Grateful Dead

Houston, Texas 11-18-1972

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A half set recorded by Owsley Stanley and assembled for release by vaultmaster David Lemieux in 2014, Houston, Texas 11-18-1972 captures a muscular gig given toward the end of their year-ending American 1972 tour. This excerpted live set is anchored by a 25-minute "Playing in the Band" and a 16-minute "He's Gone," polar opposites in feel: the former retains fire even when subsisting on dense, percolating intertwined interplay by Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia, where the latter rides on a cooler, relaxed groove. Elsewhere, the Dead are in prime 1972 form, pushing through "Bertha" with purpose, swinging hard on "Deal," and shuffling happily on "Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo." It's fine stuff, further proof that the Dead may not have had a bad night in 1972.