Dave's Picks Volume 2
July 31, 1974
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.
ABOUT VOLUME 2
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 ON VOLUME 2 & MORE
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:
Spoiler alert: If you only care about unicorns and rainbows, stop reading here. I hereby issue a challenge. Can anyone find a more boring show from 1974 than DaP 2? Sure, there are 3 sets. Where are the jam vehicles? None of the 3 biggies are present. Where is the fire? Except for a ragged MLB Jam > Spanish Jam, this release is like one excruciatingly long first set. I'd rather listen to Steal Your Face. Try it, you might agree. The singing on DaP 2 is about as bad as it ever got, probably due to the PA and lack of traditional stage monitors. The whole thing sounds like such a struggle! The bonus disc is miles ahead of anything on DaP 2. Who really picks these? It can't be Dave.
The only reason I keep buying these things is that usually there are a few moments of exhilarating music. The whole-show contingency has won, and this makes the mining of gems that much more difficult and expensive. At least pick some hot shows, will ya?? Sheesh!
I have every GD release ever made, sitting on my CD shelf. But I'm over it. PM me with the best argument of why this show is worthy and I'll sell you my copy for face value, plus actual postage. You can keep it or sell it on Ebay for a profit, I don't care. Same goes for DaP 1 too.
Well, I'm nearly through my first listening and I have no complaints. Considering it was taped by "Kid" Candelario while he was attending to his other duties with the band and with probably no thought of ever officially being released, I think Dave did an excellent job.
Thanks Dave! Keep it up and I'm looking forward to Vol.3.
I got my discs on Friday May the 4th - way cool!
Today, the 7th I got the shipping notice, and it said they were shipped reg mail on JAN 29!
It's all good, the music is great.
some more odd shipping stuff. i ordered PD2 the day it became available to non subscribers. got a shipping notice 5/2 informing me that my order (non subscription) was shipped 5/1. package arrived 5/5. no problems. great show! so much fun to hear it again after 38 years.. (yikes!)
here's where it gets weird.i received a shipping notice this morning for DP2 subscription... i wonder if i'll get another package in a few days with (gasp!) the bonus disc? stay tuned!
to that which ecb related a few posts back.
May 1: E-mail "Now shipping" stating that there were only 500 copies left and suggesting that if I wanted to get my greasy paws on a copy I should not wait too long before ordering (I have a subscription)
May 8: E-mail "Your dead.net order has shipped". I saw this mail 10 minutes after I got home from work. The first thing I saw on getting home was a note from the postman telling me that there was a package waiting for me at my next-door neighbours, which was (of course) Dave's Picks Vol. 2. #4230. Fortunately the e-mail did not contain bad news about extra shipping costs, but then I live in Holland and this phenomenon is seemingly reserved for domestic US punters. It did state that the order had shipped on January 29th which amused me. It has to be said that a May 8 arrival date for the goods is extremely quick bearing in mind it had to cross the pond - a new speed record in my experience. This assumes, of course, that it was shipped around May 1st rather than January 29th.
The bad news is that a few weeks ago, my CD player (with HDCD) went belly-up and a replacement will not arrive before the weekend. The now-dead player had lasted some 16 years so I can't really complain. I very quickly found that HDCD-equipped CD players are not that easy to find but as I have several hundred HDCD-CDs, I considered the incluson of the HDCD facility a necessity. Not only Dead CDs are HDCD - many others are mastered to the HDCD spec. but nowhere in the booklet, cover etc. is this stated. The only easy way to know is if you have a HDCD player. When the CD is played a light comes on announcing the fact. If you don't have a HDCD player, there is no way to know. Anyway, the new CD player, a Naim Audio CD5 XS, is on its way. I am curious to know how it will sound compared to the old Theta Digital player. It certainly sounded good in the shop - but don't they always! Meanwhile, all I can do is read the booklet, look at the cover art and get excited in anticipation of actually hearing this thang. So far I have only seen positive comments about the music, which bodes well.
On my second listen now. What 'me' (user name) is saying sounds about right. Jerry is definitely a bit low in the mix at times, and Keith sounds pretty darn high (in the mix). It is fun to imagine what this would sound like if it had been recorded for an official release. I think the bonus disc has a better sound quality to it than the 7/31 show honestly. On the one hand, DP1 has A+ sound, and B playin'. DP2 has B sound and A+ playin'. Can't wait to see what the next release is, keep up the good work Rhino team.
By the way, I don't get the numbering. DP1 was #10250 or something close, DP2 is #369. It would be cool to get the same number every time (in the order that you subscribed), but with all the Customer Care nightmares I keep reading about (I personally have never had one) that doesn't even sound like a possibility worth considering.
I have just gone through disc 1 of Dave's Picks Vol.2. First of all, really nice packaging, nice front cover, nice booklet, nice liner notes, nice bonus disc cover, congratulation to the Grateful Dead Art Department this time.
Regarding music, we all know that the Dead were at the top of their game in 1974. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite years, it must have been amazing being at one of those shows in front of that imponent Wall of Sound. And that`s the point: the recordings simply can´t capture that state-of-the-art hi-fi P.A. Of course, the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack is the exception, for those multitrack recordings sound simply amazing (not on Steal Your Face, though!). But, this two-track documents are not the case. I know Jeffrey Norman surely gave his best to enhance the recording for this new release, but we can't expect for miracles when he is working with a tape that was already mixed to stereo by Candelario, who was doing his best anyway, but while being busy doing other things on stage. He was not there just to record the band and, above all, WAS NOT WORKING ON TAPES CONSIDERED FOR FUTURE RELEASES, for the real aim was documenting the show so band could listen to it later in order to evaluate their performance (I don't know if that was put in practice, anyway).
Don't get me wrong, this release features amazing music, but I can`t help thinking about how much enjoyable this could be having been recorded in a different way. In this recording the vocals suffer a lot because of the phase-cancellation microphones, and with a two-track recording there is nothing you can do to try to make it sound better. Furthermore, the drums are placed in the middle, without stereo panning, the mix is not always balanced, there is saturation, the sound is dry (except for Jerry's guitar that features reverb) etc. etc.
I insist, there's no one to blame for this, and I was not waiting anything different from this release, I know the way 1974 recordings sound like, I just can't help thinking, that's all...
Anyway, a really nice release, keep them coming!
Got my Dave's Pick 2 via UPS yesterday about 1:30 pm. Shipping notification came in an email about an hour later. Gonna have a listen to it today.
Mine came, along the the bonus disk. As others are saying, packaging is nice, the heavier stock cardboard makes a huge difference. Great pics and liner notes.
The newspaper clipping is especially good - often those are quite (unintentionally) humorous, but this piece by Bruce Meyer, focusing on the Dead's refusal to continue down the American Beauty / Workingman's Dead path to riches and Hollywood mansions, is insightful. (Though, the Dead did kinda go for that commercial gold in the late '70's hahaha)
Can't wait to listen to this tonight.
#10,242 in Western Mass.
But by then I had already recieved the actual package from the mail woman. Wondered why I hadn't got a shipping mail and there it was.
Like it a lot better when the actual record gets to me before the shipping mail does, than the other way around! :-D
Got number 2231 this time.