Grateful Dead

Europe '72, Vol. 2

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The triple-live album Europe '72 is an iconic record not just to Deadheads, but to almost anyone who was around Grateful Dead fans or going to college in the subsequent decade, so often was it blasted out of dorm windows. Almost 40 years later, the double-CD Europe '72, Vol. 2 has about two and a half more hours of performances from the Dead's spring 1972 tour. Now that some other material from the tour has come out on vault releases, this isn't as major a deal as it might have been had it come out many years earlier than 2011. But there are reasons to pick this up even if you already have Europe '72, though like most "volume twos" taken from classic concerts, it's not as essential to fans as the original. Most importantly, the 20 songs were deliberately selected to avoid duplicating any songs on the first Europe '72. That does mean some Dead standards featured on the original triple-LP are absent, like "Sugar Magnolia" and "China Cat Sunflower." But this installment is hardly short on familiar Dead numbers like "Bertha, " "Good Lovin'," "Dire Wolf," "Dark Star," "Playing in the Band," "Sugaree," "Me and My Uncle," and the "Not Fade Away/Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad" medley. There are also some relatively little-heard originals like "Black-Throated Wind" and Pigpen's "Chinatown Shuffle," as well as an 11-minute cover of Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home" that probably qualifies as the best of the lesser-known songs. Fans of their spaciest psychedelic excursions should be sated by the nearly hourlong jam on "Dark Star" and "The Other One" that opens disc two, though that might test the tolerance of less committed Deadheads. The set features good sound and the kind of loose performances that Grateful Dead fans treasure in live recordings, though true completists will want the limited-edition, unbelievably large, 73-CD collection Europe '72: The Complete Recordings, issued by Rhino the same month as this relatively modest double CD.

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