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Dead of the Day: May 3, 1972

Olympia Theater
Paris, France
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For our Dead of the Day, we head back to another epic show from the Europe ’72 tour, this one from the Olympia Theater in Paris. The first set gets off to a fast start with a solid Bertha, and things just keep getting better from there. Before too long there is a fun little Mr. Charlie that just pops with exuberance. Despite suffering a bit from brevity, the Sugaree that follows is not short on emotion with some generally excellent playing and huge blasts from Phil. The China> Rider, He’s Gone, and Playin’ are all absolutely top shelf as well. While on Archive there are a few folks who criticize the Good Lovin’, it sounds awesome to us; though it lacks a certain level of funkiness, it completely makes up for it with a fast, driving jam that somehow returns right to Pigpen who then goes off brilliantly while Jerry slowly builds behind him. It is by no means your typical early ‘70s Good Lovin’, but that is what makes it so exceptional. The second half of the night gets going with Greatest Story, but just takes off with the Truckin’. A spectacular rolling jam in the latter half of the tune leads into a Space-like interlude, which slowly plays with and then forms around The Other One theme, though it will be quite some time before they commit to that tune in earnest. After a Me and Bobby McGee detour, Jerry and Bobby finally allow the lyrics of The Other One to come forth, which quickly put an end to what had been an extended, exploratory meditation on The Other One and all its interstices. But a mesmerizing Wharf Rat comes next with the band – especially Jerry – just inhabiting the song in spectacular fashion. The rest of the set is an utterly rocking trip. Listening to this show really drives home just how good the band was at this moment in their evolution. Early 1972 was a momentary peak – but also a plateau of sorts – for the Dead, as they fully incorporated and expressed the sound that they had been developing since Workingman’s and American Beauty. Things would quickly change once they returned to the States, but Europe ’72 is something to behold for its momentary consummation of a certain era in the history of the band.

The Dead released the entire night individually as well as part of the entire Europe '72 box set.

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