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Dead of the Day: May 18, 1972

Kongresssaal, Deutsches Museum
Munich, West Germany
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The Truckin’ starts off the show in grand fashion, rousing the crowd and jamming hard. Then the Sugaree rolls out, bluesy and a bit rougher around the edges than ones from the later 70s, but just as splendid and maybe a little darker and down and out. A couple good tunes follow before the band brings out a smoking China> Rider. There is a pretty damn good jam in the middle of the China Cat, scorching off, returning for another verse, and then heading straight off down another path. Three great versions come next, including the wonderful It Hurts Me Too, before the boys come together to deliver a luscious monster of a Playing in the Band. The jamming and rocking continues on Good Lovin’ with Pig rapping in between some serious throw-down jams by Phil and Jerry. Then, the set goes out on a Casey Jones, which has its own little searing jam towards the end. A fun little Sittin’ on Top of the World starts off the second set, and there is also a solid Ramble on Rose early on, but everything really turns with the beginning of an epic Dark Star. The playing is so lovely with Jerry’s arcing guitar exploring various avenues while the drums lead the way down the main path until they too are seduced by the possibilities and the song devolves, only to be resurrected repeatedly. The band then brings Morning Dew out of Dark Star for the first time, creating an incredible transition that they will return to so fruitfully over the next two years. The Morning Dew itself stands on its own as an amazing piece of face-melting music with some magnificently haunting organ and all the insane Jerry guitar you can possibly handle. A little Drums interlude then calls forth a rocking Sugar Mags to end the set. And the boys finish off the night with a double encore, leaving the crowd fully satiated, but still wanting more.

The Kongresssaal, which is part of the Deutsches Museum, is a classy and sophisticated venue in Munich. Back in 1972, most major rock concerts occurred at the larger Circus Krone. But, for whatever reason, the Dead managed to get booked at the nicer and acoustically superior Kongresssaal. The Dead certainly made use of the space, creating another highlight of the European tour.

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