12/15/72
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Grateful Dead reviews of 12/15/1972

 

Dick's Picks Volume 11 reviewDick's Picks 36 review

12/15/72

Dick's Picks Vol. 23 reviewRockin' The Rhein review

 
Grateful Dead reviews of 12/15/1972

The Grateful Dead
Long Beach Arena - Long Beach, CA
12/15/72 


Set 1: Promised Land, Sugaree, Tennessee Jed, El Paso, Candyman, Big River, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Box Of Rain, Mexicali Blues, Brown Eyed Women, Beat It On Down The Line, Loser, Playin In The Band, Casey Jones,

Set 2: Greatest Story Ever Told, Deal, Me And My uncle, He's Gone > Truckin > Jam > Dark Star > Morning Dew, Sugar Magnolia > Sunshine Daydream, E: Johnny B. Goode

Review

Writing about any show is a bit like trying to describe a meal; even a great one doesn't sound like much when reduced to its ingredients. 12-15-72 is particularly difficult, in that it's all easy to describe but almost impossible to describe in any way that's useful: rife with technical difficulties, one is tempted to note the technical issues at the expense of trying to describe the evening's mood, which is too unique for comparison. But that just wouldn't be right, would it? :-)

For openers, we get the usual solid warmups. The sound isn't bad (a little hiss, decent mix, full sound, drums forward and bright), the band is in good shape. My copy has rather more digital problems than I'm used to -- marred by almost incessant digital noises; hopefully, this is not the case for everyone. 'Promised' isn't much, but 'Sugaree' is better and the trend is generally one of constant improvement the first disc. Sound quality varies, as does the mix ('BTWind' most noticeably).

This hardly matters; Jerry's guitar sounds beautiful, and carries us through. In fact, there will continue to be sonic problems through this whole show, but I still recommend it highly; where else will you hear a Truckin > Dark Star > Dew? With any luck, your version will sound better than mine. But even if it isn't, 12-15-72 is a proper child of its bearing -- late Fall 1972 -- and simply can't be ignored, whatever issues there might be in its technical sound. Hopefull, this one will come under DICKS PICK scutiny & receive the cleaning up it certainly deserves.

But what about that Truckin > Dark Star > Dew, you say? Well, yes; it is certainly there, although that is a woefully inadequate way to describe it. A more accurate notation might read Truckin > jam > weirdness > jam > Dark Star verse > more weirdness/jam > Dew; you see, they don't really play "Dark Star" so much as pass through its first verse, en route from one distant galaxy to another.

"Dew" is a bit of an oddity as well, as Phil consistently skips the chance to put some stomp into it. Certainly a soulful version, though, and Jerry searches for vocal nuance from the first note to the last. Especially interesting is the gentle exploration that leads into "Dew" in the first place, as are the various jams after "Truckin". I suppose I should mention that "Truckin" suffers a reel flip and a speed change before the second verse, but -- really -- doesn't that just get us to the jams that much faster? ;-).

Those jams, incidentally, are almost without comparison; there is the occasional familiar moment (such as when they hint at the post-Truckin jam that appeared on EUROPE 72), but these are fleeting; for the most part, 12-15 hangs on a hinge that is one foot in this world and one foot out the door into the next.

Highlights? Well, "Candyman" makes a nice appearance, with Keith putting in nice touches, despite another reel flip; he later creates the highlights in "Me and My Uncle". Jerry, though, is the main performer in this show: leading the band through routine songs with dazzle and spirit, he shines even more on the jams. More than anyone else, this is Jerry's show, whatever song or idea the band may be exploring at any given moment. And -- really -- can you do without another great 1972 show? I didn't think so.
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 12/15/72, at Long Beach Arena - Long Beach, CA
Grateful Dead reviews of 12/15/1972