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Dead of the Day: June 18, 1974

Freedom Hall
Louisville, Kentucky

There are some great performances on this day in Dead history, along with the band’s appearance at the legendary Monterey Pops Festival. For our Dead of the Day, we go with the best of those awesome shows: June 18, 1974 at Freedom Hall in Lexington, Kentucky. Promised Land opens the show in fast and furious form before Jerry settles things a bit with an enchanting Must Have Been the Roses. The rest of the first set is fairly standard, which is to say excellent, until they bust out an Eyes of the World> China Doll that is just excruciatingly fine. The Eyes gets off in flowing crystalline loveliness, and just continues down that path, getting ever more jammy as it goes. After a rolling transition into China Doll, provoking cheers from the crowd, the band – especially Jerry – meets every expectation, offering up a moving version. The second set opens with a tasty Loose Lucy and El Paso, but then turns it up a notch further with a perfectly played, so beautiful Row Jimmy where Jerry is practically making love to the music. What’s more, the tune seems to open the way for the unbelievable Weather Report Suite that follows. The Prelude starts off in near, or at least as close as the Dead will get to it outside the 80s, pop form. Then, suddenly, Jerry takes over with some hot jams as Billy delivers some incredible drums. Noodling, space, and pregnant pauses follow after the lyrical section of Let It Grow, before The Other One emerges out of it all. The band jams out the segue for quite some time before coming to the first verse and then heads off into some distant universe, probing the outer limits of reality. They eventually form back around a theme, though it is as if they are playing it from another dimension, funky and dismembered. Coming back through the wormhole, Jerry and Billy lead them into a subdued It’s a Sin Jam, which could easily be confused with the transitional re-entry into our own three-dimensional space. And, then, suddenly, we are at Stella Blue, which turns out to be a magnificent version. From there, the boys take it out on the Mississippi and stop in Tennessee before finishing off the set with a steamy Sugar Mags. But they are not done with the amazing music, coming back out for a stellar Morning Dew to send everyone on their way.

The Dead released a portion of the show - inluding the Eyes> China Doll and WRS> Other One> It's a Sin Jam> Stella - as Road Trips, Volume 2, Number 3.

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