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Dead of the Day: April 16, 1972

Stakladen, Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark

For our Dead of the Day, we find ourselves back in the Europe ’72 tour once again. The Dead break it out with a rather long Greatest Story before a nice and powerful Sugaree. A song after that, Bobby delivers another sweet Black Throated Wind, a tune that they had only recently started to play, but that both Weir and the band were sharpening and developing, turning it into a thing of beauty. Later in the first set, the boys come forth with an interesting opening to Playing, stretching out a sparkling, searching jam before discovering – led by Bobby – the theme, leading to the song proper, which they end up short-changing. The Good Lovin’ to open the second set is quintessential Pig, leading off into rough and tumble rapped lyrics and a mighty blues-driven jam. The Cumberland that follows is also hot. Two songs on, they launch into a mammoth Truckin’ with what appears to be just a few nifty riffs by Jerry and what sounds like some funky Pig organ. But then the song goes off the rails, in the best possible manner, by charging into an intense jam. That returns to a Truckin’ reprise and then leads into another jam, which somehow latches onto the Other One theme then heads to Me & My Uncle and on back to the Other One proper, though with only one verse. What it ends up amounting to is nearly forty minutes of unexpected twists and turns, intriguing dead ends, and some damn inspired playing from the entire band. In the end, the boys bring it back together for a rather conventional, which is to say awesome, NFA> GDTRFB> NFA closer.

Sadly, the tape hiss on this recording – the best on Archive – is still fairly rough. I envy anyone who happens to have a copy of Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings with all the pristine quality of the original still intact. Unfortunately, those limited edition boxed sets were not only terribly expensive to begin with, but are now virtually impossible to find.

This show, the band’s second in Denmark and on the European continent, occurred in a university cafeteria. As you can see in the picture above, there were low ceilings and rafters, with people hanging from them throughout the night. At this point in the tour, it seems the boys could have played a filling station bathroom and still killed it. If it mattered to them at all, the venue just seemed to unlock their creativity, sense of adventure, and fearlessness.

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