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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gratefaldean's picture
Joined: Jun 22 2007
Back to that earthquake theory

My shipping notification arrived yesterday...9 days after I received the box. I assume that my credit card charge will soon follow.

Do we really need more proof that we are dealing with a rift in the space-time continuum at Rhino Central?

Joined: Jan 29 2011
Rhino not Dead

Overall, I can't complain about the sound. To my ears they seem to be an improvement over the circulating sources. I cannot say though that I have A/B these against the official releases such as Hundred Year Hall, which was one of my favorates.
I posted early about the goodies. Again it would have been nice for one reason. This is the holy Grail of Dead runs. If Rhino were to pull out the stops for one release, this should have been it. I understand that the trade-off was that we went from 60 discs to 73. That's cool. After all it is about the music. But I've heard that phrase before at shows, right after someone spilt their 10th beer all over my girlfirend cause they were to tore up to walk to their seats from the concession stand.
So I'm about 10 shows into this thing and the sleeves have little tears in them from the inital time I got the discs out. They are so friggin' tight.I don't think we should be afraid to handle them but what are these things gonna look like after a few spins.I can tell you I don't think you can keep these pristine and frankly I do like to take care of my purchases like many of you. The packages are worse than the road trips series. Maybe if the tear is bad enough will send us a replacement for one or 2 sleeves, but not the whole box and not for everyone that will eventually need one. Short term solution...So I thought I'd rip this into Itunes so I can just put the box away until I can rip play copies.... and there is no info encoded. So dead-end there too. Some shows have been entered by fans but c'mon why?
I am happy with the music, the sounds, the intangible. Rhino really cut corners. I don't understand why Rhino didn't take a few more weeks to figure out the cost to upgrade into better cases, figure out how many discs they would really need per show and either come up with a vision that they could deliver BEFORE setting a price not half-way through after they hyped the product and realized they couldn't deliver. Before is the the key. Then the bean counters won't have to worry about losing their bonuses for securing production facilities that can undercut other production facility contracts. And hay, if we ponied up $450 for these what would another $50 or so more be if they would have taken their time? Let's not even go into the pre-order fiasco/gimmik. I'm disgusted by these limited editions marketing ploys that leave people out, make others rush into it and feed the ebay speculators.
I'm sure sales of Europe 72 have cemented the posiblity of boxing up other tour legs and runs because we will buy it despite Rhino's business shortcomings, and let's face it this isn't the first. Like I said, if they were going to do one box set right, this would have been the one .How many free passes to these guys get?

MrGratefulDead's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2007
Box set is pretty bitchin'

Best release yet. Please keep these box sets coming along.

Joined: May 18 2009
After a review of the current state of ebay...

...I can't find one of the books for sale separately yet, although the individual shows are up for bid. There are a bunch of the sets available, both opened and unopened but the prices seem to have come down somewhat. The idiot of the day award goes to the guy who's trying to sell ONLY THE BOX with a starting bid of over five hundred bucks LOL. The only bigger idiot is whoever buys it; that's a darn pricey cardboard box.

Joined: May 18 2009
I guess we're lucky Rhino got talked into this project at all...

...but I still feel like a sucker LOL. It'll be interesting to see how much they end up selling the book for separately (and they will, you can bet on it) since that will be the big plus in getting the limited edition set vs the music only set.

Joined: Jan 4 2009
I received an email today

I received an email today telling me that my box had been shipped - good news considering it arrived more than a week ago. What I have listened to has been great -- but for those who still don't get the point - Is my life going to improver appreciably with a retro map of Europe? No. But the deal is - and this is true in any advertisement - if you have provided a picture of an item that, is what you have to sell unless there is a disclaimer -- So if your Sunday circular shows a picture of the Europe 72 box set at 19.99, unless they say "while supplies last" they have to sell it you at that price or give you a rain check. And as was mentioned before - I looked at the CD case as pictured and thought "that will be cool" and the CD cases are nothing like that - that's a problem. I'm blowing a gasket over this or feeling a need to go to therapy? Hardly.

lamagonzo (not verified)

...not saying all the shows were lacking the proper work-up. I do understand we are dealing with 40 year old tapes made with a 40 year old state of the art machine.

Is it just me or is the 5/15/70 FE Road trips sound quality just that much better?

A little more time on sound, a couple of tweaks on the quality issues and I would have been very happy. I know there were a lot of people jonesing for this thing but they should have stuck to the "We will issue no recording before it is properly prepared."

unkle sam's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2008
sound mix (sorry folks, more neg here)

Upon first seeing this box set, it's a beautiful thing, upon closer inspection, there are a few things that, well, just ain't right. I've only listened to 2 disks so far, Disk 1 from the first show and the Darkstar disk from the second, it's a lot to absorb, but is it my ear or does this mix sound loud to anyone else? It's like the gain is turned all the way up, it's in your face all the time. On Disk 1 it starts out with Greatest Story, very muddy sound, then Bobby announces technical difficulties and the sound clears up, but it is loud, almost blaring. Someone else stated that they were following Phil, then... here comes this and that, but where did Phil go? It's like the mix follows one member, then another, but what about the group sound? First it's too much Phil, then he's gone. The packaging reminds me of most rhino released made in china stuff, cheap, flimsy and not very practical if you plan on using this box, I can see this thing in a very short time being ripped up and taped up, both outside and inside, there are all ready reports of ripped sleeves.
I haven't had the time yet to compare 4-26 hundred year hall released in the 90's to this one, nor have I had time to listen and compare to the soundboards and audience recordings I all ready have of these shows, which will be the final test, but from what I remember, the soundboards have a nice, rich feel to them.
In my opinion, they may have rushed this production, if I remember right, Mr. Norman stated that it would take a week per show to mix these tapes, yet they were completed end of July. I admit that I have not listened to that many disks yet, but if these two are an example of what is to come, I will be sad. This was a golden opportunity for rhino to step up and put out a quality product, instead, I received an inferior product void of most all promised extras. I have heard better sounding soundboard tapes of these shows and what is lacking is feeling, it's like they could have served up a meal fit for kings and queens, instead, I got a burger thrown on a plate. This will be my last purchase from rhino, until I have seen and heard the finished product, which means that I will miss out on most new releases, but if they are like this, maybe that's a good thing. Lamo, I agree with sending this one back, but who will pay for the return postage? I think there will be a lot of these up on ebay after everyone gets a chance to really listen to them. I will rip these to my computer, and then, ebay, here we come. .

Joined: Jan 22 2011
Sorry Lamagonzo

Amazing how peoples perceptions of events can differ. Tuesday laying in the dark, headphones on, listening in amazement, marveling at the mix and sound quality. These tapes are almost forty years old and the sound is incredible! I was trying to follow Phil, but then there was Bobby, Keith tickling the keys in the background, omg, that's Pigpen on organ in there, wait here comes Jerry, WAIT, I was following Phil. Almost too much music! There are a lot of shows I saw that were not as clear as what we have here.
Last night I woke up to Phil thundering into the Other One. Laid there for awhile in the dark with a grin on my face. So many good days ahead.
Lamagonzo, sorry your experience is so different. Like my brother always liked to say, "One man's ceiling is another man's floor." He loved ten minute drum solos. I think the drum solos here are just about perfect in lenght :-)

JackstrawfromColorado's picture
Joined: Jan 2 2009

Hahaha, thanks for making me laugh. I am leaning more towards incompetence and maybe a dash of not enough employees. I have talked to these people a dozen times now. The stories are always different, no one talks to each other, no one knows what's going on. What a great business model.

"I won't take your life won't even take a limb just unload my shotgun and take a little skin"


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