A bouncy Bertha gets things rolling on the Dead’s fourth show of the Europe ’74 tour and first outside London. Unfortunately, the only extant tapes of the first four songs - Bertha, MAMU, Deal, and Jack Straw - are audience recordings. We have a Dave Usborne matrix here that does the best with the available material, but those initial tunes are all a bit muddled. But the full beauty of the boys’ playing on this night starts to come through when the board kicks in on the Scarlet, just in time for a brilliant rendition. Promised Land, Loser, and El Paso come out next before a gorgeous Row Jimmy. An unreal Weather Report Suite with some brooding, mind-expanding then makes its appearance, the highlight of the early going alongside that Scarlet. Afterwards, a solid Tennessee Jed takes it to the set-closing Around and Around.
Things get going again with an upbeat Big River that Keith’s keys and the heavy syncopation turns full-on ragtime. A luxuriant Sugaree comes out next, the only flaw its mere seven-minute length. Then it is a break-neck Mexicali before a stunningly beautiful Half-Step filled with Jerry’s rich guitar and great fills from the rest of the band. It Must Have Been The Roses comes on the heels of Big River, providing a nice interlude before the set turns up a notch further still with a juicy Truckin’. There the boys throw down smoky, jazz fueled jams on the theme before entering into some spacey territory that leads to a magnificent little Mind Left Body Jam. A haunting Wharf Rat rolls off the backside, and Sugar Mags quickly gathers on the tail end, as Donna, Bobby, and the rest of the boys rile the crowd with energetic vocals, a lengthy anticipatory pause in the middle, and some good ol’ American rock and roll. An alluring and high-energy Eyes with Phil bombing away and Jerry just going off winds its way to a full-bore One More Saturday Night. A classic US Blues encore caps the Munich show.