Europe ‘72: The Netherlands

Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast


Season 5, Episode 7


Europe ‘72: The Netherlands


Archival interviews:


- Jerry Garcia & Ray White, WLIR, 1/11/79.


- Jerry Garcia, by David Gans & Blair Jackson, Conversations with the Dead, 6/11/81.


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


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


JESSE: On 8 May, 1972, the day after the Grateful Dead performed at the Bickershaw Festival, the band and family flew from Manchester to Amsterdam. Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: Most of the memories I have of the concerts kind of blend in together. But more insignificant things, like being at the Holiday Inn in Amsterdam, which was close to the airport there, and seeing acres and acres of tulips, is something that is really stuck in my mind forever. I just stared out of the hotel window, and all you could see was acres and acres of these beautiful tulips. Of course I had never seen anything like that before, and it was just astounding to me: “Oh, that’s where the tulips come from!” Everything was a revelation to me — literally, everything.


JESSE: Alan Trist of Ice Nine Publishing was serving as a liaison to the underground press.


ALAN TRIST: I would jump ahead to the next city or two on the tour to make press arrangements and so on. Amsterdam was beautiful – those canals, and walking around. Everyone was tripping out on the streets, having a good time. The Dutch underground newspaper world and the underground ‘60s world there [were] quite lively. There were people, I remember, who joined the tour from different parts of Europe, in different cities. A lot of in and out like that, press people.


JESSE: But really, how much do you remember about your first visit to Amsterdam? From the ‘kwippies, Steve Parish.


STEVE PARISH: Man, Amsterdam was a lot of fun too, of course — being able to smoke pot, and it being decriminalized to the point that it was there. The pot in Amsterdam at that time was so strong, because it was African weed… really strong. Africa is the mother of all weed, man. So the purple weed that we got there at that time were incredible. After that, when we came back to Amsterdam, we noticed that they had dumbed the weed way down. I found out from a friend of mine that [it] was because so many tourists were getting so stoned and driving their cars into the canals and falling [through] glass windows, peeing on the street in front of people. All crazy shit. So they really did dumb it down.


JESSE: Dennis “Wiz” Leonard, from Blair Jackson’s interview. We’ve linked to Blair’s books.


DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: We stayed in… where the fuck did we stay, what was the name of the place? Leiden. It was between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, just about in between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and we trained in and out of there.


JESSE: Traveling either in or out of Leiden by train, one roving squad of Bolos got into a spot of trouble, as Phil Lesh recalled to David Gans & Marty Martinez in 1995. Thanks, David & Marty.


PHIL LESH [9/95]: Dan Healy was our soundman up until a couple years ago, and he got in an altercation of some kind with a Dutch citizen on the train. The police came looking for him and we formed ranks in front of Dan, so that they couldn't get to Dan; we were gonna make them go through us to get Dan. They weren't gonna take our sound man away. These three Dutch policemen, I mean, they looked like something out of The Third Man, or some sort of World War II black & white movie. “I came to Casablanca for the baths…” “There are no baths in Casablanca!” “Oh, I was misinformed…” Eventually, somebody came along who spoke Dutch and English, and was able to convince us that all he wanted to do was talk to Dan right there at the hotel, and they weren't going to take him away.


JESSE: But mostly, vibes were pretty excellent. Ben Haller was part of the lighting crew.


BEN HALLER: Amsterdam's wonderful — just their whole… I mean, they were leading the way on legalizing marijuana. So there was a lot of devotion to that there.


JESSE: And an equivalent devotion to the munchies.


BEN HALLER: We got to eat in some great places. Rijsttafel is a dish in Amsterdam, and it's… the Dutch had held Indonesia. The Indonesians had the most wonderful meal in the world, which is 100 little small dishes with all this different stuff in it — and then rice and pork and peanut sauce. Just the most wonderful stuff.


JESSE: Of course, the Dead weren’t the only travelers discovering the wonders of Amsterdam. Even beyond its status as the cannabis capital of Europe, Amsterdam was a far northwestern terminus on what is now called “the Hippie Trail” — an overland route from western Europe that passed through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and ending as far east as Nepal or even Bangkok. It was a circuit that kept a current of heady energy flowing between the continents, not to mention supplies of hash, LSD, and rock LPs. In our episode last year titled “Playing Dead, Part 1,” we discussed some of what happened at the other end of the Hippie Trail. The Dead surely crossed with travelers throughout their Europe ‘72 tour, but—at least by our pretty random sampling of Dead freaks we’ve been able to find—the shows in the Netherlands were a bold intersection point. One traveler that spring was Dickson Hall.


DICKSON HALL: I went off to [my] first year of university out here in Vancouver, at University of British Columbia. And a lot of us, after first year, we said: Let's take some time off, go and travel. So [I] put together some money, worked for six months, and there was quite an established route — get to London and [then] Amsterdam. Amsterdam was a center for buying and selling buses. Somebody that we knew had been there a year before, and had it on contract to go and buy a Volkswagen van, and off you go. So three of us did that, we headed south. We met some guys, a man and a woman—of course, they were only 18 or 19 in those days, 20—from Detroit who had their van. We met them on the beach in Morocco, and they’d driven all the way to Afghanistan and back, and they were down in Morocco. We went down to Morocco and kind of hung out on the beach in Agadir for six or seven weeks, smokin’ our brains out and surfing, whatever it was… anyway, it was great.


So we then traveled on for a while, and at some point, as I said on that little thing, we picked up a Rolling Stone. My remembrance is that it was in the Barcelona train station — you’d go looking for the newspaper, the International Herald Tribune. There was a Rolling Stone [that said] the Dead are playing this tour of Europe. We had already decided that we were heading back to Amsterdam because we were gonna sell the van and go in different directions. There were three of us: somebody wanted to go north to Scandinavia, I wanted to go to Greece and Italy. So we looked at each other and said, “Let’s make sure we get there in time — we’ll go and see a show.” We hadn’t had any music for three months. Those were the pre-cassette days, I guess. I remember we took some circuitous route up through Switzerland [and] over to get to Heidelberg, because we had a friend to go and see. We did that and had two days, and we drove—maybe we only had one day—from Heidelberg to Rotterdam overnight, to get the tickets for the Rotterdam show on the 11th. Then [we] went up to Amsterdam.


It had been four months, really, without music; I guess there was a radio in the van, but who knows what we were able to hear? We’d been through a whole bunch of interesting experiences in various different places, run-ins with police and locals in Morocco and Spain. We’d had a great time, but you missed something about your kind of normal North American teenage life, which was music. We used to go to concerts all the time, because they were cheap. That was entertainment: there was always something going on. I think we just sort of looked at each other and went, Wow, wouldn’t that be fantastic? We were committed to going to both shows. Imagine that: two nights in a row, only separated by an hour or two of driving. You’ve got your turtle shell on your back with the van anyways.


JESSE: Another head traveling around Europe was Peter Swift.


PETER SWIFT: I had just turned 21, and I was bumming around on my own. Then I went to Europe and lived over in Switzerland for that spring, with a lady who was going to college there. I must have found out when I was there that the Dead were playing. We headed right towards Amsterdam because I knew they were going to be there. I think I arrived maybe a day or two before the show and I just…. going around, it [was] a very liberal city. I remember that. There's a Central Park, [where] you’d just see people hanging out, very loose. Of course, the Red Light District, where you could walk down the streets and see the ladies in their showrooms… that was new. I got there a day or two before the show [and] ran into Steve Parish in some record store. He was promoting the idea that maybe there's gonna be a concert in the park that weekend — which did not turn out to be, but he gave me one of these decals, [one of] those Skull & Roses decals. I was sitting in the record store where you can sit and listen to records. I was listening to something, and this big guy came in — I can just picture him there. He just started talking to people; I had no idea who he was, but he had a stack of these decals. He was saying something about the Grateful Dead maybe doing a show, a free concert in the park.


JESSE: Perhaps obviously, the Dead didn’t play a surprise show in Amsterdam in ‘72. That would have to wait another 9 years.




JESSE: Please welcome to the Deadcast, the band’s Dutch promoter, Berry Visser.


BERRY VISSER: Of course Woodstock didn't go unnoticed in Europe. I went to see the movie, and I thought, Well, wouldn’t it be a great idea to do something similar in Europe, something here in the Netherlands? I started looking for a venue, a location, and I got nowhere. In the meantime, I got in contact with [concert promoter] Frederick Bannister in England. He was staging a festival near Bath, so I asked him, “Can we bring the American acts together to Europe?” He agreed. So Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe, Santana, It’s a Beautiful Day and the Byrds of course; the Byrds in Holland were magical. They were all contracted, but the problem I had [was] I had no venue. So I was playing bluff poker. But in the end, a guy from Rotterdam knocked on my door, Georges Knap. He was working on a similar idea in Rotterdam. We drove to Rotterdam, and he showed me a venue on the outskirts of Rotterdam — incredible. Woods, a lake. Really fantastic. From that moment on, in six weeks, we pulled the festival together. In the end, it became a real… it made history in Holland.


AUDIO: “White Rabbit” [Jefferson Airplane, Kralingen Pop, 6/26/70] (1:33-2:03) - [YouTube]


JESSE: According to some accounts, the Kralingen Pop festival was the beginning of the cannabis revolution in the Netherlands.


BERRY VISSER: Obviously, we lost money, and we went bankrupt. But I continued working on Mojo [Concerts], but that's the way it went. Woodstock [had] a similar fate, I believe.


JESSE: It was through the Kralingen Pop Festival that Berry Visser became acquainted with John Morris, who managed the Fillmore East for Bill Graham and went on to work at Woodstock.


BERRY VISSER: John, in one way or the other, he was involved in the Kralingen Festival in Rotterdam. He was there in the background as a sort of aide-de-camp.


JESSE: By 1972, John Morris helped Sam Cutler lay the groundwork for the Dead’s Europe ‘72 tour.


BERRY VISSER: John at that time, he was working from London. I believe he was programming the Rainbow Theatre. I remember meetings on King’s Road, where his residence was, with other promoters from Europe. I believe one of the bands which was signed up for was the Grateful Dead. Fritz Rau [was] from Germany. From the Scandinavian countries, it was Knud Thorbjornsen, and Norbert Gamson from France.


JESSE: We discussed this independent promoters’ alliance in the first episode of this season. The mission of Sam Cutler and John Morris was to book the band into the most righteous concert halls of Europe.


BERRY VISSER: The Concertgebouw normally is for classical and for [Bernard] Haitink directing and [Vladimir] Horowitz playing the piano. But somehow the directors didn’t mind having pop concerts there. So it was a perfect, great venue to put on concerts. We had lots of groups, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Deep Purple, the Incredible String Band, and a lot [more]. It was a very nice period. Led Zeppelin as well.


JESSE: Peter Swift was ready for the show.


PETER SWIFT: On the train, I was backpacking around, and I must have had enough money to buy a train ticket. This guy was probably… he was probably based in Germany — we just started talking on the train. He was a young soldier and he was doing the same thing, going to Amsterdam. Like I said, I can't remember [if he was] seeing the Dead or not — he must have [been], because he had some LSD. So we hung out for a day or two before and then both dropped before the concert, went out to dinner. We had to run out of the restaurant because we were laughing so much. [I] got to the show, and I just was mesmerized — I was taken by the music. In Amsterdam, [the venue] was very old. It's an old opera house, so it's very ornate.


JESSE: Dickson Hall.


DICKSON HALL: This was a typical classical music hall, with a great big pipe organ, stuff up the back, well-renowned acoustics. [It seated] 2,500 people or something… it was [a] pretty intimate gathering.


PETER SWIFT: Ornate organ-type pipes behind the stage, and the typical seats on the floor, aisle down the center. So we were able to go right up the center and stay right front and center.


AUDIO: “Bertha” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (0:04-0:27) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


PETER SWIFT: I was right in the front and the center, right in front. It was a nice beautiful concert hall — ornate, and [it] was packed. [There] were a group of Americans right in the center stage, and I was there. We had a row or two.


BERRY VISSER: We were asked to ask the audience not to smoke. What happened [is] everybody during the… I think the set was around three hours, [the audience] started smoking. [There] were no normal cigarettes, no Marlboros — they were smoking pot and cannabis. So the whole auditorium was one big blue curtain. I think in hindsight it is hilarious.


JESSE: So other crowds in Amsterdam, the absolute cannabis center of Europe in 1972, were more polite than Dead fans?


BERRY VISSER: They were more polite, yes. Yes. The Grateful Dead, maybe, I don’t know… that was one big eruption of smoke. But Amsterdam in that period was sort of a marriage between the audience and the band.


JESSE: One review in the evening paper NRC Handelsblad was more impressed with the group’s gear, especially their lighting, mentioning “bright hues and twilight mists. A multitude of vapors and smells emanating from a massive smoking crowd seemed entirely in style with the colorful spectacle.” Big ups to Candace Brightman. Thanks to Dave Davis, and to Dead Sources for the translation.


PETER SWIFT: The timing was perfect. I was right up front. The whole trip was great, and they just blew me away — in a way that I had never been blown away before with music. I'd seen a lot of concerts in the late ‘60s in Philadelphia, in that area, and never the Dead. No one knew [who] the Dead were then. So this show just blew me away.


AUDIO: “China Cat Sunflower” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (4:12-4:42) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


PETER SWIFT: In fact, in the book, one of the photos in the book, that whole suitcase package, there’s a picture of a guy on the stage, laying his head on the stage — I swear it’s me, looking right up at Weir. I’m pretty sure it’s me; I’ll say it’s me. I looked at a picture of me about two months later and I looked just the same. It’s not that clear of a shot. But I was there and just buzzed out.


AUDIO: “I Know You Rider” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (0:30-0:59) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Out in the equipment truck, the tape crew missed a few of the song titles on the tape reels. Jerry Garcia’s handwriting is on the master, adding them back in. “This is dynamite,” someone else notes on one of the reels. But the single song from the two shows in Holland to make it to Europe ‘72, performed in the first set in Amsterdam, does not get any special recognition on the tape box. In fact, on the tape boxes for the tour, it had a slightly different name.


“He’s Gone”


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (0:04-0:33) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: That, of course, is Europe ‘72, Side A, track 2, “He’s Gone,” recorded midway through the first set in Amsterdam on 10 May 1972 and noted on this and other tape boxes as “He’s Long Gone.” That was take 8 of the song, and actually only the 8th version ever played. Written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, it was the only original Dead song to debut during the Europe ‘72 tour, played for the first time during the second performance in Copenhagen and at every full tour stop since then.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (0:27-0:43) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: In 1991, Jerry Garcia recalled to Blair Jackson, “My recollection is we wrote it just before we went to Europe in 1972. I remember working on it in a little apartment I had in San Francisco.” In March of 1972, as the Dead were packing their gear, “He’s Gone” almost qualified as a topical song.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (0:45-1:00) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Like many Grateful Dead songs, “He’s Gone” would go on to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. And they’re not wrong. But unlike many Grateful Dead songs, the lyrics to “He’s Gone” were written about one person in specific — and they weren’t written out of any sense of longing for that person’s absence.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (1:26-1:48) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: In 1969, the band hired a new manager, a one-time champion drummer and former music store owner named Lenny Hart. More lately, the Reverend Lenny Hart. Despite the fact that he was drummer Mickey Hart’s father, he was a divisive figure. Europe ‘72 tour architect Sam Cutler told us this during our season on Workingman’s Dead.


SAM CUTLER: [Road manager] Jonathan Riester told me, actually, he left the Grateful Dead because of Lenny, that Lenny actually showed up at a meeting with a Bible in his hand, and introduced himself as the Reverend Lenny Hart, and swore on the Bible that he wouldn’t rip ‘em off. They’re artists — it’s easy to take advantage of artists.


JESSE: And on March 2nd, 1970, exactly as the Dead were in the middle of the sessions for the album that became Workingman’s Dead, the Rev. Lenny Hart did just that when he disappeared with the account ledgers after having ripped off the band for nearly $80,000 — over a half-million dollars calculated with inflation. The band hardly took it lying down, suing him and, when he disappeared, hiring a private investigator to track him down.


SAM CUTLER: He took $350,000 off the band…


JESSE: Counting the mezzanine.


SAM CUTLER: … and ran away with this girl from the bank. This was his big fantasy. And where did he run to? He was discovered by the police in a seedy motel on the beach in San Diego. Fuck, he didn’t even make it to Mexico!


JESSE: Lenny Hart was ordered to pay back what was owed and, on March 2nd, 1972, two years to the day after he left, was sentenced to six months in jail. Though Robert Hunter held some lyrics close to his vest, the lyricist was more than happy to discuss the intent behind one of the Dead’s deep singalongs and that intent was, I told you so. One of the song’s key lyrics emphatically notes: I told you he was going to rob you blind. Phrased only slightly differently, it goes like this.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (4:57-5:08) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: “I warned them about him from the beginning,” Robert Hunter told Relix in 1981. “That song just contained more warning.” Heard that way, nearly every line of “He’s Gone” points to the darker corners of the human psyche, and what happens when bad turns to worse.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (4:29-4:50) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: There are a few lyric drafts in circulation. We’ve posted one as part of our Daily Dose on the Dead social media. One alternate lyric is: “Hanging on a meat hook, coolin’ my heels / Sign no papers and make no deals.” The great Alex Allan has transcribed a bunch of the draft lyrics. A few shows after it debuted, Garcia and Hunter added the bridge, first performed in Hamburg.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 10, 4/29/72] (4:18-4:48) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: In 1991, Blair Jackson did a really great joint interview with Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia, available in the book Goin’ Down the Road: A Grateful Dead Traveling Companion, which you can find via a used book purveyor near you. Hunter told Blair, “it’s changed through the years. These songs are amorphous that way. What I intend is not what a thing is in the end.” Garcia added, “We don’t create the meaning of the tunes ultimately. They recreate themselves each performance in the minds of everybody there.” We’ll revisit some of that momentarily, to focus for a moment on “He’s Gone” as the Dead recorded it in 1972. Here’s how it sounded when the Dead recorded in Amsterdam, from the Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (0:00-0:26) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Here’s how that same bit of music sounds on the final album.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (0:00-0:26) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: There are a few tiny overdubs — not one but two tracks of Keith Godchaux, labeled on the reel as low piano and high piano, probably just two microphones on one instrument, overdubbed on July 7th back at Alembic. To my ears, the high piano recalls Howard Wales’s piano parts on “Brokedown Palace.” It’s fun to listen to the album and pick out the two Keiths. The day before, Bob Weir’s original rhythm guitar was erased and replaced, as were all of the vocals, though Jerry’s lead remained on the master tape. Likewise, the chorus got a new voice that wasn’t singing the song just yet on the European tour. Listen closely.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (1:04-1:24) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: That’s Donna Jean Godchaux in the vocal blend along with Garcia, Lesh, and Weir, her first time heard on a proper Dead album. They did a lot of work on the vocals, with Donna, Jerry, and Weir recording on July 7th, with Donna and Jerry redoing their parts again on July 10th, the same day that Lesh added his own vocals to the stack. We’ll also be posting the track sheet for the “He’s Gone” sessions on Dead social media, if you’d like to check that out. They also did a tiny bit of songwriting in the studio. Here’s how “He’s Gone” ended when they played it live on the Europe ‘72 tour, this is from the version after Amsterdam, in Lille, France.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 16, 5/13/72] (7:10-7:40) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Notice something missing?


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Europe ‘72] (6:26-6:43) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: The big singalong coda was added to the song when they got home; the vocals heard on the Complete Recordings box are overdubs. When they returned to the road in July, the singalong outro became a fixture. Like the music itself, the meanings of Dead songs evolved, too. In March 1973, five months after “He’s Gone” was released on Europe ‘72, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan died at the age of 27. A few weeks later, the Dead returned to the road to perform at the Nassau Coliseum, the first shows since Pigpen’s death. In Rolling Stone, Lenny Kaye reported, “They moved deliberately into ‘He's Gone,’ Jerry leaning to the microphone in the evening's only apparent reference to the recent death of Ron (Pigpen) McKernan, reeling out the final chorus.” And from then on, that meaning stuck with the song. Our friend Mr. Completely suggests that mournfulness can already be heard in the fall ‘72 versions, before Pig’s earthly departure. In its original intent, “He’s Gone” was intended to provide closure after being burned, but its context at the heart of Dead shows with a big swaying and expanding outro somehow transformed it into something nostalgic.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Dick’s Picks 36, 9/21/72] (9:00-9:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: That was September 21st, 1972 at the Philadelphia Spectrum, now Dick’s Picks 36. As you can tell, maybe, that was leading into a sad, bluesy guitar solo. It was also the first version of “He’s Gone” to lead into a transition that the band would continue to play on and off for the next decade and change.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Dick’s Picks 36, 9/21/72] (14:08-14:17) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


AUDIO: “Truckin’” [Dick’s Picks 36, 9/21/72] (0:00-0:16) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: And so it was that “He’s Gone” was sewn onto the front of the band’s ever-morphing jam suite. Though there were some intense versions of the song, it wasn’t until the later ‘70s that “He’s Gone” itself morphed from a song with a big guitar solo to a song with a big jam. Another thing that happened to “He’s Gone” in this era is that one of its lyrics became the name of a 1976 live album, Steal Your Face, produced by Phil Lesh and Owsley Stanley from 1974 live recordings. The cover art was the skull and lightning bolt logo designed by Owsley’s buddy Bob Thomas in the early ‘70s, which many started calling the Steal Your Face logo, just another weird folkloric turn. Naturally, Bear hated it. One version of “He’s Gone” worth checking out comes from the end of this period, May 6th, 1981 at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, now Dick’s Picks 13, which found both another meaning for the lyrics and one of its most widescreen jams.


BOB WEIR [5/6/81]: This one’s for Bobby Sands…


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Dick’s Picks 13, 5/6/81] (0:16-0:33) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: That was Bob Weir dedicating “He’s Gone” to Bobby Sands, the Irish freedom fighter who’d just died on a hunger strike. The singalong was intense.


AUDIO: “He’s Gone” [Dick’s Picks 13, 5/6/81] (9:42-10:12) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: And the improv got to a place somewhere between the themes Dead Heads call the Spanish Jam and the Caution Jam.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks) / Spanish Jam” [Dick’s Picks 13, 5/6/81] (3:00-3:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Wild stuff. Though there are great “He’s Gone” jams in the ‘80s, it found space again nearly a decade later. This is from July 6, 1990 at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, released on View From the Vault, where it heads towards “The Other One” or maybe “Truckin’” but never exactly arrives. Thanks to Mr. Completely for the tip.


AUDIO: “KY Jam” [View From the Vault, 7/6/90] (7:37-8:07)


JESSE: But that was, like, several galaxies away from Amsterdam ‘72. Unless you were on, say, some powerful psychedelic.


AUDIO: “Playing in the Band” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (11:00-11:30) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


PETER SWIFT: Seeing the Dead on that, the power that they have when you're at that height, didn't intimidate me. They’re a powerful beast when you’re cranking on a psychedelic. You could see there were mutual interests, on my part and theirs. That’s what really made it fun, and that’s why you didn’t have a sense that you were going to see the Grateful Dead; you were going to be part of an experience that was going to be unique.


JESSE: “Tennessee Jed” was culled for the best-of mixes at the end of the tour, which we’ll be posting in their entirety later in the season.


AUDIO: “Tennessee Jed” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (5:18-5:48) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: And, from nearly at the end of the show, “Ramble On Rose.”


AUDIO: “Ramble On Rose” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 14, 5/10/72] (3:03-3:33) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: In his book, Living With the Dead, Rock Scully remembered—perhaps accurately—a rough load out. “Go to fold up cables after show and roll up yards of gold leaf with them. Sheets of gold pull right off the wall. Whoops! Better than the ’49 California Gold Rush! They freak. Their $250,000 gold flake job on the balcony is going to hell in a handbasket. It wasn’t like we were trying to steal it or anything. We were just gonna throw it out. None of us was paying attention. Ramrod gamely trying to stick it back up again! We have to pay to have it put on again. It was a real innocent mistake, dudes.” Or, as official Dead historian Dennis McNally described the night — “the Concertgebouw was a jewel of a theater [where] the cocaine was far too good.” Dennis “Wiz” Leonard, via our good buddy Blair Jackson.


DENNIS “WIZ” LEONARD [2011]: I had friends living in Amsterdam, and I… it's wonderful. Kathy went into town with Bonnie, and I went and caught up with a friend of mine from the Bronx who was living on a canal in a barge, and he immediately gave me a bicycle and said, “Come on, I'll show you Amsterdam,” and also handed me a bottle full of Orange Sunshine tablets. So I had those, and [Sonny] Heard said, “Hmm.” We were on this anti-blow campaign, so we kept a few and we ground them up and put it in the blow stash.So it's like, Okay, they can have blow, but they're gonna get high too. [laughs]


JESSE: Keep a third eye on that blow stash in the next few episodes. Dickson Hall and his buddies found a place to crash.


DICKSON HALL: We had a Volkswagen van and we're parked out on the canal, sleeping there. And every once in a while, the police would knock on your door or your window and you think: uh oh, this is it. They’d say, “Hey, we want you to move because somebody’s complained about the van being there.” The place would have hash smoke billowing out of it, and nobody cared.




JESSE: And it was off to Rotterdam by train for a show the next night, 11 May, with the band staying in between, in Leiden. I’ve never been to Venlo, Holland, about two hours to the southeast of Rotterdam, but I’m pretty certain that we at the Deadcast can endorse Sounds as the headiest record shop in the area. We are happy to welcome to the Deadcast its proprietor Geert Driessen, who grew up in Venlo and—when he was a teenager—was part of a weekend expedition to Rotterdam that included the Dead show.


GEERT DRIESSEN: We were only 16, 17 years old. But we had a youth club — people there were older than me. Three or four times a week we’d go there. The main thing they played there, the DJs, was music from the West Coast of the United States. We enjoyed that so much: our hair was growing longer, and we wanted to be like them. So it started. They were playing the Dead and Moby Grape and It’s a Beautiful Day and all this stuff. We were already Dead Heads [when we were] 16 or 17. In our hometown, there was a band called Static, and they did all this West Coast stuff, very good. They played West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Transparent Day,” Moby Grape stuff, and “St. Stephen” and other Grateful Dead songs. They did them so well, but we had the opportunity to go and visit the real thing. Yeah, you can understand it was, for us, huge.


JESSE: Didn’t your hometown have a group that covered the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band? What do you mean, no? They recruited one of the slightly older heads.


GEERT DRIESSEN: There was one guy in this youth club who wanted to go with us. He could drive, he had a license, and he had this bus. So we organized it, and we went — it was very exciting for us youngsters.


JESSE: They had a big weekend planned. On Friday, they’d see the Dead. On Saturday, across town, they’d catch another show.


GEERT DRIESSEN: We [chose] Rotterdam, I think, because of the combination: Beach Boys, Grateful Dead. Dusseldorf is very close to where we live — one hour. But the combination made it worth it to go to Rotterdam. We were really music lovers; we were 10 people in a small Volkswagen bus. The iconic one, you know?


JESSE: Another Canadian who wound up seeing the Dead in Rotterdam was David Johns, who’d met up with some of his friends in Europe. They, too, had been bopping around the Hippie Trail, though Dave only caught the end of it.


DAVID JOHNS: So I went to Berlin. And then we went to Copenhagen, saw The Doors in Copenhagen, but Jimmy Morrison just died. It was their first tour since… without him. And then you go to Amsterdam. In those days, you bought and sold vehicles in Amsterdam on the street in front of the American Express office, toured Europe and then sold it again. So they sold their van and went home, and I’m all by myself in Amsterdam! It’s like, the hippie capital of the world in those days: nuttier than San Francisco, because people from all over the world [were there]. So I’m in some kind of hostel, and I go, I’d better get out of here, or I’ll just hang here for months and miss Europe. I think I just took a train a little way away, and then I go, No, I need to teach myself how to hitchhike. I hitchhiked to Rotterdam, not very far away. And I don’t know where, but I saw a poster for the Grateful Dead.


JESSE: Too bad he didn’t catch a ride with Dickson and his friends. The show was at the Grote Zaal, the Big Room, in De Doelen, a venue complex in Rotterdam. Promoter Berry Visser.


BERRY VISSER: It's a bit similar. You can compare it with the Royal Festival Hall in London. The Concertgebouw was a little bit more old-fashioned — the whole building, also from the outside. Rotterdam was a little more modern, but also 2000 capacity.


DAVID JOHNS: In my diary it says I bought a ticket, so maybe I went right to the concert hall, since I only needed one. I think it was a pretty full house. They said, “Oh, there's one ticket left over, right in the middle of the second row. You want that ticket?” [laughs] So I got that ticket! Yeah. So then I get to the hall — it’s a big, gorgeous, European concert hall. Everybody's inside, but they're not letting people into the actual hall itself. So I'm saying, “I got a ticket, I got a ticket!” But she couldn’t speak English or something, so she finally got tired and just said, “No, just go.” So she opened the door and you walked down into the [hall], and I’m the only guy in there! I’m the only guy in my seat, second row — they’re still doing warm-ups, checking mics and soundcheck or whatever. I think they greeted me: “Hey, how you doing? How do we sound?” Pretty friendly guys. And I go, “Sounding great!” or something. So they played two songs, to me, and then I just remember him going, “Okay, open the doors!” And the people poured in.


JESSE: One of those people was Peter Swift, who returned for a second night.


PETER SWIFT: I had so much fun at the Amsterdam show, I ended up… they played Rotterdam next night, so I [somehow] got down there and did the same thing there, right up front. There’s always a little—at least those nights—small group of Americans who would be right up front. The seats are all filled with whoever was living there, and it was a distinctly different group of people. The Americans are up front and they’re dancing and getting off on the music; Europeans were not. They’re getting off on the music and loving it, but they’re very non-responsive in terms of dancing.


AUDIO: “Mr. Charlie” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:00-0:19) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


PETER SWIFT: Rotterdam is very different. Rotterdam is a modern symphony hall: very sleek and clean-cut, not ornate. So it was a different experience [in] that way.


JESSE: Dickson Hall.


DICKSON HALL: Rotterdam was much more sort of European modern — probably cement block outside, lots of woodwork inside.


DAVID JOHNS: As soon as the lights went out, you just smelled the dope everywhere. I wasn’t into dope then, although the guy beside me offered me the joint. I remember that. European [crowds], maybe it was more subdued, but I think they were pretty exciting. Fitting, because it was a formal hall. So I don’t remember anyone getting up or anything.


JESSE: Geert Drissen and his friends had found their people.


GEERT DRIESSEN: I think they [were] just like us — mainly older, but they all had long hair and [were] using drugs. I didn't, but all my friends did. I was very clean.


PETER SWIFT: They're very respectful. They're enthusiastically respectful of the music, and they clapped enthusiastically, and continuously. So, both nights, I got this sense that, The Dead, they were working — they took it upon themselves to work as hard as they could to get people up to dance. You get this sense that that’s what they were doing. By the end of the night, there’d be sporadic jumping up: people just couldn’t sit down anymore. But for the most part… and I think it was true in most of Europe.


GEERT DRIESSEN: I think there were some people dancing in front of the stage. But Dutch people weren't like that, dancers at that time. A few. We were not dancing, that’s for sure. We were sitting and listening as we did at home with the records. We sat there for four, five hours.


JESSE: Grateful Dead archivist and legacy manager David Lemieux.


DAVID LEMIEUX: The two shows complement each other well. They almost feel like one big long, eight-hour Dead show. They're back-to-back nights in different cities in very similar venues — which is to say that they're different venues, very much, but they’re similar-sized, and they're both spectacularly beautiful. I think the Rotterdam venue is more of a modern venue.


JESSE: There was one slight arrangement change in Rotterdam. Notice anything different about this version of “Good Lovin’”?


AUDIO: “Good Lovin’” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (1:16-1:37) - [Spotify] [YouTube]

JESSE: There’s B3 organ on it. Usually, when Pigpen sang “Good Lovin’,” he’d abandon his keyboard battlestation and move center stage. So it was for the last four versions of “Good Lovin’” on the Europe ‘72 tour that Jerry Garcia moved over to organ, at least for the duration of the song, playing guitar for the jam and then moving back to the organ at the end. They were also, sadly, the last four with Pigpen.


AUDIO: “Good Lovin’” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (10:31-11:02) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: “Good Lovin’.” In Rotterdam, another major piece of Europe ‘72 slid into place.


AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:04-0:34) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


DAVID LEMIEUX: They weren’t playing “Morning Dew” on this tour until the end — until that show onward.


JESSE: It was a little rusty at first, but they had time to work it out. The show was educational.


GEERT DRIESSEN: At one moment in this concert, I can remember — it was when they played “El Paso.” Now we know better because “El Paso” is a Grateful Dead standard; it’s a song not from themselves, but it’s a standard. But back then, we weren’t expecting cowboy songs like “El Paso.”


AUDIO: “El Paso” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (2:30-2:55) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


GEERT DRIESSEN: For you Americans, of course, Marty Robbins. But for us, it was a Dead song.


JESSE: These are some long shows. Amsterdam was 3-and-a-half hours of stage time, Rotterdam 3-and-3-quarters. In our Deadcast Stories mailbox we found an anecdote about the Rotterdam show from Sjaak Leitjens.


SJAAK LEIJTENS: Here is, once and forever, my story about my beloved late great roommate, Adrien Blokland, who attended the Rotterdam Grateful [Dead] concert on May 11, 1972. First of all, Adrian was a guitar player himself — lead guitar in a local blues-oriented hippie band in the university city of Leiden. Unfortunately, Ad died in 2010, so I'm going to tell his story. The name of the bands he played in [was] For M: M, which stands for Maria, magic, mescaline, and more. In 1972, Adrian lives in the For M hippie commune, responsible for the distribution of illegal songbooks with the works of Bob Dylan, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and more.


JESSE: Sjaak shared the band’s logo, drawn by the parent of Dutch underground comics, the late Peter Pontiac, drawn in a serious Rick Griffin West Coast Pop Art Experimental style. Ad Blokland sounds like he was invented for the Deadcast, right in the thick of the Dutch underground. I wish we could’ve spoken with him, though it does sound like he didn’t fully reintegrate after his own personal Acid Testing. Here’s a bit of For M with Ad Blockland on lead guitar, from their unreleased 1973 Rapenburg session.


AUDIO: “Part C” [For M] (1:35-1:58)


SJAAK LEIJTENS: Three years later, I asked him about the concert. He was there with his wife and some friends and had a good time, especially during the Jerry Garcia compositions. I don't remember him mentioning “Dark Star,” but I'm sure that was his favorite piece of music at the time. What I do remember is the way of making clear how much impact the Dead show had on the audience, the Dutch audience at that time. I can very sharply remember his saying about the concert in Rotterdam: the Grateful Dead kept on playing, he told me, very intensive[ly]. We were all impressed. In the second set of the show, we were growing more and more curious about how long it would last. We had thought we couldn’t go back by train in time if they [were to] go on playing. So, his final words in the story were: “The Grateful Dead kept on playing until everybody had left going home.” I know this is a way of saying that maybe the Dutch audience was not very accustomed to such long concerts. So it was an un-European experience, the Grateful Dead, live in Europe. And then he smiled at me, and I was jealous that I hadn’t been there.


JESSE: In Rotterdam, this was perhaps more true than the rest of the tour for one very spacious reason. What song is it you want to hear?


AUDIO: “Dark Star” (part 1) [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:00-0:17) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: The Dead were hard at work on what would become the triple album Europe ‘72. They weren’t looking for a new version of “Dark Star.” But they recorded takes of beautiful and quizzical improvisation, each constituting a mini-session on its own. Many have since become standalone LPs. The Rotterdam version would only fit with some ‘70s ECM-style mastering. To fly us through the longest all-time “Dark Star,” 48 minutes counting the spaced out drum break, please welcome back our “Dark Star” correspondent, Graeme Boone.


GRAEME BOONE: Here you can hear Jerry with his beautiful starting riff: twice, three times, and then extending it to land on A. And then, now, another idea — going in the other direction. Repeating a third time, and going up, extending it, transposing to reach up… and down…


JESSE: It was a slower “Dark Star” than usual on a tour full of luxurious “Dark Star”s.


GRAEME BOONE: At the beginning of the tour, they were starting at like 145 [beats per minute], 147, and then they would slip down to like 133. In this one, they started at like 132 and then went down to 119. They really slowed it down.


JESSE: All kinds of stuff happens in the first part of the “Dark Star.”


GRAEME BOONE: Jerry's hitting low A really strongly, grounding the music. Jerry’s getting into riffing on low notes, overlapping with Phil's riffing — playing completely different riffs. It’s like a poly-metric sound. And then Bob is also in there with his riffs. Bill, behind everybody, holding it together. This is a wonderful moment where the band members have to know how to not listen to each other, as well as listen, to create this fantastic polyphony. Notice that Jerry has gotten into a duple rhythm: 1-2, 1-2, 1-2, 1-2. Before he was doing triple. Up to high E — realizing he’s out of tune, he stops to tune his E string.


JESSE: It’s a good life lesson. Even when you’re out there, and I mean out there, it’s still good to stop and tune, even if it means risking forking the timeline and falling through a wormhole… [“wormhole” repeats with a warbled backwards effect]. Eventually “Dark Star” melts into a drum break.


AUDIO: “Dark Star” (part I) [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (13:30-13:46) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


AUDIO: “Drums” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:00-0:09) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: We’re going to freeze frame here and use the occasion of the longest ever “Dark Star” to extend even further and do something that’s surprisingly overdue — we’re going to focus on Bill Kreutzmann’s drums and his drumming. A 2018 article in Modern Drummer by Keith Carne describes Kreutzmann’s set-up in 1972 as a “Franken-kit” — a Ludwig kick drum, Gretsch toms, and a snare drum by Rogers Dyna-Sonic, cymbals by Zildjian. Thanks to Matt Grady for calling our attention to this article. Matt notes that the kit didn’t last long, gone by the summer, and suggests the intro to “Mr. Charlie” as a good way to demonstrate the Franken-kit’s rich sound. This is how it sounded in Rotterdam.


AUDIO: “Mr. Charlie” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:00-0:03) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Let’s loop that for a moment.


AUDIO: “Mr. Charlie” (looped intro) [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:00-0:03) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Now, to talk about Billy Kreutzmann’s drumming in 1972, the great drummer and drum teacher, John Colpitts, sometimes known as Kid Millions from the wonderful band Oneida, sometimes as Man Forever. Kid oversaw the “Drums/Space” segment of the 2016 Day of the Dead tribute compilation.


AUDIO: “Drums/Space” [Man Forever/Oneida/Sō Percussion, Day of the Dead] (1:45-2:15) - [Spotify]


JOHN COLPITTS: We know the “Dark Star” melody, right? It has a harmonic resolution built into it. It ends on a note that that makes sense, as a harmonic progression. And then, once the band leaps off from that, Jerry and Phil do not resolve the harmonic progression at all. What makes it exciting for the band, and what Kreutzmann’s contribution is there, is that he, in the same way, he does not resolve the 1 of the pulse. They would experiment with a floating one, which would just mean they would never resolve the 1. A strong one is how we hear a groove; oftentimes, it’s a kick drum that lands on the 1. It’s like 1, 2, 3, 4; [snaps fingers], 1, 2, 3, 4. And so if you listen and count the big cycle of the tune, you can hear that Kreutzmann never lands a kick on the 1 during at least the first half of “Dark Star” — when they’re still commenting on the original tune, and haven’t launched off into a crazier territory.


JESSE: “The 1 is where you think it is” was as close to a literal band musical policy as existed in the Grateful Dead. Bill Kreutzmann discusses the concept in his book, Deal, and here’s Jerry Garcia describing it to David Gans and Blair Jackson in one of their 1981 interviews, published in the essential book, Conversations with the Dead. Thanks immensely to David.


JERRY GARCIA [6/11/81]: In the Grateful Dead, there’s a certain philosophy about things like that. Rhythmically, it’s like you always know — our policy is that you always know. The 1 is always where you think it is. It’s a kind of a Zen concept, but it really works well for us. It’s like, it makes it possible to get into a phrase where I can change into little phrase spurts that are like… where I’m spinning out little groups of notes that are fives, actually, they’re attached fives. You’d write ‘em with a tie and a little 5 over it, as if they were triplets, but they’re —


DAVID GANS [6/11/81]: Five in the space of four?


JERRY GARCIA [6/11/81]: Right. Or five in the space of two. Which is more common for me, really — five in the space of two. And then turn that into a new pulse, where those fives become like a 16th note pulse. And then I’m inside of a whole irregularly rotating new tempo in relation to what the rest of the band is playing, they’re playing the original common time. What that does is it produces this ambiguity. But all I have to do is make a statement that says: End of paragraph — and one.


DAVID GANS [6/11/81]: And they always —


JERRY GARCIA [6/11/81]: They’ll all know where it is, sure. We all have that kind of privilege. It’s like, it’s partly something we’ve allowed each other, and partly something that we’ve gained the confidence to be able to do, just by spending a lot—a lot of time—playing. When we worked, started working on “The Eleven” back in the late ‘60s, we’d spend hours and hours and hours every day, just playing groups of 11, and 11/4 time, to get used to that phrase. Then we started working out things in 7, and then from 7, we started working out things that were like two bars of 7, three bars of 7, four bars of 7, five bars of 7, and patterns and phrases and licks that were those lengths, and play them over and over and over again.


AUDIO: “Dark Star” (part I) [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (1:38-2:09) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: And though the Dead’s less jammy songs might seem more fixed, they also provide a place for Kreutzmann’s commentary to help the music reveal its deepest identity.


JOHN COLPITTS: It felt like he was a really, really deep listener, because it did feel like, rhythmically, Jerry and Phil sometimes assert different rhythmic runs. I think it happens here in the “Dark Star,” maybe not as much as it does in some of the other more heavy and straight-ahead tunes. But he is maybe parsing Jerry's and Phil's rhythmic vocabulary: he kind of chops it up and comments on it in a way that helps the listener hear the phrases.


JESSE: Thanks, Kid. We’ve linked to the many projects of John Colpitts, also if you’re looking for an awesome remote drum teacher. Back into the “Dark Star” zone.


GRAEME BOONE: You can hear how they're listening to each other: Phil gets into this funky riff, and then Jerry comes in. So, we're in the key of A. Jerry’s got a really muted tone; Keith and Bob are out completely. This is a great place in the music where they can really listen to each other and take off of each other and it’s really audible.


JESSE: Throughout the Europe ‘72 versions of “Dark Star” and “The Other One,” the band are constantly disassembling into quartets, trios, duos, and actual solos. One fun game is to do an inventory of players when the band are in the deepest places and pick out who’s present. And around 23 minutes into the Rotterdam “Dark Star,” they finally wrap up… the first jam.


GRAEME BOONE: Concluding this jam with washes from Bill. And Jerry, repeating a riff, and then coming down and hitting that great “Dark Star” riff. Everybody locks in, really slow — makes for a really interesting verse. Listen to Jerry sing this verse. All this room to add extra flourishes. The slow pace opens up all kinds of nuances; you can hear each player so clearly.


JESSE: The longest-ever “Dark Star” gets to one of those places where local physics start to collapse.


GRAEME BOONE: Super roiling sounds — extreme low, extreme high, extreme dissonance. Bob going higher and higher up on the neck, Keith going higher on the keyboard. Louder and more intense. Jerry into complete screeching and growling on the guitar. Monster dyads on the bass. Giant sounds — it’s like the age of the monsters.


JESSE: You can imagine the part where the Dead vanquish the monsters. But then the other Jerry pops back through the tuning wormhole… [“wormhole” repeats with a warbled backwards effect].


GRAEME BOONE: Jerry takes a moment to tune his E string, which seems to be going out repeatedly. Bob is beautifully playing A major, supported a little bit by Phil.


JESSE: Phil just played the riff from “Bird Song,” not in the Dead’s repertoire in ‘72. He did it a moment before Graeme started talking as well. And slightly later, Garcia picks up on the arpeggio that old-time tapers called the Sputnik Riff, for reasons lost to history. Though if you know the true origins of the naming of the Sputnik Riff, hit us up at


GRAEME BOONE: Slow, freeform storytelling. Phil and Jerry with Pig in the back, settling into an almost Baroque polyphony. And there Jerry gets into that arpeggio lick that he likes to do a little bit, on A minor… very quiet. Harmonizes with Pigpen, it’s beautiful. And then Phil — wow. It’s like a moment of Baroque music. Sounds like an E major chord resolving to A almost, and there we are on A. Nice ending from Jerry. And then here we go into “Sugar Magnolia.” Bob, picking it up very sweetly; this is not aggressive or exuberant, it’s just heartfelt and in the pocket.


PETER SWIFT: It was monumental in my life, in the sense of the next 10 years. I just spent as much time as I could just getting into ‘em. Their concerts were unlike any other I'd seen: I saw a lot of groups before them, and these guys were… you could see they were interested in having fun with the audience, and working with the audience. That was the vibe. It wasn’t: here we are, giving you a show. They were here to… let’s see what we can get going, let’s have some fun. And that just emanated out of them.


JESSE: The Rotterdam show turned out to be the final performance of an old standby in the band’s repertoire.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (0:24-0:40) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: Measured in some ways, “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” was the Grateful Dead’s oldest standby, their first original song, a slight reworking of “Mystic Eyes” by Them. Here’s how it sounded in 1965, at the band’s first studio session, now on Birth of the Dead.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Birth of the Dead, 11/3/65] (0:05-0:24) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: And it was the only original tune from the Warlocks era to survive into the band’s albums, appearing on the second side of Anthem of the Sun, expanded to two drummers.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Anthem of the Sun] (0:12-0:42) - [] [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: There are a lot of missing tapes in the early years of the Dead, so it’s hard to tell how rare “Caution” really was, but not very rare. Though it got sparser airings in 1970, it only really disappeared from the band’s repertoire between spring 1971 and spring 1972 — and that was probably in part because Pigpen was home sick for some of that time, and in part because he had a whole bunch of new songs when he came back. In Europe, it was very much on the table.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (1:40-2:05) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: But Europe ‘72 was the end of the line for Pigpen as a touring musician, a place he probably shouldn’t’ve been, and yet—50 years later—inconceivable to imagine without him.


STEVE PARISH: The music sounds great. Even [when] Pigpen was sick, he would get up and do his thing so beautifully every night, man. That was unbelievable to see how he'd be green around the gills and so… then he jumped out there in that spotlight and gave those people their money's worth — really hear Grateful Dead blues, liberated.


JESSE: Pigpen was not at full strength on the Europe tour. Sam Cutler.


SAM CUTLER: It was difficult for Pigpen, who wasn't very well, to say the least. It was hard for him, driving on buses for long periods of time. I think it was hard for Jerry.


JESSE: Janet Furman of Alembic hung out with him a few times during the tour, both early risers.


JANET FURMAN: A couple of times, I had breakfast with him in the hotels, just the two of us. He had such a gruff exterior, but he, in-person, when you sat down and talked to him, he was just a sweetheart. I found that kind of surprising because his public persona is so different from the way he was in real life. I really have very fond memories of that little bit of time that I was with him.


JESSE: Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay.


DONNA JEAN GODCHAUX-MACKAY: I never did get to be in the band with Pigpen when he was The Pigpen, the full version of himself. What I got to experience was the latter version — he was so sick. But he was just such a presence, and such a sweet man. Just an amazing soul. To this day, Pigpen… I’m a huge Pigpen fan, just huge. I think he was amazing. He was what I would call the first… what would you call it… the first freestyle singer. When you talk about rap, or today’s music, there’s freestyle kind of verging into rap. And Pigpen was the first guy, at least in rock and roll as far as I know, that had that freestyle thing, like “Turn On Your Lovelight.” He was one of the innovators of that, really, way before his time.


When you’re doing something that is part of your life, that is who you are, and you get on that stage and it just comes to the forefront forcibly, it just comes out. I watched Pigpen do that — because he was really sick, but his vocals and his ad-libs and his freestyling on that Europe tour were just spot-on. He was amazing.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (10:35-11:05) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: This season, we’ve been very thankful to share a bunch of Pigpen’s letters from home, written to his parents. The letters in the collection stop after the Paris shows in early May, though it doesn’t mean he wasn’t writing home — to his parents or his longtime girlfriend Vee. But at this point in the tour, Pig was definitely having a harder time. He’d been having trouble sleeping, even on the quieter Bolo bus, and tried a few different methods — riding with Joe Winslow in the equipment truck, even splurging for a plane ticket to fly from city to city at one point near the end of the tour.


AUDIO: “Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (11:58-12:28) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


DAVID JOHNS: They just play, they just jam, and… not fool around, but they’re playing off each other. That’s just kind of delightful — you just sit back. I remember it was long, four hours. They did take a 20-minute break, but it was four hours. So at some points, you’re kind of bored a little bit. Then you pull back in when they play something that you’d like more.


JESSE: Dave Johns wasn’t going anywhere. Neither were Geert Driessen and his friends.


GEERT DRIESSEN: We stayed in Rotterdam so no, don't remember that. But I can imagine people coming by train had to leave to get the last train. That was maybe the case, but I’m not sure.


JESSE: It was a life-changing weekend. In the coming months and years, Geert visited the record store more and more.


GEERT DRIESSEN: Soon enough, I was visiting the record store weekly and bought lots of vinyl. They asked me if I could come and work over there. Yeah, from then on… [I’ve done] this now for 45 years, working in a record shop. 10 years in a store of someone else, and 35 years at our own store. It was growing huge, my taste was getting broader — it was unbelievable. And the Krautrock was getting in there, the blues stuff, jazz staff. I think the Grateful Dead was one of the reasons why I got into all these kinds of music.


JESSE: Now he owns the record store! Check out Sounds if you’re through Venlo, Holland. Dave Johns wrote in his journal about the Dead show, but didn’t actually spend much time on the show itself. He had other concerns that night.


DAVID JOHNS: Since I was going to the concert, I couldn't stay at the hostel because the curfew was 11 o'clock. I checked my bag at the station and put my sleeping bag in a locker. The station was closed at 1 AM, so I hoped the concert would be over by then; I could get my bag and sleep in a park somewhere. The concert didn’t start until 9 PM. The Dead were really good and played until 2 AM, with only one 20-minute break. The station was locked when I got there, so I had nowhere to sleep and no bag.


JESSE: It was a rough night for Dave.


DAVID JOHNS: It was just blowin’ cold. Somehow I was with a guy or ran into a guy with the same predicament. So we were just lookin’ for shelter. There were sidewalk cafes: we tried to sit in a chair, and that didn’t work. So we actually stole one of their chairs, and there’s underground walkways under [their] streets. We just huddled down there, but it was like a wind tunnel. I said, “I can’t do this, I’m outta here.” Then I just wandered around and finally just went into a phone booth near the station, and it started pouring. I just huddled in there. The station opened up at 4:30 AM, I thought it might be later than that. I got my sleeping bag, and I laid on the cement floor, put it over top of me and went to sleep.


JESSE: Yikes, man. Dickson Hall and his friends hit the Hippie Trail back to Amsterdam to catch some more music.


DICKSON HALL: We went back a few days later and saw Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne at exactly the same place. The Joni Mitchell one, I know we were in the fourth or the fifth row: the stage right there, and a grand piano. That was on the 14th of May, because that was—still is—my birthday. So that was my 20th birthday present. At the end of the Joni Mitchell show, there’s the encore and there’s the clapping, and she picked up the roses in a vase on top of this grand piano and threw them out. I put my hand up, and it landed right at my fingers. So there was my 20th birthday present from Joni Mitchell.


We sold the van and I went off and bought a ticket on one of these sort of “magic bus” things. There were people who had these large buses who would run intercity routes aimed at the traveling North American, and presumably others — youth culture. You’d get on the bus and meet a bunch of guys from who knows where all around the States. Everybody was off doing their thing. I went down to Rome and then, from Rome, did Florence. Took the boat across to Greece and spent some time in Athens and out in the islands. Then back to Amsterdam and back home in July or something. So it was sort of a six-month trip: opened your mind, opened your eyes. The Dead were a big part of it. [chuckles]


JESSE: The Hippie Trail was long and wide, and would last another half-decade or so, ending more or less when the Iranian Revolution in the late ‘70s cut off the eastward path. In 1972, things were still wide open. Lingering in Rotterdam, we’re going to zoom outwards from the Dead for a moment. The day after the Dead played in Rotterdam, 12 May, as Dave Johns headed to a hostel and dried off, Geert Driessen and his friends continued to have their eyes opened. First, they went to the movies.


GEERT DRIESSEN: The day after we had [A] Clockwork Orange. I think it was spontaneous. I'm not sure. It was shocking to me.


AUDIO: A Clockwork Orange - Intro (1:41-1:58) - [YouTube]


GEERT DRIESSEN: Our hair was growing, we wanted to be like those hippies, peace and love. And then came this movie: it was so brutal. Yeah. It was great, but also shocking for youngsters like us.


AUDIO: A Clockwork Orange - Intro (1:59-2:14) - [YouTube]


JESSE: And that day, as Geert and his friends had their minds blown by A Clockwork Orange and the Dead began an overnight trek on the Bozo and Bolo buses, another iconic California band arrived in Rotterdam, on a parallel Europe ‘72 tour that would also result in an album. Geert and his friends were there to see it, too. Sorry about the crappy audience tape.


AUDIO: “Wild Honey” [The Beach Boys, 5/12/72] (1:10-1:26)


JESSE: That was the Beach Boys at the Ahoy in Rotterdam, 12 May 1972, doing the title track of their severely underrated 1967 album, Wild Honey.


GEERT DRIESSEN: The venue was bigger. It was so loud. I think it was 50/50: people like us who came for the Dead and the Beach Boys. And the one half I think came for the hit singles from the ‘60s, because the Beach Boys were far beyond that period when all these great albums they made: Smiley Smile, and Pet Sounds. I think it was a mixture of people. People go for the hit singles from yesteryear, and more of the album lovers. My friends, they were always smoking… I can’t remember seeing people smoking at the Beach Boys concert. I’m not sure. I think that was more happening at the Dead show.


JESSE: The Beach Boys were a week into a Europe ‘72 tour that was perhaps even more ambitious than the Dead’s, and the contrasts are pretty fascinating, even if the resulting Beach Boys’ LP wasn’t quite as memorable. Like the Dead, the Beach Boys brought their families and tech crew with them to Europe. Unlike the Dead, the Beach Boys actually settled in the Netherlands for the duration, just outside Amsterdam, using it as a homebase for a 3-month stay while they toured the Continent. They took over a recording studio and fitted it for their needs, mostly. Brian Wilson was somewhat inoperable as a Beach Boy by then, but joined them there. Sort of. As it turns out, they weren’t quite as prepared for European electricity as the Alembic team, and needed to hire local electricians to sort out the issue. The Beach Boys’ album Holland, released in early 1973, could be the topic of its own podcast. It did yield a hit single, “Sail On, Sailor,” but not one actually written or recorded in Holland. Here’s a bit of Brian Wilson’s contributions to the sessions in Holland, part of the “Mount Vernon and Fairway” suite.


AUDIO: “Better Get Back In Bed” [The Beach Boys, Holland] (0:00-0:21) - [Spotify]


JESSE: The deeper connection between the Dead and the Beach Boys’ European sojourns is, at its heart, an existential question, but manifesting physically for both bands: where to now? Read in the most symbolic way, both the Dead and the Beach Boys are equal products of westward migration and expansion, with both bands coding their own version of the United States somewhere deep in their music. Both bands had conquered the States in their own ways, by air, in the case of the Beach Boys' years of radio hits, or by land, in the case of the Dead’s touring. The Dead were still on the ascent, the Beach Boys less so. Holland would be their last album following the progressive course set by Pet Sounds, and before they reinvented themselves with a best-selling greatest hits album. The tour Geert and his friends saw was one of the last where it might be common to find a 50/50 split between those there to hear the progressive Beach Boys and those there to hear the surf-rockin’ Beach Boys. In some ways, the hit song from Holland was a different attempt to split the difference on that where-to-now question.


AUDIO: “Sail On, Sailor” [The Beach Boys, Holland] (0:07-0:32) - [Spotify]


JESSE: In the ‘70s, perhaps in direct proximity to rock musicians’ ability to purchase yachts, boating and life beyond the surfline, beyond even the Grateful Dead’s mythical west. Hippiedom wasn’t over, certainly, and punk was still a few years away. While the Dead were in Europe—West Germany more specifically—one of the performers from the original Glastonbury Fayre festival found their own new path, slugging it out in the concert halls of England at the same time the Dead were in Europe, and releasing this as a brand new single backed by the new band the Spiders From Mars.


AUDIO: “Starman” [David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars] (0:54-1:24) - [Spotify]


JESSE: That was David Bowie’s “Starman,” which descended to earth in the last days of April 1972. The Dead would eventually come up with their own answers about what to do next, topics for future days. In 1972, the counterculture was approaching a turning point. At least on the surface, it had become the dominant popular culture of the English-speaking parts of the world, which had been longhaired and brightly colored for nearly a half-decade now. LSD was at a worldwide global peak, which would begin to change after the bust of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love later that summer, a story I detail in my book, Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America, now available as an audiobook from Hachette wherever you get your audiobooks. And in May of 1972, just after Dave Johns caught the Dead in Rotterdam, he discovered another way that underground music was literally becoming part of the dominant global culture. Dave held up his journal for us.


DAVID JOHNS: And a sticker from the Second British Rock Meeting. There was a huge rock festival later in Germany that I went to — 100,000 people.


JESSE: The Second British Rock Meeting was held the 20th, 21st, and 22nd of May in Germersheim, West Germany with a huge lineup headlined by Pink Floyd, the Faces, and the post-Jim Morrison Doors. It was surely the only rock festival in history to include both Amon Düül II and Billy Joel. A number of Bickershaw survivors were advertised as well, including The Kinks, Incredible String Band, Brinsley Schwarz, Country Joe McDonald, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage. But just because a band was on the poster, doesn’t mean they played.


DAVID JOHNS: A lot of the bands didn't show up. The Riders of the Purple Sage, weren’t they an offshoot of the Dead or something? Never showed up. Bands they advertised never showed up. But The Doors did, Pink Floyd and Humble Pie. You know how the rock festivals, they get behind schedule — so all of the great bands come on at midnight, or 1 in the morning? [During] Pink Floyd, I fell asleep.


JESSE: When he crashed, Dave Johns discovered a peculiar feature of the 2nd British Rock Meeting.


DAVID JOHNS: So Germany was full of American Forces bases, because the Vietnam War was on. So there [were] maybe 20,000 American soldiers there. Germany was full of American forces bases because the Vietnam War was on. So there [were] maybe 20,000 American soldiers there, and they just brought tons of gear and set up lean-tos and tents. They said to people, “Come on, sleep, get sheltered.” I just kind of passed out at midnight, Pink Floyd’s playing. You could hear the ambulances all night, picking up the guys who freaked out on LSD.


JESSE: We spoke with Eric Alden in our West Germany episode. He was one of the servicemen who ended up at the British Rock Meeting.


ERIC ALDEN: I went to a big outdoor concert: it was in May. It was right after the Dead concert, because we were all hoping the Dead would show up and play. It was two days and 20 bands; it was like sort of a Woodstock knock-off on an island in the Rhine. I remember the closing band was Pink Floyd. It was a super good show. It was a lot of good music, it was very reasonably priced — it was a great experience. I mean, I'm not saying being in the Army or being drafted is a great experience, because that kind of sucked. But the opportunity to have that in my life was wonderful.


JESSE: The Dead did actually have some off time during those days, which we’ll explore next episode, but dropping in on the British Rock Meeting on an island in the Rhine wasn’t their scene. Some sources say that the 2nd British Rock Meeting was actually financed by the American military. Though that might just be a rumor, the military certainly had an enormous presence there, both in the audience and the festival infrastructure, and representative of the way that rock music had been virtually integrated into the United States military life.


ERIC ALDEN: People there in the Army listen to lots of music. That’s what enlisted men in the Army then spent all their money on: big stereos and music and substances. We pretty much owned a lot of vinyl, and the barracks rooms that I was in were all like eight guys or something to a room. People would pool their stereos together and power up real big-time in their album collections. So you would have a heck of a lot of good current music available at all times. So we would simply sit around listening to music constantly in the evenings.


JESSE: In 1972, the idea of the U.S. military sponsoring a rock festival in Germany wasn’t a totally illogical thing to have perhaps happened. Historian Michael Kramer is author of the excellent book, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture.


MICHAEL KRAMER: In the early 1970s and right up to our own time, the US exerts power around the world by having military installations across the globe. But there's this irony, which is that in maintaining military installations across the globe and American military personnel at them, the US military has to maintain the morale of those troops. And so they do it in the way that they’ve done it since World War I, which is to try to import a taste of home.


JESSE: While Eric Alden and many of his fellow soldiers were draftees, they would be among the last, with the final draft cards sent out in December 1972. The Grateful Dead resembled a rock band, but what it meant to even resemble a rock band was changing.


MICHAEL KRAMER: The U.S. Armed Forces are in the process of abandoning the draft and switching to the idea of an all-volunteer force. So they're desperate to try to maintain morale and to attract a fighting force by this time. So there’s this opening up happening below the surface of U.S. imperialism that… I don’t know, I think of the Dead coming to Europe as kind of happening within that moment.


JESSE: It wasn’t just the military that was trying to get down with the heads. A few days after the Dead departed Europe, in early June, was the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the world’s first environmental conference. Close relatives of the Dead were involved. One of the organizers was former Merry Prankster Stewart Brand of the Whole Earth Catalog, as well as Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm. It was a bit chaotic, logistically and politically, and there was an even more radical counter festival, too, the Life Forum. Between the two, there were performances by local psych flag-bearers Träd Gräs och Stenar, as well as American psych forerunners the Holy Modal Rounders. In later years, it was erroneously asserted that the Dead themselves played. They didn’t, of course, at least not on this timeline.


AUDIO: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” [Träd Gräs och Stenar, Träd Gräs och Stenar] (5:15-5:45) - [Spotify]


JESSE: That was Träd Gräs och Stenar’s wild version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” from their 1970 debut. Man, I wish they actually had crossed paths with the Dead. Though Sam Cutler and John Morris had to build the Dead their own touring circuit in Europe with the helps of Berry Visser and others, American imperialism had blazed other trails across Europe — the routes of the American GIs, the routes of the footloose American backpackers with Eurail passes, the routes of ideas across the Hippie Trail. But what were the Grateful Dead bringing to Europe?


MICHAEL KRAMER: In ‘72, things are starting to move into the past from the height of the late ‘ ‘60s, but they're not too far in the past. And so, from the research I did on rock music in the U.S. and around the world in that time period, what I noticed was that, for young people around the world, the experience of the Woodstock album and film—maybe knowing someone in the States, or knowing a GI from the US or someone from the Armed Forces who was based somewhere around the US military installations; maybe reading Abbie Hoffman's book, Woodstock Nation; but most of all, hearing the album and seeing the film, maybe reading about it in a magazine or newspaper—this idea of Woodstock Nation was really appealing and intriguing to a lot of young people around the world. It gave them a way to connect up their own experiences of joining the modern, global society with whatever was going on where they live.


So the idea of a Woodstock Transnational is just to be more aware that Woodstock Nation wasn't just an American phenomenon, it wasn't just an Anglo American phenomenon; it was starting to happen around the world, in really different contexts. So in a place like Brazil, you could say, something like the Tropicalia movement—which already was going on even before Woodstock—kind of connected up to this idea of joining a global youth counterculture. In a place like Czechoslovakia, even behind the Iron Curtain, you get a band like the Plastic People of the Universe, who are really not political, they’re just interested in experimental music and art. But they get persecuted by the Soviet authorities, the Czechoslovakian Communist authorities. So their cause gets taken up eventually by artists who become politicized like Vaclav Havel and others.


You go to a place like a Muslim country, like Mali — where, in Bamako, someone like Malick Sidibé would become a film critic, a professor of Film Studies. As a kid, he remembers wanting to organize a Woodstock in Bamako, and all the teen clubs that that kids belong to around the city were named after various soul bands and rock bands. And then in Vietnam itself, the Vietnam War is still going on into the early ‘70s. You get young kids in Saigon that were organizing rock bands, loving the music of the Beatles, and finding that they can make a living playing for American armed forces personnel who are still stationed even in the middle of the Vietnam War. So you get bands called the CBC Band that create a little… I mean, they literally play at a club called the Fillmore Far East. So there’s a kind of Woodstock Transnational that emerges by the early ‘70s, in which rock music is carrying forward this kind of idea of a global youth culture that anyone could join. It’s not joining America exactly; it’s more joining this thing that’s coming from American youth.


JESSE: When the Grateful Dead went to Europe, in some ways, it wasn’t to play for European audiences, but to play for the audiences of what Michael calls the Woodstock Transnational, the residents of the global counterculture. The Dead would come to symbolize that. Even if they resisted being associated with politics, they never resisted being associated with the forces of peaceful social change. In his 2006 play Rock n’ Roll, British playwright Tom Stoppard employed the version of “Chinatown Shuffle” from Rockin’ the Rhein, recorded in Düsseldorf earlier on this tour, as a way to channel the mood of the age. Our colleague Gary Lambert corresponded with Stoppard a number of years back, and Stoppard told him that it had “a vibe not dissimilar” to the Plastic People of the Universe, one of the bands Michael just mentioned. This is “The Tyger,” recorded live in Prague about a month after the conclusion of the Dead’s Europe ‘72 tour.


AUDIO: “The Tyger” [Plastic People of the Universe, Muž bez uší] (5:27-6:07) - [YouTube]


JESSE: “Find the others,” Timothy Leary once said. If you’re interested in the Woodstock Transnational and how it manifested both in the United States and abroad, I really do recommend Michael’s book, The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture. While it would surely be simplistic to say that the counterculture absolutely transcended international boundaries, in other ways, it absolutely did, and does. We used this little bit in our episode last season titled “Dead Freaks Unite.” This is WLIR DJ interviewing Jerry Garcia in 1979.


RAY WHITE [1/11/79]: How is that playing over in Europe? I mean, you must have a lot of Americans.


JERRY GARCIA [1/11/79]: Well, there's European Dead Heads, too.


RAY WHITE [1/11/79]: What's the difference between them?


JERRY GARCIA [1/11/79]: Their accents.


JESSE: It’s sort of a joke, but sort of not.


JERRY GARCIA [1/11/79]: They're kind of like Dead Heads everywhere, except that they have their own definition of themselves. You know what I mean? They have their own little numbers and stuff. But the kind of input that we get from them and the kind of letters that they write, and when we meet people over there and stuff like that, the kind of people they are is a lot like American Dead Heads, whatever that is. But it's a very specific kind of person. They laugh a lot, they have fun.


JESSE: Having spent a bunch of time recently speaking with Dead Heads of many nationalities, I’d agree with that assessment — that something about the Dead experience seems to find or transfer itself to a certain kind of head. It’s not absolute, but speaking with European heads this season, I’ve been frequently reminded of American Dead freaks that I know — despite these European heads being born several decades and oceans apart.


MICHAEL KRAMER: I think that must have been so romantic and alluring to a young kid in Western Europe at the time, or even a young GI, a young American GI. They were like visitors from Woodstock Nation. It was the beginning of the idea of Dead Heads and this kind of explicit Grateful Dead thing. But I imagine for most people who would go to see them at that time, they were probably kind of vaguely associated with the Summer of Love in San Francisco; maybe people knew from seeing glimpses of Jerry Garcia holding up a joint backstage at Woodstock, in the Woodstock film. So they’re arriving as these kind of emissaries from Woodstock Nation, saying: “Come on in. Join the Woodstock Transnational.” Listen. They had that openness. You didn’t need a passport — you could just come, and join in.


AUDIO: “The Golden Road” [Grateful Dead] (0:19-0:32) - [Spotify] [YouTube]


JESSE: “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” from the Dead’s debut album might’ve been a little too on-the-nose about the Dead’s mission. Even if they never played it again after 1967, it also seemingly remained part of the underlying message, though it was a message that had grown more nuanced. Besides their music, one thing that the members of the Grateful Dead shared was a distrust of authority, including their own. As the late Rock Scully put it:


ROCK SCULLY [Living With the Dead audiobook]: Our crusade is basically, uh… molecular!


JESSE: From the outside, the Dead and their unruly family might’ve seemed like ugly Americans, and almost certainly not inaccurately at times. Calling back a few episodes:


SAM CUTLER: As I was talking to the manager, outside a window, a television smashed, with the ferocity of a bomb.


AUDIO: [television explodes]


JESSE: But more properly it might be better to classify the Grateful Dead as weird Americans. Steve Parish.


STEVE PARISH: When we rolled into a hotel, or anywhere we rolled into, it was: here come these Americans. We weren't trying to be assimilated to the culture. But it was still… we were fascinated by it, and everywhere we went, we would talk about what we saw. My whole life, I was an avid reader, but of one kind of thing: nonfiction. So when I was a little kid, at seven years old, with a flashlight, I read—I kept it in the room [where] I slept—the entire encyclopedia, from cover to cover. It took me a few years, but it gave me this love for the world and for traveling and for knowing all these places. And so I kept that going my whole life of reading nonfiction.


JESSE: Here in the Deadcast bunker, we don’t quite have one of those maps with thumb tacks and yarn, but based on triangulation, I’m pretty sure the only time the following story could’ve taken place was on the haul out of Rotterdam, en route back to France. And with this, we’ll let Steve Parish sign us off today.


STEVE PARISH: It was a 14-hour drive. Then we're in Belgium, and it's storming — it started raining really, really hard. And here I am, sitting next to the window. Jerry's right next to me — we're talking, having a smoke. I look out the window and I see: Oh, goddamn, we’re in Ypres! I grabbed Jerry, and I go, “Jerry, look where we are!” He and I had both spent our youth watching old black and white movies — that was another thing that we were bonded on. So as soon as I said Ypres, he knew—from us studying, and him reading All Quiet on the Western Front, that we were at this battle site that was an enormous slaughter pit from the first World War. He grabbed my arm; we both got a chill down our spine. He said, “Wow, man, there’s where it happened. Can you imagine the mud?” You could see the mud and the rain pouring down. We were transported in our minds like that…


AUDIO: “Morning Dew” [Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings, Vol. 15, 5/11/72] (11:14-11:44) - [Spotify] [YouTube]