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Dead of the Day: July 26, 1972

Paramount Theater
Portland, Oregon

Our Daad of the day is a vintage ’72 from Portland, Oregon. The show gets off the ground with a somewhat reserved Cold Rain And Snow. Then Bobby takes the lead from Jerry on the Black Throated Wind that comes next, as the boys settle into the action. A Mississippi Half-Step continues to heat things up before Bobby takes over again and sends it all cowboy with Mexicali Blues, which seems to wake everyone up and make the band take notice. Finally dialed in and geared up, the band heads into a solid Sugaree with Jerry really nailing the jams in the interludes and pleading through the vocals. Bobby comes back again with another cowboy number on El Paso, and the rest of the boys seem to really play along, probably grinning from ear to ear. And that sets them up perfectly for China> Rider. They power through the China Cat Sunflower and deliver a rough and tumble transition that seems to set up the Rider all the more. After a solid Jack Straw and Tennessee Jed, Playin’ In The Band comes out, jammed to the hilt allowing us all to overlook - or maybe savor all the more - Donna’s occasional wails. The second set rushes out of the gate with Promised Land, and then heads into a resplendent and heady He’s Gone. After a few other tunes, the meat of the show comes around with a monster Dark Star, broken up or extended, depending on your point of view, by a serious Billy drum solo. Regardless, while Jerry certainly pulls his weight, it is awesome to hear Keith and Phil trading licks, with the former asserting himself in the noodling jams. But the real driver of this Dark Star seems to be Billy, who laces the song with alternatingly roaring and subtle rhythmic displays. Dark Star finally leads into Comes A Time, as Jerry testifies and the band plays the perfect trilling backing. Sugar Mags picks up the pace and wipes away the melancholy with the upbeat music continuing until Stella Blue again throws a beautiful, reflective, and tender wrench in the set. But the boys make sure everyone leaves on a rocking note with a NFA> GDTRFB> NFA set closer, followed up by a One More Saturday Night encore.

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