Grateful Dead

Dave's Picks, Vol. 11: Century II Convention Hall, Wichita, KS 11/17/72

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Dave Lemieux's 11th pick is a November 11, 1972 concert given at the Century II Convention Hall in Wichita, Kansas. Europe '72 hit record stores just a few days earlier but the Grateful Dead's lineup already had shifted: Pigpen retired from the stage after June 1972, leaving Keith Godchaux as the sole keyboardist. During the European tour, things were trending this way anyway -- Pigpen retreated from the spotlight in 1970 and once Godchaux came aboard, the blues singer's presence became minimal. This means this 1972 Kansas show -- which is expanded by five tracks from two days earlier in Oklahoma City, none of which were played on November 17; notably, there's a half-hour "Playing in the Band" and a lithe "Wharf Rat" -- isn't markedly different in form than the band showcased on Europe '72 but the feel on this Dave's Pick is lively, with the Dead rushing out of the gate with "Promised Land," one of three Chuck Berry covers in this hard-rocking set. There are certainly sweeter, softer moments here but even "Box of Rain" and "Sugaree" roll to an almost insistent swing. The longest trip is a nearly 20-minute "The Other One," an extension from a barreling "Truckin'," and that illustrates the strength of this show: it's a high-octane good time, one where the rhythms rock and the jams always seem to burn.

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