The Grateful Dead truck into West Germany, film a session for the Beat-Club, get thrown out of their hotel, jam in a planetarium, meet Naked Frankfurt Dude & many American GIs, are pranked by their light crew, influence the course of German psychedelia, & play 3 legendary shows.
Europe ‘72: West Germany supplementary notes
by Jesse Jarnow
The Grateful Dead’s first performance in West Germany wasn’t a live show, but a taping of the legendary WDR show, Beat-Club. Only “One More Saturday Night” would be aired on West German television, but the band recorded a complete set in front of blue screen chroma-key, later seen for the first time in its entirety for the Grateful Dead’s 2014’s Meet Up at the Movies. For the occasion, Jerry Garcia’s Stratocaster–not yet known as Alligator–sported a brand new sticker, the German cartoon chicken Pilly Pillhuhn, which would last on the guitar until it gradually rubbed off over the band’s summer and fall tours.
The German psychedelic band CAN saw the Dead in Dusseldorf, and–a few years later–based their own sound system on a photograph of the Dead’s set-up. We interviewed CAN engineer René Tinner, whose Dead-influenced sound system can be heard on the band’s recent live archival releases, including Live in Stuttgart 1975.
The blog Dead Sources has been collecting vintage coverage of the Europe ‘72 tour (and other Dead performances) for years, posting new finds to go along with the tour’s anniversaries. Their archives include reviews of the Frankfurt show and two different pieces regarding Hamburg.
As always, the Deadcast sends our love and thanks to Rosie McGee, for use of her audiobook of her great memoir, Dancing With the Dead, as well as David Gans and Blair Jackson, who have most graciously allowed us to use audio from interviews they conducted. Please check out their great collaborative oral history, This Is All A Dream We Dreamed, David’s Conversations With the Dead, Blair’s Garcia: An American Life, Grateful Dead Gear, and more.