Europe ‘72: Lille, Luxembourg, Munich

Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast


Season 5, Episode 8


Europe ‘72: Lille, Luxembourg, Munich


Archival interviews:


- Dennis “Wiz” Leonard, by Blair Jackson, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, 2011.


- Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, by David Gans & Marty Martinez, Grateful Dead Hour #369, 9/1995.


- Rosie McGee, by David Gans, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, 2014/2015.


- Rick Turner, by Tim Lynch & David Gans, Dead To The World, KPFA, 2/15/20.


JESSE: The last week-and-a-half of the Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72 tour was a bit of a hodge-podge before they returned to London for the closing shows. The band played three shows in three different countries, hung out in a few others, and had a last bundle of adventures on the Continent.




JESSE: On the 5th of May, the Dead had been supposed to play the Rotunda outside Lille. To recount what happened at the end of episode 5, though, one of the equipment trucks didn’t make it, as audience member Daniel Duchene recalled to us.


DANIEL DUCHENE: The band couldn't arrive in Faches because someone had put sugar in the tanks of the trucks. Sabotage! They also announced that the band would come back to Lille [for] another date. So we were tired, but we [came] back without believing too much what we heard.


JESSE: The band’s return to Lille a week later on the 13th of May was a show unlike any other on a tour of already pretty memorable shows. The only proper free gig of Europe ‘72, it was a classic Grateful Dead joint: roll up in the park and jam for the people. Like the near-riot on their previous trip through town, pretty much everybody in the Dead family has some memories of it. The stories from Phil Lesh and Bob Weir come from the great joint interview by David Gans and Marty Martinez. If we haven’t made it clear, you should totally check out David’s book, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: The guy hadn't bolted with the money, he just… I don’t think he could get it that night, to give them the money back for their tickets. But I think he later gave them back their money.


BOB WEIR [9/95]: Ah great.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: Because, if he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have gone back to play.


BOB WEIR [9/95]: Right. And we came back. About two [or] three weeks later, we came back and played in the park for free.


JESSE: Tour architect Sam Cutler.


SAM CUTLER: We went back and played this concert in the middle [of] a town square, right in the middle of Lille. And there's several thousand people at it.


PHIl LESH [9/95]: The promoter was in tears, because he’d given all the money back. But he had promised that we would come back and play, and everybody was saying, “Oui, oui…


DANIEL DUCHENE: Next Saturday after that, the Dead came back. A surprise Saturday, 13th May. The concert [had] no advertising — no news, no nothing.


JESSE: Alan Trist of Ice Nine Publishing.


ALAN TRIST: It's a small village square, I remember that. I remember the stage put up on one end; it was very open. It was a very good atmosphere because the band had returned and done what they said they were gonna do. They were playing in a small European traditional town. It was kind of lovely, you know? I remember that felt really good.


DANIEL DUCHENE: My friend Phillippe told me — I don't know how he managed to hear that news. He told me I have to come this Saturday afternoon to hear the concert of the Dead. And I came.


JESSE: This is from David Gans’s 2014 interview with Rosie McGee.


ROSIE McGEE [2014]: Much to the shock of the promoter, we actually kept our promise. We came back—I think it was a week later—and played a free concert in the town square of Lille, where the audience [were] the local townspeople, who had no idea what the heck was going on. They were walking their dogs and pushing their baby carts and having lunch and whatever. We set up a little stage and did a gig. It was a glorious day: it turned out to be really great.


DANIEL DUCHENE: The concert took place on the Champs de Mars — the esplanade near the town park in Lille. It’s a huge place used for fireworks, the 14th of July is the French national feast. There was a little crowd that waited for the concert, 100 [or] 200 persons who waited for the concert. After a time, the crowd grows, but there [were] very few people present at the beginning.


AUDIO: “Bertha” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (0:00-0:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


SAM CUTLER: That was one of the highest concerts ever, that we ever did — in the central marketplace of Lille for about 6,000 coal miners, all standing there in their helmets with black faces. It was really weird with their kind of wives and girlfriends [begins to speak in mock French accent]: “What is this? These crazy Americans! Oh, but the music is very good…”


DANIEL DUCHENE: People who walk around the stage hearing the concert stopped, but they didn’t know what the band played. They start hearing the music, it was very nice on their ears, but they didn’t know what the Grateful Dead [was] — because there was no advertising. There was no news about the event.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: It was a beautiful day too. The light in France, there’s nothing like it — It’s understandable why it has produced so many great painters. It was one of those days. We played in the park, and there were working people: real French working people, the kind that Van Gogh would paint, again. There they were, sitting down in front.


BOB WEIR [9/95]: It was wonderful. A sublime experience.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: Kids in their strollers, their mothers walking them through the park, stopped off and caught the show. It was great.


JESSE: Mountain Girl.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: It's a lovely place, my goodness. You’re walking around in a French Impressionist painting, I swear to god. Oh, I’m in a Renoir! And here’s everybody strolling along with me, along the riverbank in this gorgeous place. Lille was very special, and I hope it’s still as special today as it was then. It was just so… green, and the park where we were supposed to be presenting had these huge old trees in it. A really wide spread of the branches — these branches went out, like, 80 feet! Huge. Just one of those places you remember for how beautiful it was.


AUDIO: “China Cat Sunflower” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (4:10-4:40) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux.


DAVID LEMIEUX: They played on a little stage setup with the town behind them. It was free to anybody. You look at the people… I think of France in the ‘70s, and I think of little old ladies bundled up in wool coats with the thing over their head—the bonnet thing, the scarf thing—with their baguettes in a band, maybe a bottle of wine coming home from the shop. And oh, there’s a concert; I’ll stay and watch! That’s who I see in these pictures. It’s not raving mad Dead Heads. And it also looks very, very cold. Pigpen in particular, who was pretty ill—he only had a couple weeks left of touring with the Dead. Pigpen was really bundled up. I don’t think that cold was good for any of them, but not him. But the whole band is bundled up. It was very cold, it was a daytime show. The Dead did a full show! They didn’t show up and play for an hour and say, “Here you go, it’s the least we could do.” They played a full two-set show with an “Other One.”


JESSE: There’s a subtly different light shimmering through the band’s playing. I feel like I hear the impressionist colors of the French countryside shining through this beautiful episode from the first jam in “The Other One.”


AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (7:54-8:24) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


DANIEL DUCHENE: I took some photos. I used to take my camera during the concert. It was a miracle, to see the Dead for a free concert in this place. The band was in great shape, and happy to be there: to be at this time, at this point, at this space. I see in the photo [that] Jerry Garcia was happy. He smiles—he smiled always. But [that] day, he played like a saint. The concert was fantastic. I [think] it lasted three or four hours. Since the concert, I am unconditionally fan of the Dead. It was, for me, like a moment of eternity. It’s a real point of life that I’ll never forget.


JESSE: We’ve posted a link to Daniel’s photos of the free Lille show. It’s hard to know where to place the following story. But let’s say it manifested during “The Other One.” Our next guest took perhaps the longest route to Lille of anyone else present, including the band. Please welcome, from Vancouver, Canada, Greenpeace co-founder Rod Marining.


ROD MARINING: I'm a founder of Greenpeace. Previously, we—a group of 13 of us—got together and decided that we were fed up with the amount of nuclear testing that was going on. There was a lot of radiation in the atmosphere.


JESSE: But they had a plan.


ROD MARINING: We had a group of people, some of them were in their 50s, late 40s. And one of us said, “Well, I think I could get Joni Mitchell to do a benefit concert because she’s Canadian.” And they said, “Oh, wow, I’ve never heard of her.” There was always this group of two or three people laughing their heads off in the corner, because the youth were always the driving force back then. The boomers, they were… even though we loved the direction that some of the older people were giving us. Anyways, we ended up getting Joni to do a concert. She brought in James Taylor, and two other people.


AUDIO: “The Circle Game” [Joni Mitchell & James Taylor, Amchitka, 10/16/70] (1:59-2:32)


JESSE: That was Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, performing “The Circle Game” in October 1970, released in 2009 as Amchitka, the Concert That Launched Greenpeace. With the funds from the concert, it was on to the next logical step.


ROD MARINING: We were basically committing group suicide — we were sailing into a nuclear test zone because we just were dedicated to trying to stop the nuclear testing. And so we just tried to sail into the test zone. There were lots of stories that came about but we were successful in the end, because the United States stopped nuclear testing at that time.


JESSE: There were funds left over, and they continued their mission, and decided to do so in the South Pacific. The next step, then, was to get to Paris to organize it.


ROD MARINING: Oh, Lille was on the way to Paris. We were hitchhiking, we had very little money.


JESSE: You were hitchhiking from Vancouver to… Paris?


ROD MARINING: We hitchhiked across Canada. You're 22 and, back in those days, you could travel faster by hitchhiking. You would travel 24 hours a day by truck, and you sleep on the way. You got to Gander, Newfoundland. For $125, you could get a flight from Gander, Newfoundland to London airport.


JESSE: And, sure, from there Lille is on the way.


ROD MARINING: We just came in, drove in, and we're kind of exhausted. But we’re fine. And somebody says, “Oh, there’s a music concert in the local park, in Lille.” “Who’s playing there?” “The Grateful Dead are playing there.” “Holy shit, man, that’s unreal!” We were traveling because we had a mission; you can’t go to cross borders with a toke or a couple of joints, or even any other drugs. You just don’t want to end up in jail. I had a mission to take place, and we were very stone sober at the time.


JESSE: We originally tracked down Rod because, in Rex Weyler’s 2004 history of Greenpeace, Rod tells a Greenpeace-related story about seeing the Dead in Lille, and that story’s coming. But when we talked to him, something else came up.


ROD MARINING: I haven't told this story for 50 years…


AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (4:43-5:05) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


ROD MARINING: It was an amazing situation — I’ve only experienced this once. I tell you, it was shocking for me, because I’m the type of person that likes to think that I’m in 100% control of destiny, my fate, that I’m the master of my destiny. And here I am, watching this concert, and I’m just locked onto Jerry Garcia. Jerry goes into one of his riffs, and I was so intense in his music. I was watching him and, as I watched him, my focus, focus, focus, focus... went right to his mouth. Every time he went into a riff, his mouth was way open — seemed like about three inches. He had this black beard, and this black mouth. And then, all of a sudden, I got sucked into his mouth…


AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (excerpt continues) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


AUDIO: [psychedelic sound effects]


ROD MARINING: Holy crap. Then, I’m waking up on a cold marble floor. I remember the first thing I remembered was: this was a marble floor. I thought: what’s going on here? I finally got to stand up and, all of a sudden, I was in a courtroom — but the courtroom was all marble, and there was this big probably 20-foot long marble throne in front of me. There were seven people there… seven people. At that moment, I was stunned, I was in a kind of a stunned state. I was trying to listen to what was going on here. I was scared to look at them because they seemed to be very powerful dudes, and women too. I slowly looked at ‘em through the corner of my eye, started taking a look at what was going on. There was a big screen behind them too, and it had clouds, all behind them — like a big flat screen TV. Back in those days, there wasn’t any.


Over the years, I got to know who those people were. There were various people there who I was able to deduce who they were. The first people I noticed, they’re called the Three Sisters. In Greek mythology —there’s a piece I just picked up here called the Pillars of Proverbs—the Three Sisters of Fate are a group of Greek goddesses who weave the thread of time and fate, and assign mortals their individual destinies at birth. But this wasn’t my birth: I was there, and they were discussing my destiny, and my fate. I was totally indignant that they were discussing my fate and my destiny; I was getting, like, pissed off! I was getting angry.


Their names are, just so you know, Antropos, who’s the inflexible; Clotho, the spinner; and Lachesis is the allotter. The older myth identified them as the offspring of Themis — Themis is the goddess of divine law and order. So I’m précising this story: there’s the Three Sisters, there’s Themis, who is this other goddess; and Zeus, who is the Greek god of the sky and lightning. And then there were two other people there: one was Neptune, and the other one was Gaia. So there are seven people that I was able to identify. They were discussing my fate, and I protested.


I said, “Look, you can’t talk about my fate. I am the master of my own destiny! I believe in myself: I don’t need you to tell me what I’m gonna do or not gonna do.” I wasn’t able to say all those words because Zeus cut me off and told me to shut up, basically. At the time, I was sort of protesting. And behind him was this flat-screen TV. There were these storms: as I was talking, the clouds were getting dark and gloomy, and then lightning started flashing. And all of a sudden, I was hit by a bolt of lightning, and I was back, standing in front of Jerry Garcia again.


AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (excerpt continues) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


ROD MARINING: My friend who was with me at the time said, “I’m glad you’re back. I thought you were dead there for a minute.” I said, “Well, why?” He said, “Well, you weren’t moving to the music — you were kind of totally like a statue. I looked at your face and I looked right at your eyes, and there were no eyes: there were just whites in your eyes. You looked… weird, and you kind of scared the shit out of me. Just the whites of your eyes.” So I guess my eyes had rolled back, and yet, I was looking at the stage. In human time, I don’t know… I really don’t know. But it seemed like a long time. It seemed like it could have been hours in this courtroom. I thought, Okay, I don’t think I’m gonna be going to any more Grateful Dead concerts for a while. [laughs] That was too much! But I loved the music.


AUDIO: “The Other One” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (27:49-28:18) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Rod had a classic version of what’s called a spontaneous visionary experience, with a huge download of information often filled out with deep archetypes from mythology, and perhaps from beyond the knowledge of the person having the mystical experience in question. Please welcome Steve Silberman, co-author of Skeleton Key: A Dictionary For Deadheads, and author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.


STEVE SILBERMAN: Here's the thing to remember: the subject of so-called mystical experiences, or unitive experiences, is an aspect of human cognition that has been studied a lot. It's not just something that happens at Dead shows, or ‘Jerry looked at me’ or whatever. In fact, just this morning I was reading through a bunch of old studies, and they generally suggest that between 30 to 60% of human beings who are asked this question have had some kind of experience that they felt was completely transcendent—that lifted them out of their bodies or out of their circumstances, or the particular space they were in, or the set of mental problems they were having—and gave them a glimpse of something that was profoundly healing or transcendent, or really weird. The ability to have what psychologists call a unitive or transcendent or mystical experience is actually just part of the human repertoire of experiences. It comes with our neurology. Or, you could say, it comes with the fact that we’re temporary beings in the universe with a god! It depends on what your frame of reference is. One of the most interesting things, actually, about those studies, is that the people who had mystical experiences didn’t have them necessarily within a set of references that they were going for, or that they even believed in. In other words, it’s possible to have an experience of God without believing in God.


I do believe there was a thing about the community at shows that maximized the chances of having experiences like that. It was partly because it was part of Dead Head lore: it wasn’t said anywhere, but it was part of Dead Head lore that those experiences were available at shows. So you knew that you were surrounded by people who would somehow understand if this happened to you. Not only that, but make it kind of okay.


JESSE: Put another way, the Grateful Dead brought with them the message that it was cool to freak fucking freely. In Rod’s case, while it was a Dead show, it was only barely a Dead Head crowd, but consisting mostly of French civilians.


STEVE SILBERMAN: How is it that the Dead were certainly not [like]: Oh, let's create a style of music that spontaneously triggers unitive and mystical… no. They were just playing, they wanted to play. But yet, they came up with this form that both musically worked to liberate your mind in a way, to go there. And also, Dead Heads—this is something I was very interested in when I was writing Skeleton Key: A Dictionary For Deadheads—improvised a container for those mystical experiences that would make them safe for everybody who was there, and everybody kind of understood what was going on. And yet it’s not like the band said: “This music may trigger…” You know? They just play “Dark Star” and the Dead Heads spontaneously invented the container in the room for those experiences.


JESSE: Just like Rod didn’t go looking for his spontaneous visionary experience, we didn’t go looking for Rod’s story about his spontaneous visionary experience. In researching the series, I found a reference in a book that mentioned some activists that Rod happened to make contact with at the performance, important to the next part of the Greenpeace mission.


ROD MARINING: You know when you meet certain characters, sometimes I wonder if they’re actually human. I’m 6’2”, and she was taller than me: she was about 6’3”, 6’4”. She had a huge black cape, and she said, “I’m here to guide you through Paris.” She had a friend too, a small Frenchman. There was this large… and they were from Ibiza, very magical people. The woman had a big black cape, and I remember running, having to run to keep up with her, as this black cape went up and down stairwells and around corners and everything. So she introduced me to numerous people in Paris. I ended up going on a lecture tour, and the lecture tour was called Green Politics.


JESSE: Rod had a pretty amazing time in France. He also crossed paths with Joni Mitchell, who passed through Paris for a few concerts a few weeks after the Dead. It all reinforces a theme that I find fascinating, about the Dead’s shows becoming a kind of open space for a variety of experiences that one doesn’t necessarily associate with rock shows, including facilitating the intersection of activists in Lille, France in 1972. It was a powerful energy field. And in a way, Rod would contribute to the growing container of Grateful Dead shows. The organization he helped found, Greenpeace, would eventually become a literal fixture in the standard map of a Grateful Dead show in the late 1980s, when there would always be a Greenpeace table just outside the performance area.


After the Lille show, the band’s rhythm section had a date — a getaway to Monte Carlo. Somebody had gifted Bill Kreutzmann and Phil Lesh tickets to the Grand Prix in Monaco. And, so—after Sam Cutler handed off the rental car—perhaps inspired by their destination, the route from Lille to the airport in Paris became a street race of their own as they hit Paris traffic. As Kreutzmann described it in his memoir:


“It was getting down to the wire but we were zigging and zagging our way to the airport, and we weren’t talking much, because we were all really high on acid. So we communicated without having to say a lot out loud. Phil was a backseat navigator; a human GPS. He’d just say, “Next street, left” and BAM—we’d careen off to the left. “Next street, right.””


They made the flight, though, as they pulled into the airport, Kreutzmann made a discovery. “I reached under the driver’s seat and, holy shit—I found a package under there. And, holy shit—it had a big bag of cocaine and another big bag of hash in it.” Though not averse to LSD and other substances, on that tour, Kreutzmann was keeping himself away from the white powders. They dumped it in a trash can as they entered the airport. In his book, Kreutzmann calls out Sam Cutler for leaving the bag there, presumably the tour’s coke stash. Before we hear Sam’s side of the story, let’s call back to what Wiz told us about what he and roadie Sonny Heard did with all that Orange Sunshine LSD he got gifted in Amsterdam.


DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: So I had those [pills], and [Sonny] Heard said, “Hmm.” We were on this anti-blow campaign, so we kept a few and we ground them up and put it in the blow stash. So it's like, Okay, they can have blow, but they're gonna get high too. [laughs]


JESSE: This is how Sam remembers the Lille show several days later.


SAM CUTLER: For reasons which I'm not quite sure why, we all got absolutely fuckin’ off our tits, man — out of it. I was so high. Anyway, I found myself—I don’t know what the time was, I really don’t know—[with] a briefcase full of money, and everyone’s passport. And I felt like I was kind of on Jupiter or maybe Saturn, and all these French people were trying to deal with me. I didn’t have a word of French. They finally realized I was one of those mad Americans from the gig in the town square. So they took me to the town square — god knows where I was, but it was a long walk all through these different backstreets. We finally reached the town square: there wasn’t a soul there. No equipment, no stage, nothing. They’d all gone, man… they’d all gone on the two buses that we had, put the equipment on the truss, and gone back to Paris! I’m standing there with everything and though, Oh my god. So I had to get myself back to Paris… I somehow managed to get back to Paris. Everyone was in the hotel, they were all cool. But everyone was so sweet about it. No one said a word. That was how the Grateful Dead… it made me feel intensely embarrassed. It would have been much easier if everyone had gone [in mock-grumbling voice]: “For fuck’s sake, man! What happened? Where were you? We needed money!” Just… nothing. [in mellow Caifornian] “Hey man, you okay? Everything alright?” These nice welcoming smiles from Garcia, which immediately makes you think: he can’t possibly be really smiling. I know that he thinks I’m a cunt or whatever. So that was probably my most embarrassing moment as a tour manager. I’m not sure whether I lost the band, or they lost me.




JESSE: And from Paris to a one-night stand with the smallest in-person audience of the tour, but unquestionably the largest at-home listenership.


RADIO LUXEMBOURG BROADCASTER [4/22/72]: Radio Luxembourg — the communicator. Here’s the news in brief.


AUDIO: [Radio Luxembourg interstitial jingle]


RADIO LUXEMBOURG BROADCASTER [5/14/72]: From the resources of Britain’s top Sunday newspaper.


RADIO LUXEMBOURG BROADCASTER [5/14/72]: The appeal court hearing into the rail crisis dispute has been adjourned until tomorrow morning. The unions are appealing against the decision to the industrial court.


The Spring bank holiday park festival at Bardney near Lincoln is a near certainty now a local county council has withdrawn its opposition.


Dan Blocker, known to millions as Hoss in the Western series Bonanza, has died in Hollywood at the age of 43.


In motor racing, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Beltoise driving a BRM led from start to finish to win the Monaco Grand Prix.


JESSE: That was Radio Luxembourg, recorded just days before the Dead arrived. The fabulous 208, it was called in Britain, for its spot on the medium-wave radio band, but that’s in metric. It could be heard at 1440 AM in the UK, in Germany on the FM band, in France via long wave, and beyond via shortwave. Aiming itself from the hills of Luxembourg westwards towards the UK, it was heard likewise beyond the borders of the Communist nations to the east, at least where it wasn’t being jammed. Founded in 1933, Radio Luxembourg was the world’s first and biggest pirate radio station, defiantly sailing the airwaves of a dozen or more nations. For people in countries with tight national control over radio, which included both England and many countries in the eastern bloc, Radio Luxembourg was the only way to hear lots of rock music on the radio. We are so pleased to welcome to the Deadcast from Radio Luxembourg, the DJ who hosted the Dead’s visit, Kid Jensen.


KID JENSEN: My show on Radio Luxembourg was sort of a mid-evening program throughout Europe. The radio station had a gazillion listeners everywhere, so it was nice to garner so much interest for one of our programs. One week we’d be talking to Paul McCartney; another week, we’d be talking to Grace Slick. It was a magazine-type program that I was hosting at the time  — people would usually travel a long way to get to the Grand Duchy.


JESSE: Kid Jensen’s Dimension could be heard nightly on Radio Luxembourg. Kid Jensen still does radio, though he’s David Jensen now. You can catch both series 1 and series 2 of David Jensen’s Jazz on Jazz FM Premium. He’s also been involved with Parkinson’s UK, helping people live with Parkinson’s disease, and has a recent memoir, titled For the Record, available from Little Wing Books. In the spring of 1972, Kid Jensen met the Grateful Dead.


KID JENSEN: They created quite a bit of mayhem about them before actually arriving in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Rock Scully was the manager of both the Grateful Dead and the Beach Boys at that time. I got to know Rock Scully because he came to us touring a lot in Luxembourg, doing this and doing that. He touched base with us and asked what we thought about doing a thing at Radio Luxembourg and I said, “Why not? This concert hall is ideal for it.” He said, “Yes, this kind of 1950s Art Deco concert hall.”


JESSE: I don’t think Rock Scully served any time as a manager for the Beach Boys, but I like that timeline. Either way, something Rock was definitely very involved with was setting up the Dead’s live radio broadcasts. They’d revived the art form back home, and even brought it with them to Europe. In Denmark, they gave tapes of their first concert to Danish National Radio and, during their second, participated in the first totally live rock telecast in the country’s history. Like the BBC, Radio Luxembourg had recorded studio sessions in the past, but actually live performances were something different. We talked about the parallels between the Dead and the Beach Boys and here’s one more. In May of 1972, the Beach Boys and the Dead broke the live music barrier at Radio Luxembourg, the Beach Boys a week before the Dead. Somehow only monophonic tapes of the Beach Boys seem to survive, which is too bad, and they’re so cruddy we’re not even going to sample them here. Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: I really enjoyed Luxembourg. Which… we had a little jaunt into Luxembourg and, of course, it's a real tiny, tiny, tiny country. More like one of our smaller states or something. It’s really tiny. But it was just so quaint, and so… that would be, to me, the epitome of European culture, was Luxembourg. Just the look, and the smell and everything of it — it was just really uniquely European. That really stuck with me: Oh, this is Europe; this is how Europe is, and why it’s so beautiful. We just walked around it. There was no big deal around it, we were just there. Walking around it just gave me that sense of… this is why people love Europe.


JESSE: Mountain Girl.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: That was fascinating. Radio Luxembourg, as it turned out, was a giant fucking antenna up on whatever high spot they had in Luxembourg, which is not very many high spots. It was this building, and it had all this old gear in it, stuff to look at. It was partly a museum of old radio gear, with these tubes — stuff that had miraculously survived World War II, basically. I remember getting totally fascinated by their little museum there because it had all this old stuff, and it was really neat.


KID JENSEN: Jerry Garcia and a couple of the other guys went up to the northern part of Luxembourg, just to kind of see the views and look out and see the actual system, which is pumping out their sound, which is second only to Radio Cairo in those days in terms of getability. That was kind of exciting, seeing that done. But the Grateful Dead themselves loved it — they absolutely loved this part of the trip.


JESSE: Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux.


DAVID LEMIEUX: It's a theater that was designed for radio play, to mic it properly. It was an audience, but it was small — I think it was 500 people. It was designed that the band would play to an audience and get that energy, but it was mic-ed and it was designed so that it would sound pristine to be sent out around the world.


JESSE: Ben Haller of the light crew.


BEN HALLER: When we played in Luxembourg, at one point, one of the mysterious things about that was that it was a radio thing, and it was fortified. But it had tunnels that went out into the countryside, and [went for] miles and miles and miles through the countryside — so people could be brought in secretly and people could be extracted secretly. So it had that kind of weird interesting flavor to it. Were there Nazis here? Are we gonna find Hitler’s old mustache? What was gonna happen?


JESSE: For many, Radio Luxembourg was sonic liberation. From the grand duchy, the Dead’s music would travel well into the eastern bloc, if the station wasn’t being jammed by the Russians.


KID JENSEN: We used to get lots of letters. A Polish journalist said to me several years ago that the reason people still remember you so much from Poland now was that Radio Luxembourg was the sound of freedom. The Soviets would jam the signal — we always knew when they would do that, because you’d hear these sort of three beeps: beep, beep, beep. And that meant that three seconds later, you’re live to Poland or Czechoslovakia or wherever else was keeping those people down back in the mid-’70s.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: I know they worked really hard to have that come out, come off — because it was going to go basically all over the world. So they took it very seriously.


JESSE: The band had a whole day scheduled there for soundcheck, the only officially recorded soundcheck of the tour, included on the box set. Though the tour itinerary doesn’t always line up with actual travel, possibly this is from the day before the show, May 15th, 1972. It reveals the Dead playing a song that wasn’t in their normal repertoire just yet, though would be within a few months, though sung by somebody else.


AUDIO: “Big River (Sound Check)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/15 or 16/72]  (0:42-1:12) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: That was Jerry Garcia singing Johnny Cash’s “Big River.” Weir had sung it over New Year’s at Winterland, and it entered the band’s songlist permanently like that in September ‘72, but this oddity is pretty fun.


AUDIO: “Big River (Sound Check)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/15 or /16/72]  (1:43-2:13) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: This is from the great interview David Gans did with the late Grateful Dead manager Jon McIntire for the oral history This Is All a Dream We Dreamed.


JON McINTIRE [2011]: I remember it as being really, really weird. First of all, Luxembourg is a weird place.


DAVID GANS [2011]: How so?


JON McINTIRE [2011]: It's just really strange. I mean, like, try to find a good meal there —  you think you're in France, but then try to find a good meal! It’s just… and they have a language that’s a construct. It wasn’t a natural language, and they made it up. I don’t know, I just got weird feelings from Luxembourg… and that whole RTL being such a force in Europe, it’s like this technological presence. I don’t remember the music specifically; I just remember having weird feelings about the place and the whole thing. R-Tay-L is the French pronunciation of R-T-L, Radio Television Luxembourg. But it’s called RTL because that’s the way the French pronounce it.


JESSE: Philipe Sicard had caught both shows in Paris, and scored a ticket for Luxembourg.


PHILIPE SICARD: I had worked an odd job a few months earlier for a DJ for Radio Luxembourg; it’s a Luxembourg radio station. There was a branch of the radio station in Paris, and he was the official DJ of the Paris branch. So I worked for him, worked with them. He had a small store selling records, and he used me as someone who worked there. I worked only three or four months, just a month or a month and a half before the Dead shows.


JESSE: And then Philipe ran into his boss at the Olympia Theater Dead shows in early May.


PHILIPE SICARD: He was with the Dead — he was behind the scenes with them. He recognized me in the… I was near the stage, and he called me and he gave me a ticket to go see them in Luxembourg. Not only to me, to other people too. That's why there were many French people [that] went to Luxembourg. Not so many because it was a very small auditorium. So I had a free ticket, I gave some to my friends and we went to Luxembourg. I drove with a friend of mine to Luxembourg, which is about 250 kilometers from Paris. Luxembourg is a very small country — it's one of the smallest countries in the world. It's very tiny. It was raining, I remember that. Raining, hard rain. Raining all night. It was great to get into the auditorium there: it was a very state-of-the-art auditorium for that time. It was very small, about 400, 500 at most, a very small room. A very small auditorium, but it was very modern and very sophisticated. That’s why they played so well. The sound was fantastic. It was a bit different from Paris, but it was very, very good. It was a very short concert — short gig, because they had a slot.


JESSE: For Kid Jensen, it didn’t quite unfold as planned.


KID JENSEN: I was on stage with the band, getting ready to kind of see the band off on a gig which would eventually entail five hours. It was one of those marathon Dead concerts that became legendary. Anyway, suddenly I heard this… like a button, somebody was pushing or pressing something like a switchblade– well, might have been like a switchblade.


JESSE: Let’s pause here and flash back to what Steve Parish told us a few episodes back on the topic of switchblades.


STEVE PARISH: We bought them everywhere we could because they were illegal in America, man… if somebody was fucking with somebody here: “Blades!” And everybody would flick their switchblades. And fucking just that shut everybody up.


KID JENSEN: I heard this click, I looked down at my navel, and there wasn’t a navel anymore, there was a dagger, this  There was a dagger, this street knife was pointing at my stomach. And this guy says, “Who are you?” I said, “Sorry?” He said, “Who the fuck are you?” I said, “I’m Kid Jensen, this is my show, and the Grateful Dead are going to be doing interviews and talking about what they’re up to.” And he said, “There’s only one Kidd on this flight, and that’s me.”


JESSE: That would be Kidd Candelario telling Kid Jensen what’s what. Now, presumably moments after that happened, let’s send it over to 1972 era Kid Jensen on stage with the Dead at the Villa Louvigny.


KID JENSEN [5/16/72]: Thank you Mark Wesley, in the newsroom. This is Kid Jensen, good morning, in the Theatre Hall, in the Villa Louvigny in Luxembourg. And for the second time in the history of Radio Luxembourg, a three-hour live broadcast tonight, with one of the pioneer groups that have changed the whole course of contemporary music over their last seven years in existence. Originally a jug band in 1964, they are today rated as America’s finest. To all you listeners here in the hall, good morning; on shortwave around the world, three FM stations in Germany; on the French longwave; and on the medium wave band in Great Britain, 208 meters — Radio Luxembourg welcomes… the Grateful Dead!


AUDIO: “Bertha” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/16/72] (0:00-0:47) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


DAVID LEMIEUX: It's a condensed show. It's still a full two-set Grateful Dead show — a little bit shorter, all of the jams were a little bit shorter. “The Other One” isn’t 25 minutes, it’s shorter. But it’s a really well-played show. Like you said about Bickershaw, the rap is that they blew it at the big ones — and likewise, they might not have been able to play it up to the level of the radio. But at this show, they played a show that I think anybody tuning in would be intrigued [by]. They’d say, Wow, I want to know more about this band.


JESSE: In fact, like the band’s appearance on Danish television earlier in the tour, their slot on Radio Luxembourg was actually groundbreaking. European radio had tight restrictions on music that was actually live, which resulted in many artists recording sessions for various BBC programs. But in the spring of 1972, Radio Luxembourg offered extended performance slots to both the Beach Boys and the Grateful Dead. A few weeks later, Melody Maker in the UK ran an article titled, “The Dead in Luxembourg: A Sign of Hope.” Just like at home, the Dead were radio pioneers in Europe.


PHILIPE SICARD: It was supposed to be between midnight and two, and they played a little longer — about two and a half hours. You probably know that it was broadcast not only in Luxembourg, but Germany, France, [and] England. There were some people from Luxembourg of course, from Paris, and maybe a few Germans too. Because, as you know—or maybe you don’t know—Luxembourg is between France and Germany.


BOB WEIR [5/16/72]: Good morning, or good afternoon, or whatever it is wherever you are.


PHIL LESH [5/16/72]: A special hello to all our friends in California, where it’s now 4 o’clock in the afternoon and sunny.


PHILIPE SICARD: They played Hamburg just before coming to Paris. So maybe they handed over some free tickets to some Germans.


JESSE: At Radio Luxembourg, the Dead also experienced something else they were familiar with from home, but hadn’t yet encountered in Europe — too many fans. The Luxembourg Times noted that the show had been advertised as a free concert over the airwaves, but nobody had bothered to say anything about needing a ticket if they were going to come in person. The Dead’s reputation for free shows clearly preceded them.


KID JENSEN: It's probably closer to a scuffle than a riot I would say.


JESSE: This hadn’t happened to the Beach Boys. Melody Maker reported, “Because of a rather silly announcement on the French service of Luxembourg, several hundred Deadheads traveled from France thinking they would see a free concert with admission to all. They found that the station’s small theater, where the recording took place, held only 350. Some were left outside. There were scuffles with two security guards (really, just jobsworths). One guy in the crowd tried to climb in, fell 10 foot into the waterless moat, and suffered spinal injuries.” According to the Luxembourg Times, because of the confusion around ticketing, there still ended up being empty seats inside the tiny theater, with the Dead’s family sitting around them on the stage.


PHILIPE SICARD: All people were sitting because—the same as in Paris—there was no floor for dancing. People were very... they were not mad like in Paris, they were just very relaxed. And the Dead were very relaxed too of course, like always. And it was a very great [show]. To me, it was not as great as in Paris because it was not so many songs and [it] wasn't the same mood.


DAVID LEMIEUX: I love the Luxembourg show. Again, it reminds me a little bit of a full month earlier on April 14th at Tivoli. I used this rainbow kind of metaphor — the vibe, the colors I see when I listen to it, and the brightness of Tivoli, the first night.


JESSE: They did get some work done in Luxembourg. Sort of.


AUDIO: “Beat It On Down the Line” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/16/72] (0:00-0:25) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: It seems that the Luxembourg version of “Beat It On Down the Line” made it as far as the overdubbing process for inclusion on Europe ‘72. On July 10th, back at Alembic, Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, and Phil Lesh all did a round of vocals, wiping out their originals. If you’ve ever listened to the version of “Beat It On Down the Line” from Luxembourg and thought, wow, sweet harmonies, it’s ‘cause they’re overdubs.


AUDIO: “Beat It On Down the Line” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/16/72] (0:25-0:48) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Another moment that I like is when Bob Weir dedicates a song to his sweetie, and—in some accounts—inspiration for the particular song they’re about to play.


BOB WEIR [5/16/72]: If Frankie’s still listening, this one’s for you.


AUDIO: “Sugar Magnolia” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 17, 5/16/72] (0:00-0:14) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Frankie Weir was along for most of the Europe ‘72 tour, so perhaps she was just listening back in Paris. Who knows.


PHILIPE SICARD: It was rainy, was not very interesting. No, we went back right away after the show. We went to a bar to have a beer and then we rode back to Paris.


JESSE: The Melody Maker reported on the aftermath of the skirmish at the show. “There was 50 quid’s worth of damage to a door. Doubtless, seen through the eyes of many Luxembourg citizens, for whom the major spectacle in their lives has been the signing of the EEC papers there, it appeared like some riot… It’s a pity these bankers, restaurant owners, and shopkeepers could not have been inside that recording theater last Thursday. To see Jerry Garcia smile and smile and smile is something on its own. Still, if you were tuned in, you must have got the picture. There’s almost a visual element about live radio. You dig?” We do, actually.


PHILIPE SICARD: It was broadcast in France, so a friend of mine who couldn't come to Luxembourg recorded it on a tape. He recorded it from the radio show, because it was broadcast live. The sound was not great, but during the many years, it was the only tape I had of the Dead in Europe.


JESSE: Lots of the heads we spoke with for our episode about the UK shows were listening, too. 15-year-old Richard Parkinson had seen the Dead at Newcastle in April and was a big fan of Radio Luxembourg.


RICHARD PARKINSON: The first [record] I actually owned was Garcia, [Jerry’s] first solo record, which I won from a radio contest. And that was probably a couple of months before the concert. Radio Luxembourg [were] the people I won the Garcia album from. They used to have a rock show that would be on at one o’clock in the morning. Typically, you’d fall asleep just as it came on, the radio plugged to your ear. They used to have those acid batteries, before they [had] alkaline batteries, and the acid would weep out of them when they ran down. So you’d fall asleep at night, wake up and there’s acid all over your fingers and the radio. I heard the show on Radio Luxembourg.


JESSE: Chris Jones.


CHRIS JONES: The other thing for UK heads is Radio Luxembourg. They did a show, and I recorded that as well. Again, it was poor… Radio Luxembourg has poor reception. It’s worse, actually much worse, than being there and listening to the muddy sound of it. Poor reception going up and down, AM recording, AM broadcast. But again, that was another thing — I’d never heard of Radio Luxembourg doing a whole show like that, or a large part of it.


JESSE: Bill Giles.


BILL GILES: The other thing that we did get in the UK was Radio Luxembourg. Again, it was like: Oh wow, the Grateful Dead on the radio! Fantastic, far out! As, of course, it was. But 208 meters, medium wave, the same quality, and it wasn’t very good. There were sort of these blizzards of interference from Neptune or somewhere, when it became execrable.


JESSE: In the northwest, it came in loud and clear for Richard Parkinson.


RICHARD PARKINSON: Luxembourg, for some reason, actually carried, particularly on that summer night. I wouldn't even… I didn't even know to tape record it, to be honest. I wouldn’t have known how to tape anything. Because every tape recorder I’d ever seen at that point had a microphone on it, which you would have had to hold up to a transistor radio.


JESSE: Bill Giles was on it.


BILL GILES: I even stuck a microphone in front of my radio and was trying to record it. And I mean, the recording was utterly dreadful.


JESSE: Chris Jones, too.


CHRIS JONES: My dad had one of those what are called stereograms then, which was one of those things which could get the radio and I just put the mic next to the speaker, between the two speakers on the floor probably. So it would have been a pretty poor recording. But yeah, it was fun: it was something to do when you’re that age. As someone who had no real idea about audio back then — I mean, the stereo was a new thing for most of us in Britain in those days. I got my first stereo for my 21st birthday. That was a secondhand kit.


JESSE: But, hey, it was a Dead tape that had all those new songs.


BILL GILES: It wasn't an easy listen. I tried anyway.


JESSE: Simon Phillips had just recorded Bickershaw a week-and-a-half earlier. He knew better than to try to make a tape of Radio Luxembourg… but did so anyway.


SIMON PHILLIPS: In the UK, we only got Radio Luxembourg on the medium wave, and it fluctuated in and out — so you've got all this static. So you have two or three minutes of really clear music and then it would go [makes the sound of static]... disappear, and then drift back in. So it's never usable for a tape trade, but I had it. There were bits of it that were listenable.


AUDIO: [Radio Luxembourg jingle, 5/15/72]


PAUL BURNETT [Radio Luxembourg, 5/15/72]: It’s time to end another day of broadcasting originating from our studios in the Villa Lavigny in the city of Luxembourg — Luxembourg, Europe. We hope you enjoyed this program, and that you’ll join us tonight at 208 meters in the medium wave band, for more music at 7:30. This is Paul Burnett, on behalf of the entire staff and management of the English service of Radio Luxembourg, including DJs Kid Jensen, Dave Christian, Bob Stewart and Mark Wesley. Wishing you a pleasant good evening and good morning.


AUDIO: [Radio Luxembourg jingle, 5/15/72]




JESSE: From Luxembourg, the band made a second pass through Heidelberg en route to Munich. Steve Parish.


STEVE PARISH: The place where The Student Prince was written in Heidelberg. And then Keith Godchaux went off about that, playing and talking about all that — the story of The Student Prince and Heidelberg.


AUDIO: “Summertime in Heidelberg” [The Student Prince, 1954] (0:16-0:46) - [YouTube]


JESSE: That was “Summertime in Heidelberg,” from the 1924 operetta by Sigmond Romberg, based on the earlier play Old Heidelberg. Keith Godchaux’s father Hal directed a version in 1964 and it’s a good bet that Keith absorbed it while playing as a teenager in the pit orchestra. I wish we had more stories from Keith on Europe ‘72, but if you’d like to know more, check out our “Enter Keith Godchaux” episode from last season.


STEVE PARISH: We were so stoned on acid that that day we went walking around, and we were so high, we laid on the bus for hours. A couple of us had gone to a souvenir shop in Heidelberg, they had all these skulls, right? They were rubber skulls, but when you pressed on the top of them, they had a laugh machine in ‘em, and they’d start laughing hysterically. So when you're high on acid, and you're hearing this skull laugh in your head, everybody just laughing along with this skull. We were pulling the batteries in and out and stopping it, and it was just hilarious.


So we start walking around the town and we come to the castle. On this castle is a bas relief, up and down the castle, and these faces of all these people. So we’re looking at ‘em, and we go, Oh, there’s a lady-in-waiting, there’s a priest. And then we go, “Wait a minute, who are these people?” And they looked like fools, fools of the kind [that are] makin’ faces, no masks. You could tell from the structure of their faces and their teeth that they were fools. And so there we saw St. Dilbert, and we named it that. St. Dilbert [was] also represented.


ALAN TRIST: Southern Germany was very different. I remember visiting that incredible castle of Ludvig or somebody, up on the hill with several people. You got a sense of the old European castle builders in that showing, in that castle in Munich.


JESSE: Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: One thing that was very important to me, was being around Pigpen. When he was offstage, he was more subdued. Like when Keith and I talked with him in that hotel room in Heidelberg, Germany, almost all day, he was very subdued, but very clear. And sweet — just his sweetness was something that was just… I'll never forget [it].




STEVE PARISH: That whole fucking tour wherever you pulled into every truck, stop wherever we try to eat — here's 50 motherfucking hungry, stoned hippies coming into these truck stops. They weren't ready for us. Very different than American truck stops. So all they had ready to go was wienerschnitzel, all throughout Germany. “You know what, can I get a hot dog? Can I get a hamburger?” “No, we have wienerschnitzel.” So that’s all we ate, and we were sick of it, man.


JESSE: Mountain Girl.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: We did worry about the European cops. The drivers asked us a few times not to smoke on the bus, and so we'd have little stops along the way. Get off and puff, get off and puff and go back on again. But then they loosened up after a while. I mean, they kind of had to. So it took a little while to get all that straightened out. But we had some very good grass with us: thank you, whoever [or] whatever angel dropped down in our lap when we got there. At customs, they definitely… they really liked lookin’ us over very closely.


Moving through an international border, for most of us who had never done that before, this was all new territory.  Our tour manager handled those with considerable grace and aplomb. He just went out there and did what he did and everything was fine. Oh, wait a minute: except for going to Germany! I remember that. We did have a little… we had a little issue going into Germany, and I think it cost Rock a couple hundred bucks there. They let us through, but it took cash. But they didn't like us. That was the thing, they didn't like us there in Germany. You can hear them talking. Anyway, that all worked out. Germany was just so different. It's such a different place to be from the happy dance we'd been doing for England and France.


JESSE: During one of the band’s German tour stops, Jerry Garcia got some songwriting done. Because the song didn’t emerge on stage until after the band’s return home, I’m going to guess it was later in the tour. Robert Hunter had written the lyrics nearly two years earlier at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. In Europe, Garcia finally found the melody.


AUDIO: “Stella Blue” [Download Series 10, 7/21/72] (0:23-0:53) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: The band debuted “Stella Blue” at their first show after Europe, at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17th. That was from Seattle on July 21st, volume 10 of the Download Series, but we’ll have to wait ‘till another episode to go into “Stella Blue.” The crew used their free time in Munich for less sensitive activities.


STEVE PARISH: Of course, we had to go to a German beer hall in Munich. We went to the one right where Hitler had his beer hall putsch-ed, man. The fuckin’ famous Munich putsch, man, where he tried to get the Nazi Party shoved down everybody’s throat, but it backfired on him. And so here were the girls, and you go and piss in a big trough with all these other drunk Germans, and then you’re in this fuckin’ place and the twomen are carrying these steins, four in a hand, they had these giant ones that you’re drinking… See, I didn’t like beer until I tasted German beer and English beer. Wow! At that time, there were no breweries in America like that, making real beer. It was all just phony beer, as I call it, 3.2 [%] - this was real fucking strong beer. And so we got pretty messed up.


ALAN TRIST: Munich is a very interesting town. It felt like modern Germany connecting with the southern part of Europe. It was very good. I do remember this one journalist who—I forget her name—later visited us in ‘74 on tour in London. I forget what she wrote for, but she must have been one of the press people that I was involved with.


JESSE: To guide us through Munich in 1972, please welcome local head Thomas Storch, then a teenager.


THOMAS STORCH: In Southern Germany, it’s a beer town. It's politically conservative. But in that particular moment in history, it was really blooming up. It was the year of the Olympics: Munich was awarded the Olympic Summer Games in 1972, a few years earlier. So the last four to five years [prior], I was going to school at Schwabing, almost in the middle of town. Everything started to be upgraded In view of the Olympics coming, and Munich being the shop window of Germany for the world. That was 36 years after the Olympics in Berlin, Hitler's Olympics. And now the idea was to present the new democratic Germany that was part of the Western unit: part of NATO, part of the European community, and peaceful. A lot of money flew into Munich from the state government, from the federal government — we got our subway train installed; we got a pedestrian zone in the middle of the city, where there were cars and buses and a lot of dirt. All of a sudden, it was wide open and light and friendly for the summer of the Olympics, or the whole spring, leading into the summer.


JESSE: In the Dead’s Europe ‘72 files are some articles about opportunities for pop groups at the Munich Olympics, and perhaps it was in the original conception of the trip.


THOMAS STORCH: They let go of the strict German rules at that time, where the shops had to close at six in the evening. Everything was closing and on Saturdays, everything was closing at 12 noon, including of course, record stores and everything else. And all of a sudden, you could go shopping at nine in the evening, listen to music in a head shop, buy records, and meet a lot of people that you hadn't met before. Shirokko was one of those stores that came up in Munich.


JESSE: From 1970 until it closed in 2015, Shirokko was a nerve center of the Munich music scene, selling magazines, comics, records, and more.


THOMAS STORCH: Shirokko was incubated in the back of a photo shop in Schwabing, which Irmgard Weigelt led. She was the lady that was responsible for a lot of people finding the music that would shape their life, if I can use the big words here, because she was really good at it. She would talk to people, find out their interests, and then start asking them, “Have you listened to this? You may want to listen to that.” And she was the one that in 1972— sometime early, maybe in April and March when tickets went on sale—told me, “there's this band coming to the Deutsches Museum called the Grateful Dead that you may or may want to see. They may be in your pocket.”


JESSE: Irmgard Weigelt’s store became a home for local psychedelic bands.


THOMAS STORCH: I think she actually managed Amon Düül for a bit.


AUDIO: “Phallus Dei” [Amon Düül II, Phallus Dei] (4:24-4:54) - [Spotify]


JESSE: That was Amon Düül II, the title track of their 1969 album, Phallus Dei.


THOMAS STORCH: We had a hippie scene in Munich, obviously. There's the infamous story of one of the more prominent communes, which also had ties to the Amon Düül group, sort of hijacked Peter Green a couple of years earlier, and put him on acid and he never recovered. So the story goes. Those were members of the so-called High-Fish Commune. There were a bunch of those, either living in big old flats in Schwabing or, by that time, having moved out to the country somewhere.  I think Amon Düül were living out in the country and they split into two groups at some point. I sort of knew it marginally, because all those guys were — again, I was 16, and the Düüls were in their early to mid-20s. So that was like hippie aristocracy.


JESSE: Amon Düül I and the slightly slicker Amon Düül II were homegrown bands of the Munich commune scene, and oddball entries into the already odd world of kosmische music that we discussed in our West Germany episode. The late Peter Leopold was drummer in the original Amon Düül and the early iteration of Amon Düül II. Gerhard Ruhl, Irmgard’s son who owned Shirokko later, remembered that Peter Leopold, “regularly sat in the imitation leather beanbag… and scrutinized every customer, squinting over his glasses and asking, ‘do you like the Dead?’”


AUDIO: “Phallus Dei” [Amon Düül II, Phallus Dei] (7:15-7:45) - [Spotify]


JESSE: Something else happened around this point in the tour, which we’ll acknowledge here. There are no known photographs of the Dead’s gig in Luxembourg on May 16th. There are, however, photographs of the Dead in Munich, two days later. In the Munich photos, Jerry Garcia’s Stratocaster has a new sticker on the pickguard that wasn’t there when the Dead played in Lille — a very hungry Alligator with a fork and knife and bib.


STEVE PARISH: It was a real particular favorite of mine — a Stratocaster, which was given to him by Graham Nash. When I was on the first tour away from everybody with Jerry and Hooteroll? with Howard Wales, we were up in upstate New York in the winter, and that guitar just completely fell apart on the first note Jerry played. So I had put this other plate on there, a masonite plate to replace what cracked from the cold weather. And it was a moment between me and Jerry where he was playin’, and I put all the guts back into the guitar, taped ‘em in there. It was a cool thing. So we love that guitar.


JESSE: We went into the backstory of Alligator in our Black Peter episode during season 1 of the Deadcast, when we were joined by none other than Graham Nash. In addition to stickers on the exterior, the interior of the Stratocaster were significantly modified as well. One of the two Alembic technicians responsible for working on Alligator was Rick Turner, the guitar genius we spoke with during our Skull and Roses: Side B episode, and had hoped to speak with further.


RICK TURNER: Alligator was this constant work-in-progress.


JESSE: Rick was a master brass worker, which we talked about last time.


RICK TURNER: Alligator just kind of evolved out of that whole throw a bunch of brass at it and see what happens [attitude].


JESSE: Earlier this year, Rick passed away suddenly, and enormous love to his family, friends, and colleagues. Our friends Tim Lynch and David Gans spoke with Rick about Alligator on the KPFA fundraising marathon in 2020. Thanks to them for this audio. Please support KPFA and/or your local noncommercial radio station.


RICK TURNER [2/15/20]: Jerry brought it to us at Alembic which was, at that time, in San Francisco, over on Judah Street, to Alembic-ize. In those days, we were just starting to build instruments from scratch. But modding existing instruments was… that's what you did. A lot of that was thanks to Bear, who never saw a piece of equipment that he didn't think he could make better. Jerry brought it to us and [said], “What can you do?” It originally had… I hate to call ‘em tremolos, because they’re actually vibratos. He didn’t like that, so we filled the cavity with  polyurethane and I put in what I was developing as the Alembic bridge, with a block of brass under it, a sustain block. One thing led to another and it came through our hands probably five or six times — each time, different things got added. Eventually, it became the first instrument that we put one of the Ron Wickersham-designed Stratoblasters into a preamp. That would do two things: it would allow a greater output from the instrument, but it would also decouple the instrument from the cable. So all highs that were sparkly highs that were in the pickup would make it to the amplifier.


JESSE: The photos show the sticker going onto the guitar in either Munich or Luxembourg, but Steve Parish remembers the sticker arriving in a different city, but provides us with the origin story.


STEVE PARISH: That was the guitar he was playing that day. We were in London, and we were in this place that was like a cathedral. We’re in there in the afternoon, Kidd was playing around with this airplane that he’d got in England — you could wind it up, and it would shoot across the room and fly. We were paying attention to that. And Jerry was always there early with us when we set up. He was now tinkering around with the guitar, and in comes Sonny Heard. Heard had been out shopping in London, and he found all these stickers. We couldn’t believe how cool they were, man. “Wow, look at these!” They were really beautiful. There was one of an alligator with a big dinner bib on, and a knife and fork in each hand, and he’s just drooling, coming for dinner. And so we stuck that right on that guitar, and that guitar at that moment became the Alligator.


JESSE: So the Alligator sticker came to the guitar by way of Sonny Heard. Muddying the waters slightly, there are photos of Kidd Candelerio flying a model airplane around a big cathedral-like venue during soundcheck — but they’re from the Musikhalle of Hamburg. Uli Teute and Volkmar Rupp created an offline collection of dated Dead photos, which we spoke about in our West Germany episode. Uli is especially engaged by the Alligator mystery.


ULI TEUTE: Nobody ever claimed copyright to it. Nobody gets any credit for being the designer. But we know it must [have been] between Lille and Munich, and it became the most famous sticker on this guitar, because the guitar was named after it. One thing is for sure: the alligator is going out for a meal. Yeah. He has his fork and his knife ready, and he has his napkin around… so he's going out for food. This sticker has to come from a food place: I'm sure about that. When you drive from Lille to Luxembourg, which was the gig in-between, you drive through Belgium — you don't drive to France. It's a short way to drive from Belgium to Luxembourg, and instead to drive to France. And my take on the alligator is that it was like a roadside fast food place for French fries. Belgium is famous for French fries. I can't prove it — it's just a feeling. We didn't see it in Lille. We see it in Munich, in between is Luxembourg. When you go from Lille to Luxembourg, you drive through Belgium. And Belgium is famous for French fries. They travel by bus; they need something to eat. They stop over. They walk in. And: Hey, look at this.


JESSE: Our attempts to track down Alligator in the annals of Belgian pomme frites art have so far proven unsuccessful, and there are no known photos of the Luxembourg show. But by the time the band hit Munich, Alligator was ready to bear its teeth. Here’s a story about the Munich show that doesn’t turn up on the tape quite as described, nor in the newspaper reviews or memories we’ve been able to locate, so let’s say that maybe this happened during the soundcheck. It’s a great story and I have no doubt that it occurred in at least one fractalization of the Grateful Dead multiverse. Take it away, Sam Cutler.


SAM CUTLER: Another memorable occasion was in Munich. We played in the Munich Opera House — this fucking bulding, right, huge old building that had been there from some stupid date, 1750, and had survived the Second World War bombing of Munich and god knows what else. We were playing there and there was this fire marshal who had the unfortunate characteristic of looking exactly like Adolf Hitler. He actually had a mustache that was like what Hitler had, a little kind of mustache right in the middle under his nose. So we all thought this was hilarious. He had to be 75, if not 80, and his whole thing was no one can smoke. There’s no smoking: ‘Nicht! Ist verboten! Ist verboten!” We used to walk around going, “ist verboten!” and completely fucking ignoring him, smoking joints and everything. The guy was getting so worked up about it. Anyway, the concert started and that was all good. Did a couple of numbers. And Garcia decided that he wanted to smoke a joint. So he’s got a joint in his pocket, already rolled — you ain’t gonna roll a joint onstage, he just pulls it out. Lights up, takes a couple of tokes, and he puts it on an ashtray on top of his amp. So this guy, the fire marshal, has got a bronze helmet on that makes him look like Alexander the Great. Incredible helmet. And he sees all this shit going on and the smoke coming out of the ashtray on top of Garcia’s amp, and he’s not having it. So he takes a bucket of water, runs forward, and dumps it on top of the ashtray. A whole bucket of water! Can you imagine? I mean, it’s a miracle the guy wasn’t killed. Anyway, there’s this blinding flash that you would not fucking believe.


AUDIO: [explosion sound effect]


SAM CUTLER: All the lights go out, and a third of Munich now has no electricity. A third of a city of like 3 million people. No electricity, man. Right? So then, of course, everybody in the audience pulls out their lighters. This is all like no smoking, no light, no smoking, no flames, and they're all sitting there with their lighters. Chaos, chaos. Eventually, after about 15 minutes of being in the dark, the emergency generators kick in. There’s at least a little bit of light, and this guy comes up to me and goes, “Hey, are you the manager?” “Yeah.” So the manager of the building needs to see me — emergency, like now. So I see the manager of the building, and he says, “Somebody attacked the fire marshal.” And I’m like, “No… really? Terrible. Oh god.” And then he goes, “Yeah, and the fire marshall lost his helmet.” So I’m trying not to laugh, this fucking brass helmet. He said, “That helmet has been in the Munich Opera House since the time of Napoleon.” Yeah, right… 1812 or something. He says, “We have to have it back. It’s a valuable artifact.” “I don’t know who has got it, but I’ll do my best.” I don’t know who fuckin’ had it, because the crew kicked his ass and stole his helmet. So I got them all together and said, “Listen, in the interest of American-German relations—and the electricity ain’t gonna come back on until this happens—I’ve got to have the helmet back, no questions asked.” And miraculously, the helmet appeared. The old bastard got the fucking helmet put on his head, and then I had a German girl there and I was telling her exactly what I said that she refused to say. But basically I said, “If you fucking do anything like that again, we’ll fucking drag you out the back and shoot ya… kick your ass. It’ll be fucking worse than that. It was still more than your helmet. We’ll fuckin’ take your head off your shoulders.” “He’s an old man, I can’t say this to him!” I said, “You tell him that.”


JESSE: As local Dead freak Thomas Storch points out, the Kongresshalle at the Deutsches Museum was a newer venue, built after World War II, and perhaps Sam is recalling a skirmish at a more venerable institution. Or, on the other hand, Thomas also points out Phil Lesh’s announcement that begins the official recording of the Munich show.


PHIL LESH [5/18/72]: We’re having a few minor technical difficulties, so we know that you’ll understand…


JESSE: Let’s just say the helmet got returned. There were lots of Southern German Dead fans about to see their first Dead show. Mimi Jones was not one of them.


MIMI JONES: After I graduated from high school, I had gone off to college and dropped out promptly after a quarter because I thought, eh, I'm not ready for that. My family was living in Germany for a year, so I fooled around for a bit and went over there with them. But prior to that, we used to go, in high school — in fact, my mom and dad would let me go on school nights, up to Winterland. They had no idea what was going on. I have a twin brother and he had gone with my folks and I had gone off to school. So I come over there, college dropout. We see that they're playing and we just said, “Oh my god, we have to go do this, because this is going to be nuts.” I want to say it was a weeknight because it looked like people were coming home from work. It was at 5 or so, 6 or so in the evening. So there were people riding the train home, or the streetcar home — they were all in their business clothes. Of course, they always looked like they were in their business clothes in Germany. But anyway, I remember we took some purple microdots. I remember coming onto that, on the streetcar with my brother and going, “Oh boy, are we really doing this?” I remember riding the streetcar and seeing all the people in their suits and trying not to laugh because… you know how that goes. Maybe you know, I don't know.


JESSE: Oh, we know.


MIMI JONES: Then we went in, made it into the beautiful hall. I had been there before in the day[time], just to visit and see the museum. So I knew what it looked like. I just remember it was glorious — it was so elegant. I remember thinking, Oh, this is really pretty in here. I remember coming, arriving, having to have a beer because it was just too weird. And beer was always plentiful and good there, so that was a good thing. Sitting in this beautiful, all white marble alcove that was the coffee area, where they served beer in the evening. There were chandeliers and gold, the antithesis to what Winterland was. Then we went to go in, and it’s all rows of chairs. They were white chairs. I remember looking at my brother and going, “Huh. This is gonna be interesting.” Because you can’t sit still when they’re playing.


AUDIO: “Truckin’” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (0:32-0:55) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


THOMAS STORCH: Kongresshalle in the Deutsches Museum, which was a seated hall, narrow and very long. It was unfortunate, because if you were in the back you may have had good sound, but you didn’t see a lot. It was a long room. I was fortunate that I had tickets in the fourth row. So I could see what was going on on stage. My girlfriend and I were seated pretty much center, fourth row. It was like the 10th or 12th concert I saw, and from the very beginning, I had the feeling this was different. All the other bands I’d seen so far, there seemed to be an immediate wall or some sort of curtain between the band and the audience. The band was always on some sort of pedestal, and usually the lead singer or the guitar player was on a pedestal. So it was a hierarchy between the star and his band, and then there’s us. With the Grateful Dead, it seemed like there were five or six people walking onto the stage, taking up their instruments, joking among each other, joking among the guys in the first row. They seemed to be some of us, only a bit older.


AUDIO: “Truckin’” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (8:22-8:45) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: David Lemieux.


DAVID LEMIEUX: I really do like the Munich show a lot. It was given big consideration for release on its own at one time or another. Munich has the Hamburg vibe —  dark. It's a dark energy.


THOMAS STORCH: I didn't know anything about the Grateful Dead, really, at that point. I had one album Garcia’s solo album. That was the one. Other than that, I didn't have any Grateful Dead records. And they played one song, I think off Garcia's album.


AUDIO: “Sugaree” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (1:02-1:27) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


MIMI JONES: You don't sit in a chair; who sits in a chair? So we decided we wouldn't sit in the chairs. We got up when the music was starting, we’re dancing around in our little spot there. And the guys came over and said, “Nein, nein, nein!” In German, they told us we had to sit down. We just looked at them and just laughed. My brother has kind of a firm voice, and he just probably looked at them and said, “Nope.” In German. Nope, it's not gonna happen. So it escaped me… not gonna to happen. And so we didn't: we stood up and danced and had a great time, as far as I recall. Other people were beginning to stand up and dance too. And they probably realized, well, this is a lost cause because, pretty soon, everybody's going to be standing up. I think we just happened to be the first people, or one of the first people, to get up and do what you do when the Dead are playing.


JESSE: Those American heads, always setting good examples.


THOMAS STORCH: Three songs in, they had three different lead singers already. You wouldn't know if the fourth guy, the freaky guy with a bass, if he would just start singing a song of his own very, very soon.


AUDIO: “I Know You Rider” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (5:55-6:22) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


MIMI JONES: They were just beginning to be worldwide I think, and it felt like—I felt like—I was the old hand. Like: okay, you guys, this is what you're supposed to do. They were very formal, tapping their toes and sitting in their chairs, and drinking their beers outside; you couldn't drink in the hall itself. Then they loosened up.


THOMAS STORCH: I was fascinated, and I realized: this is something else. And I remember at 20 marks in my pocket to go for something. At intermission, I went out, and there was a stand there for one of the local record stores. They had four or five piles of albums, what was then the Grateful Dead oeuvre: they had Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty, Live/Dead of course, Skull and Roses, maybe a couple more. And a couple t-shirts with the Skull and Roses design. It was a matter of either-or: LPs would cost 18 marks, and the t-shirt was about the same. So I went for the record, and I didn’t know what to get. I went by the pictures — I thought, well, graphically, Workingman’s Dead looks the most interesting. So I went for that, bought that one, carried it for the remainder of the show and took it home with me. I listened to it and liked it a lot, and realized — this is not what I just heard in the concert. This is a different kind of Grateful Dead.


JESSE: Thomas got to do some sightseeing during the set break as well.


THOMAS STORCH: I realized there were a lot of really long hairs that you wouldn't see a lot in the city at that point, at least not in that concentration. During the intermission, there were a lot of people walking in the aisles with the big caftan coats, like the Afghan stuff that came over. It was a sight to see, but it was… those were people you looked kind of up on, and they looked kind of arrogantly down on you, because we were the young folk. We were not interested at that point. I wasn’t taking any drugs at that age. I didn’t know how to put my finger on it then, but in retrospect, it seems like it was like a meeting of the cognoscenti: they all gathered together because the Grateful Dead were coming, and they were the catalyst for a certain scene. Everybody felt kind of drawn to it. I think if I remember correctly—I should try to find it again—[there was] an article that appeared in the local newspaper, the leading newspaper. Maybe Gerhard Rühl quotes it. It was written by Rainer Langhans, who was one of the members of the Kommune. He was a boyfriend of Uschi Obermaier for a while, and Uschi was the pin-up girl who also had a fling with Jagger. I think she was good friends with Keith [Richards] and the Rolling Stones in general. She’s still some sort of local icon.


JESSE: Uschi Obermaier and Rainer Langhans were centers of the radical Munich commune world, an underground power couple associated with Kommune-1, and a deep tangent we don’t quite have the space for today. 


THOMAS STORCH: Langerhans wrote the review of the show. I remember that he seemed to talk more about the audience than about the music. My memory is fading at this point. But he was kind of acknowledging the fact that this was like a meeting of him and his friends from the I don't know from the country hippiedom of whatever.


JESSE: At least in the Rainer Langhans review I’ve been able to locate, he wasn’t impressed by the mere rock and roll and country and blues of the first set, but was more into the second. He gave readers a German taste of the Signpost To New Space interview of which we’re all so fond. Langhans doesn’t mention it, but in Munich, Alligator got to play “Dark Star.”


AUDIO: “Dark Star” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (1:46-2:07) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Please welcome back musicologist Graeme Boone.


GRAEME BOONE: Curiously, Jerry hits that “Dark Star” riff of his an octave low[er]. What that does is mark an articulation so they can start the next part of this great first jam. You can hear that triplet style that he uses: da, da, da, da, da, da, 1-2-3, 1-2-3. Bill, getting into the middle of it — really strong playing. It’s so nice, Jerry’s very present, he’s just not dominating. Everybody is standing out.


JESSE: David Lemieux.


DAVID LEMIEUX: It's got that kind of dark energy from Miami of 1989 — that big “Dark Star” in Miami ‘89, where they go very deep. Our good friend in Portland, Mr. Completely, he was not only there, but he’s also got a very good critical ear. He’s very descriptive. That Miami “Dark Star,” his descriptions of it are just perfect. I wasn’t there, but I’ve listened to it enough. He just paints that color.


JESSE: David is referring to our episode from last year titled “Infrared Roses” that delved into the Dead’s MIDI years, and the Miami ‘89 “Dark Star” in particular.


DAVID LEMIEUX: That's kind of the vibe I get from the Munich show, and the “Dark Star” itself. It's a very long “Dark Star.”


GRAEME BOONE: The middle of an intense, dramatic jam: Jerry, picking sharp, shards of chromatic bending notes. Phil, throwing out intense feedback with those low dyads, often centering on D but sounding like they’re coming from some deep space cataclysm. Both sounds turn into incredible vibrations that rumble out of the amplifier. Now, both Keith and Phil have dropped out, and we have a duet between Jerry and Bob — even Bill drops. Here we have a chance to really listen to the way Bob thinks and feels his way through his guitar playing.


JESSE: Probably around this time, Mr. Completely’s heady German forerunners were floating over the concert hall, looking down at the stage. We’ll drop us back down into the middle of what tapers call the Tiger Jam, with Garcia leaning on his wah-wah pedal to create wild space growling.


GRAEME BOONE: We’re at the end of this great Tiger Jam, still going super, super chromatic, super jagged. Everybody pitching in — it starts to come out. Jerry, slowing it down, Keith slowing it down. Getting a little bit quieter. Then the note of D starts to emerge. Jerry, starting a picking riff around D. And all of a sudden, Phil emerges in the key of D. Bob and Keith, everybody in the new home of D major. Jerry settling down the music. Out of it all comes “Morning Dew.” Feels like it’s a distant planet… at the same time, feels like home.


JESSE: And so it was — the first “Dark Star” into “Morning Dew,” perhaps the heaviest of Dead transitions, one they’d play another half-dozen times or so before through their road hiatus in October 1974.


AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (0:45-1:14) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


THOMAS STORCH: One fun fact, or a sad fun fact: I couldn't stay for the whole show. What was also unusual [is that] they played longer than most bands. I was chaperoning my girlfriend who was underage, and her father was supposed to pick her up in front of the venue. We set a time which I thought would leave us enough time to, after the show, have a beer somewhere and talk about the show. But it turned out the Dead… I was keeping [time], looking at my watch, and the Dead were still playing. Eventually, I said, “Well, I think we do have to go, because your father will be there and there will be no place to park — he will pick you up on the run in front of the building.” So we had to leave. From the setlist, I found out later that we left on the last song before the final song. I think “Sing Me Back Home,” we left during that. I remember it was a slow song that we left during, but I think it was either 11:30 or approaching 12.


AUDIO: “Sing Me Back Home” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (5:28-6:00) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: A sad sweet song for a sad sweet story. But more sweet, because Thomas was now a Dead freak. He did go home with a new copy of Workingman’s Dead, but there was one problem.


THOMAS STORCH: It was missing the one song that really stuck in my mind. I didn't know what it was; I just knew there was this one song with sort of—I wasn't a musician then, I didn’t know a lot of music—a descending chord sequence. Four descending chords: very distinctive. I’m talking about “Jack Straw.” It wasn’t out there. So after that May show, the first thing after I didn’t find the song on Workingman’s Dead, I started going through all the back catalog: buying some, borrowing some, and not finding “Jack Straw,” because it wasn’t out there. Then in November or December, walking through the city and some other record store shop window, they had the Europe ‘72 album. I didn’t know that was coming out, [and it was] in the window. A couple days later, I went out and bought it, and there I had my “Jack Straw.”


AUDIO: “Jack Straw” [Europe ‘72] (3:49-4:14) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: It’d be a few years yet before Thomas hit the Dead tape trading scene and found a copy of the Munich show.


THOMAS STORCH: Maybe the first one actually was an audience [tape], but the next one was a sixth or seventh generation soundboard cassette. I went through a couple of different versions and I got as far as… I think it was a second generation, claimed to be a second generation, but was probably a third or fourth generation cassette of at least the second set of the Munich show, which had the “Dark Star.” I got [it] from a friend in Felton in California, near Santa Cruz. I stayed at his house and, some late night, dubbed that tape from his state-of-the-art tape deck. Everything in his house was dusty except for his photographs and his tape collection. I dubbed the tape—not even listening, because we were talking—onto my Walkman, what was then a state-of-the-art tape machine. I remember driving back to the Bay Area to my other friends’ where I was staying, stopping at a foggy beach somewhere north of Santa Cruz. I listened to the tape for the first time walking a foggy beach in California, listening to the Munich “Dark Star.” I’d never heard it so clear — that was fantastic.


AUDIO: “Dark Star” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 18, 5/18/72] (12:42-13:12) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


Gap Days


JESSE: If you glance at the Europe ‘72 itinerary, you’ll notice a five-day gap between the show in Munich on the 18th of May and the opening night at the Lyceum on the 23rd of May. It wasn’t an intentional gap, but it also underscores one of the only slight problems of the tour. There weren’t enough gigs for Jerry Garcia. Sam Cutler.


SAM CUTLER: Jerry is one of those guys, like many great musicians, but perhaps unique, in that he wanted to play every day. He couldn't be asked too much: he’d play in the daytime, he’d play in the evening, but certainly every day. So you can’t lump around Europe with 50 or 60 people and play every day. It just isn’t… you might be able to do it nowadays with your own airplane and buh buh buh buh buh. But back in 1972, that was impossible. So, as it happened, at the end of the tour, the only thing that Jerry was unhappy about was that he hadn’t played enough. But from a management perspective—no, this might be a bit cruel to say—but in a sense, you want to keep them hungry. You need Jerry… it’s not just another gig, it’s a gig that he spent three days waiting to play, and he’s just itching to get out there, just throw some hand grenades there and really make it happen. So that was one of the reasons I think, among many, why the tour was a great success musically.


JESSE: Mountain Girl.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: I think they wanted… what he really wanted was more rehearsal time. Because that's the only way he could keep in shape physically for playing a full gig. He really wanted to be able to rehearse a couple hours a day and that just wasn't on the menu. He grumbled about that; he did pretty frequently. A tour is not in my control or the band's control. It's already all set up; you can't fix it. You're stuck with whatever was laid down three months ago by somebody: the various hotel reservations, the scheduling, all of that stuff. You’ve gotta be there at X hour, and it’s already like… you’re lookin’ at your wristwatch all the time.


I really had a great time on that tour. It just had its hurdles for us as non-performers: not on the crew, not playing on stage, just coming along. That was a little odd sometimes, to not have a role. I’m used to having a role. I was the tech for the Acid Test: I ran all the gear, I did all that stuff. I didn’t have a role in all of this, within the Grateful Dead world. That was tough. I like to work… I like to work. I was either hanging out by the back door to make sure nothing got stolen — because, you know, the band’s on stage, nobody’s lookin’ at the door. I would hang out backstage and just observe. I would go as an observer. If everything seemed okay, I would sit out front somewhere. I was very critical, and I needed to keep my inner critic satisfied. [laughs] I really loved just being very open to whatever they played, super observant about who was not really hitting that intro piece, stuff like that. And then Jerry and I would talk about it later. There wasn’t much for me to be a functionary, other than just coming along as the missus. That was fun. I wanted to stay free and clear and available to run to the store and get beer, basically. That was it, or change money — tiny tasks. I took on tiny tasks.




JESSE: The original tour contracts had actually specified two trips to Switzerland, with two gigs at to-be-determined venues between May 13th and May 16th, and another between May 20th and 24th. They were the only unspecified venues on the itinerary.


STEVE PARISH: We couldn't get enough enthusiasm for all these shows in Switzerland. So we went there anyway, and it was beautiful.


SAM CUTLER: You can't go everywhere. We didn't go to Italy, we didn't go to Spain. There's only so many gigs you can put together, the travel and all that. The fact of the matter is we could have done a lot more gigs and had a lot less people. But it was a compromise.


JESSE: I’ll throw some speculation into the mix here, as well. In February, when the contracts were signed, Swiss promoter Claude Nobs had recently lost his primary venue in Montreux when it burned down. You might know the story. If not, allow Deep Purple to fill you in.


AUDIO: “Smoke on the Water” [Deep Purple, Machine Head] (0:00-0:13) - [Spotify]


JESSE: It actually takes them a moment to get to the storytelling part, so, like, fire up your smoke machines and fix yourself a drink while Deep Purple rattles your skull.


AUDIO: “Smoke on the Water” [Deep Purple, Machine Head] (0:51-1:23) - [Spotify]


JESSE: Ergo, “Smoke on the Water,” in which the Montreux Casino burned down in early December 1971. Then, just as the Dead were coming through in the spring, a certain other band commandeered another likely spot—the Rialto Theater—for a few weeks of rehearsals before their own world tour.


AUDIO: “Tumbling Dice” [Rolling Stones, Montreux ‘72] (0:08-0:36) - [YouTube]


JESSE: That was the Rolling Stones at the Rialto Theater in mid-May 1972, a video clip that was incidentally aired on the same episode of the Beat-Club as the Dead. Anyway, memories are blurry. There’d be at least one Stones/Dead crossover in Switzerland, but we’ll hold off on that momentarily. There were no gigs, but many memorable moments. Steve Parish.


STEVE PARISH: When the sun came up—we're still on the bus, all night—and now we're in Switzerland. We're in Lake Lucerne, and that's where our destination was. We're crossing over this bridge and we pull over because there was a double rainbow over this lake, man. It was another lake in Switzerland; I don't remember the [name] of it. But we crossed over this bridge that was a wrought iron bridge and we pulled the two buses over, right? So I get out, and then I take [a photo of] that iconic double rainbow that day. I think it was Mountain Girl that saw it first, so we pulled over to look at it. And that became the iconic double rainbow that was on the album, and all this other stuff. But here’s the fucking kicker, man: we’re at the back of the bus, I go back there to smoke a pipe of hash, I think with Alan Trist. And I look at the bridge and… what! I couldn’t believe my eyes. The bridge was made out of wrought iron: skeletons, from one end to the other, crossing this feeder part of the lake that was feeding into it. It was made from skeletons holding onto each others’ ankles, and bending across like a bridge framework. And then it had a real bridge all built into it. And there’s the fucking name of it — do you know what it is? It was the [Dance of Death Bridge], and it was about the European myth that we began talking about right at that point: that if you were in the time of the Great Plague, and you were wandering around Europe and there were lots of dead bodies everywhere, and if you took the time to bury a corpse that you found—wrap it and clean it and put it in a grave—then that was the grateful dead. They helped you from beyond and protected you, you and your family. And so that was the myth of the Grateful Dead, and here’s a fuckin’ bridge with a plaque on it! A plaque on it that says that. We just couldn’t believe it.


JESSE: Mary Ann Mayer’s photo of the Swiss rainbow would be featured on the inside of the original Europe ‘72 and mimicked in Mouse and Kelley’s cover art. Alan Trist.


ALAN TRIST: Lucerne is a very old Swiss town. It’s interesting because it has a lake — the lake has two covered bridges which are medieval, one of them from the 13th century. [It’s] a covered bridge that had a series of 45 paintings under the roof, but it was still extant — though I think maybe there were only 30 or so left. But they were from the medieval tradition of the Danse Macabre: they were all pictures of skeletons dancing in various situations under this bridge. The Danse Macabre was a medieval institution that was designed to make people aware that death was always with us. It was incredibly popular: there were festivals of the Danse Macabre, there were various points all over Europe. The fact that it was memorialized in this bridge was pretty unusual. Of course it was very interesting to us because there’s the skeleton, as the iconic image of the band’s logos and so on. I visited that bridge with Parish. He was totally amazed. What I remember was the incredible excitement that Steve showed in seeing all these pictures, from so long ago, that kind of connected the arc of history to our iconic use of that image. It was really great. I think Phil was on that tour with me as well, when we crossed that bridge.


JESSE: Here’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir from the great 1995 interview by David Gans and Marty Martinez.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: I remember we went out to the Grand Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. They had been expecting an orchestra — like a 43-piece orchestra, some kind of chamber orchestra. That's what they thought we were: a musical group or maybe some kind of dance orchestra. How did they know? They took one look at us and decided that we weren't the right kind of people to stay in their hotel. But unfortunately, for them, we had already paid the bill in advance… so they pretty much had to let us stay there.


BOB WEIR [9/95]: Five-star hotel.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: Yeah.


BOB WEIR [9/95]: Tres elegant...


PHIL LESH [9/95]: Have you seen pictures of what we looked like in 1972?


JESSE: And Dennis “Wiz” Leonard from Blair Jackson’s 2011 conversation.


DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: The hotel in Switzerland was a real stiff upper lip, stodgy old joint. I remember Healy had this really, really, really hideous tie-dyed shirt. And they just couldn't stand him in the lobby. I mean, it was… it was ugly, [even] for a fucking hippie.


STEVE PARISH: We stayed at Lake Lucerne. Oh my god, what a night we had there, man. Beautiful time at that place. They came out… when we pulled up — did Mountain Girl tell you about this? When we pulled up, she got the bus of the door opened, and here are footmen with powdered wigs, and they’re rolling out the red carpet to us, man. Ah, the band is here! They took one look at Mountain Girl, and they looked at each other, and they rolled that red carpet right back up! They fuckin’ couldn’t believe that here were all these hippies at the hotel — they were disgusted with us, man. Lake Lucerne was all these really high class Europeans, man. So here you’ve got these glass knobs that look like your grandmother’s house, man, all this filigree everywhere, all these beautiful old things. The rooms were exquisite, with balconies looking over the lake. We had a great time there on the lake — we rented some speedboats, had a wonderful time.


JESSE: Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: They were not expecting the Grateful Dead being who the Grateful Dead was. From what I can remember, Rock Scully had to literally go in and take over the place, and say: “Look, you can’t kick us out.” Because [it was] an extremely swanky hotel, with a clientele just being very uppity. And here this band of weirdos comes marching through their hotel, and they didn’t like it at all. We almost got kicked out. We ended up being able to stay there, but by the skin of our teeth.


STEVE PARISH: Rock Scully had gone to school in Switzerland as a boy. So he wanted to relive [that], to fill our minds and not think about that the gigs were blown out.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: That was beautiful. And of course, Rock Scully was really familiar with that territory. I remember being in this beautiful chalet. I can't remember if it was actually Austria or Switzerland, but it was somewhere in either place. Just the beauty… it was just magnificent. Yeah, the Alps were something else. Just something else. No wonder people like to ski there.


DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: Switzerland was really, really fun. Rock’s parents were living right around, or in or around Lucerne. We met his parents, and they took us up into the mountains, the whole group.


JESSE: Longtime Dead manager Rock Scully’s stepfather, in fact, was the renowned writer and public intellectual Milton Mayer, who spent part of the 1950s at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt.


VOICES OF EUROPE HOST [1/1/57]: And now, Milton Mayer.


MILTON MAYER [1/1/57]: Every European knows something that no American knows: the black market.


JESSE: By 1972, Milton Mayer was associated with the Ecole d'Humanite in Switzerland. One of its students was a teenager named Sebbie Buhler. She was already a Dead fan.


SEBBIE BUHLER: Born and raised in New Jersey, I listened to Alison Steele the Nightbird, WNEW. Then I lived in Princeton, we had a really great college radio station. My first show was in Princeton in April ‘71 and my friends and I—I was a freshman in high school—we crawled underneath the stage and came up and sat on the speakers on the stage. And we were singing. I'm sure we're on somebody's tape somewhere. I did go to the final Fillmore East concert as a 14-year old in New York. Probably not with my parents’ real permission, but I still have the poster. So the Dead were part of my life.


Because it was 1971 and I was a freshman in high school being kind of rebellious, my parents decided to ship me overseas to this small eclectic international boarding school, about 120 students K through 12. In February ‘72, I wrote to my parents and I said, “There's a planned trip to London with Debbie and Lars, two teachers, that I'm really interested in, and they need to prove my going.” So this was a group of about 10 students with two teachers on a spring break; it was, I think, Easter. We get to London, [and] we saw Elton John at the Roundhouse — which was amazing, because we were 10 feet away on the ground. We went to see Falstaff at Covent Garden Opera House, pretty amazing; A Clockwork Orange, pretty frightening; and then we went to see the Grateful Dead. And literally walking down the street, I ran into somebody I knew from New Jersey, who happened to be in London and we both ran into each other going inside the Dead show. It was pretty amazing. My memories is we went both nights.


JESSE: Well that certainly sounds like an excellent Easter vacation.


SEBBIE BUHLER: April 18, I sent my parents a letter, all scribbled in blue ink. “Grateful Dead might play here at the Ecole. Rock Scully, who is the son of Jane and Milton Mayer, Jane’s son by her first manager, is the manager of the Dead. Well, he used to go to school here—I didn’t know that—and his parents have a house up the road. They’re closely connected with the school. Milton gives Quaker andacht seminars. He’s really famous. Well, Rock told Jane during his Christmas stay here that it would be really too bad if they couldn’t play here during their stay in Switzerland. Well, Sunny, a girl here, told Jane, Sally’s mom, about the concert we saw in London. Jane told Sunny about Rock’s wanting to play here, so the school wrote a letter and we all signed it, including the headmaster, Natalie Lüthi-Peterson, and Edith, who is the highest-highest at the school. I’m really excited because the Dead are known for giving free concerts and lots of people who know Rock say it will go through.


JESSE: Given the canceled Switzerland shows and Jerry Garcia’s desire to play as much as possible, I’m actually a little surprised that a Dead gig didn’t manifest.


SEBBIE BUHLER: I wrote on May 9: “the Grateful Dead aren't coming here.”


JESSE: But then...


SEBBIE BUHLER: I wrote this letter, and May 22 was a Monday and I wrote, “Dear family… Saturday afternoon, a bunch of Americans, “20,” walk down the street. This is a Swiss alpine village, with more cows than people, and very narrow roads. So this group walked down the street by the school. It turned out to be the Grateful Dead! They’d invited us to walk down to Meiringen with them, which is the town down in the valley. It was really nice.” Of course I’m not gonna tell my parents what was going on: everybody was totally high. There was a lot of stumbling going on… I mean, no one had hiking boots on. The band was coming from a city. They’re on tour. So the women probably had on big clunky shoes. And they could not walk the alpine paths. Jerry and Pigpen did not walk down with us. Bob… it was just a magical moment.


JESSE: The Dead had wandered around the campus, too.


SEBBIE BUHLER: Here's what Tony Kant sent to me: “My parents were on the tour with the Dead, as my father was their sole legal counsel for 35 years. They visited the Ecole with Rock and the others. Bob Weir was so impressed with the Ecole that he talked me into going there. The other funny twist is Hans Zimmer, who won an Oscar for his musical score[s]—he’s very famous—he was at the Ecole. So he was there: I don’t know if he was there the weekend that the Dead showed up. But he was there, with us, hanging. So there’s a slight possibility that Hans Zimmer got a little Grateful Dead influence in his early days.


AUDIO: “Ripples in the Sand” [Hans Zimmer, Dune] (0:10-0:31) - [Spotify]


JESSE: That, of course, being “Ripples in the Sand,” from Hans Zimmer’s Oscar-winning score for Dune. And now back to Seb’s letter home…


SEBBIE BUHLER: “They were so funny, always playing baseball. In Meiringen, they boarded their buses — one with a cooker, and one with a bathroom. I guess it was one with a bar, and one with a bathroom. They left for London again, and then the US. While walking, everyone at the bottom started playing baseball. One guy almost hit Sunny, a girl in our school. Another missed the ball and went under the railroad trail. We were at the railroad station, so funny. They offered us stickers, but we refused because I felt like a teeny bopper. Even without accepting that, I would have felt really awful.” Now, I wish I’d accepted it!




DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: The buses dropped us off at the top of this path, and we hiked down a beautiful mountain path. We stopped somewhere, had lunch up in the mountains, and then ended up down in this town, not where we started; the buses picked us up. And on the way out, back to wherever we were going, was the triple rainbow.


JESSE: Here’s how Steve Parish remembered Switzerland.


STEVE PARISH: So now Rock decides, the next day, you’ve gotta do something with all of us, man. So those that wanted to, we all take a hike up from the train station, which is right down in the flats, up this beautiful Swiss mountainside. We’re walking up there, and we got every experience known to your Swiss: we could hear the cows lowing around us, people milking them, bells clanking in the fog on this Swiss mountain, and the piles of hay everywhere, the Swiss misses running around, and the guys with the fuckin’ Swiss horns, blowin’ ‘em for fucking Ricolas or whatever they wanted to get. Then there was a guy popping off with a fucking automatic machine gun: the Swiss Army, the Swiss Army! Everybody gets a machine gun! We’re walking up and here comes these schoolgirls, man — these young 18 to 25-year old schoolgirls, barefoot, in beautiful Swiss dresses. They were tired, could these strong American boys carry them on their bikes up the hill? And we did that gladly, man. We get up to the hotel on the top of the mountain, and there’s a beautiful white hotel, man. There’s a beautiful cafeteria, and we’re starving. We’re just laughing — they won’t have wienerschnitzel here, man, there’s no way they’ll have wienerschnitzel again. And so we get in there, and we all just pile into the dining room… no one else in there but us. We take a bunch of tables, and we’re all happy. In comes this waitress, and she goes… well, somebody says, “Can I get some spaghetti?” And she goes, “No.” “Can I get a steak?” “We have no steaks.” “What do you have?” “Wienerschnitzel! Wienerschnitzel is all we have, and that’s all we serve.” Oh no! Everybody lets out this big groan. Then everybody says, “You know what? Just bring all the wine you’ve got. We’re gonna get drunk and eat wienerschnitzel, man. Bring it all out here.” And then she goes, “This is a Christian hotel, and we do not serve wine.” And so everybody turned, the whole room turned and looked at Scully. I think he ran out of the building, and ran down the fucking hill.


JESSE: Here’s what Mountain Girl remembers about the Alps, a story that could’ve taken place during either or both of the previous stories.


MOUNTAIN GIRL: I think the funnest part was going through the Alps, because we all took a little dose and we were just floating. It was so floaty up there. We got up into Switzerland, and we were just knocked out by Switzerland. That really got us… Rock Scully, who was the manager at that point, had us go up, up, up, up, up the mountains to this place that he remembered, that he had spent a bunch of time, I guess, going to school in Switzerland as a young person. So we went up to a place called Meiringen, which is basically the top of where you can ever get a bus. It’s a lunch place where you go and have lunch: everyone went in and had lunch except for me and Hunter and Jerry and Christie. We all had taken acid. We trotted right up to the fence, which is where the big beautiful Swiss cows were grazing. I mean, really: they’re as big as tanks, I swear. Each one has a bell — each bell is a different tone. And Hunter got out his trumpet and serenaded the cows. His trumpet, way up there in this valley in the Alps! We went uphill a long way to get to that place. We’re laughing so hard, Hunter’s going blaaaah, blaaah, toot, toot on his trumpet. It’s echoing way down… you can see for a hundred miles down these valleys from there. The cows would just turn around and look. At some point in this… we were just doing that a little bit. But one of his toots got the cow’s attention: he obviously hit the note. And they all came galloping over to the fence! They all came, these huge cows, just galloping to the fence, looking at us, like — what the hell? You’re playing the magic note, we have to come over. They were just wonderful, these huge brown cows. They were so interested in us, because I don’t think they got too many visitors up there. Everybody else had lunch and kind of missed it. That was our glorious moment in Switzerland, high and happy. Really happy.


AUDIO: [Cattle mooing]


MOUNTAIN GIRL: He was Mr. Furtive, he ducked every picture. But yes, there might be some of him from up there in Switzerland with his trumpet, because playing the trumpet to the cows was just… it was such a riot. He would wander off from the bus and go toot… I don’t know. Hunter was such a marvelously complex person. You never quite knew which of the complexities you would encounter.


JESSE: The lighting crew remembers their departure from the Mountain. Ben Haller.


BEN HALLER: One time we were up and we got up in the Alps — we had a couple days off. Usually when you do a European tour, it’s one or two shows a day. If you look at that schedule, it was one show, two or three days off; one show, two or three days off. It was fabulous, right? So we went up in the Alps, and we had a pleasant meal. We went for a little hike in the Alps, way high up in this little village. Then we went down in the bus. Fortunately, Candace and I got on the bus with the… we got in the bus with the bathroom. You always wanted to get in the bus with the bathroom. You could get a drink anywhere, but you can’t piss anyhow. So anyway, the other bus, all the crew got in, and they took off! They took off like a bat out of hell. Well, where’d they go? So we got on the bus, and we had this wonderful leisurely drive down. And we get down to the valley floor — the other bus has been there for two hours. The crew is standing outside, ashen white, kind of holding onto the bus.


JESSE: Candace Brightman.


CANDACE BRIGHTMAN: The bus was marvelous, being on the bus. One time, we had this really nice… I think he was a Swiss bus driver. This is a terrible thing, but somebody dosed him. We were in Switzerland, and he drove up into a mountain town in Switzerland that no bus had ever tried to get into before. And now people in the town were going: Oh, my god…


BEN HALLER: Someone had dosed the bus driver. So the bus went down twice as fast as we did…


JESSE: Ugh, Poor Sven. There were four shows left and one tour stop left. At least one Bolo bailed on the bus and flew from Geneva to London. As Phil Lesh recalled in his memoir, Searching For the Sound, “with Keith Richards in the seat next to me; we talk mostly about what a drag commercial air travel is.”


AUDIO: “Tumbling Dice” [Rolling Stones, Montreux ‘72] (1:02-1:16) - [YouTube]