Grateful Dead

Holy S#%*! It’s the COMPLETE Europe ’72 Box! On Over 60 Discs!

Europe '72:
The Complete Recordings

Hey now! Due to overwhelming demand, surprising even those of us with huge faith in the Europe '72 project, the entire limited edition run of 7,200 boxed sets has sold out in less than 4 days. We thank you beyond words for your support and belief in this unprecedented and wonderful release.

After lengthy discussions, we've decided we don't want to deprive anyone of this music, some of the finest the Grateful Dead ever performed. Of course, we're keeping to our promise that the boxed set and all of its accouterments will not be made available beyond these 7,200 boxed sets (and wait until you see the case in which the music is housed, the hard-bound coffee-table book, plus all of the other cool surprises we've been unearthing!). But, we're going to offer just the music, all 22 shows, more than 60 CDs, more than 70 hours of music, each show housed in its own packaging, for the same price as the boxed set, $450 including domestic shipping. Although perhaps not as cool as the boxed set, the bottom line is that the most important aspect of Europe '72: The Complete Recordings is going to be made available to all, the music.

- David Lemieux

Because you dared dream this might happen one day… Because you went down to the Gypsy Woman and offered up your first-born to try to make it happen… Because there are enough passionate Dead Heads at Rhino/GD who thought it might be cool for this to happen… It’s happening! Coming in September is a gargantuan, beautifully designed EUROPE ’72 MEGA-BOX SET containing ALL 22 SHOWS of what is arguably the greatest tour the Grateful Dead ever played, on a whopping 60+ DISCS (over 70 hours of music!). Bet you didn’t see that comin’!

Really, at this point we probably don’t need to lay on too much hype about how wonderful the music is: Chances are, if you’re even considering buying a copy of this stunning box, you already know how amazing the Dead’s tour of Europe in April and May of 1972 was. To review briefly, though, the Dead’s first tour outside of North America took them to all sorts of historic and unusual venues in England, Denmark, West Germany, France, Holland and even tiny Luxembourg. Many members of the Dead “family” came along on what was really an extended working vacation that was designed to both expose the Dead to new audiences and also reward the band for their unlikely conquest of America during the preceding two years. As a hedge against the costs of the nearly two-month trip, the Dead’s label, Warner Bros., paid for the band to lug around a 16-track recorder to capture the entire tour… and we’re glad they did!

This was a band at the top of its game, still ascending in the wake of three straight hit albums — Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty and the live Grateful Dead (“Skull & Roses”). It had been a year since the lineup had gone to its single-drummer configuration, six months since Keith Godchaux had been broken in as the group’s exceptional pianist, and this marked the first tour to feature Donna Godchaux as a member of the touring band. There was a ton on new, unreleased material that came into the repertoire in the fall of ’71 (after “Skull & Roses” was out) and during the spring of ’72, including “Tennessee Jed,” “Jack Straw,” “Mexicali Blues,” “He’s Gone,” “Comes A Time,” “Ramble on Rose,” “One More Saturday Night,” “Black-Throated Wind,” “Looks Like Rain” and Pigpen’s “Chinatown Shuffle,” “The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)” and “Mr. Charlie.” (Sadly, this was Pigpen’s final tour.) All those future classics were interspersed with songs from the aforementioned “hit” albums—such as “Uncle John’s Band,” “Brokedown Palace,” “Cumberland Blues,” “Casey Jones,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Bertha,” “Not Fade Away,” et al — and then were topped off by loads of big jamming numbers — the Europe ’72 tour produced spectacular versions of “Dark Star,” “The Other One” “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin’,” “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider,” “Good Lovin’,” “Lovelight” and even the early Pig chestnut “Caution.” And that’s leaving out a truckload of other tunes, too! There wasn’t a clunker show in the bunch, and many are acknowledged today as classics. No doubt you already have some favorites.

Through the years, there have been a few releases of material from the Europe tour—starting with the 3-album Europe ’72 which knocked our socks off in the fall of that year, and followed many years later by material from a pair of German shows and the fantastic 4-CD Stepping Out, culled from the group’s eight shows in England. Incredibly, though, only one full show from the tour has come out previously: the excellent 4/24 concert in Dusseldorf, Germany, released as Rockin’ the Rhein in 2004.

Until now, that is. Jeffrey Norman, who has been the primary mixer of Dead archival multi-track material for the past 15 years (Fillmore West ’69, Ladies and Gentlemen…, Rockin’ the Rhein, Nightfall of Diamonds, etc.) has spent many months toiling over the 16-track masters from the tour, and will continue working on the mixes through the Winter and Spring, employing the high-tech Plangent Processes transfer and restoration tools, trying to get every show to sound “just exactly perfect” (as Bob Weir says) for this release. You might think you’ve heard that intense “Dark Star” > “Sugar Mag” > “Caution” from Copenhagen, but I guarantee you’ve never heard it sound this alive! Mastering to HDCD specs is two-time Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser of Airshow Mastering. Needless to say, all the songs that turned up on previous Europe compilations will be appear in their proper show contexts, and in the case of songs from the Europe ’72 album, without overdubs that were added later (where possible).

So dig deep, raid the penny jar, take a weekend job at Jack-in-the-Box, beg your kindly ol’ grandma for some of your inheritance early… Yes, it’s an extravagance, but jeez, you (or your loved one) deserve it! This is way cool.


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simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Finally listened to all of it!

It took me a while - probably longer than it should have done - but I have finally listened to this monster in its entirety. I can happily report 73 fully functioning, unscratched discs and 22 intact, untorn sleeves. In my opinion the whole thing was really well put together. The steamer trunk is great, the hardback book is superb and it is nice to have a copy of "The book of the Dead" at last. My only possible complaints concern the cardboard sleeves which are undoubtedly less than ideal, borne out by the evidence that the more ham-fisted among us have torn many of them, and the lack of additional goodies such as maps etc. That said, it is obvious that if the shows had come in "Digipaks" which are at least twice as thick as the card sleeves then the trunk would also have been twice the size which in turn would have increased the manufacturing and shipping costs. When this thing was first announced it was said to contain more than 60 discs whereas it finally contained 73 which again should have upped the price. As it was too late to do anything about the price, I guess they cut back on the extras to keep it within budget. Personally I find it preferable that the shows have been spread over extra discs to avoid ill-timed disc changes rather than including, say, a map of Europe.
As regards the music itself (the whole point of the exercise) it is wondrous. There are no bad shows included merely for the purpose of completeness. Of course some shows are better than others, but there are no shows here that are not worthy of release. It could be said (and indeed it has been said) that there is not a whole lot of variation in the setlists, but that is probably the case in any run of 22 shows. I do not have a problem with 15 excellent versions of a fine song, and when it comes to epics such as "Dark star" the variation in the different renditions is astonishing. That I am fortunate enough to have this box and its wonderful contents makes me one happy man and I congratulate all those responsible for getting it to us.
Having said all that, I am aware that some folks had major problems with ordering and receiving their boxes. This is not the first time that such problems have reared their ugly heads, but I hope that Rhino and Globalware have learned from their mistakes this time.
As regards the best shows, I would place Rotterdam top of the list, with Amsterdam, Bickershaw, Paris (x2) and The Lyceum (x4) also being superb performances.

Joined: Aug 27 2008
One year ago... started taking pre-orders for "Europe '72: The Complete Recordings"
As bad luck would have it, GWS (GlobalWare Solutions),'s commerce vendor & merchant of record, had some fowl-ups with their systems. It was very hard to place an order. Things eventually cleared up and the original deluxe edition sold out in less than four days...

The Weve's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2010
Also >

Lets not forget Paris x2 and all 4 London shows.

P.S. Happy New Year !

Joined: Aug 27 2008
Other standout favorites...

.. of this tour are: 4/8, 5/10, 5/11 & 5/26.

Joined: Aug 27 2008
A current favorite....

One of my current favorite songs is from 5/7 Bickershaw: Good Lovin'. Pigpen was great here, I love this rap he gives. I love this whole show, China> Rider, Good Lovin', Dark Star> drums> The Other One> Sing Me Back Home, Sugar Magnolia, Turn On Your Lovelight. This whole tour was amazing.
Thanks to "The Powers That Be" for getting this whole tour released.

lamagonzo (not verified)
thanks for positive news Garseeya

This thread sure needs it!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
I would call it a hippy ending

Nice on the upgrade! Enjoy the books and the sto-rays.

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007
aww, cool, garseeya...

glad your tale had a happy ending!!!

Joined: Sep 22 2009
The surprised me!

My story is also a long road but with a happy ending! I like many out there waited too long when the box began to sell waiting to see what would happen. So soon after i kicked myself i purchased the all music edition which i figured thats all i need just to listen to it. So all this time went by for all of us and the boxes started shipping , then the all music editions were going out and i got nothing so i was wondering why. Then a pal of mine said he ordered his 1 week before they started shipping and received his all music edition and mine still nothing and i ordered mine early i was pissed!! I called for 2 weeks and was told each time that there was delays i told them about my friend they said he got lucky. So finally i called 1 last time and spoke with a great guy who told me my box had shipped out I thanked him and said finally!! So 4 days later ups shows up at the door with a huge box all taped up i was like what kind of box is this? I opened it up to find a brand new steamer trunk! I was blown away i called back and talked to the same great person again and he told me that i was 1 of 100 people who were upgraded for ordering early for orders that fell through!! After all the waiting,wondering the came through big time and i got lucky! So to all that have been taking a beating from the dead family for issues I thank you !!!!

jcarrier's picture
Joined: Nov 3 2010

It's quite the coincidence! Make sure you get that lottery ticket with "7" and "2" as two of your numbers :)


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