Board the red-eye to London & storm England with the Dead as they open their Europe ‘72 tour, featuring family members, legendary jams, British Dead freaks, letters home from Pigpen, a trip to/at Stonehenge, Bozos, Bolos, & the birth of Hypnocracy.
Europe ‘72: Empire Pool & Newcastle City Hall supplementary notes
by Jesse Jarnow
“Dead Storm Britain” read a headline on the front of Melody Maker in April 1972, the week after the Grateful Dead’s tour opening shows at Empire Pool, now known as Wembley Arena. The Dead were greeted as underground heroes as they arrived in London early on Easter Sunday, spending a few days meeting representatives from the local freak and straight publications, and taking the sights and smells of London.
While Jerry Garcia gave a long interview to Rock magazine, Rosalind Russell of Disc conducted a rare interview with Pigpen, along with Bob Weir, and the weekly paper New Musical Express interviewed Weir. One of the most fascinating bits of local coverage was a piece by the late Mick Farren, countercultural journalist and formerly of the band the Deviants, about to launch an influential career as a science fiction novelist.
The Dead’s London performances were an enormous success, yielding (among other recordings) the album-opening version of “Cumberland Blues” and a monumental version of “Dark Star” soon released on a benefit album for the emerging Glastonbury Fayre music festival. Musicologist and “Dark Star” correspondent Graeme Boone is back this season to annotate all the versions of “Dark Star” from the tour, but he also prepared a special presentation, Dead Studies: The Wonders of Dark Star, going live on April 8th.
One of our guests, Bill Giles, has had a fascination with the Empire Pool version of “Dark Star” since the moment he witnessed it. He’s written his own piece analyzing the improvisation, titled “Dark Star - April 8th 1972 - A Musical Odd-Essay.” Bill likewise plays in the Grateful Dudes, a UK Dead cover band, who will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Europe ‘72 in early July at Playing On The Farm.