Grateful Dead

Dave's Picks Volume 2

Dave's Picks Volume 2
July 31, 1974

Check out the
Subscriber's Only
Bonus Disc Cover.

Dave’s Picks Volume 2 is officially SOLD OUT.

Stay tuned for an upcoming seaside chat with David Lemieux as part of our Dave’s Picks series.


We warned you. We said there was a chance that the limited edition Dave’s Picks releases could sell out. And sure enough, Volume 1 is a goner. No copies left. (OK, even we were a little surprised it sold out so quickly.)

Which brings us to Dave’s Picks, Volume 2. The thousands of you who bought the full-year Dave’s Picks subscription have nothing to worry about. Your CDs (and the bonus disc that comes with this one for subscribers) will be winging their way to you shortly. But NOW is the time when all you other good people who are interested in purchasing this potent slice of Dead history can submit your orders.

The show in question is a three-set wonder from Hartford’s Dillon Stadium during the heart of the Wall of Sound era, July 31, 1974, four days after the release of the Dead’s fine Mars Hotel album. Dwarfed by the Wall’s irregular columns of speakers on a hot and humid Wednesday afternoon, the band thrilled the sold-out crowd of 20,000 with a far-ranging collection of tunes and jams that showed how far they’d come as musicians, songwriters and interpreters of others’ songs in their decade together.

The 12-song first set kicks off with the still-new “Scarlet Begonias” (opening a show for the first of just three times in the Dead’s entire history), and includes such other early ’70s favorites as “Jack Straw,” “Brown-Eyed Women,” a pairing of “Mississippi Half-Step” and “Must’ve Been the Roses” and “Row Jimmy.” The '73-’74 versions of “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” have a unique character, and this one exemplifies that nicely.

Things start to open up a bit more in the second set. An expansive “Eyes of the World” is partnered with a particularly fragile “China Doll” mid-set, and the concluding take on the complete “Weather Report Suite” is filled with impressive shifts in dynamics and purposeful jamming during a 12-minute “Let It Grow.” That set also has a good “Big River” and an excellent “Ship of Fools” (another new song that year).

Set Three starts with a couple of short selections, hits an early emotional peak with one of the better versions of “To Lay Me Down” from that era, and then really goes into gear with the onset of “Truckin’,” so often a gateway to wondrous possibilities. This one rumbles and wanders and flits and crashes and dashes all over the place during a half-hour exploration that includes what is popularly called the “Mind Left Body” jam and a full-blown Spanish jam, before eventually winding up at the docks for a deep “Wharf Rat.” The set closer, “U.S. Blues,” was one of the anchors of the Mars Hotel album (and an FM radio hit at the time); a perfect summer anthem.

All Dave’s Picks releases are mastered to HDCD specs from the original vault tapes by Jeffrey Norman, and include a booklet containing an essay about the show and period photos. The Digipak is made of 100% recycled and PCW materials on heavier paper stock due to high demand. The limited edition consists of 12,000 numbered copies.

— Blair Jackson

David Lemieux sits down for a seaside chat about his favorite moments on Dave's Picks, Volume 2: Dillon Stadium, Hartford, CT - 7/31/74 and sheds a little light on how Dave's Picks are selected. Watch the video here:


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cmd's picture
Joined: Nov 4 2010
Dave's Fav #3

We must move to speculaton about the next
impending release.

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007

what OS/computer/player are you using?

Joined: Aug 8 2009
Sounds great.

Much better than a majority of the washed-out Dicks Picks.

Enough with 77 and 74 already though. Mix it up!

Joined: Feb 2 2011
Bonus disc skips on last track!! Anyoone else?

Hi all.

I noticed that my bonus disc skips on track NO# 8 Warf Rat on my cd walkman and also is problematic on my desk top computer.

Has anyone else had this problem?


This is a solid show to release even if the vocals on disc one are too high.

Bonus disc?

Bummer for me -- technically speaking.

P.S. The gate-fold photo of concert goers? The guy with the cell phone? It is probably a Motorola transistor radio he is listening to. Perhaps a local radio station talking about the impending show?

Joined: May 26 2012
My very first GD concert

This was my first-ever time seeing the Dead. I was 15 at the time. What a mind-blowing experience. Totally tripping as Truckin' started up. Have love them ever since. (Currently listening to "To Terrapin: Hartford '77" which I also saw...)

I really want to get my hands on this CD set. Amazon shows $65+. Yikes. Help?

Joined: Aug 21 2011
very pleased ith dave's picks

very pleased ith dave's picks vol 2.enjoyed more than vol 1,especially Bill's drums and Phil's bass in the mix.however it dosen't matter what dead i listen to now,after listening to all of europe 72 complete recordings i keep comparing everyhting else to that tour.especially frankfurt.i along with many others regard this as the best of the tour.tennessee jed,the other one and sugar magnolia-amazing,best versions ever of these songs?

darkstar56's picture
Joined: Apr 26 2008
problems with playback

When I've been able to play the discs the show is totally awesome, however none of my laptops recognize a disc in the media player ... plays on my DVD player, but thats not convenient ... any suggestions?'s picture
Joined: Nov 3 2007

This show has always been rated high among tape traders so it's easy to see why they picked it. I'm glad that we finally get a complete show from '74 too but would've preferred that it would have been the Road Trips '74 shows that were complete. I'm sure that there are some that prefer this one. As far as there being a sub par song or two, that's what sometimes happens with a full show. I'd rather have the whole show! I do think that this is why the bonus disc might work better for some though, as it's more cherry picked. I have the full show of 7-29-74 and there are a couple of sub par songs there too.

As far as the mix, it's a two track and they've been telling us for nearly twenty years now that there's not a lot that can be done about that. This doesn't sound that bad to me. I remember when Dick's Picks 2 was first released and the big deal about it being early in Keith's era although when you listen to it, he's pretty much nowhere in the mix. I should also add that the sound quality on here blows away the circulating copies that I've heard. There are also a couple of patched places, from a different sbd source, on here that are unpatched on all the circulating copies (Row Jimmy and Spanish Jam).

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007

That "bonus psychology" may affect some music fans, it is possible, for listening to music is a really complex process with lots of psychological implications. In my personal case, it is the first time I consider the bonus disc to be more interesting than the release itself.
Anyway, let's also point out the good things about "Dave's Picks Vol.2":

a) It is a real treat having a full concert from 1974 for the first time.
b) The inclusion of "It Must Have Been The Roses", "Ship Of Fools" and "To Lay Me Down" in the same concert is a real gift (at least for me, a fan of Garcia/Hunter ballads). They are all beautifuly played.
c) "Weather Report Suite". I'm always expecting Jerry's solo to see how he plays it in each recording. Generally it means goose bumps, but sometimes he messes it up. In this recording, he seems to start some kind of tuning up when the time for soloing comes! But he catches up pretty soon, offering beautiful melodies. Then, the jam, always different. That's why I love to have as many versions as possible. the Bonus Disc version is more interesting.
d) Truckin>Mind Left Body Jam>Spanish Jam> Wharf Rat. These kind of jams, one of the main reasons for loving the Dead.

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Bonus psychology

Isn't it interesting how often folks seem to prefer the bonus disk? I suspect it is not as much a case of 'they released the wrong show', but rather a psychological phenomenon by which the exclusiveness of the bonus extra gives a bigger thrill. Do you think if they had released 7/29/74 as the main release then many would be preferring the bonus cuts from 7/31/74?


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