GOOD OL’ GRATEFUL DEADCAST
Season 5, Episode 9
- Jerry Garcia, The Movie That Changed My Life, 1995.
- Robert Hunter, by David Gans, Conversations with the Dead, 1977.
- Dennis “Wiz” Leonard, by David Gans, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, 2011.
- Dennis “Wiz” Leonard, by Blair Jackson, This Is All a Dream We Dreamed, 2011.
JESSE: The Grateful Dead and their family returned to London near the end of May 1972, seven weeks after their arrival. The Dead would record more than half of what became Europe ‘72 over the final four nights of the tour at the Lyceum Ballroom, including the entirety of the album’s third LP. The shows at the Lyceum would become instant legend for band and fans alike. Everybody loved the Lyceum. Alan Trist of Ice 9 publishing.
ALAN TRIST: That tour-ending run at the Lyceum, right in the heart of the theater district of London, in the Strand, was pretty special. The band always liked to settle into a venue for several days, get comfortable. And that really did happen at the Lyceum. You’ve seen the setlist, the way that they structure the four days of music. It had such a good vibe. I think it had two stacks of balconies. It was a beautiful venue.
JESSE: Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: To end at a beautiful theater, where you really get to settle in… Paris is nice, a couple nights in Paris; Wembley, a nice couple nights there. But to really settle in for four nights with the New Riders, hang out with the New Riders, stay in a hotel and not have to leave for a while, I think was very special. And you hear it in the music.
JESSE: As part of our Daily Dose on Dead social media, we’ve posted a wonderful photo of the Lyceum, taken from the stage by Mary Ann Mayer before one of the shows. It gives a good feel for the venue. The promoters who’d worked with the band throughout continental Europe flew to London to celebrate, as did representatives from Warner Brothers, who set up promotional tables at the venue. Making it a proper Grateful Dead evening, the New Riders of the Purple Sage even opened all four shows. Their record company, Columbia, came and did promotions as well.
ALAN TRIST: A lot of our friends that we'd made throughout Europe, and in London of course were there too. So there was a sense of an extended Grateful Dead family affair going on there too. I remember Jean-Jacque and Daniel from Paris were there; I think there was somebody from Holland, [though] I can’t remember. [Danae] Brooks, of course. And there were other people that were part of our London associates, record company people. It was a grand finale in that way.
JESSE: Danae Brooks was the editor of The Book of the Dead, a free concert program distributed at the door each night. More recently, it was reproduced as part of the Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set. Significantly, it was the first extended publication about the Dead. Though it was only 30 pages, it contained interviews with all of the band members and a detailed biography that still holds up as a solid representation. Plus lots of cool photos.
ALAN TRIST: It was Danae who wanted to make this happen, and we said, “Sure, how can we help?” I don’t think we had the ability in those days to actually put a program together. We needed a professional publishing person, which we later became.
JESSE: Nicholas Meriwether is a founder of the Grateful Dead Studies Association and wrote liner notes for the excellent new box set of the Lyceum shows.
NICHOLAS MERIWETHER: The book does a great job of one of the bigger points about the entire tour, which is, you listen to a band that's really trying to communicate with folks that they don't have any presumptions about. By 1972, they know who their fans are. But when they go to Europe, there's this whole other sort of ethos that envelops them, and really makes them think about: How do we want to convey who we are, what our project is? Because in 1972, they're also at an apex of their… the term that comes to mind is empire building. But that, in many ways, is the opposite of what they mean. What they're getting at though is this sense of a self-contained project that’s based on music, but it’s much more than music. It’s music as a way of establishing community.
JESSE: That week, Bill Kreutzmann told an interviewer for Beat Instrumental, "The Dead is just some kind of contact that we try to make with an audience of people. When you're inside it's a hard thing to say." The Dead arrived in London with a day or two to spare. There was some additional work to be done as well. Well, benefit work. I’m not sure when in the run this happened, but we’ll place it here before we get too carried away.
ALAN TRIST: The most interesting thing that happened for me was a return back to the Glastonbury Festival. Because that had happened in 1971, despite the fact that the Dead hadn’t been able to be the headliners of it. Pete Townshend was there, and there was a wonderful English band of our ilk, then called Hawkwind, that played. These were all recorded, but the festival lost a lot of money — as original festivals often do. I think it was John Coleman was involved with the financial affairs, along with Andrew Kerr. He asked if the band would give some music to an album they were putting out to try to raise funds to cover their debts. The Dead said, Yeah, we’d love to. They looked through their files — because in those days, they would listen to 2-tracks a lot on the road. In America, too. They would do instant replay of a concert; it was part of their sense of due diligence about their work.
JESSE: Bill Kreutzmann told Steve Turner of Beat Instrumental, “we listen to the tapes and scrutinize what we’ve been playing. Sometimes we surprise ourselves at what we've played…. We listen to see how we can correct ourselves. Maybe we listen and the whole feeling of our performance has been wrong. It never hurts us to play it back. Not only do we learn about playing, but also about recording techniques."
ALAN TRIST: They'd been checking in to [the] tour tapes as we went along. I don't know how that happened, technically. We knew we had the good stuff.
JESSE: It’s worth noting that while the Dead were making the music of the Europe ‘72 tour, they kept updated on their own work. When playing any given “Dark Star” on the tour, they may have just listened to any of the previous “Dark Star”s. Quickly, though, the appropriate good stuff was located.
ALAN TRIST: The “Dark Star” from Wembley at the beginning of the tour was: Well, we can give them 26 minutes of this, a whole side of music. During that Lyceum stretch, Garcia and [Bob] Matthews and myself, we walked down to Soho to a studio to mix the “Dark Star.” It was a very interesting studio, completely in an anonymous part of London, Soho. It was not a difficult job for Jerry and Bob to mixdown the tapes. It was a full-on studio. We were told at the time that one of the Beatles’ earlier albums had been mixed there by their arranger, whose name I still forget. That was so interesting, to have that little step back into history, and tie together different things like the Glastonbury Fayre and a Beatles recording studio, and we were at the Lyceum. It was just like we were in San Francisco: going down to a studio, and do something. London was our town at that point.
JESSE: And so it was that the Dead released the first live music from the Europe ‘72 tour, finding its way onto the triple-LP Glastonbury Fayre: The Electric Score released by Revelation Enterprises in July 1972. We talked extensively about this version of “Dark Star” on Episode 2 of this season, and you can check out Dr. Graeme Boone’s complete annotation on YouTube, titled “The Wonders of Dark Star.” Besides the original “Dark Star” 7-inch and the Live/Dead version, it would be the only “Dark Star” released until Two From the Vault in 1992. For Dead Heads in both Europe and the States, it was as welcome as it was deep. For American Dead Heads, though, it was definitely a record-collecting obscurity. As a piece of music released into the record collecting wilds, it also had an impact outside the Dead world. Archivist David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: 2005, maybe — Bernardo Bertolucci was making a movie called The Dreamers, and Bertolucci had had that Glastonbury Fayre album from ‘72. He remembered that “Dark Star.” So he wanted it for this movie, The Dreamers, which was about the Paris 1968 cultural riots, Truffaut and Godard. It was an incredible movie, and I’ll never forget [that] he wanted to use a piece of the music from the “Dark Star” that he had remembered from 30 years ago. So we licensed to Bertolucci this piece of “Dark Star” from Wembley, from 4/8/72 — one of my favorite “Dark Star”s. I got to choose the piece of music it was; Bertolucci trusted us to give him something good. So we gave him this great piece of music. And then the way he used it in the movie… I saw the movie in the theater… Jean-Luc Godard, he’s looking down on me from my office. I’ve got a photo that my professor took of Godard in 1979, ‘80. In the movie, the “Dark Star” is playing while there’s a piece of Godard talking from one of his movies over it. He layered “Dark Star” with Godard.
JESSE: Rolling into town the morning of the first show were Joe’s Lights, the former Fillmore East lighting crew semi-adrift in Europe since the closure of the Rainbow Theatre earlier in the year. Please welcome back to the Deadcast, your friend and ours, the great filmmaker and Dead freak Allan Arkush.
ALLAN ARKUSH: We hooked up with the New Riders in Amsterdam, at a festival in Amsterdam that was on whatever their equivalent is of Memorial Day weekend. That’s a big deal, to go from London to Amsterdam with all that equipment. So we went to that festival, and Ike and Tina Turner were at that festival, the New Riders and the Pink Floyd. We were put up in the same hotel as the Riders and as Ike and Tina, but they didn’t give us… whatever the per diem was, we couldn’t get… we didn’t have free room service or anything, which was insane because we had been up all night. So we go into the hotel after being up all night doing the shows. We went back to the hotel — it was 5 in the morning, and they were setting up this gigantic breakfast buffet. So we told them that we were guests of the festival; we gave them all the names. We were not to be denied… and we decimated the buffet. Just as we were finishing, out of the elevator comes Marmaduke and the New Riders. “Hey, you guys! Will we see you? Are you doing the shows in London?” I remember us saying that we would be taking a later ferry than theirs. So Marmaduke gave us all their leftover hash. This is the kind of thing you remember… [chuckles] he said, “We’re going straight to the ferry, so do whatever you want with it and then toss it.” So, for dessert, we all ate the hash, and went to the Van Gogh Museum. We ate that hash and, being up all night, we went to the museum with the Van Goghs. And they are, like, spinning off the walls. Then we slept on the ferry.
JESSE: Be sure to check out Allan on the YouTube series, Trailers From Hell. The New Riders of the Purple Sage had been having their own adventures since making their European debut playing before the Dead at the Bickershaw Festival. They played a handful of other shows in the UK before heading over to the Continent. Our friend Corry Arnold has pieced together all the details on his Hooterollin’ blog. David Nelson has a few memories of the tour.
DAVID NELSON: We were eating at this place, it was before a gig or after the gig. And there was this location, this restaurant… it was Europe, so I wasn't familiar with how they do things here. But we go down and you go in through a concierge or a doorman, and somebody came up and asked me something that rang a bell to me. I thought, Oh, yeah. And he said, “Can I talk to you out here?” We stepped up onto this little mound past the parking lot, and he proceeds to “save” me, Christian-wise. He had me say a prayer out loud, stuff like that. I just went along with it. He said, “Okay, you’re saved now. You will have eternal life.” I went in and everybody was sitting down at the tables, and I went: “I just got saved, everybody!”
JESSE: Some people go to Europe and get snowglobes or cool sweaters or knives; David Nelson got saved. Righteous. We’ll pop back to David in a bit, but the New Riders rejoined the extended cast for the four nights. Promoter John Morris.
JOHN MORRIS: I think we added the Lyceum towards the end. The whole thing was they were coming, they’d agreed to come do the Rainbow. Then we lost the Rainbow… so this whole tour got expanded from makeup dates to cover it: Wembley on one end, and then Lyceum on the other.
JESSE: The British Dead freaks have, to a head, nothing but love for the Lyceum, both the venue and the four nights of music that unfolded. Welcome back, Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: We all went up to the Lyceum — about half a dozen of us went there. Absolutely amazing venue: it’s an old theater-type ballroom; big stage, plush velvet fittings and things. Very, very nice place. Lots of room for dancing at the front, or for just sitting down and rolling a joint at the back tables and chairs.
JESSE: Graham Walker.
GRAHAM WALKER: It's in the center of London: it's just off the Strand, which every American has heard of. So yeah, it’s right there close to the West End.
JESSE: And the esteemed music journalist, Ken Hunt.
KEN HUNT: Directly across, at a diagonal angle, is the place where the first occurrence in English of the word “folk song” occurred. I’m working on this book about this singer called Martin Carthy, and this appears in the book. In 1847, Mary Howitt translated a German folk song in English, it’s “The Three Little Roses.” The original was volkslied in German; she translated it as “folk’s”—apostrophe-s—song. So just across from where the Dead played, in 1847, someone had invented the word “folk song” in English.
JESSE: Alex Allan.
ALEX ALLAN: It’s a strange place, because it was built in the 19th century some time as a theater. But then they… it had been sort of getting difficult as a theater, and they converted it into… well, it was called the Lyceum Ballroom. It’s all down as the Lyceum Theatre on everything. But I think technically it was actually called the Lyceum Ballroom.
JESSE: Originally opened in 1834, replacing an earlier iteration of the Strand Lyceum located nearby, the Lyceum the Dead played had many lives in the nearly century-and-a-half between its first curtain-raising and when the Dead came in 1972. It had been an opera house, legitimate theater, a cinema, and in the 1940s became a ballroom. In the early ‘60s, before the Beatles hit big even, it was a pioneering dance music venue, one of the first places in the world where people grooved to records spun by a DJ. And it of course had another life in the hippie era.
ALEX ALLAN: They had stripped out all the seats downstairs, and then they had quite a big stage. At the back, there was a bar and tables. They had things like the Miss World contest held there — it was quite an eclectic mix.
GRAHAM WALKER: If you look at it, the two venues in London that were closely corresponded to the Fillmore and the Avalon were the UFO, and the Middle Earth in Covent Garden. When they closed down, what then emerged was something called the Midnight Court, which was at the Lyceum. Everybody who were, if you like, counterculturally A-list pretty much played there in ‘70, ‘71. Basically, the Midnight Court kicked off at midnight. We turned out into the street again at 6, 7 o’clock in the morning. There were four bands at a time that played each show. The bands I saw there were mainly the British bands: The Nice, Colosseum, John Mayall.
AUDIO: “My Back Pages” [The Nice, Elegy] (1:29-1:59) - [Spotify]
JESSE: That was The Nice, featuring Keith Emerson, doing Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages,” from their live album Elegy. Graham Walker was a Dead Head, for sure, but the Dead didn’t really come through.
GRAHAM WALKER: If I was ever dubious about my interest in the Grateful Dead, Live/Dead confirmed my lifelong connection to it. My favorite bands through the late 60s and early 70s were Traffic, who never disappointed; they always played great sets. The Nice, before Emerson became a bit of a cliche; bless him though, because they were excellent, they really were. And Pink Floyd. I can remember I was at a classical concert a few years back, I think it was the London Symphony Orchestra up in Leeds, not far from where I am. I was talking to a guy next to me, and he was writing a PhD on emotion in music. I said, “Oh, that’s interesting,” and we talked for a while. I said that there are one or two classical things that mean a lot to me in terms of the emotional pull. And I said, “During that time, I would go to a Pink Floyd gig, and every time they did ‘A Saucerful of Secrets,’ I would cry.”
JESSE: In early 1972, just before the Dead arrived in Europe, Pink Floyd had debuted their Dark Side of the Moon live show, releasing the LP a year later. I was surprised at how many British heads no longer flew their freak flags for Floyd.
GRAHAM WALKER: A couple of friends of mine stopped going to see Pink Floyd because they never forgave them for what they did to Syd. I forgave them! I mean, I’d do exactly the same in my situation. This was the counterculture: this is the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. It was us against the world, and we were the minority. They were our band: they were the house band, until it got too big. It wasn’t the same, because the counterculture became corporate, and became mainstream and became nothing like it had used to be. The optimism had gone, to some extent.
JESSE: Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: I saw them when the Dark Side of the Moon show [had] just come out. The Floyd [was] at Earl’s Court. As I said to a lot of people at the time, it pretty much left me cold. A lot of people loved it — they loved the light show, the carbon monoxide dry ice effects, all that sort of thing. I like the music, but what I didn’t like about it was I could have paid for the record and I could have listened to the show, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
JESSE: But then the Dead came to town.
CHRIS JONES: With the Grateful Dead you go along there, and everything is different — same songs, [but] it's different. How many times have I listened to “He’s Gone” or “Tennessee Jed” or “Loser” or “Ramble On Rose,” but they still draw me in? Because every time you listen to that guitar playing, or the bass playing, it’s not the same. The drumming isn’t the same. There’s something new every time.
GRAHAM WALKER: There were two essential attractions: one was the music, and one was the culture. Certainly for us over in the UK, the Dead personified, to large extent, the counterculture that was coming. A lot of our changes and our influences were coming from San Francisco, and the Dead were very significant in that. Talking about the ‘72 tour, for me, looking back at it now, in a sense it’s the last flowering of the counterculture — because, at that point, the underground magazines were still going very well, so there's a lot of information being shared. People were prepared for the Dead to come over; everybody knew what it was all about. I've been to a lot of shows at the Lyceum before then, in ‘70-’71, with a lot of really good bands. But it was never quite the same as it was for those ‘72 shows. I've never seen so many people crammed into one place in my time. They were swinging off of the stairwells. It was amazing. And, in a sense, it was the last gathering of the tribes in the UK before it got on a corporate, cynical [track]. It was magical — it was absolutely amazing. It became everything that I'd hoped it was.
JESSE: Promoter John Morris.
JOHN MORRIS: They were probably some of the most amazing shows we ever did anywhere, because the theater was great. It was a very, very strange venue for the Dead, but it was a beautiful place and they loved it. It was a phenomenal venue, and it was perfectly suited for the dead because we could open the roof.
JESSE: Yes, John Morris did just say that the Lyceum roof opened up.
GRAHAM WALKER: It only opened, from memory, when you could guarantee that it was going to be a beautiful summer’s evening. In London, you can’t often guarantee that. So it was a very rare event when they actually managed to do it.
JESSE: Ben Haller of the lighting crew.
BEN HALLER: We played a hall that was built prior to 1776, that last one in London. That was a great place — it had been rebuilt. London gets burned down every couple of years, but it was a theater, 2 or 3,000 seats, and the roof slid open when it was good weather. Which is, what, two days a year or something?
JOHN MORRIS: It was like these stadiums nowadays, but it was a roof that was on some kind of a contraption that opened it up. The Dead, live [and] inside a venue, but with a sky out there.
JESSE: According to historical weather data, it was unseasonably warm all 4 days of the Lyceum shows, with daytime highs between 79 and 81 degrees fahrenheit, and nighttime lows in the mid-50s, with no recorded precipitation. Keep in mind that at any point during the Lyceum shows—and therefore during most of Europe ‘72, the album—heads could look up and see the sky. The venue is still in operation but its current operators probably don’t find much use for their giant skylight.
GRAHAM WALKER: I think it had live music through till maybe the early ‘80s, but it was mainly mainstream stuff. Now, I'm not sure if they made it into a cinema or theater, but The Lion King, either the movie or the play, has been there for the last 20,000 years it seems. That’s what’s there right now… I haven’t been in since ‘72, to be honest. That’s probably the last time I was there.
JESSE: Joe’s Lights weren’t contracted to work the Lyceum gigs, but you can bet Allan Arkush made it inside.
ALLAN ARKUSH: I went to all the shows at the Lyceum and was working there in some unofficial, but for-cash, thing. That was a tough union house, and I think maybe I was in a lighting booth trying to explain to the lighting guy who everyone was in the band. Ben Haller, who had been in the light show with us, was now assisting Candace on the tour. So we were hearing all this stuff about the Bolo bus and the Bozo bus. The music is so good because their whole vibe was so good. In a way, their trip to Europe is an extension of the Bus, the Furthur bus. I think that cannot be discounted.
JOHN MORRIS: Jean-Claude Kaufmann was my partner who did the Lyceum shows with me. He's also the guy who did the Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coca-Cola. Because he was a producer — he'd left, gotten out of the business and gone back to his straight work, which was in the advertising business. And he went into the dressing room and he said, “Is there anything more we can get you?” Everybody enjoyed it. Everybody was really happy with it. Soundcheck is going great. And somebody said, “Well, we have everything but coke.” Jean-Claude disappeared, came back an hour later with two cases of Coca-Cola. Everybody cracked up.
JESSE: After the Lille show, the tour’s blow stash had very likely been tossed in an airport trash can at the behest of an irate Bill Kreutzmann, an episode we discussed last episode. Or maybe the touring party had just grown wise to the fact that it had been dosed with Orange Sunshine.
Lyceum Night 1
JESSE: Jim Smolen.
JIM SMOLEN: On May the 23rd 1972, I flew from JFK Airport in New York to London Heathrow. Hopping on a bus to head into downtown London, I looked on the bus and somebody had put a placard on there that said ‘Grateful Dead — Tonight Lyceum Theater.’ So I got where I was going, dropped all my things off; I'd never been to London, didn't know where I was. But I was determined to get to the Lyceum. I got there late in the day, I bought a ticket. And I believe that ticket was very cheap, under $10.
JESSE: For locals, it was a little easier. Ken Hunt.
KEN HUNT: In the case of the Lyceum, it's just one Underground line, which was really handy. And then a walk across Waterloo Bridge, of “Waterloo Sunset” fame.
AUDIO: “Waterloo Sunset” [The Kinks, Something Else] (0:54-1:14) - [Spotify]
JESSE: Archivist David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think these four nights kind of take you on a journey, where the first night is that triumphant [mood]: We're back in London, but now we're playing a beautiful theater. We're not in the big arena.
JESSE: Graham Walker.
GRAHAM WALKER: For the Dead and New Riders, the ticket probably said something like 7 o’clock, the evening show. So I turned up at the ridiculously early time of 7 o’clock, and I think I must have been the first one in for the first show. You go up through the front door, then you climb up the large stairwell — and there was me, and about five stairs behind, Jerry and Mountain Girl [are] walking up to the stage. It was: whoa, okay, great stuff… none of this green room shit. They're there, just kind of hanging out. I go upstairs. It was a gaudy ballroom: huge, really, really large. It used to be for ballroom dancing, that was what it was designed for in the first instance.
JIM SMOLEN: I went into this theater not knowing where I was going and realized it's such a small theater. I was way up front by myself, and met a group of people from Amsterdam. We ended up hanging out all night, and it was the show of all shows. I think, if I remember right, it was the New Riders first and then the Dead came on.
JESSE: After the Dead had played instantly legendary shows at Empire Pool and the Bickershaw Festival earlier in the tour—check out Episodes 2 and 6 of this season respectively—it was no surprise that there were British heads ready to go see them multiple nights in a row. Alex Allan.
ALEX ALLAN: Bickershaw was a tremendous experience. It was my first time seeing the Dead — lots of new songs, really a fantastic experience. [But] the Lyceum was actually a much, much better venue in many ways. That was the end of the tour, and you felt they were probably a bit more relaxed, especially being able to play four nights at the same venue. It was definitely Bickershaw that made me decide I must go to the Lyceum shows. And indeed, so knocked out that I must go to all four shows. The contrast between that and the Lyceum shows was huge really, in terms of the venue and the ambience.
JESSE: Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: At the Lyceum, they gave so many freebies away. They were giving the Book of the Dead. They were also giving these spinners, where you pull a string and a cardboard thing spins around. They had some Grateful Dead ones, and they had some New Riders. I’ve still got my New Riders one. It’s good PR, now, looking back at it. But at the time, it was really unheard of that so much free stuff was given away at concerts.
JESSE: Warner Bros. was there in force all 4 nights, with a promotional booth as well as their own private balcony booth. Columbia Records, home to New Riders of the Purple Sage, did the same.
AUDIO: “Whatcha Gonna Do” [New Riders of the Purple Sage, 5/23/72] (0:37-1:07)
GRAHAM WALKER: I do remember being quite impressed by the New Riders, because for one reason or another, I wasn't expecting [them] — I didn't know there was a support. Certainly on the first night, and out they came. And I can remember a great version of “Down in the Boondocks” that night; that was my distinctive memory of the New Riders. But they were excellent… they really were very, very good. They did, from memory, a pretty long set. It wasn’t just a 45-minute support group set.
CHRIS JONES: It was a really, really lovely venue. I felt really at home there, really comfortable. Again, I sat and it was fairly well-spaced. I don’t know how many people were there. I’d be interested to know what the numbers of attendance were there, but it didn’t seem to be crushed. There seemed to be a lot of people, but it wasn’t at all crushed.
BOB WEIR [5/23/72]: Good evening, and welcome to here…
JESSE: Welcome to here, indeed. It was the first time the band opened a show with Chuck Berry’s “The Promised Land,” its standard home for much of the next decade. Alex Allan.
ALEX ALLAN: It was very relaxed, because you could wander around. I don’t think I did, but you could go upstairs, and there were still seats on the balcony, or whatever the top tier’s called. On the ground, it was just open — you're just standing. You get very close, but I don't remember there being a huge crush. I remember sort of alternating between perhaps having a beer and sitting at the back, and then going right up front and staring at Jerry Garcia and his fingers, and being knocked out by Phil Lesh’s bass. It may be that my audio equipment wasn't… it was pretty good. But listening to the records, I hadn't quite realized what contribution Phil Lesh made to the overall sound and the overall performance. And actually seeing Bob Weir, recognizing what his contribution was.
GRAHAM WALKER: Pigpen was stage right, pretty much behind Jerry. They’d play whatever they played, and then when it was Pigpen’s turn, he would just kind of wander out, probably brush against Jerry on the way out. They’d go into whatever: Jerry would play the blues chord and boom, off they go. I remember Pigpen very, very clearly and that may be because I never saw him again. Maybe that was distinct. But I can clearly remember “Mr. Charlie.”
JESSE: In fact, the version of “Mr. Charlie” from the first night at the Lyceum was the keeper, used on Europe ‘72, take #19. That is, they played it at every show of the tour up until then, and would play it at the next three as well. There are no overdubs at all on it. On one hand, sweet take. On the other hand, by the time the band was doing overdubs in the summer, Pigpen was too sick to participate. “Mr. Charlie” would be his final original contribution to a Grateful Dead album. They’d debuted it the previous summer, just after finishing work on Skull and Roses. This is from an early version, recorded August 6th, 1971 at the Hollywood Palladium, now Road Trips, volume 1, number 3. Rich digs it severely.
AUDIO: “Mr. Charlie” [Road Trips, 8/6/71] (0:32-0:52)
JESSE: Besides missing a verse, the song was almost the same as in its final form. On the album, “Mr. Charlie” is credited to McKernan and lyricist Robert Hunter. In 1980, our friend Ken Hunt, who we’ll hear more from later, asked Hunter about the nature of his collaboration with Pigpen on “Mr. Charlie” and Hunter’s answer was surprising: "Well, that wasn't a collaboration,” he said. “Pigpen is an old-time bluesman about that: 'we're goin' to do this song and he wants a piece of the action.' I can say that safely now that he's dead. Pig would let me write for him, which was very, very nice - just as an artist and as a very close personal friend. I liked writing blues and stuff like ‘Easy Wind,’ the kind of stuff that Pig could do and nobody else could do very well.” There’s a Robert Hunter solo demo of “Mr. Charlie” out and about in the world, too, said to be from 1970, with an extra verse. Ask a taper. It’s the same “Mr Charlie” we know, but based on the demo, I’d argue that Pig totally deserves his songwriting credit, especially compared to the fleshed out and arranged version that appeared on Europe ‘72.
But who is “Mr. Charlie”? As always, probably, Robert Hunter would welcome any interpretation, but the term stretches back to the 19th century, and was still in use in the 20th. Let’s start with this definition, from The Underground Dictionary, published in 1971, by Dr. Eugene Landy, later the quack psychiatrist to Brian Wilson.
“Mr. Charlie, noun, 1.) White man, boss. 2.) White Establishment man. He is one who lives in suburbia, usually has a white-collar job, two to three children, a station wagon and a compact car, and a white picket fence. He has short hair and puts the American flag outside his house on patriotic holidays. In short, he is part of mainstream American life and society. aka, herbie, aka Mr. Jones. See: establishment.” But that’s the 20th century version. In the 19th century, the term “Mr. Charlie” was synonymous with plantation owner. “Miss Ann” was the female equivalent. The names have changed a few times, but the modern equivalents of Mr. Charlie and Miss Ann aren’t too hard to find in contemporary culture.
Like the Candyman, “Mr. Charlie” turns up as a character in numerous folk and pop songs. A close read of Robert Hunter’s usage finds something that’s not quite as easy as the chooba chooba sing along chorus suggests — that the narrator evidently works, more or less, as Mr. Charlie’s enforcer. Not really a very sympathetic position.
JESSE: Pigpen had debuted a few songs during the Europe ‘72 period that he was singing nearly every night of the tour — “Chinatown Shuffle” and “The Stranger.” Just like Bob Weir tucked aside some of his new originals for his own album Ace, I imagine Pigpen was perhaps doing the same for his own oft-discussed solo album, perhaps alongside “Empty Pages,” played a few times the summer before. “Mr. Charlie” disappeared when Pigpen died, and a sad side story of the Lyceum shows is that they were the final performances for Pigpen's repertoire, though Bob Weir revived some of his covers later on. “Mr. Charlie” returned after the Grateful Dead dissolved, performed at various points by Phil Lesh and Friends, the Dead, and Dead & Co.
GRAHAM WALKER: At the end of a song, he would sincerely thank the audience for listening before retiring back behind his keyboard.
JESSE: Alex Allan.
ALEX ALLAN: I remember “Tennessee Jed,” hearing the words. As I say, it was new to me, but hearing the “blacked my eye and kicked my dog” or whatever, the thing that stuck in my mind.
ALEX ALLAN: It was the Robert Hunter lyrics that really grabbed me and, and hence my website was primarily… its focus is obviously Grateful Dead, but actually, most of it is Robert Hunter’s stuff.
JESSE: Alex’s site whitegum.com is my first stop when researching the finer footnotes of Grateful Dead lyrics. We’ve talked to him a bunch about Robert Hunter’s lyrics, especially an episode last year called “Keys to the Rain,” celebrating Hunter’s ‘80th.
ALEX ALLAN: I remember things like “China Cat Sunflower” — I don’t think I’d realized that Bob Weir played his part in there, that familiar riff in the beginning. So it was great to be able to get right up front.
GRAHAM WALKER: I knew straight away [that] it was not formulaic. It was not: ‘Here are we going to play our best tunes, our hits or whatever, and we're going to be here for an hour and 15 minutes, and then we're going to go.’ It was much more relaxed. It was… that X factor between the audience and the band, which is hard to put your finger on, to a large extent because it's not visible. But it was very, very definitely there. We were all in the band for those shows. The barrier between the stage and the crowd wasn't there like it was for most other things anybody ever went to see. It was is it was qualitatively different [19:04]
JESSE: The “China Cat Sunflower”/“I Know You Rider” combo made the final set of mixes when the band was picking the album, as did versions of “Chinatown Shuffle,” “Jack Straw,” and “Comes A Time.” We’ll post a full list of the tour mixes with our episode next week. In the first set, they even debuted a song that received a 3-star marking on the tape box itself, though didn’t make the tour mixes.
JESSE: “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” by Huey “Piano” Smith and producer Johnny Vincent had a very brief life in the Dead repertoire, a few versions in Europe, and one more in the States before slipping into Jerry Garcia’s side songbook occasionally. People in the crowd really wanted to hear “Dark Star.”
[crowd member calls out faintly for “Dark Star”]
BOB WEIR [5/23/72]: You wouldn’t recognize it anyway, man.
JERRY GARCIA [5/23/72]: How much you wanna bet, man? I bet you wouldn’t.
BOB WEIR [5/23/72]: I’ll bet we could slip it in on ya, and you’d never know…
JERRY GARCIA [5/23/72]: In fact, how do you know we haven’t already done it?
BOB WEIR [5/23/72]: I’ll bet you a pack of Dunhills.
[another audience member calls out for “Dark Star”]
JESSE: And I point this out because if you listen very closely, I’m pretty sure you can hear an interjection by Ben Haller of the lighting crew. In our episode about the shows in West Germany, he told us about how he would sometimes prank the band by yelling for the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” or getting somebody in the crowd to do it for him. Compare how he says White Rabbit here…
BEN HALLER: Vite Rrrr-abbit —
JESSE: …with how it sounds when somebody shouts for it at the Lyceum.
[audience member, presumably Ben, calls out for: “Vite Rrrr-abbit!”]
JESSE: If it’s not Ben, shout out to the second “White Rabbit” shooter. Er, shouter. The Dead didn’t play “White Rabbit.” Though the next night…
JESSE: I’m pretty sure that was Ben shouting in triumph at the end of the quote. In this next story from tour architect Sam Cutler, remember that in rock-speak, “gig” means any number of shows at a single venue.
SAM CUTLER: The last gig of the two we did, which was in London, was in a place that was run by the security guys, who were all in nice red jackets, very neat white shirts with black bow ties. It was all very organized and everything. The manager came up to me: “Now, we have to end this concert at 11 o’clock.” “What?” “Yeah, no, we’ve got to end at 11 o’clock, because otherwise we go into overtime and it’s far too much money — we have to pay the staff and everything.” “Well, there’s no way the Grateful Dead are gonna agree to that, man. And it’s not in the contract. Forget it.” “No way,” I said, “the Grateful Dead play until they decide they’re fed up with playing, and they don’t want to play anymore. It’s as simple as that. That’s what’s gonna happen.” Anyway, it was kind of left up in the air.
BOB WEIR [5/23/72]: We’re gonna take a break, and we’ll be back in a few minutes, and we’re gonna play for a while. I know your ticket reads from 7 ‘til 12, but I know you’ll forgive us if we go a little later…
SAM CUTLER: So, of course, what happened was, miraculously, all the security got high somewhere. Goodness knows how, but they did. And so the black ties would come up; the red jackets were taken off; there were various bare-chested security guys.
JESSE: Heads would report all 4 Lyceum shows running to the wee hours. In the second set on the first night, the band drifted into the song people had been requesting before.
JESSE: Please welcome back, Graeme Boone. I love the way this first jam goes from stillness to rippling movement.
GRAEME BOONE: A quietness, drawing out the moment. And we start up again: Jerry on high A, and we’ve returned to the chord A, the home chord. Jerry, with his classic triplet solo style: 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3. You can hear Keith and Bob, staying home on that 1 chord of A, and then moving around. Energy is growing — move back to E minor. Jerry starting to build back up, up to high A, and then back down again. And then holding that beautiful D note, riffing on that D. Listen to Bob; Bob’s hearing Jerry.
JESSE: Since its debut in late 1967, “Dark Star” had expanded and expanded and mostly expanded more. It would do the same after the Europe ‘72 tour, as well. In its first few years, the song’s improvisation followed a more structured path, with Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart on hand percussion, with Kreutzmann often shifting to full drum kit by the end. When Hart departed in 1971, Kreutzmann shifted his strategy, jumping on the kit from the start, giving him a space for the 1-is-where-you-think-it-is style drumming that we discussed in the Netherlands episode. One of Kreutzmann’s nicknames inside the band was the Gang of One, and I totally hear that in pretty much every Europe ‘72 “Dark Star.”
GRAEME BOONE: Really nice feel through here. Jerry, with a repeating riff that’ll really get people on a burst of energy. Still on A, an A chord — really beautiful chording from Bob, and then some great backup from Keith. Now you can hear Pigpen on organ. What a wonderful sound, everybody together.
JESSE: Once Kreutzmann started starting the song on drums, the jam’s structure began to shuffle, with motifs showing up everywhere.
GRAEME BOONE: And then here comes Bob with this interesting vamp on E minor — kind of a two-chord vamp. It’s supported by Phil, who does a little bit of walking bass, and then some funky bass. Jerry getting into a little bit of his arpeggio riff, on A minor though, not on the usual E minor.
JESSE: Though not quite exactly the same, that riff is genetically related to what old-school tapers call the Sputnik theme, one of the key components in those earlier more structured “Dark Star”s. A few episodes back, we posed the question of where the name came from. It turns out the term Sputnik theme was coming from inside the house. Or, at least the Deadcast family. Over to one of our excellent German correspondents, Volkmar Rupp.
VOLKMAR RUPP: Ah, the Sputnik theme. Ha! That term first came up as kind of a joke in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, Uli and me started to discuss all the “Dark Star”s we had at that time, which weren’t that much. Very soon, we discovered some recurring themes. “Hey, this one sounds like a Sputnik.” “What?” “Yeah, it sounds like a theme from outer space, traveling around as some kind of weird satellite.” “Ah.” “And in some way, it connects the ‘Dark Star’ to the earth.” And so we coined the term Sputnik. Later on, we agreed with Jim Powell on it. And since then, it has settled into common vocabulary. Our first description reads: “‘Sputnik’: slow-starting tingling, often by Jerry alone, moving into high-pitched guitar picking. Appears as early as ‘68; in ‘70, used as a transition out of ‘Space.’ Later incarnations have a hint of character only.”
JESSE: Many solar orbits ago, Uli and Volkmar compiled a miniature book with their “Dark Star” maps.
GRAEME BOONE: All of a sudden, Phil hitting A major harmony. Are we going to go back to “Dark Star?” Looks like Bob wants to, maybe. Things really slowing down, and Jerry suddenly hits an open D chord, which is the opening chord of “Morning Dew.” Bob [is] still thinking of “Dark Star” there for a second… and then, we’re into “Morning Dew.” It’s interesting, because it’s also Mixolydian, but it’s in a different key. So the feeling is different, and the feeling of your fingers on the instrument is different. Beautiful performance of “Morning Dew” to follow “Dark Star.”
JESSE: They kept going and going. There was even another song debut late in the night, kinda. It might sound like they’re going back into “Not Fade Away” from “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad,” but Jerry knows better.
JESSE: The Dead had played “Hey Bo Diddley” when they backed the rock legend at the Academy two months earlier and sound-checked it a few times since. It had come out a few more times in ‘72 — and once (as David Leopold reminds us) with the Neville Brothers in 1986, featuring Bob Weir on tambourine. For a brief period, it was an alternate destination in the late-show boogie-down.
JESSE: The Times of London gushed about the show. Wrote Myles Palmer, “it was rock music devoid of theatrical effects but glittering with expertise.” Unlike some critics on the tour, Palmer made it to the end of the very long night, calling out the “magic ballad” “Uncle John’s Band” that closed the set. “Oh-ho what I want to know is, where does the time go?” Palmer wrote. “Where indeed, I thought, looking at my watch. It was 1:50 am.”
JESSE: Well, almost. The show definitely went long. Graham Walker.
GRAHAM WALKER: At that point, I was living in Watford. So that was about 15 miles away. I think the first night I drove in; subsequently, I realized that that probably wasn't a good idea. So I honestly can't remember how I… I probably got back to the railway station and waited for the first train in the morning, which would have been about 6 [o’clock] I guess. So it wouldn't have been too long of a wait. Certainly the last buses and trains had well gone, probably before the Dead even came on stage. Certainly for the second set.
JESSE: Jim Smolen.
JIM SMOLEN: The show started around eight, and I think we left there… it was well after 3 AM. I go outside, I tell these guys from Amsterdam that I’m gonna take the Underground, the Tube, back to where I was going. They said, “The Tube’s closed, mate.” So people I never knew before gave me a ride back to where I was going. All I can say is, I’ve seen the Dead a lot of times. That show was the show of all shows.
St. John’s Jerusalem
JESSE: With the gear set up at the Lyceum, the Dead had a party the next afternoon. Steve Parish.
STEVE PARISH: We met a lot of people in England, the promoters. They took us out to St. John's Jerusalem. We had a wild party out there, and a lot of people associated with Apple Records and The Rolling Stones came out and stuff like that. So we had a good party there.
JESSE: The New Riders of the Purple Sage were along for the ride. There’s a photo of Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, David Nelson, and John Dawson with acoustic guitars in St. John’s Jerusalem chapel. But a lot of what people remember about the day was the softball. David Nelson played softball with the Dead back home.
DAVID NELSON: We arranged to go to this place I think near Fairfax, where they had a baseball diamond. You go there and hit balls. I’ve got movies of that, just little clips of that in my home movies.
STEVE PARISH: St. John's Jerusalem, we had a big game that day. And that's mostly that day. Now, if you go back into the ‘40s, when our American servicemen were in England, they didn’t like to play cricket; cricket’s a very annoying game, if you’re an American raised on baseball. We were always playing baseball in America at the time. We played the Starship, we played the Dope Dealers in Marin, we played Bill Graham’s team. We played the One-Legged Sisters from Hell, and all these teams. We had a lot of fun at it. So we were still whizzin’ on that at the time. You’ll see us all swinging those bats — we had a lot of fun, it was a big beautiful place. It looked like where Robin Hood would have hung out or something like that.
JESSE: We offered an in-depth history of the Dead’s softball team, the Dead Ringers, on our “Ripple” episode during our American Beauty season.
DAVID NELSON: Both bands’ roadies were from Pendleton, Oregon. One of the roadies was Gary Harover, who is a big guy who was good at baseball. He was actually a draft pick for the Chicago White Sox at one point. So we go to this guy's house — there was a guy and his family who wanted us to come over and visit, offered us a place to stay and stuff like that. He had, in England, out in this back area a little baseball diamond that was drawn up. They don’t know a whole lot about baseball, but he had a couple of bats and a softball. So we took our positions, we split into a couple of teams; it wasn’t a full team, it was just to play. I’m out in center field, right field so to speak, and Harover hits the softball so hard that the seams came off, the binding or the raised area on a softball. That just ripped off and came off as I caught it, it was going flap flap flap. It almost obliterated the ball itself.
STEVE PARISH: That was the last time we played baseball, I think, was that day at St. John's Jerusalem. That was the last baseball game that was on. Mary Ann Mayer took a lot of great pictures there of us; we were really camera shy, we didn’t let a lot of people take pictures of us unfortunately.
JESSE: We’ve posted some sweet action shots of the Dead Ringers’ last intrasquad game as part of the Daily Dose on social media, including a shot I love of Jerry Garcia flagrantly distracting outfielder David Nelson.
Lyceum Night 2
JESSE: Then it was onto the Bozo and Bolo buses one more time, an hour or so west, back to London for night two at the Lyceum. Archivist David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: 5/24, the second show: I think [it’s] the most under-the-radar show on the tour. Every single song in this show is played incredibly well. This was the band settling into the second show of a four-night run at a venue — they don't have to leave, they don't have to leave the hotel for a week. They were so locked in on 5/24. Again, I will really encourage people to check that show out because it's a concise show; the “Playing in the Band,” “The Other One.” Everything about this show is concise. They mean business, they’re focused, they’re together. It’s positive energy.
JESSE: In the audience was music journalist Andy Childs, who’d been blown away at Empire Pool.
ANDY CHILDS: I bought tickets for the middle two shows. It was intimate. It had the feeling of a very kind of living room concert vibe, because the Lyceum isn't that big. That's why I wanted to go after the Wembley show, because the Wembley shows… that’s quite a big arena, and if you're in the wrong seats, they can look a long way away. But with the Lyceum, there’s a sense of intimacy which I thought was always important with what they were doing. It definitely was my impression that there were a lot of Americans at all those shows. So automatically, there was a different feel to the audience and a different way of… just [a] different vibe with the whole thing.
JESSE: Please welcome back Bill Giles, now of the Grateful Dudes.
BILL GILES: The thing about the Lyceum is just [that it’s] the nicest venue, that it's a ballroom. So, there's a floor for dancing; at the back, there’s a balcony. And the balcony has tables and chairs, you can sit at your tables and enjoy whatever’s going on on stage. That’s what I did both nights for the New Riders — set up on the balcony, had a good time watching the band from the balcony, and then went down onto the floor right up at the front for the Dead. Standing a few yards from Mr. Garcia’s feet. It was an outstanding experience.
BOB WEIR [5/24/72]: This one’s dedicated to all you sops back there at the bar. I want you to think it over.
BILL GILES: At the Lyceum, because I was much closer to the stage, it was a more intimate thing. But they just looked like they lived on the stage: there was just a level of relaxation and amusement, having a great time. Yeah, it was, again, a different sort of feel than I ever got from any other band.
JESSE: Andy Childs had spent a lot of time thinking about the Dead before he got to see them.
ANDY CHILDS: All of the band members came from very different musical backgrounds. That was something that was new, because you look at UK bands, rock bands: they all met at art college, or they all came from similar backgrounds. For a rock band like that to consist of members that came from classical music background, folk, country, bluegrass — I mean, that was quite unique, and it reflected in the music. There was something I wrote about called dissonant counterpoint. When I heard Live/Dead, that did it for me — because “Dark Star” is the epitome of that. That record I had to play six times, seven times, and every time I heard it, it sounded different because I was listening to something different in the mix. It was a great example of loads of different styles coming together that shouldn’t work; they shouldn’t have actually coalesced the way they did, but they did. I was really looking forward to hearing that at the Lyceum, and they didn’t disappoint. It was just… amazing.
ANDY CHILDS: The whole experience of the Lyceum kind of confirmed what I thought was great about the band, and it was just totally different from any UK rock gig that you would go to at the time. Very, very different, very different. It was eclectic, it was relaxed, very friendly. And just the whole range of material that they covered was very exciting. I put those shows down as in my top half-dozen shows I've ever seen.
BILL GILES: Their sound was so different, and their competence on stage was so advanced, compared to their relaxed nature on stage. It was like a party going on on stage, in a way. But the sound, the sound: there was a clarity to the sound that you didn't hear with your typical English bands, the Claptons or the Hendrixs or what have you, who were playing through Marshall amplification, which tends to distort, rather than the beautiful McIntosh PA that the Dead had, the sort of Fender bass guitar amplification. The sound at the way that they approached the gig was different from anything that anybody had really seen before. I think people will forget, amongst the enormous musical talent in the band, just how good they sounded, and how great they looked — like I said earlier, like they lived on stage.
JESSE: The Grateful Dudes will be celebrating Europe ‘72 this summer at the event Playing on the Farm.
“Hurts Me Too”
JESSE: The Dead also caught two tracks for Europe ‘72 on the second night at the Lyceum. The first had been in their repertoire pretty much continuously since 1966, the definition of an old standby. Here’s how “It Hurts Me Too” sounded on November 10th, 1967 at the Shrine in LA, now on the 30 Trips Around the Sun box set.
AUDIO: “Hurts Me Too” [30 Trips Around the Sun, 11/10/67] (0:32-1:02)
JESSE: Not too different from Europe ‘72 in some ways, besides the moodiness of the two drummers. But I also think Pigpen had pretty clearly become a better singer by 1972, and the band had gotten better. I love the little handoff from Garcia’s feedback to Keith Godchaux’s piano while Pig is singing here.
JESSE: Pigpen almost certainly learned it from Elmore James, who credited himself as the author of the song, and who released his version 1957 with the Broomdusters.
AUDIO: “Hurts Me Too” [Elmore James, “Hurts Me Too” 7-inch single] (0:30-1:00) - [Spotify]
JESSE: Ahh, Would that it were so simple. The story of “Hurts Me Too” iterates fascinatingly when traced in reverse, and reveals an interesting Europe ‘72 connection. 17 years before Elmore James’s version of “It Hurts Me Too”, in 1940, Tampa Red recorded a song with the same name, same melody, and some of the same words.
AUDIO: “Hurts Me Too” [Tampa Red, Presenting Tampa Red] (0:10-0:30) - [Spotify]
JESSE: But Tampa Red’s song “Hurts Me Too” was an update on a song he’d first recorded 11 years earlier in 1929, the slide guitar instrumental “You Got To Reap What You Sow.”
AUDIO: “You Got To Reap What You Sow” [Tampa Red, Presenting Tampa Red] (0:10-0:30) - [Spotify]
JESSE: If that sounds familiar, it should. Besides “Hurts Me Too,” “You Got To Reap What You Sow” was the apparent origin point for several other songs on the blues family tree, or perhaps a melody going around previously. On one branch, the melody evolved into Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen.” On another, it became “Sitting On Top of the World,” a masterpiece by the great string band, The Mississippi Sheiks.
AUDIO: “Sitting On Top of the World” [The Mississippi Sheiks, Honey Babe Let the Deal Go Down: The Best of the Mississippi Sheiks] (0:24-0:49) - [Spotify]
JESSE: Which you may know as Side A, track 5 of the first Grateful Dead LP.
JESSE: To summarize: two songs in the Dead’s early repertoire, “It Hurts Me Too” and “Sitting On Top of the World,” seemingly derive from the same common tune. Coincidentally, the Dead had just brought “Sitting On Top of the World” back into their repertoire for the final time a few nights earlier in Munich, and they’d play it on the first and third nights at the Lyceum — the last two versions of the song ever played. Bummer.
JESSE: And for that matter, the version of “Hurts Me Too” on the second night at the Lyceum, included on Europe ‘72, was the last version they ever played.
“You Win Again”
JESSE: A few songs later in the first set, the Dead caught another song for Europe ‘72.
JESSE: Originally by Hank Williams, that was the fifth and final take of “You Win Again” recorded for Europe ‘72. Requiring no overdubs, it was perhaps the most no-fuss/no-muss tune of the project. No versions were pulled for the tour-end mixes, and there doesn’t seem to be a surviving track sheet, apparently a semi-spontaneous inclusion on the album. Introduced into the Dead’s repertoire in the fall of 1971, it was gone by less than a year later, with a few performances in ‘75 by the early iteration of the Jerry Garcia Band. “You Win Again” is, of course, one of the most legendary of all country songs.
AUDIO: “You Win Again” [Hank Williams, Memorial Album] (0:08-0:39) - [Spotify]
JESSE: According to Hank Williams: The Biography by Colin Escott, George Merritt, and William MacEwen, the song was originally titled “I Lose Again,” with a new title suggested by producer Fred Rose when Williams recorded it in the summer of 1952, the day after his divorce was finalized. It was an instant standard.
JESSE: Derek Gillman dropped us a lovely story about the Lyceum shows at stories.dead.net, which we’ll use to end our look at night 2.
DEREK GILLMAN: In late May ‘72, approaching the end of my first year at Oxford, I went with three fellow students to see the Dead play at the Lyceum on the Strand in central London. I have no idea which night of the week it was, and so I can listen to tracks from all four concerts and feel myself there. As we started the drive home, surely in a state of euphoria, we turned the wrong way down Pall Mall, then a one-way street, and nearly crashed into a large bus. But its vehicles came to a rapid stop happily, with no actual collision. As we got out of our Mini, we saw, amazingly, that it was the tour bus, with members of the band amongst those leaning out the windows, openable in those days. We shouted to them how much we'd enjoyed the concert, and all was going swimmingly — until a police car appeared, much to our consternation. Pigpen climbed down to see what was going on, perhaps somebody else too, but I just remember Pigpen. Fortunately, the officers were friendly enough. Did we benefit from being Oxford undergraduates at a time when there were fewer university students in the UK? Undoubtedly. Did we apologize profusely and claim we were unfamiliar with London's roads? Probably. Probably did Pigpen speak up for us? Possibly. The police let us off and departed, and we headed back. Almost 50 years on, it seems unlikely that anyone on the bus would recall that moment — but it's certainly a memory for me.
Lyceum Night 3
JESSE: The Dead didn’t catch any of Europe ‘72 on the 3rd night at the Lyceum, Thursday the 25th of May, but it was hardly uneventful, especially for those who attended. John Kieffer had seen the band in April at Empire Pool.
JOHN KIEFFER: As soon as I could, I bought a ticket for my girlfriend and I to go to the Lyceum a few weeks later. May 25, at the Lyceum, was my second Grateful Dead show. So after being blown away by the Empire Pool show a few weeks before, I had, in the meantime, used all my birthday money and a chunk of my wages on American Beauty, and a pricey import copy of
Skull and Roses from Richard Branson's first Virgin store. The Lyceum was a great venue — a much more intimate, by 2000 [people], than the Empire Pool. But already, this concert made me a Dead fan for life.
JESSE: It would be the last time they played a number of songs, mainly ones sung by Pigpen.
JESSE: Goodbye to “Big Boss Man,” revived by Garcia in the ‘80s. And goodbye to “Good Lovin’,” revived by Weir in ‘76.
JESSE: The last version with Pipgen doesn’t have a freestyle, but it does have Jerry Garcia on B3 for the last time.
JESSE: It also has jam that gets pretty deep.
JESSE: The first set of the 25th of May show is also the last time one of my favorite things happened — “Brokedown Palace” with a combination of Keith Godchaux’s piano & Pigpen’s B3.
JESSE: Bill Giles.
BILL GILES: The Thursday night, that was the 25th — the penultimate gig. They ended, as they were doing generally doing then, the first set with “Casey Jones.” Just talking about sound clarity, when they get to the final choruses that repeat—”driving that train,” et cetera, et cetera—the guy at the soundboard was just cranking up the amp every time they’d get to a new verse. It just [got] louder, and I’m sure they did that everywhere. It’s something that I remember: this thing was getting so goddamn loud, and it was totally clear. The fact that I remember that happening… a deeply-impressioned experience.
JESSE: The second set had an unusual jam sequence, with “Uncle John’s Band” melting into a gentle space.
JESSE: Reformulating dramatically into “Wharf Rat.”
JESSE: Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: I went to the first three shows and then I ran out of money — I couldn't afford to go to the last one, which was a real bummer, and I've regretted it ever since. But I think I did okay.
JESSE: And he did tape the shows, which was pretty excellent, too. Because then “Wharf Rat” drifted into that special place.
JESSE: To spin us through this 11th and final “Dark Star” of Europe ‘72, please welcome back Graeme Boone.
GRAEME BOONE: “Wharf Rat,” transitioning into “Dark Star” — such a powerful move and feeling. They don’t even play the tag; Jerry just started in on his riff, and they’re into it. With that feeling of “Wharf Rat” in the background, this is a slow and pensieve beginning.
JESSE: Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: I got to see my second “Dark Star” on the Thursday. One of the things about the Lyceum Ballroom—I don’t know if anybody’s said this—was it had a roof which rolled back. While they were playing “Dark Star,” looking up… it might have been “The Other One,” but it was a spacey, magical trip. Looking out and seeing the stars: just a little black square in the ceiling, and the stars above. It was just absolutely magical. I think they had to do it to let all the fumes out — let the smoke and the incense, whatever else. That happened, that really happened. A lot of things I’ve forgotten, but that is true.
JESSE: Andy Childs.
ANDY CHILDS: The Lyceum had a retractable roof, and the atmosphere got a bit smoky in there for a while. So they opened the roof to let the scent out. [laughs] The roof was kind of domed I think; there was a small part of it in the middle, and that just kind of opened up as a dome. So it wasn't the whole roof. I'll never forget that. You saw the stars coming in. It was kind of a magic moment, in a way — kind of perfect.
CHRIS JONES: It was certainly open that night. I think it was on the third night, that night that I was there that it opened. It was absolutely amazing that it happened. It felt just right. May is not always warm in this country, but we were hot. To open the thing then was absolutely superb. I’m not sure if someone pointed it out to me or if I was just sort of laying out flat on the floor, zoned out of me box. But I noticed it, and it was great.
GRAEME BOONE: Beautiful sense of hovering. And you can hear everybody just adding little bits and pieces to this moment. Phil back on A, creating a sense of center, but always in movement…
ANDY CHILDS: They would go in a huddle — they would look at each other and they’d be looking at what each other was doing. It was that kind of playing off of each other in a very intimate way. Which, again, I’ve never seen a rock band do that; I’ve never seen anything like it before.
GRAEME BOONE: So the band is in a very spacey mode here for a minute, and then Jerry hits this note — listen to Jerry’s note. And then Bob hits a note… and through feedback, they just hold on to these notes. Phil Lesh, playing his growling bass… wide open, deep space. Bill’s dropped out, Keith has dropped out. Phil on those two note chords, those dyadic monster chords in the bass.
ANDY CHILDS: Phil always seemed to me to be the one that kind of took the lead when it came to where these jams would go. It was almost like jazz; they’re all melodies he plays, he doesn’t play ordinary basslines. He plays melodies. So they just go off, and the rest of the band follow. I always thought he was really… you can’t discount the contributions of any of the band members, but I always thought that he was particularly important, and not many people really have written about that.
JESSE: Andy would. In ZigZag, he would write of the shows, “I was given irrevocable proof to support my theory that Phil Lesh is a genius beyond all shadow of a doubt. He was pushing out endless boulder-like notes that formed the base and cornerstone of the whole sound…beautiful imaginative riffs during tightly-arranged numbers, and when they stretched out, veering off the road to God knows where, it was pure counterpoint at its very best. I'll never forget one particular instance where the band had worked themselves into a piece that trained students of the game would probably describe as ‘electric chamber music,’ and Lesh was completely and utterly in control of the whole thing, crouched next to his amp and playing his bass high up on the neck gradually stabilising all the many different melodies and rhythms flying around him, and then leading them off somewhere else completely. Phil Lesh at the height of his creativity — that's not an experience you treat lightly.” Andy’s profile of the Dead, a 3-part history, was published in ZigZag over the course of 1973.
ANDY CHILDS: Shortly after that, I became the editor of ZigZag, so I think it might have been instrumental.
JESSE: It also helped him score an interview with Phil Lesh the next time the Dead came through London, a topic we’ll have to save for another day.
JESSE: Bill Giles.
BILL GILES: I was down in the front, there was a guy behind me with his girlfriend. I just remember this conversation — I just remember him saying, “It's alright, they'll get back to playing music in a while…” or words to that effect. And this was during what was actually really quite a difficult “Dark Star.” I had some sympathy, because they did rather lose their way.
JESSE: They found it.
GRAEME BOONE: Really nice bits from everybody. And there, Phil pops into his “Feelin’ Groovy,” and listen to that tremolo effect on Bob’s guitar. Jerry’s not staying on top; he’s just grooving with his bandmates… then he starts coming out. As always, Bill, underpinning the whole jam. And, as usual, you have this pause of four bars, and then coming back…
JESSE: And we’ll fade out the last Europe ‘72 “Dark Star” with a tiny bit that anticipates the feel of “Eyes of the World,” debuted eight months later. Thanks, Graeme Boone, for all the celestial navigation. This “Dark Star” reenters local gravity in the same way that a half-dozen previous “Dark Star”s on Europe ‘72 do.
JESSE: The Dead had gone from “Dark Star” into “Sugar Magnolia” a few times before the Europe ‘72 tour and would do so a few times after, but I think of it as the quintessential Europe ‘72 “Dark Star” transition. Chris Jones.
CHRIS JONES: For me, seeing the Dead six times in the space of less than two months — that's quite a lot. But they really so impressed me with the musicianship; the dedication of playing for those sort of long hours, as I said; all the freebies they gave; the atmosphere that they engendered. It was just an absolutely marvelous experience for a very young man.
JESSE: John Kieffer.
JOHN KIEFFER: Actually, the vibe was so friendly and relaxed. It was not like being at a concert at all. More like an outdoor festival, but inside a faded Rococo ballroom. I'd been listening to a lot of jazz—Coltrane, Miles, et cetera—and electronic music as a teenager. I remember being amazed one minute at the Dead’s improvisations, while the next minute being drawn into great songs like “Wharf Rat,” and then dancing like an idiot with my girlfriend to “Sugar Magnolia.” There certainly is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.
ANDY CHILDS: At the end of the second one, I think, they seem to go on for hours and hours. You’d come out into Covent Garden in the early hours of the morning. There was a fruit and vegetable market in Covent Garden at the time, and all the workers would be coming in to go to work, while we were coming out of the Lyceum. It was quite funny.
Lyceum Night 4
JESSE: The final night of the tour, the last of the Lyceum shows, has long been voted an all-time favorite by Dead Heads. And it was an instant all-timer for Allan Arkush, who’d seen virtually every classic Dead set at the Fillmore East while working there.
ALLAN ARKUSH: The last one is one of my top five favorite Grateful Dead shows of all time. And I think you can tell on the recording — there's an energy to it.
JESSE: And it’s true. It was another deeply electrified night. Stories abound about the touring party making a valiant and sometimes not-so-valiant attempt to finish off their collective LSD supply. Courtenay Pollack and his ladyfriend met up with the tour for the Lyceum shows. This actually could have happened on any of earlier nights, but we’ll use it to set the mood.
COURTENAY POLLACK: We went and met up with the band again in London for the last gigs over there. Victoria and I were in the same hotel with the band. We go to the gig, and actually it was Kidd Candelario [who] we ran into first. We were on stage, I was checking equipment, tie-dying, and I’ve got Victoria with me. He’s like, “Hey, you guys want a drop?” “Sure.” So he gives us a squeeze out of the Murine bottle, because it was dissolved in Murine, under the guise of eyedropers of course.
JESSE: Previously on the Deadcast, we heard how Courtenay had avoided the Paris mega-dosing because he came with his own supply of Windowpane. He did not avoid such a fate in London.
COURTENAY POLLACK: She and I both got absolutely blitzed. All visuals and sound just became a morass of fragmentia — life became shards of broken glass. You couldn’t see anything; all sound was disjointed. It was absolutely hellacious. I just knew it was going to be several hours, that we just had to ride it out until we came down enough. It also had speed in it, was just not a cool thing. In small doses, it was probably really good for setting up equipment, breaking down at the end of the night, keeping that thread of energy going. But if you take too much, you couldn’t do anything: you couldn’t see, you couldn’t hear properly. It was hours before we could make head or tail of anything. I quickly found a little spot backstage where we could just hunker down and ride it out.
JESSE: The Dead’s family weren’t the only ones going all-out. Jeremy Poynton.
JEREMY POYNTON: We hit the road from Oxford, me and some friends from college, and hired a van to go down to the Lyceum. I think we managed the first show and the last show, being impoverished students who got to Wembley and [had] been blown away; got to Bickershaw and had been blown away and been covered in mud. Absolutely perfect. The shows were spectacular. The acid we had was absolutely spectacular. Glorious days.
JESSE: Back on the planetary surface, the show got going. Opening up were the New Riders of the Purple Sage. A tape has long circulated of their set, but turns out it was from one of the other nights. New Riders archivist Rob Bleetstein recently discovered the real 26th of May set. It will be released this fall by Omnivore Recordings. Here’s a sneak preview of “Dirty Business.” Please dig Buddy Cage’s sweet pedal steel.
AUDIO: “Dirty Business” [New Riders of the Purple Sage, 5/26/72] (6:02-6:32)
JESSE: And then, once more, it was time for the Grateful Dead.
JESSE: Writer Ken Hunt.
KEN HUNT: The Lyceum was a much more intimate venue. It was a very European audience, people who traveled from across Europe. There was none of the stuff which I despised, which was people calling out “Jerry!” and “Grateful Dead!” I just thought, No, I don’t need that in my ears. I just want to hear the music. So there was none of that at the concert I went to.
JESSE: The night would not only yield four songs and two extended jams for the officially released version of Europe ‘72, but another five performances made it to the end-of-tour mixes for album consideration. Along with “China Cat Sunflower” in the first set, it also included three of Pigpen’s performances in the first set. The first was “Mr. Charlie.”
JESSE: Another was “The Stranger,” the only version from the tour pulled as a potential keeper.
JESSE: The last was “Chinatown Shuffle.”
JESSE: It was the last song Pigpen would sing with the Grateful Dead. They would be the final performances of all three songs, which still sucks. There’s one moment that many remember about the first set. Bill Giles.
BILL GILES: The specific memory from that was that [the] end of the first set, or towards the end of the first set — I think they’d done “China”/“Rider.” As they had done at most of the shows, “Casey Jones” is [usually] the Set 1 closer. There’s a pause after “China”/“Rider,” they’re working out what to do. And the audience starts clapping the Bo Diddley beat. So you’ve got the audience going.
KEN HUNT: The lovely thing about the Lyceum is when you get the audience feeding the band. The audience—and I was one of them—we started clapping a rhythm.
JESSE: Remember Phil Lesh’s encounter with the Danish crowd back at the beginning of the tour?
PHIL LESH [4/14/72]: Say, you know what? We’re gonna keep on playing — you don’t have to clap like that.
BOB WEIR [4/14/72] But you can if you want to. If you want to clap, go ahead.
PHIL LESH [4/14/72]: Go ahead, get it on. But we won’t do one in that tempo, you know, necessarily.
JERRY GARCIA [4/14/72]: You can if you want to, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. You can do whatever you want.
PHIL LESH [4/14/72]: Don’t get sucked into it now…
JESSE: Tonight they would.
BILL GILES: You see the band on the stage, and they're looking at one another in amazement — laughing and chuckling and all the rest of it. And they know what they have to do, which is play “Not Fade Away.” And that’s what they do.
KEN HUNT: And they picked up on the rhythm, and you get a shot from what sounds like Kreutzmann. And they go into “Not Fade Away.”
KEN HUNT: Now, I don't know how often the Dead did that sort of stuff. But it was a special moment. I wouldn’t say it was magical, but it was a special moment.
BILL GILES: Set 1 concludes, with the help of the audience's inspiration, with “Not Fade Away” going into “Goin’ Down the Road [Feeling Bad].” That was a great little moment of band and crowd interaction, without a word being spoken.
JESSE: In later years, it would become a semi-regular ritual for the audience to start up the rhythm and pass it to the band, but the Lyceum show is a magical totally spontaneous early instance. It happened at least one other time, on November 8th, 1970 at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, of course — but there are still plenty of missing tapes. Allan Arkush.
ALLAN ARKUSH: “Not Fade Away” is awesome. The give and take on “Not Fade Away” between Jerry’s playing and Bob’s singing is very Chuck Berry-like, and very on it. It’s really strong rock and roll fills.
JESSE: It was a warm and fuzzy way to end the first set. Because for the Dead’s extended family, set break was utter chaos. Sam Cutler.
SAM CUTLER: And, oh man, it was just another of those stonkin’ high gigs. My mother wanted to come and see what this band was like, who this band was, the Grateful Dead, so I organized a car to bring her and her husband to the gig. She sat in the balcony next to Healy, and everyone is completely stoned. I suddenly remembered, “Oh my fuckin’...” we were having a break, and “my mother’s up there; I’d better go and get her.” I went and got her and said, “Come down to the dressing room! Say hello to Jerry!” Which was a great mistake. So, this little old English lady, I took her down to the dressing room, and everybody’s in the dressing room smoking joints and completely out of it. My mother looked like she just stepped into the middle of Sodom and Gomorrah. I took her up to Garcia, and Garcia kind of peered over his glasses. I said, “Oh, Jerry, this is my mother!” He looked at her, and he goes, “I didn’t know you had a mother!” This is what Jerry said to my mother… she didn’t take kindly to that. She said something to him like, “You know what, this music is far too loud! It’s positively dangerous. Don’t you realize that it can injure people? You can destroy their hearing?” I managed to get her out of there, and she went home. She couldn’t stand it any longer… so that was that. That was that gig, man. It ended at like 3:30 in the morning, instead of 11 o’clock that the manager demanded.
JESSE: Wiz had an entertaining set break.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD : When we were in Germany, we went to a toy store and bought these really, really high-quality full face masks. And I had a Punch and Judy one. I had a lot of hair, and I could pull my hair back, put the mask on, and then kind of pull my hair around the mask and it looked pretty cool. Anyway, I was talking about the other masks that we had — the band wore them at one point during the last Lyceum gig.
JESSE: Wiz went to get a drink at Warner Brothers promotional box, where thanks to one of the kwippies, the company’s representatives had gotten… dosed.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD : So, set break, I put the Punch mask on, and I go up there. And people see me walk in and all of a sudden, everybody’s on the other side of the box, cowering.
AUDIO: [Wilhelm Scream]
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD : I didn't think… I just thought, Oh shit, I don’t want to freak these guys out. I pull the mask off, and it must have looked like I was ripping my face off… [laughs]
AUDIO: [Homer Simpson screams]
JESSE: Many years later, Wiz and Candace Brightman reunited on the touring crew for Phil Lesh and Friends. And, as happens, the topic of Europe ‘72 came up, and eventually the masked night at the Lyceum.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD : We started talking about that, and Candace, her jaw drops — she looks at me and says: “They were masks? What are you talking about? I thought I was hallucinating.” I said, “No, they put masks on for a while.” We laughed.
JESSE: Then it was time to get down to the evening’s business. Drop the needle on LP 3 of Europe ‘72 and you’ll hear the beginning of the Set 2 from Night 4 at the Lyceum. The crowd knows what’s coming, the Dead’s sixth show in London in two months.
BOB WEIR [5/26/72]: Of course, by now, I needn’t tell you that this next number rose straight to the top of the charts in Turlock, California, Numero Uno, and stayed there for a week or two. They love us in Turlock, and we love them for that…
JESSE: Far be it from the Deadcast to leave Weir’s Turlock claim like that alone. It’s sometimes suggested that it’s a band in-joke related to a gig a few years earlier in Turlock, but—the thing is—it actually sounds like a plausible claim to me. In the ‘70s, it wasn’t uncommon for small towns to have their own local music charts, often just ads in the paper sponsored by a local record store or radio station. And, “Truckin’” does appear on at least one such chart, just after the time Weir started using that piece of patter in late ‘71. The archives of the Turlock Daily Journal aren’t yet digitized, unfortunately. I contacted the paper via current reporter Chris Correa, who queried some of the old-schoolers at the publication. None of them remember a local music chart, but I know firsthand how difficult it can to be research between multiverses, and I’d still love to get some Dead freak eyeballs on late 1970 and 1971 editions of the Turlock Daily Journal. But anyhoo.
JESSE: Of course, the Dead recorded “Truckin” less than two years earlier, when it became the closing song on American Beauty. We went way into the “Truckin” during our season-closing episode from that season, so we ask you to please point your podcast player to that for a deeper history. But, to recount briefly, the original conception of “Truckin” was a bit different.
JESSE: That was the demo for “Truckin’” from the expanded Angel’s Share edition of American Beauty, available on a streaming service near you. The song beefed up considerably over its first year and change of live performances, but it was only just before the Europe ‘72 tour that the song developed a proper jam.
AUDIO: “Truckin’” [Dave’s Picks 14, 3/26/72] (14:48-15:18)
JESSE: That was a version from March 26th at the Academy in New York, just before the band’s departure for London, and the first “Truckin’” to really cruise the cosmic highway, cracking open to 18 minutes. The tour-ending version in London was take 18, played most nights of the tour, and got to a pretty out place, too.
JESSE: At the Lyceum, Truckin’ unfolded into a one-hour 10-minute sequence, segueing into “The Other One” into “Morning Dew,” back into “The Other One,” and on into “Sing Me Back Home.” For the album, it was edited judiciously down to less than half that — a disc-long piece of music that begins with “Truckin’” and ends with “Morning Dew.” At Alembic, Weir, Garcia, and Lesh overdubbed new vocals on July 31st.
JESSE: On the official album, the “Truckin’” outro was retitled “Epilogue” and made into its own track. There are no edits, but it did earn Keith Godchaux his first publishing credit on a Grateful Dead album. fading just as it starts to melt into “The Other One.”
JESSE: One person who had a fascinating perspective on the Dead’s jamming on the Europe ‘72 tour is Dennis “Wizard” Leonard, who watched the entire tour through a tiny black-and-white monitor in the recording truck.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: One of my favorite things, musically—and I could see this through the black-and-white monitor—is, a lot of time, Jerry would be playing kind of with his head down, and other band members would just be on their instruments, and they would telegraph things to each other for transitions, without even visual contact. There was something extraordinary going on. It wasn't just the music: these guys were so in touch with each other that I think that something as subtle as the speed of a bend could telegraph something.
JESSE: There was still plenty of excitement in the recording truck on the last night of the tour.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: In Amsterdam, I had found, and had it for quite a while, in an antique shop, a real human skull; you can buy them there. It lived on top of the 13-inch monitor for a while. That was right under the Laughing Jack flag that was the backdrop between two JBL monitors. Early in the second set, Joe Smith comes out to the truck.
JESSE: Legendary Warner Brothers president Joe Smith in the house!
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: And he kind of like… it was a funky staircase that we carried to get in there. [He said]: “Do you guys mind if I hang out here? I think I'm high.” Betty and I look at him and said, “No problem — just relax, man.” And Joe sits down, and he’s listening. He starts to look at the 12-inch monitor, and he glances up and says, “Uh, that’s a real human skull.” “Yeah, Joe, it is.” “I’m gonna go back inside now…” [laughs]
JESSE: Did the Dead’s crew finally dose Joe Smith? Not likely. Smith never met a story he couldn’t tell, and it was a story he never told. Did they dose themselves? Enthusiastically.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: We were all really, really, really high for the last show of the tour.
JESSE: The tape box for the set reads [voice becomes warped]: “We’re all really stoned now.” [returns to normal] A little bit later into the second set, due to circumstances, Wizard found himself alone in the Alembic truck. Dennis McNally featured a version in his official band biography, Long Strange Trip, but I love hearing Wizard tell it.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: Betty comes over to me, under the truck, and she's, like, high as shit, and says, “Is it okay?” I said, “Yeah, it’s okay. We’re rolling, we’re in record, it sounds good.” She says, “Could you listen?” I go over and she had a little 2-track setup at the end of the truck; I had a little multitrack at the other end. I listened to the mix and it sounds good; I solo each track, and everything’s there. I said, “It’s all great.” She said, “Are you sure?” Then she looks at me and says, “Are we in ‘record’?” I said, “Betty, not only are we in ‘record,’ but we’re in playback. So what we’re hearing has already happened.” And that climbed up to her head, and she said, “Oh god…” I said, “Betty, why don’t you go inside…” We just changed tape. Because we had an hour and a half pack of tape, big reel.
JESSE: And so Wiz was alone in the recording truck. You may’ve heard a version of this part in Amir Bar Lev’s Long Strange Trip documentary, but here’s a slightly more jammed out version.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: I'm sitting there high as shit. But I spent time on the Prankster buses; I could talk to cops and change tires on the bus while I was completely high, it was required. I’m feeling both great and, at the same time, a little sad — because it was the 22nd show, the last of the tour, and I’d not been inside for one song, even. As a young hippie Dead Head, I had always wanted to see what was behind the green curtain, and now I was there. I realized: there’s no going back to Kansas on this. This is where I am; this is where I’ll be, and it’s okay. I felt great — holy shit, I was like a hippie, seven months ago, and now these guys trust me enough to just be alone in the truck and deal with recording the band. That felt great. [Steve] Parish calls me on the intercom, and says, “Hey, fuckhead.” “What Steve?” “One of the RE-20s on the piano cabinet is drooping.” “It’s just a mic clip; can you please stick a coin in it and tighten it up?” “Fuck you” — you know Steve. And I realize: holy shit, nobody’s here; I can’t get in touch with anybody. They were jamming, the dynamics were pretty subdued. I’m running inside to fix this mic clip. I locked the truck. As I close the door, the truck is vibrating at me — “it’s gonna be okay.” I go inside, stick a coin in the mic clip, tighten it up, look at Parish and sneer. And I start to walk off stage, and they drop into “Morning Dew.”
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: Also a tune that I knew wasn’t going to have outrageous dynamics; I had an hour and 15 minutes’ [worth] of tape left on the machine. And I figured, what the fuck. I am staying right here for this tune.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: And upstage center-ish, there was a backstage monitor; I walked past that, [it] was right behind Garcia's rig. Garcia looked at me and kind of smiled a funny Jerry smile — like, ‘What the fuck are you doing in here?’ And I hung out for the tune.
JESSE: We’ll let Wizard watch “Morning Dew”—take 4, used on Europe ‘72—while we steer briefly into the history of “Morning Dew.” Of course, “Morning Dew” began side B of the Dead’s self-titled 1967 debut.
JESSE: Sounds a little different. The song, originally about the world after nuclear fallout, was written and recorded by Canadian songwriter Bonnie Dobson in 1962, at the height of the Cold War, released on her live At Folk City LP.
AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Bonnie Dobson, At Folk City] (0:11-0:44)
JESSE: On the Dead’s album, “Morning Dew” is credited to songwriters Bonnie Dobson and Tim Rose. We’ll let music scholar Ken Hunt address this. Not only was he present for the Europe ‘72 version at the Lyceum, but he’s now friends with Bonnie Dobson herself.
KEN HUNT: There were all sorts of rights grabs going on. One of the rights grabs was “Morning Dew.” When Bon wrote “Morning Dew,” the first person who really got to tackle it was Fred Neil. And Fred was honorable: he changed the word, and didn’t claim a third. Now, when [Tim] Rose comes along, the bastard claim-jumps it, and it took Bonnie years to extricate herself from that. He was very underhanded, so I use that derogatory term for him advisedly.
JESSE: The song was an instant hit among the folk revival, popularized largely by the 1964 Fred Neil and Vince Martin version, which is where Jerry Garcia picked it up.
AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Fred Neil & Vince Martin, Tear Down the Walls] (0:28-0:58) - [Spotify]
JESSE: In the five years between the song’s original release and the Dead’s debut, it was performed by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Lulu, The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart, Mythology featuring Tony Iommi and Bill Ward, and more.
JESSE: That was the original vocal for “Morning Dew” at the Lyceum, with just a touch of sourness in Garcia’s voice — fixed in the mix. Here’s how it sounded on the final version of the song. If you listen closely, you can hear the ghost of the original vocal.
JESSE: That was actually the very last piece of music recorded for Europe ‘72, overdubbed on September 1st. But only the vocals on the first part of the song were redone. After the first solo, they’re live.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: Listen to his vocals. Wonderfully, some of his vocals are throwaway, he was so off-mic. But they did not overdub those away. He was really there; he was totally committed to pure emotion, playing down his arms. It just blew my mind.
JESSE: Most of the earlier versions of “Morning Dew” by other artists end like this, with the refrain, “now there’s no more Morning Dew.” Here’s how Lulu does it. I love this version.
AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Lulu, To Sir With Love] (2:29-2:48) - [Spotify]
JESSE: There’s one thing all of the versions are missing, though.
JESSE: As near as I can tell, the lyric “I guess it doesn’t matter anyway” doesn’t appear in any recorded version of “Morning Dew” before the Grateful Dead debuted theirs in early 1967. If that’s true, I think it’s very likely it constitutes an original lyric by Jerry Garcia.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: During Jerry’s solo, both for getting sustain and maybe for other reasons, he played his solo very close to his cabinet — facing his cabinet for the most part, just to get feedback sustain.
DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [GANS, 2011]: I looked up at him and, in mid-solo, there were tears streaming down his face. [chokes up] And honestly, every time I think about it, I go back there. It's moments in time that I'll never forget.
JESSE: Jeremy Poynton.
JEREMY POYNTON: The last night was an absolute and utter gem, and I can only think of Wiz talking about not being in the recording van and watching Jerry, tears pouring down his eyes as he played “Morning Dew.” Jerry was not alone in the audience, I can tell you — I was weeping my heart out. I still weep my heart out for Jerry.
JESSE: It was truly a rich sequence of music. “Sing Me Back Home” made it to the tour-ending reels.
DAVID LEMIEUX: There were some things that they gave three stars to, but that song title was not actually included in Europe 72. So “Sing Me Back Home” was given three stars, but I think they wanted to put one big Jerry-sung ballad on the album.
JESSE: We’ve got ‘em now. Watch out next week when we post the complete list of post-tour mixes. But they certainly weren’t done recording for Europe ‘72.
“Ramble On Rose”
JESSE: The band debuted “Ramble On Rose” at the beginning of their long fall ‘71 tour. Here’s a bit of the third-ever version, October 22nd in Chicago, from Dave’s Picks 3.
AUDIO: “Ramble On Rose” [Dave’s Picks 3, 10/22/71] (0:39-0:47)
JESSE: A few clicks faster, but there were virtually no differences, either musically or lyrically, between “Ramble On Rose” as it was introduced and “Ramble On Rose” as it was recorded. In its early years, Garcia reserved the song for the second set, generally the heavier part of the show for when the band was properly warmed up. It certainly wasn’t a ballad or anything remotely heavy, but perhaps something colorful to catch people at their most levitated. Here’s what Robert Hunter told David Gans about “Ramble On Rose” in 1977, published in David’s great book Conversations With the Dead.
ROBERT HUNTER : I think “Ramble On Rose” is the closest to complete whimsy [that] I’ve come up with. That was another one that I sat down and wrote numerous verses to, came up with ‘em, just that all tied around: “Did you say your name was Ramblin Rose?/Ramble on, baby/Settle down easy.” It fit.
JESSE: But your version of “complete whimsy” might differ slightly from Robert Hunter’s notion of the same thing, a spew of images from the American subconscious linked by a flower — the rambling rose, perfect for winding through other plants, or through the bars of a trellis or pergola, a conceptual continuation in some ways of the American Beauty that titled their 1970 album. But one of the Dead’s most American songs began with the invocation of a British character.
JESSE: The true identity of Jack the Ripper, a British serial killer who brutally preyed on sex workers in London’s East End, remains unknown.
JESSE: A term out of blues culture, and more specifically Black culture, with origins in West Africa, a mojo hand was a flannel bag carrying various spiritual tools. It turns up in lots of blues and R&B tunes, and the Dead’s own song “Caution.”
AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)” [Birth of the Dead] (2:45-2:59)
JESSE: In the context of “Ramble On Rose,” the concept of the Mojo Hand almost sounds a bit anthropomorphized, as if it were the third member of the song’s dream blunt rotation.
JESSE: Billy Sunday played eight seasons in Major League Baseball, debuting with the Chicago Cubs in 1888 before becoming arguably the most prominent early 20th century Christian evangelist.
BILLY SUNDAY [circa 1931]: It was because I didn’t want our boys to die drunkards that I fought and fight. I’m going to live long enough to see America so dry you’ll have to prime a man before he can spit. And I’ll fight the saloon from Hawaii to Hoboken. And I’ll kick as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it and punch it as long as I have a fist. I’ll butt it as long as I have a head. I’ll bite it as long as I have a tooth. And when I am old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it ‘till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.
JESSE: And by “dream blunt rotation,” I mean a real dream, where you end up hanging out with bizarre characters and can’t quite escape.
JESSE: One of my favorite little details about “Ramble On Rose” is that, starting in the later ‘70s, wherever and whenever the Dead played it, the line “just like New York City” would likely get a big cheer, further testament to the centrality of Manhattan to the Dead Head universe. Here it is on November 30th, 1980 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, now Dave’s Picks 8, what’s up Fox’s Denners.
AUDIO: “Ramble On Rose” [Dave’s Picks 8, 11/30/80] (1:11-1:18)
JESSE: Nicholas Meriwether.
NICHOLAS MERIWETHER: There's a cyclical feel to it. It almost feels like it borrows from the same kind of cyclicality that you hear in “Truckin’” first. But “Truckin’” is serious, and “Truckin’” is autobiographical — whereas “Ramble On Rose,” you get more of a sense of… it’s the same sense of folky cyclicality, but now, it’s not really tethered to anything deeper and more ambitious. It really is just Hunter’s classic sense of wordplay. It’s got an element of whimsy to it, but it’s also got an element of… look at the catalog of images that he presents in there. It’s really deep, basic stuff: this is the way that Hunter sees American history. This is the way that Hunter sees the American song bag. It’s got serious literary teeth in it. If “China Cat Sunflower” is nothing but pure whimsy, “Ramble On Rose” is kind of whimsy with a purpose.
JESSE: The song is dense with allusions, and we’ll point you to David Dodd’s annotated “Ramble On Rose,” from his Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics site, which further teases out connections between all of these. Along with items from early 20th century popular culture, the song features proverbs, Biblical references, and nursery rhymes.
AUDIO: “Jack and Jill” (0:04-0:16)
JESSE: Well, that does sound kind of like a pretty weird dream. As musicologists might note, though, “Ramble On Rose” doesn’t contain anything like actual ragtime, besides the vague flirtations of Keith Godchaux’s piano. It does however have a few lyrical references to Irving Berlin’s 1911 global hit “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” — which, like “Ramble On Rose,” doesn’t contain much by way of actual ragtime either, here heard sung in 1912 by Billy Murray.
AUDIO: “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” [Billy Murray, Presenting Billy Murray] (1:16-1:40) - [Spotify]
JESSE: There was a little more ragtime buried further down.
JESSE: Depending who you ask, Crazy Otto is a reference to the piano player and ragtime revivalist Johnny Maddox, who had a 1955 instrumental hit with the “Crazy Otto Medley,” a cover of a German artist named Scragher Otto. Which means that, buried inside this very American piece of music, is a triple-nested invocation — an American taking their musical identity from a German pianist playing American ragtime.
AUDIO: “Crazy Otto Medley” [Johnny Maddox, Red Hot Ragtime 1] (0:45-0:59) - [Spotify]
JESSE: The next lyric probably doesn’t need much explanation for many American listeners.
JESSE: Wolfman Jack was one of North America’s preeminent pirate DJs, beaming forth with his distinct gravely voice from the so-called clear channel XERB.
WOLFMAN JACK : 9:30 in Los Angeles…
XERB ANNOUNCER : This is 50,000 watt clear channel XERB, Radio NORTH America, Central Studios, Los Angeles. 1090 on your dial…
WOLFMAN JACK : Aww…
[“Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day begins to play]
WOLFMAN JACK : Hey baby, well, come on in here to the Wolfman Jack Show. For a Tuesday night! [howls]
JESSE: In 1973, Wolfman Jack would begin to crossover into the mainstream with a role in George Lucas’s American Graffiti. But to British audiences in 1972, he was a mystery.
ALEX ALLAN: There were lots of new songs that we’d never heard. So by the end of the four nights at Lyceum, we'd heard most of them a couple times, and we were getting a bit more familiar. They were, I thought, intriguing, [and] had fascinating lyrics. So as I said, it was “Tennessee Jed,” Brown-Eyed Women,” “Ramble On Rose” — I started thinking they had fascinating references. You get Wolfman Jack.. who on earth is Wolfman Jack?
JESSE: The allusions of these songs inspired Alex to start whitegum.com, the brilliant Grateful Dead lyric site. The song ended with a reference that was likewise pretty American.
JESSE: Like many card games, poker had ancient origins, but the modern 52-card deck and rules can be traced to New Orleans, where it spread by way of the Mississippi River. It’s since gone global thanks to satellite television and the internet, but—like the rose—it was a key piece of Robert Hunter’s imagery. The last bits of imagery are more British.
JESSE: Of course, Frankenstein was the Doctor, and Mary Shelley the author, co-creators of the monster that lived rent-free in Jerry Garcia’s imagination and surely appealed to him here, the only Grateful Dead song to invoke Frankenstein itself. You may be familiar with Garcia’s 1995 interview, The Movie That Changed My Life, about Abbott and Costello Meet Frankstein. It’s worth seeking out in full.
JERRY GARCIA : The iconography, the… Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, and the Wolfman, became figures of tremendous fascination for me. I mean, overwhelming. It led me for example, [to] things like the discovery of German expressionist theater and film. The James Whale, original Frankenstein is so beautiful: beautiful lighting, beautiful sets, you know, that great angular stuff.
JESSE: The Lyceum held a deep connection to the spooky, as well. Ken Hunt.
KEN HUNT: In that song, “It was just like Mary Shelley,” that’s the one that got me. The Lyceum was a theater that was run by the actor-manager—which is a term in dramas—Henry Irving, who was very famous. Henry Irving took over things in 1878. He was the actor-manager, so he would perform on stage, but he was directing the management of the theater. And he had a business manager, and his business manager was Bram Stoker. I didn't know that, obviously, back in those days.
JESSE: Listener Stephen Gardiner chimed in with more detail.
STEPHEN GARDINER: 75 years before their Lyceum run, almost to the week, was the publication date of Bram Stoker's great horror novel Dracula. Bram Stoker, the Irish writer, was better known in his lifetime as the manager of London's Lyceum Theatre. I think there was some strange draw that brought him there, involving monsters and darkness and gothic horror, to perform what was four days of phenomenal fine art.
JESSE: But there it was, take 12 of “Ramble On Rose,” recorded on the last night of the tour. There was some work to do back home on the song. On July 7th, Keith Godchaux overdubbed piano, which can be heard weaving through the mix here, along with an extra layer of backing vocals, added July 12th, wiping Garcia’s original singing.
JESSE: Janet Furman was tape operator for the overdub sessions.
JANET FURMAN: I remember one funny little quirky thing — I think it's on “Ramble On Rose,” on the Europe ‘72 album. There was one palace where there’s a — beep! It was caused by, I think, a mic cable getting kicked out… it was just a transient that happened from suddenly getting disconnected. We tried to get rid of that, and just couldn’t do it. It’s still there. You can hear it very plainly in the middle of the song: Beep! If you listen carefully for it, it’s loud and clear.
JESSE: I guess Wiz was back in the truck by then. Like pretty much all the other new material on Europe ‘72, “Ramble On Rose” was an instant standard in the Dead’s repertoire. Over the late ‘70s, it gradually migrated into the first set, another unassuming Garcia/Hunter original, but both songwriters clearly remained in love with it, never disappearing from Dead’s repertoire for too long, and changing very little, except for the sound of the musicians, their instruments, and how they choose to address the song’s changes. Here’s a version from March 29th, 1990, recorded at Nassau Coliseum, and released on Wake Up To Find Out.
JESSE: Hunter called it a favorite, “there’s something funny about that song,” he would say. Now seems as good a time as any to repeat an Elvis Costello quote we heard at the beginning of the first episode this season.
ELVIS COSTELLO: Those ‘72 songs have a strange thing. They refer to ragtime, and they refer to a lot of things that seem to come out of the ‘20s. And even though the music is still played by an electric rock and roll band, I feel that those songs from ‘72 have something in common with the songs of The Band, from around the first two albums particularly, in that it sounds like music that was recorded in the 1880s. Except it's all electric: it’s like weird time travel music. To me, that's more extraordinary: that ability to summon another time, in relatively simple chords—they're not actually that complex—without really sounding like a pastiche. But it's a mixture of the phrasing, the humility of the singing, the lyrical idiom, the lyrical references, and just how unusual those songs are. As a rhythm, the shuffle is strange. The pulsing rhythm that a lot of them have, like “Tennessee Jed” and “Ramble On Rose,” both have this strange kind of rhythm that really isn’t heard in very much other music.
JESSE: Lots of Grateful Dead songs are easy standards for bands. The excellent website deaddisc.com maintains pages for each Dead original with deep sub-discographies of recorded covers. It’s a delight to explore. But not too many people have covered “Ramble On Rose,” perhaps because of that shuffle beat that Elvis articulated. So we’ll close out the “Ramble On Rose” portion of the Deadcast with a bit of a relatively recent version by the great singer Wynonna Judd on her Recollections EP in 2020 — joined by aspiring Nashvillian Bob Weir, who has been tweaking one of the lyrics in recent years.
AUDIO: “Ramble On Rose” [Wynonna Judd & Bob Weir, Recollections] (3:44-4:17) - [Bandcamp]
“One More Saturday Night”
JESSE: There was still one more song to catch for Europe ‘72. In fact, the last song on Side A of Europe ‘72 was the last song performed on the Europe ‘72 tour.
JESSE: Take 19 of “One More Saturday Night” was the keeper. Dead Heads got a big dose of the song that year, released in the States on Bob Weir’s Ace album later that spring. In Europe, the studio version had been released in advance of the tour as the A-side of a single and credited to the Grateful Dead featuring Bobby Ace. They played the bejesus out of it in Europe, often in an encore slot. The day after the Europe ‘72 version at the tour closer, the Beat-Club on Radio Bremen aired the results of the Dead’s session.
AUDIO: “One More Saturday Night” [Beat-Club original audio, 4/21/72] (3:45-4:05)
JESSE: You can hear all about that in our West Germany episode from a few weeks back. Hopefully we can go deeper another day, but “One More Saturday Night” has an unusual origin story that made it a pretty good tour closer in Europe especially. The song actually began as a collaboration between Weir and Robert Hunter, and it was one of the ones that led to their creative falling out over the course of 1971. Hunter gave Weir a verse:
Dynamitin' depot, bricks are pourin down
Cost your reputation if they catch you hangin round
Ev'ry choice you look at serves but to confuse
Reckon you could call it the United States Blues
Oh baby, One more Saturday night
Unhuh, One more Saturday night
From there, Weir made it his own. He asked Hunter if the resulting song could be titled “U.S. Blues.” Hunter told him “no,” and removed his name from the songwriting credits. A few years later, a new Dead song would appear with the winking lyric, “you can call this song, the United States Blues.” Put a bookmark there. On Europe ‘72, “One More Saturday Night” was one of the last tweaked-up in the studio. Weir replaced his vocals with two new tracks on August 1st, Jerry Garcia’s 30th birthday. Garcia was perhaps hanging elsewhere. Garcia, Donna, and Phil added a round of catchy response vocals on August 3rd, becoming part of the song’s arrangement in modified form, with Keith replacing his piano on August 8th.
JESSE: And that was pretty much it for the Europe ‘72 tour. One more Friday night, in this case, and one more load-out for the kwippies. Then, across the ocean and another continent, back to the Toon Town of Marin County with 73 hours of tape. What to do with it all?