6/20/74
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/20/74

 

Dick's Picks Volume 16 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 7 review

6/20/74

Dick's Picks Vol. 29 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 31 review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/20/74

The Grateful Dead
The Omni - Atlanta, GA

Set 1: U.S. Blues, Beat It On Down The Line, Brown Eyed Women, Mexicali Blues, It Must Have Been The Roses, Jack Straw, Me & My Uncle, To Lay Me Down, El Paso, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Around and Around

Set 2: Scarlet Begonias, Big River, Ship of Fools, Truckin' > Eyes Of The World > China Doll > One More Saturday Night

Review

Well, duh: it's the second set, short as it is [66:36]. A sharp 'Big River' and sweet 'Ship of Fools' seem to be a short take on how they had intended all along, finally gotten right: cohesive, strong, convincing. Having cleared up THAT misunderstanding, they dispense with the formalities and kick off a first-rate 'Truckin' that takes us on a long journey, very much on par with 5-26-72's Truckin on EUROPE 72. Oh yeah, baybee; this is what we came for!

I should by now be mentioning the mix, because Keith has been very prominent throughout. This is actually the high point of the first set -- hearing clearly every nuance & thought that Keith put through his keyboard, whether acoustic or electric (nice touch using the Rhodes on 'Ship'). While he does sometimes coast a bit in the heavier jams, it is a real pleasure to hear him so well.

Back to the jam: I guess revisiting E72 territory wasn't adventurous enough for our intrepid heroes, because they take a detour through a musical version of Sunnydale, San Francisco's scariest neighborhood -- where plywood vies with glass for filling window frames. I note this section as 'Space > horrors > jam > more horrors', but I'm sure most lists simply say 'jam'. Rather inadequate! It isn't long in minutes, but it seems to last several lifetimes: Truckin was a looooong time ago, and we have miles yet to go in the next few minutes.

It's not easy to put into words, but here we have the quintessential musical conversation: Jerry never stops coming up with interesting topics, Phil always has something profound to say, Bill follows up any other comments, Bobby is full of clever asides, and Keith just wants to keep it going. How they manage to take a collective pause I don't know, but it hardly matters; Jerry proposes 'Eyes of the World', and the rest follow without even seeming to think about it.

At this time, of course, 'Eyes' includes a series of jams afterward -- not to mention a Phil bass solo. This one is as good as any & maybe better -- energy is consistently good, and the inventiveness piles on new & familiar ideas alike. Many performances of the post-Eyes riffs just seem to be going though the arrangements, which isn't really all that interesting unless it sounds fresh, and it's all too easy to fall into rote. But it sounds very good here: each section leads naturally into the next, and there is no loss of energy along the way. Definite food for repeat listening!

After visiting all the usual post-Eyes jam themes AND the first-ever Slipknot [very different, but still recognizable], they slide into a first-rate 'China Doll' performance. I had no answer when my wife asked how Jerry was getting that sound for his solo, but there's no question about how perfect a sound it was: ghostly, intense, forlorn. Admittedly, this stellar rendition was marred by some painful harmonies on the outro, as guitars fell out of tune. I think maybe the previous 45 minutes might have been too intensely creative for those poor guitars; staying in tune was no longer possible. It would have been just a little too perfect if the vocals hadn't suffered as well ;-)

It seems our favorite band rolled into summer '74 with a fantastic trifecta: 6-16, 6-18, 6-20. This is not the order I'd recommend listening to them [reverse chronological order seems a better choice], but clearly all three qualify for 'essential listening' status. Great stuff, and well-recommended :-)

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 6/20/74, at the Omni - Atlanta, GA.
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/20/74

 

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