the same people and we're still all great friends, but we were kids having a party back then. Now, we're older kids doing something that older kids do. It's different.
There's a feeling among some people that the Grateful Dead are a social phenomenon. Do you think this detracts from your music?
If they start overlooking the music and delve into the social phenomenon we seem to be, then they're off on the wrong trip. As far as our social situation is concerned, we live in a straightforward way.
We like to get a lot of people involved in what we're doing and it seems to work out. So we have a lot of people working with us who we're responsible for feeding. But at the same time, they're responsible for helping us to push forward.
As far as any philosophy is concerned, any one of us can rap for hours about the way we feel. (Garcia's particularly apt at it.). But apparently, the more you talk, the more people consider you philosophic. Then you start getting into being a social phenomenon more than a musical one. It's just that people listen to whatever they hear, and if Garcia doesn't have a guitar in his hands, he'll rap. Any one of us does that.
Do you think music's going to remain the prime factor in so many people's lives? There is so much intensity and competition.
It's getting competitive. That means you must be either original or really good to survive. It's sure Darwinism I guess. Throughout history, there has never been an excess of really top musicians at any one time. But people have got to have music. Most everybody has to have it, and here we are to give it to them.
Rather than asking: is there life after death? I think a real good question is: Is there music after death? I think a lot of people feel that way. Music represents a whole side of the human manifestation that we just can't live without. Nobody can live without it. Not even the Chinese.
Do you play many dates in a year?
Well, I'll tell you somethin'. When we got here, all the people in that big country show (the C and W festival at Wembley) were, here at the hotel. And I was talking to a lot of those guys and we were talking about how many nights a year they work. I was telling them we work 50 nights a year, and they were amazed because they work 150 to 200 nights a year and more. I got the hint that they thought we were really lazy and just laying back and making money off a big name.
Then it occurred to me to ask them how long they play every night... 45 minutes. Well, we play about three hours a night, so it works out to about the same. You can't carry on to 150 or 200 nights a year while playing three or four hours a night and expect to survive.
© Danny Holloway, 1972
Citation (Harvard format)
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The Grateful Dead: Empire Pool, Wembley

Mick FarrenInternational Times, 20 April 1972
"The trouble with a lot of kids who come to our concerts is that they can't see beyond the drugs. They get so ripped that the music doesn't really matter." – Pigpen
FOR SIX YEARS, the legend of the acid-test band has lingered. The Dead, the band to take drugs to. And, true to form, the British Dead freaks all but filled the great cavern of Wembley Pool, with the joints a-going and the whisky passing round, and, with the billboard for the National Country Music Festival still on the front of the building and associations of recent T.Rextacy strong in mind, the concert they saw was probably a unique event.
"Just folks, that's all we can relate to. The songs we play are our history. The American West." – Pigpen
"Until some new divine inspiration, some flash, comes, that is all we can do, play our music and seek a oneness with the people who are listening." – Bob Weir
And that was exactly what they did: they played music for almost three hours, standing, nodding in time, without theatre or histrionics, almost waist-deep in monitor speakers. A group of men doing the job that they really enjoy, and ranging across a spectrum of music that anyone in the audience must have grown up with; with Pigpen standing quietly putting 'Big Boss Man' through' a version both loyal to – and at the same time a long way from – either Jimmy Reed or the gold jacket boys who borrowed it from him.
"Three of us have given up drugs. It became worrying – we were burning out our brain cells and so were the people in the audience, strung out thirteen year olds outside the Fillmore East " – Bob Weir
Despite that, the pipe went round in the hotel room and the big cigarettes were produced on stage, and the triumphal first half ending with 'Casey Jones' was treated as an anthem rather than a warning, repeating the chorus over and over with Joe's Lights projecting the lyrics on to the back stage screen, and lacking only a bouncing spot to give it the full seaside-concert party, pier pavilion atmosphere.
"The main thing is getting off behind the music." – Pigpen
It is hard to talk about a band that one moment is being led by Garcia to sounds that are a part of pink padded tunnels that spiral down through the back byways of consciousness, and, moments later, follows Bob Weir, breaking into the John Wayne jukebox reality of Marty Robbins' 'El Paso' – "One day a wild young cowboy came in, wild as wild Texas wind."
You suddenly get a flash on shared history: as Bob Weir leads on 'Down the Line', you know that at fifteen he stood in front of a mirror and tried to look like Elvis, the same as the rest of you did, or listening to Garcia you see a kid who practiced copying the Mid-West nasal whine of the young Bob Dylan. The shared flash a oneness through their music that is instantly earthy and spiritually high.
"California is, at one time, paradise and a battleground." – Phil Lesh
The sadness of seeing the Dead for the first time is that the logistics of bringing them to England prevented the Wembley audience from sharing totally the seven-year evolution that produced the music they were hearing, as the band grinned happily as a pocket of freaks lit sparklers, or, between songs, asked anyone who couldn't hear well to shout "NO". The charisma is still there, so evident in the gang of freeloaders trying to get a piece of Grateful Dead energy at the after-show reception. It would have been nice to have grown up with the acid test band, particularly as there is the sneaking suspicion that if the first London acid had been dropped watching them rather than cerebrally isolating the Pink Floyd, we might be a stronger community.
© Mick Farren, 1972
Citation (Harvard format)
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Volume 1 Taping Compendium speaks to No good Tape (Surprised by the Band in 2011 with the Complete Europe 72 Collection< I like surprises)

An outstanding review of night two. You should pick up that book for the full analysis.
Click below to link to GDAO Book

https://www.gdao.org/items/show/380003


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My personal copies

The Legend Of The Dead

Steve TurnerBeat Instrumental, June 1972
ALTHOUGH THE GRATEFUL DEAD are a rock band, they've almost been turned into an institution, a way of life over, the years since they came together in the mid-'60s.
The Dead's drummer is a young man named Bill Kreutzman, who's been Gratefully dead now for six years. "The Dead is just some kind of contact that we try to make with an audience of people,’ he began explaining before he stopped to think. ‘When you're inside it's a hard thing to say."
I'd been hearing the legend of The Dead for a few years before meeting them. At first it'd been a name which was lumped together with Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Seeds, Moby Grape, Buffalo Springfield and Love and sent to England in a package marked Flower Power. Then Tom Wolfe immortalised them in his fine report on the birth of acid culture The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test. The Kool Aid was a soft drink to which the acid was added at a giant rock ball where the Dead provided the Electric. Garcia's current 'old lady' is one of the book's heroines – Mountain Girl.
The rest of the Dead's importance had been revealed and explained to me by young Californians to whom they've been father figures of some sort. The Airplane and The Dead seemed to form two-thirds of an earthly trinity who'd come along to replace the Holy Trinity. It's never really been what they've said that's made them so important to many young Americans, but... you know man... it's like... The Dead! The medium becomes the message!
For this reason it's very hard to talk to the band about what 'they're saying'. "We're not preachers" they kept telling me. Then on the other hand they'd emphasise, "we just play rock 'n' roll." Both Bob Weir and Jerry explained that as musicians they really had no qualifications to expound theories on spiritual and moral issues. They would have agreed that a factory-hand has just as much right to express his views to the world as has a labourer who happens to work with a machine called a guitar. "Apparently for some reason, people think that musicians have some authority," said Bob. "It's just the way it's come about. They must think that as his playing makes me feel good then his talking must make me feel good too. I think that if I was left to my wits as a politician, I'd fail drastically – we all would. All we really do is play."
Orgasmic
When they actually take to the boards the last statement begins to show its truth. The only words that seem to matter are those which are projected on the screen behind them – Welcome To The Grateful Dead. Then the music begins to pound out. Garcia's guitar soars high and the legend becomes life. When they played at Wembley recently, it seemed as though people were applauding the mythology rather than the reality. The music never seemed to get off the ground, and the crowd reacted mostly to the pure fast rock numbers which were few and far between. It was an evening of anticlimaxes, but the crowd seemed to be enjoying a collective orgasm. Again, it was the fact that the Dead were more than a group. They were the message without words.
Bill explained the beginnings of the band: "I've been in the Dead for around six years now. Me and Jerry were both teaching in a music store in Palo Alto and we just got together as a group. Our first gigs were in small pizza bars in the area, We were playing rock 'n' roll mostly I suppose." Although they've 'come a long way' since those days, both Jerry and Bill still frequent the small bars and play their music there. "I like the small bars where you get no response at all," said Jerry chuckling. "It frees you tremendously when no-one cares what you're playing. I go there to satisfy a kind of perverse curiosity. I like those bar scenes!"
Haight Ashbury
As the band grew up and entered the publicised era of their lives, they all moved into the same house in San Francisco – 710 Ashbury. It became one of the most famous homes on the West Coast, but now things are different. "It didn't fall apart it just grew apart," explained Bill. "A lot of us got small ranches and things. Instead of going out and feeling the concrete under our feet, we wanted to be able to take a gun and shoot tin cans from our back doors. A lot of us had learned a lot and had grown up."
One subject that seems to go hand in hand with any mention of Grateful Dead Culture is acid. When in England the hotel room was buzzing with the mention of the magic chemical, and an official-looking hash pipe was passed around constantly. The Dead's lyricist, Bob Hunter, was one of the first people to experiment with LSD during a hospital experiment before it was registered as a dangerous drug. Around the same time the whole of the band took part, in some of the original West Coast 'happenings', where acid was the latest thing to hit the avante-garde.
Brain Damage
Bob Weir was careful to explain that they never tried to play or record while tripping out. "One thing acid may do for a musician," he explained, "is that he may drop his inhibitions and it will help stimulate his creativity. I don't know whether it has anything to do with the music, but I think it does enhance the player's enjoyment of what he's doing." Although Bob felt that someone on a trip may well feel he's reaching great heights of musical creativity, a recording of the event when played back to the player would only prove that the feeling was totally subjective. Similar experiments with artists have come up with the same result.
Later on in our conversation Bob happened to make mention of what he termed 'psychedelic derelicts' – people who'd been permanently damaged by acid. As he and the Dead appear to encourage the use of a drug that has damaged so many, and are idolised by the same people, I asked him what he felt when he came across these 'derelicts'. "I'm sorry to see it," he said. "I try to set an example of some sort of temperance. I believe that as a group we exhibit a certain amount of temperance." I suggested that one man's temperance might be another man's damage, and he agreed. Fortunately the members of the Grateful Dead are a strong set of personalities and have been able to control their use of psychedelics. There's no room in the record business for a derelict.
At one time it seemed as though acid was looked upon as the new Messiah – coming to us in an age of spiritual emptiness to 'feed our heads' and thereby change the world. John Lennon, who now openly supports the I.R.A. was singing All You Need Is Love. Something went wrong in between though. "Yes, something did go wrong," admitted Bob. I think it can be partly attributed to the U.S. clampdown on marijuana. When this happened people began dealing meths and smack. It took up less space, anyway, and was much harder to police." As to the Grateful Dead's position in all this: "The only thing worth doing is playing music – not preaching drugs. I would caution anyone who was considering dope to be careful in any case."
Playing Religiously
Playing music. "If there's such a thing as religion in my life it's playing," said Bob. "We try to have the most diverse range of music possible. The soft rock era is not over for us, nor did it really begin. It's always been there." The Dead began getting into softer sounds around the same time that Crosby, Stills and Nash put out their superb first album. Garcia and Stills and Nash and Weir and Crosby are interchangeable members of the L.A. music scene and play regularly on each other's albums. "It more or less boils down to physical proximity," said Bob. The fact that the Dead softened up after C,S & N's first album was through direct influence. "What happened there," explained Bob, "is that Crosby and Stills were hanging in and around San Francisco and we were amazed how they sung together.
"Because of that we realised we'd been neglecting one side of our music and that was singing in harmony together. So we decided to develop our vocal harmonies and that whole side of our presentation." These developments became two albums: Working man's Dead and AmericanBeauty. On these ventures, Garcia was often to forsake his familiar lead guitar sound for the unique countrified sound of his ZB custom pedal steel guitar. However, for the Dead this was just one gear that their music had to be driven in for a while. There's no real direction but just a progression through the many moods that music is able to express. Bill put it this way: "We want to try and drive this car with 10,000 gears and so far we've only used about twenty. That's twenty different styles of music."
Every concert that they perform is recorded so that the band can all listen to and criticise their own music "This is not done on 16-track but on 2-track stereo." Bill told me. "Then we listen to the tapes and scrutinise what we've been playing. Sometimes we surprise ourselves at what we've played!" Bill, drew a parallel with what they're doing to American football teams who watch instant replays so that they can improve their performances. "We listen to see how we can correct ourselves. Maybe we listen and the whole feeling of our performance has been wrong. It never hurts us to play it back. Not only do we learn about playing, but also about recording techniques."
The Grateful Dead's criterion for a performance? "If it gets you off when you play it back – that's good," said Bill. "That's really what the Dead are about – good old ‘getting it off.’" Plenty of people got off on their music at the Empire Pool, Wembley and the scenes they created were not far removed from those a few weeks earlier when T. Rex was the attraction.
© Steve Turner, 1972


















Citation (Harvard format)
Grateful Dead/1972/Steve Turner/Beat Instrumental/The Legend Of The Dead/08/03/2017 22:10:07/http://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/Article/the-legend-of-the-dead