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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Joined: Feb 4 2008
bob absent/missing

now that I got that new release over here in germany
I remember that this is the show
where bob weir was not playing that much and singing neither.
by the way the bonus disc is a fine one.

Joined: Mar 30 2012
i'm sure UncleJohn was just joking


i really think he was joking to be honest...

although i didn't dislike DP2, i def. could think of many many many better performances from the 70s...there is no way he was being serious.."most dynamic"....really???

there were def. some amazing points in DP2..portions of the eyes were unbelievable and the truckin gets better and better every time i listen. The truckin really shows how well they were able to jam out of any song, go off on an unbelievable musical tangent, and come right back into the song as if nothing had just happened...i LOVE the truckin

With that being said, there were def. some moments in this show that were just not that great. And to be honest, i thought the bonus disc not only sounded better in quality, but i felt it sounded better musically as well.

But like everything in life, everyone has their own opinion and own individual taste... ALTHOUGH, UncleJohn saying this is the most dynamic and well recorded audio from the 70s is just being plain foolish!!!!

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007
Not THAT great

"This is the cleanest, clearest, most dynamic '70s recording I have heard"
This must be a joke! I liked the last offering of the Dave's Picks series, but the sound is far from being the clearest, cleanest most dynamic recording of the 70's! Dick's Picks Vol.28 is far better, just to mention one of the recordings which sound better than Dave's Picks 2. The Dick's Picks from 1972 sound better too, and we could name many other examples of more clear, clean and dynamic soundboards from the 70's (in fact, the Bonus Disc sounds better than the album itself!).
It is great to have these releases, of course, but we KNOW the sound quality of some of them is NOT top-notch.
(And, by the way, the "controversial" 'China Doll' version in this volume is quite sub-par)

Joined: Jun 19 2007

If you haven't heard this yet, I highly recommend it. The Wall of Sound in full bloom! This is the cleanest, clearest, most dynamic '70s recording I have heard. Instrument seperation is impeccable, and in particular, Keith's keys are up in the mix on a par with the others like I have never heard before - a real treat to these ears. Hell, Phil's bass sounds so good the band could be called Phil & Friends 1.0! Thank you, David and Jeffrey. Keep up the great work and keep 'em comin'!

mato1949's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007
Dave's Picks

After listening to Dave's Picks 2 I will say that it is a welcome upgrade to the soundboard recording that I had. Crisp clear and sharp. The guys were on their game. For those that lament not having Phil's Seastones in this recording, just get a copy of Mr. Millers soundboard of this show and put the Seastones in the right place. Not having subscribed I didn't get the Bonus Disk, BUT, the complete show that the Bonus Disk was culled from is available 7-29-74 with Hunter's fine matrix #74 for those that want it. Keep up the good work and I will look forward to the next release. (~);}

Joined: Jan 3 2009
I was there

While usually with my brother and friends at Dead shows, I went to this Dillon Stadium show alone. And I had my first taping experience, bringing along my dad's Norelco portable cassette recorder and a hand held mic. During the first set I noticed a roadie on stage intently scanning the audience and at break he came through the crowd confiscating tapes and saying "There is no taping at Grateful Dead concerts". He was pretty heavy handed, almost smashing the recorder of a guy next to me. I gave up a tape, but it was blank. Most of us continued taping the rest of the show without incident. The second set, "Eyes" in particular, was one of my favorites. I enjoyed those tapes for 2 years until they were stolen out of my car with the cassette player. I was so happy to see Dave pick the Hartford show and to get to hear it again after all these years in much better quality than my cassette recordings. Thanks.

Joined: Feb 4 2008
no dave´s picks 2 - not yet

got nothing up to now over here in germany,
but it will arrive any day now - I´m sure!
Looking forward to it.

Joined: Jan 3 2009
Nothing here yet either

I was informed that it shipped on 4/29 but I have yet to receive it. Not sure what the deal is. It seemed like Vol 1 came a bit sooner.

outpost's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2007
Thanks .. arrived in the UK (No Customs Duty)

Been away for a couple of days, and mine arrived while I was away.
This time the 'Gift' box had been checked, so did not have to pay extra customs duty.
Thanks again.

simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007

my new CD player arrived, replacing its deceased predecessor. The last few days have been spent listening to a number of CDs that I had got but had not been able to listen to, "Dave's Picks V.2" included. I am impressed with DP2 and the bonus disc. The sound quality on both is just fine, including the vocals which tend to be the problem with Wall of Sound shows. I can see why some commentators have said that it sounds like a three-part first set in that it never really reaches the heights that the band are capable of attaining, due in part to the song selection I suspect. That said, it is a good solid performance (with the notable exception of "China Doll" which sounds somewhat like a first rehearsal!) and well worth its release.
The new CD player is a Naim Audio CD5 XS and it sounds just great in my system. One of the main reasons I opted for this particular player is that it has a HDCD decoder, That is a subject currently being discussed here, particularly regarding what players do or do not have the elusive HDCD decoder. I have been unable to find a definitive list of players with HDCD, but indeed Oppo players include HDCD.
In listening to a few other recent purchases for the first time, I had a couple of pleasant surprises. The Bear recording of Big Brother and The Holding Company "Live at The Carousel Ballroom 1968" is HDCD mastered, something which Sony/Legacy do not normally do. The new New Riders of the Purple Sage album "17 Pine Avenue" is not HDCD, but the sound quality on this recording is astonishing. The music is also pretty damn fine. Highly recommended - check it out if you haven't done so already.


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