Dick’s Picks Vol. 2 has always been one of our favorites here at Real Gone, and not just because one of our two partners spent much of his misbegotten youth at the venue where it was recorded, the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. Which, if you’ve never been there, is one of those grand movie palaces built in the ‘20s, much like the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. It’s the kind of place where you can easily imagine spirits roam…say on a Halloween evening featuring a band called the Grateful Dead. For, on that 1971 night—captured on this, the only single CD release in the entire Dick’s Picks series, here presented on a three-sided double-LP—the group played the most ethereal, dreamy, and, yes, spooky version of “Dark Star” ever recorded; it’s almost as if Jerry Garcia was communing with his ancestors (and maybe John Coltrane) for the first seven minutes of his beautifully structured, contemplative and yearning solo. Then, after the vocal verse, Garcia, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and bassist Phil Lesh take turns suggesting a new improvisational theme before the band telepathically picks up on a two-note theme and Garcia launches into some of the most ecstatic guitar playing ever captured on tape anywhere (labeled by some the “Tighten Up” jam after the Archie Bell & the Drells song; others hear an embryonic “Eyes of the World”). The rest of the show keeps flying high; the whole band is on fire during “Sugar Magnolia,” a rare, early-‘70s performance of “St. Stephen” (the final live version until 1976) swaggers like it should, and a great “Not Fade Away”/ “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad”/ “Not Fade Away” medley rounds out the show…a “hallowed” performance indeed.

 

Tracklist

Side 1:

  1. Dark Star/Jam

Side 2:

  1. Sugar Magnolia
  2. St. Stephen

Side 3:

  1. Not Fade Away
  2. Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad
  3. Not Fade Away

Side 4:

Blank