9/10/72
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Grateful Dead reviews of 9/10/72

 

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Grateful Dead reviews of 9/10/72

The Grateful Dead
Hollywood Palladium - Hollywood, CA
9/10/72 

Set 1: Bertha, Greatest Story Ever Told, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Black Throated Wind, Bird Song, Promised Land, Deal, El Paso, Sugaree, Playing In The Band, Casey Jones

Set 2: He's Gone > Truckin', Ramble On Rose, Beat It On Down The Line, Dark Star* > Drums > Jack Straw* > Sing Me Back Home*, Sugar Magnolia*, E: One More Saturday Night

E Road Feeling Bad > Hey Bo Diddley, Not Fade Away

Review 
I had already dressed appropriately, and done the proper purifications & propitiations, so I went in to the sanctum, touched the Play button, and sat down to receive the revelation from 9-10-72.

I was not long in waiting.

The first session was nice enough, though I'll admit little stood out to me; harmonies were no better than usual, energy moderate, and I find no real complaint in the fact that "Bertha" is missing everything before Jerry's solo. It doesn't help that a dozen digital pops pervade the first few songs; I thought that was a thing of the past!? Ah well; enlightenment doesn't come in the sudden rush we might expect.

The first set is merely fine before "Playing in the Band". PITB itself, though is another story: really, the fact that's it's 20 minutes long during the Fall 1972 tour says plenty in itself. The jam is more of a simmer than a boil (no "Tiger" to bring things to a point). All the same, Jerry eventually finds himself hammering on a single note through the wah pedal, as the band crests beside him. Afterward, they wind up peaking *again* in a similar manner. Only then do we get the outro; Donna clears some dust with a wail, and we're done. "Casey Jones" follows the "Bertha" example of missing the first verses, but shows huge energy on its own outro.

This was all very fine, but not the Enlightenment to which I was referring above; for that, we must address the second session. After further propitiations and purifications, we again enter the temple, and the second session begins.

Immediately we perceive its greater worth: "He's Gone" finds the band truly mining the mood in its long outro jam, showing them in no hurry to get on to the next song. Well worth the listen, though it's a shame the piano isn't mixed a little louder. When they do get to another song ["Truckin'"], enlightenment comes again and again: they stretch out for a few, reprise the chorus, and return with a small jam after the vocals leave off. This finally concludes with a bluesy ending I haven't heard elsewhere.

"Ramble On" finds Keith taking a little more presence than before, with the occasional trill or chromatic run. More importantly, the whole band gets behind this song -- Bobby is particularly active (and very audible) -- fueling Jerry's strong singing. "Beat it on Down the Line" begins rather comically -- either there wasn't clear agreement on how many beats were to start off the song, or someone forgot. The resulting confusion is rather goofy, but nonetheless pulled off with panache; it may well be the highlight of this performance's karmic importance. Enlightenment is like that sometimes!

Unlike what is given in the Deadbase scripture, my session then includes a "Black Peter". This benefits from the sensitivity wrought earlier in "Ramble On", yielding delicate singing from Jerry. Notice that his solo begins in pinched harmonics [more usually heard on the solo in another song "Loser"]; he seems to give this up as too much effort, and finishes out with the more common straight notes. Still, an interesting & appropriate application of the pinched-harmonic technique. Another mixed karma: the ragged harmonies in the bridge section mar an otherwise beautiful moment.

But all this has been only prelude: we then begin the Real Journey, announced by four notes familiar to Dead heads everywhere. For the next thirty minutes, they occupy and explore their private musical terrain with that rare combination of grace and intensity that characterizes their best performances. David Crosby joins the boys, but doesn't use his voice; he simply proves his ability to sit in as though a natural member of the band. Incredibly, he proves a perfect addition -- adding Bobby-like decorations throughout "Dark Star", and even into the songs that follow. A preternatural presence hangs over all of it -- as if a sixth sense, previously blocked but now open, is adding another dimension to our perceiving. And our new perception is amazed as well.

Sitting alone in the Temple, I could not believe my ears -- despite my familiarity with 1972 Dead, despite having heard the 1975 jams with Crosby. This is the Real Thing, folks: the Band Beyond Description, Jehovah's (and our) Favorite Choir. It would be useless to analyze, pointless to describe. This is simply one of the most amazing stretches of performance they ever wrought, and there is no replacement for hearing it.

I left the Temple in a daze; the sun setting in rosy clouds to the West. How could I possibly explain? Would anyone believe me? Would anyone even care? Did it matter? Probably not; after all, Enlightenment is only to the benefit of the Enlightened, and entirely subjective a benefit at that. But there's no turning back now; my eyes have been opened; my ears unplugged. A door long gone in mortal time has been opened -- has been waiting ajar -- and we need only look through; what you may see there is up to you.
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 9/10/72, at the Hollywood Palladium - Hollywood, CA.
Grateful Dead reviews of 9/10/72

 

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