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Dead of the Day: April 8, 1972

Empire Pool
Wembley, England
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We frequently tell you that a show is really good, and they definitely are. But today’s Dead of the Day is completely tasty. You owe it to yourself to stop what you are doing and give this show a listen. Even – or, perhaps, especially – if you claim you do not have the time, you need to sit back with the Dark Star> Sugar Mags> Caution that provides the stellar standout of an already otherworldly show. Before that, there is still more than enough outrageous music to go around. In the first set, the Mr. Charlie is a crisp, strong, and compact package of goodness. The Good Lovin’ put everyone in England on warning that Pig was in the country and would be on the prowl, as he threw out some additional lyrics and just basically represented his normal bad ass bluesy self. And the Looks Like Rain is so smooth and beautiful with Jerry on pedal steel. But with all this tremendous playing, the show somehow switches into a new gear with a mind-blowingly good Dark Star. The band is focused and in some sort of mind-meld throughout that allows them to put together the perfect jams, including the stellar Mind Left Body jam. Everybody is contributing, making for an unbelievable ride and creating a staggering transition into the Sugar Mags, which reaches a new plane itself. Then the Caution comes forth in its monumental awesomeness, exhibiting some of the absolute best Grateful Dead playing that can be found out there. The band is incredibly on fire, each and every one of them. Billy lays down some scintillating drums. Jerry’s guitar turns into an absolute beast. Keith’s keys and Bobby’s rhythm come out, toying with Jerry and prodding the entire band along. Phil just bastes the bass line with funky, driving bombs. And, Pig, Pig blasts the lyrics in a no holds barred manner.

One of the reviewers on Archive quotes Jerry from London saying, "There's a sort of peak optimum, and right now we're at one of those peaks.” It would be hard to argue that the Dead were not right at the apex of optimum on this night. And, for the next month and a half, they maintained that level, streaking across Europe, leaving stardust and peals of lightening in their wake. The band had been building to this perfection for some time, fully integrating Keith into the sound. And, now, they brought that intense synergy together with unrestrained effort and unspeakable magic to tear down the gates of Europe.


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