Grateful Dead

Dick's Picks, Vol. 22: Kings Beach Bowl, Kings Beach Lake Tahoe, CA 2/23-2/24/68

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One of the wilder chapters of the endless Grateful Dead concert archive series Dick's Picks, Vol. 22 captures some early and comparatively rough-around-the-edges live Dead material from early 1968. The Dead were still in their fetal stages of becoming one of the most communicative jam bands in rock history, relying on blues vamping and proto-psychedelic stoner rave-ups at this point in their development. The results are messy, and often overly long, as on the woozy 17-minute set opener "Viola Lee Blues," but there's still the tiniest spark of something incredible forming, and when the bandmembers lock into each other, the playing can be transcendent. The group thought these dates, and these recordings in particular, were especially important even in their extremely raw form. Material from these recordings was used in the damaged collage aspects of the group's second proper album, Anthem of the Sun. Through the feedback, distortion, and tape defects, moments of grandeur come in standout versions of "Morning Dew" and "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)."

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