Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Album Review: The Grateful Dead - Dave's Picks 46: Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California 9/9/72

 The Grateful Dead
Dave's Picks 46: Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California 9/9/72 
**** out of *****

It is really hard to find a bad Grateful Dead show from 1972. Almost every night saw the band "on" and some nights found them soaring to the highest peaks of their history. Dave's Picks 46 goes to one of the strongest months of that heavily toured year, September, and delivers; 9/9/72 from the Hollywood Palladium. 

The band, Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals Phil Lesh – bass guitar, vocals Bill Kreutzmann – drums Keith Godchaux – keyboards Donna Jean Godchaux – vocals, were clicking on a very high level and the sound on this release from all involved, is pristine. If anything, the vocals are pushed a bit too far in front so slightly missed notes or harmonies standout more than on old tapes. It is really amazing the work Dave Lemieux and his team put into cleaning up the sound, and the unreal job Owsley Stanley did originally recording this show. 

This night begins with a fairly tame, yet professionally delivered first set, par for the course for September '72. Opening and closing with Chuck Berry covers, in-between showcasing a gorgeous "Sugaree" that has a deep bass, "Tennessee Jed" with nice guitar work from Jerry and an average "Bird Song" that, even when not the set highlight, is always welcomed. Speaking of set highlights, that would easily be "Playin' In The Band", the group kicks in from there and the tune really seems to spark the inventive playing and energy for the rest of the night. 

The second set starts with an excellent version of the classic pairing "China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider" and Godchaux's keys, along with Garcia's inventive guitar lines (especially over the second half) shines bright throughout. Keith's playing also highlights a cool version of "Friend of the Devil", a song that the band didn't always deliver in the live setting. The CD aspect of Dave's Picks can be frustrating as disk 2 contains the end of the show, but reprogramming it is a must for this night as Disk 3 (the middle of the second set) is where the magic truly happens. 

The raw and semi bluesy "He's Gone" starts the proceedings with languid playing from all involved before segueing into an top notch version of "Truckin'" that features weeping, bended notes from Garcia. The tempo kicks up for the song which rambles on winningly before dropping into a brief "Drums" segment before "The Other One" begins. 

While the show has been 'solid to pretty good' at this point, "The Other One" presented here is worth the price of this release alone. It captures everything that makes the Dead special in the thirty five minute run time as it begins with wild, blazing energy before moving to tripped out spacey noise/free form playing. Things then shift towards melodic and sweet sounds at the end of the journey; in a year full of amazing versions of this song, this one needs to be heard and ranked accordingly.

"Stella Blue" is a blissful way to come down from that adventure and "El Paso" is oddly placed by Weir, but fine. The show wraps with a high energy version of "Casey Jones" and an even better spin through "Sugar Magnolias" which features Donna Jean and Weir yelling out their sunshine day dreams.

An upbeat "One More Saturday Night" wraps it up and while not as amazing as other nights this month (9/3, 9/21, 9/24) Dave's Picks 46 certainly holds it's own and with this outstanding version of "The Other One", it a must own for Deadheads. 
Support the artists and peep some video below (not official audio from Dave's 46):

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