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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Joined: Feb 24 2010
Well now that the dust is sort of settling

Steve, I'm not convinced that the dust is settling. There are still buyers without their sets it seems and people with problems evidently getting ignored, from reading the posts.
Also it is difficult to see how Rhino would approach another sale of similar size to this one.
A lot of people feel they have had their fingers burned and it's unlikely they would shell out big bucks in advance next time (but who knows). That suggests another set on this scale would be a major risk for Rhino.
I think a lot of people would need to be convinced that Rhino have learned from the many mistakes. There is a limit to peoples patience and goodwill - even deadheads I suspect.

Joined: Feb 19 2011
Well now that the dust is sort of settling

Well now that the dust is sort of settling on all this, there may be some benefit in doing an overall assesment of how the whole project was handled during what is now nearly a full year timespan.

My quess is that this will go down as A Bridge Too Far. That is to say a magnificent attempt but probably marked down by too many errors in the carrying out.

My feelings are that the box was great, ditto for the book and brochure and - of course - the 73 discs of prime quality Dead. The individual covers were not of an acceptable quality however and this has caused problems. The abscence of other goodies in the box was not a problem for me - the hardcover book exceeded my expectations - but it would have been better to have owned up to what buyers would be getting right from the start.

The main problem seems to have been the despatch issue which in part flows from the issue of taking payment guarantees(in effect) nearly 8 months in advance of the actual item being sent. This in turn reflected the financial constraints of the record company in particular. They clearly needed confirmation in advance that if 7,200 box sets were made up, 7,200 would be sold. I have no immediate answers as to how to avoid this without incurring a clearly considered risk that boxes would end up sitting in warehouses unsold. It would certainly have been preferable to have paid and had sent the box in one go i.e late August - this would have cut back the many problems which did occurr of changing adresses, credit cards etc. Alternatively payment could have been taken in January - if the deal was sweet enough - but no doubt the danger of insuffient orders would have still remained.

It is also clear that Rhino have struggled with all the logistical chaos of this project. In fairness they are not the same size setup as the majors.

Will they try something similiar again? No doubt MaryE is still having nightmares about the possibility (" Hey let's release a 100 CD set in an imitation bus with flashing lights and... put down that chair now!")

Final thought - better to have tried and fallen short than never to have tried at all. The 73 cds sitting next to me are a tribute to that.

Joined: Feb 24 2010

Unkle Sam,

Agree with you fully, which is why I suggested that all those with problems contact their card provider for their specific conditions.
I have just received a message from Dr Rhino saying he has mailed the replacement discs today and promising a tracking number when it is available.

unkle sam's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2008

Hey all, sure didn't mean to steer anyone wrong, but my credit card company says I do not have to send back defective merchandise. I guess it's different for every card company. I received a letter stating" We have issued credit to your account for the disputed charge and credited your account for any interest charges and fees you incurred as a result of the disputed charge.
Although we consider your dispute resolved, the merchant has an opportunity to review any information and provide additional documentation to support why they feel the transaction is valid. Please retain copies of all documentation regarding your dispute. In the event we receive additional information from the merchant, we will forward any relevant documentation, and let you know if additional information is needed to support your dispute." Now, how long do they have to dispute my dispute, I would assume the same 2 months.
This was mailed on Oct. 30th. Received my box on the 31st of August and waited 2 months for replacement discs and word on ripped sleeves, no reply as of this date. I followed the steps to dispute to the letter and was told by phone that I did not have to return defective merchandise. Maybe it's different in the US of A, and if the powers that be want their box back, I'll be more than happy to send it to them. But really, I just want this all to go away. This has been the worst online purchase I have ever been thru and has shaken my belief in the dead right down to it's foundations. Good luck to all in getting what you paid for.

inthemoment1's picture
Joined: Jul 7 2008

I have the same problems. They will not respond.

The Weve's picture
Joined: Feb 16 2010
More on defective discs / customer service &Dr Rhino

Hello Gr8fuluk, hopefully you have written to customer service and Dr Rhino often (and saved their responces). 48 bad CDs is alot and they should just send you an "All The Music Edition". Let them know that you don't want to return the whole Steamer Trunk (and cancel Daves Picks) but will if replacements are not received promptly. Best of luck.

Joined: Feb 24 2010
More on defective discs

Sorry to keep this going, but this may be of interest & contradicts some of the posts from earlier.
I'm still waiting for 48 replacements discs which I understood were ready to be sent to UK on Nov 2nd when Marye took up the case. Since then I have heard & received nothing so contacted my card provider today.
Their stance is that I AM required to send back the complete package by courier and they will refund the purchase price AND recover the shipping costs. The whole transaction has to be completed in 120 days from the date of sale. This as clearly different from what others have posted here, so I think the moral is - if you are still having problems contact your card provider without delay. I have been advised to send the trunk plus contents back before next Tuesday, even though there may possibly be replacements on the way.
This has turned into a bitter experience and I'm also considering whether to cancel my Dave's Picks subscription.

lamagonzo (not verified)
Thanks to the Weve...

...for reprinting that hyper blurb for E72 penned by Blair Jackson. I thought at first that somebody else wrote it and put Mr. Jackson's name on it. It was so unlike his other writing. It was uncouth.

Also, a sizable number of people got their boxes on time, with perfect discs and a number and personalization. That would leave only the misleading point about the ephemera.

Don't get me wrong, I still think the thing was a debacle. I certainly wasn't one of those to get anywhere near a perfect box. I almost didn't get the box at all because, despite my best efforts, they put the wrong address on it, (Thank you UPS!)

mpace's picture
Joined: Sep 25 2009
Totally Disagree

Sure- that may be a rip off, but at least you know what you are getting and they are not misleading you into thinking that there is more in the box (see post with original description). Bargain or not that does not explain poor covers, damaged discs, wrong numbering, misleading advertising, or incorrect personalizations (and that's if you received the box in a timely fashion).
I believe that this box is worse by far- who can take some of the best music from one of the best tours and still give you buyers remorse- Rhino can.... And I am not letting Dead.Net off the hook either- from the bogus lead up by BJ to the lack of apology for such a terrible fan/buyer experience, both are at fault in my eyes.

gratefaldean's picture
Joined: Jun 22 2007
Another perspective on the greed part

High-priced "boutique" releases seem to be the new rage as record companies keep trying to make money somehow, some way, on the sale of physical recorded media.

Right now available for presale is a new Elvis Costello box containing ONE cd, ONE dvd, ONE 10" vinyl ep...that's it for music. A book, poster, something autographed by Elvis. The price on Amazon right now is around $261. Yes, that is not a typo. $261!!

Which makes E72 a bargain of the highest order by comparison, despite all the issues.

In an interesting turn of events, Elvis has actually disavowed the product. He's recommending on his website that you do not buy this overpriced item, that you spend your money elsewhere, while letting everyone know that the meat in the box, the music stuff, will be available early next year in regular CD and DVD releases. Unless you take the cynical view that Elvis's announcement is disingenuous, that it's just more hype to sell all the versions of the release (and I do not take that view), then let's say "thank you Mr MacManus!"


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