Dick Latvala - 12:28am Sep 7, 1997 PDT (#305 of 308)

O.K. I have finally gotten some of my thoughts down for 1972 (actually the
second half of the year, since there are too many unknowns during the
first half!). What follows are basically my notes, and shouldn't be
considered as anything other than initial thoughts. The only reason that
I'm doing this, is to stimulate other opinions, which then, will hopefully
give a more comprehensive account of this exciting, and most clearly
fundamental period in G.D. history. This era stands alone in its
uniqueness, and along with the whole year of 1973, we have the two most
intense periods in G.D. history. There's lots more to be discovered. 

1 The month of July is pretty un-eventful, outside of the "Truckin'->
Other One-> Jam" and "Not Fade Away->GDTRFB"  from 7/16/72- Hartford, Ct. 

2) The first examples of exceptional playing begin to occur at the B.C.T. 
run in August. The 'Dark Stars" from 8/21 and 8/24 are enormous. I need to
re-listen to the 8/22 show, but it seems to me that the show from 8/24
might be the winner here. I haven't ever heard the 8/25 show. 3) Now we
get to the most over-rated show in G.D. history, outside of 5/8/77-
Ithaca, N.Y., of course! This show from Eugene (8/27/72) has some exciting
playing (Playing in the Band, Bird Song, China Cat->Rider and the Dark
Star jam) but it doen't hold up as a whole show.  There are many better
examples where the playing is more consistently strong throughout the
show.(These shows include 9/21, 9/23, 9/24, 9/26, 9/27, 9/28, and 10/18) 

4) The shows from early September (9/3, 9/9, 9/10, 9/15, 9/16, 9/17 and
9/19) don't have much to offer when compared to the above mentioned
nights. I should mention that the "jam" segments of each of these nights
is very exciting. 5) Now to the really exceptional material. First up is
9/21/72- Philadelphia Spectrum.  This show is one of my favorite shows
ever. This version of "Dark Star->Morning Dew" might be the best one!
(there is a jam segment that is very unique and thrilling, and one that I
don't really think that I have ever heard before.) The "Not Fade
Away->GDTRFB->NFA" is another delicious morsel from this power packed
evening. Each song is well played and worthy of attention. I think the
other major highlights are "Sugar Magnolia", "Bird Song", "Loser",
"Playing in the Band", "Truckin", and "Cumberland Blues". 

6) The 2 shows at Waterbury, Ct. on 9/23&24, are both major highlight
shows from this era. The 9/23 show has the last, and very exciting version
of "That's it for the Other One" (I don't consider the attempts in 1985 to
be worthy of mentioning in this class). "China Cat->Rider" and "Playing in
the Band" are both the cream from the first set, which is very good. The
2nd set has another highlight besides the above mentioned one, and that is
the opening and closing pieces, which are both a bit unusual.  "Promised
Land->Bertha->Greatest Story Ever Told" starts the 2nd set off with a
rocket. The night closes with very exciting versions of each song in this
very unique arrangement: "Sugar Magnolia->GDTRFB->NFA->Saturday Night".
The next night features outstanding versions of "Playing in the Band" and
"Dark Star". The jam segment, just before "China Cat Sunflower"  begins,
is worth any effort to hear. 

7) The 3 nights at the Stanley Theater, in Jersey City, N.J. on 9/26->28,
comprise a run of three nights in a row that probably have never been
equaled. I tend to favor the middle night (9/27), but really each could be
a release on it's own. I'll save blabbering about the particulars this
time, since these three should be heard in their virgin state, and then
you can each form your own conclusions without previous bias. 

8) The next most exciting show, is the middle night of the run of three at
the fabulous Fox Theater, in St. Louis, Mo. , October 18, 1972. It took me
awhile to hear this show correctly, but now it is a clear example of one
of the very best, with a couple of unusual and unique treats within the
"jam" segment before "Morning Dew".  The show from 10/2/72, at
Springfield, Ma. is one of those that deserves to be heard a few more
times, and may achieve the levels of 10/18/72. 

9) Something happened at the 10/21/72 show at Vanderbuilt Univ. that
accounts for why we don't have any good tapes from this period of 10/21
thru December of 1972. Bear told me a story about how a major piece of
recording equipment got stolen on 10/21, and basically disrupted the
taping of shows for the rest of the year, other than 3 shows at Winterland
in Dec. But what is available is pretty good! For me the highlights are
the 2nd sets from 10/24, 10/26 and 10/28. Phil is the key for these
nights. He gets into a unique, thematic and most thrilling type of
jamming, that me and David Gans have called the "philo stomp". There are
at least a couple examples of this during November, but more listening is
necessary. The 2nd sets from the 2 shows in Oklahoma were very exciting.
On 11/14, there is a most satisfying transition from "He's Gone" into
"Truckin", that basically is a great "Other One" tease. Another treat is
the actual entrance into "The Other One". On the following night there
wasn't really a jam that comprises the bulk of the 2nd sets. The playing
was very good, with worthy versions of "Playing in the Band", "Sugar
Magnolia", and the "Not Fade Away->GDTRFB->NFA" closer. 

10) In Wichita (11/17), one of the best shows, of this period occurred. 
Garcia is playing with gusto and originality thru-out the show. :"Bird
Song" and "Sugar Magnolia" are the highpoints outside of the real goods
delivered in the jam:  "Truckin->jam->The Other One->jam->The Other
One->Brokedown Palace". (the "jam" segments contain lengthy and very
unique playing.) 

11) The last 5 shows in Texas, are each worth getting. The quality is not
so hot, but the playing is ferocious. On 11/18, in Houston, there is a
major, top 10 of all-time, version of "Playing in the Band". (I am
starting to think that this period has possibly the most intense versions
ever for this defining piece of music.)  The show on the following night
(11/19) is one of the most exciting shows over-all, from this southern
tour. There is a "jam"  segment before "Miss.1/2 step..", that contains
several distinct, and very unique themes, including the "philo stomp",
"weather report" theme, a brain-fry, and a very lengthy bass solo!  The
2nd set jam from 11/22-Austin, is tremendous. It goes like this: "He's
Gone->Truckin->jam->drum solo->The Other One->jam->bass solo->The Other
One->Stella Blue". This version of "He's Gone" is one of the top 10
attempts ever. It is long and drawn out, and there is a nice long space
before "Truckin", that consists of pleasing variations on the "He's Gone" 
theme. This version of "Truckin" is exceptional in that it has a lengthy
section at the end that relentlessly builds and builds till there seems to
be no recourse but "The Other One". Instead, they opt for a "drum solo",
which comes to a complete stop, and then Phil takes over and off we go
into a long and treat-filled exploration of "The Other One". (The first
verses don't start until after about 30 min.) There are more highlights to
this show. The versions of "Black-throated Wind", "China Cat->Rider",
"Bird Song", "Playing in the Band", "Greatest Story", "Big River", "Ramble
on Rose", "Sugar Magnolia", and "Saturday Night" each are notable and help
define what an exciting show we have here. The San Antonio (11/26) show
has a great "Dark Star" that has a nice bass solo and thrilling
jam("tighten up"), among other treats.  Another of those unusual medleys
to end this one:  "Sugar Magnolia->GDTRFB->Saturday Night". 

12) I haven't yet heard 12/12/72- Winterland, but I can say with some
confidence that the performances on the previous 2 nights were nothing to
write home about. Poor is how I described them. Long Beach (12/15) was
another matter. Although I don't think of it in the same class as the
shows at the end of November, it does contain some excellent playing in
the 2nd set jam that is highlighted by a long "jam" section that follows
"Truckin", which contains some improvisational jamming that is especially
unique, and then comes "Dark Star"! Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately
the only part that one notices as "Dark Star"  are the lyrics. As soon as
the words are over, the playing resumes in the unique style that preceeded
"Dark Star". This very interesting part continues for many minutes before
the chords of "Morning Dew" become apparent. 

Well, that brings us to the end of a most prolific and thrilling year. I
imagine that it would have been impossible to forsee what an exciting year
of music was next in store! 

Dick Latvala - 12:40am Sep 7, 1997 PDT (#308 of 308)

Now I shall go back and read this topics postings, since near the end of
August, which is the last time that I have read here. I think that I have
to get completely away from this from time to time! I intend to then
answer the questions that are the most Hopefully this will occur sometime
in the near future!