Unofficial 31 Days of Dead – 2012 Edition: Day 31

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We’ve reached the end of our Unofficial 31 Days of Dead feature. Ed Martin has done a fantastic job of presenting classic tracks from the Grateful Dead’s illustrious history. It’s been an honor to be the new home of this compilation and we’re deeply indebted to Ed for all his hard work in sharing these incredible selections. Also, thanks to Brian Levine for the artwork and for turning us on to Ed’s project.

December 31

Truckin’ > The Other One > Morning Dew
12/31/72 Winterland, San Francisco, CA

Thanks Bill Graham > Sugar Magnolia
12/31/72 Winterland, San Francisco, CA 

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s amazing performance at Winterland on New Year’s Eve in 1972. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that milestone than by selecting the “big jam” from that show to ring in 2013.  I also threw in Sugar Magnolia as a bonus track.  It was Bill Graham’s favorite Grateful Dead song and they usually obliged him with it on New Year’s Eve.

I’m taking the day off to pop the champagne cork. Today’s write-up comes courtesy of the Dead Essays blog.  I hope you enjoyed the 2012 edition of the Unofficial 31 Days of Dead.  Happy 2013 all!

Technically this show was the first of ’73, starting at midnight and continuing til around 4 am on January 1! But the second set shows no sign of weariness – if anything, it’s one of the most inspired sets of the month.

A fine long jam comes out of Truckin’, not explosive but full of anticipation as Garcia sounds eager to roam. He starts playing excited Other One runs while the rest of the band is still in Truckin’. They stay in this transition a long time – Garcia won’t let go for the usual drum solo, instead the Other One slowly emerges as Garcia dashes from one new theme to the next, the jam getting more inspired as it goes along. After Lesh finally plays the Other One Intro, the band oozes into a very pretty, drippy jam.

They abruptly pause for a drum break, followed by an aimless Lesh solo – as he goes into a repeating bass riff that would be very common in ’73, the band spins out of this into a fullbore jazz jam. David Crosby has joined them on a twelve-string, giving them a more dense and cluttered sound – he fits right in (he had also played on the 9/10/72 Dark Star), playing chordal backing along with Weir. The jam speeds up, Garcia barreling along at warp speed, the atmosphere electric, more happening than the ear can catch – Godchaux in particular is outstanding throughout this night’s jams, in his element as he drives the band forward. All of a sudden they stop for a very spacey wah-wah interlude, Godchaux’s piano-tinkles and Crosby’s bending chords ringing out loudly. Garcia slides into feedback, Lesh pushing him with loud rumbles, the band jabbing in spikes of fizzling confusion, and they rip into a short but powerful Tiger. Dazed, the band drifts, Garcia’s guitar creaking and rattling as Crosby adds to the mayhem. Somehow out of this, Weir bursts into some chords and it sounds like they’re going into Me & My Uncle – but it turns out to be a new jam. Just as it gets hotter and seems due to explode, Garcia drops out for a while and it’s time for a Weir chordal solo – once Garcia rejoins him, the band drops nearly to silence. Out of some drum taps, suddenly Lesh rumbles into the Other One again, and we’re treated to a very hot entry into the verse.

The biggest surprise of all happens after the verse – instead of an Other One jam, all of a sudden Garcia slows down the band *on a dime* into a superb, sweet instrumental that must be heard to be believed – it’s not at all like the Dead’s other jams in these shows. It almost sounds like they rehearsed it for just this occasion, it’s so tight and evocative. Garcia’s lead is simply fantastic, one of the most transcendent pieces I’ve heard him play. Lifting to an even higher level, this passage ends with Garcia’s violin-like volume-swell solo – Crosby backing him with graceful notes – which slides fantasy-like into a dreamy Morning Dew. Crosby & Weir add a very phased sound to Dew – Garcia’s singing is heartfelt, and he plays a powerful middle solo. The ending jam, growing out of Garcia/Crosby twin leads, is very deliberate and extended with Crosby’s heavy chords and Garcia’s fanning, ending this long jam medley with an emotional bang.

Afterwards, Weir thanks Bill Graham and they play a really excellent Sugar Magnolia for him, the best of the run with an extra-long jam. (Possibly Crosby’s still in there too, playing grungy chords?)

And with that, the Dead bid farewell to 1972. The next month would be a busy one, writing and rehearsing several new songs – and in February, they’d come back to the stage with a smoother, more relaxed style…. But that’s a story for another day.

[via Dead Essays]

Day 31 Download Link:
Bonus Track Download Link:
LMA Link:

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5 thoughts on “Unofficial 31 Days of Dead – 2012 Edition: Day 31

  1. PotvinRocks Reply

    New Years is such the great GD holiday that I decided to to two shows on my blog. This show is gonna be the midnight EST show! I thought that post verse the jam seems very much like “Prelude/Dew” from Europe 72!

  2. Rick Reply

    Happy New Year Ed! Your the best <:)

  3. chris Reply

    Ed if i could kiss u i would. ur the best man

  4. russ Reply

    Thanks, Guys. Really finishing up in style the last couple of days with some classic jams. I had both of these shows on cassette for years but they never made it to my digital collection so I hadn’t heard them for a while. Wow! That Not Fade Away is the Dead at a peak, flowing through a series of different jams effortlessly. Gotta love it. And the 40th Anniversary Show, perfect way to end! This show is evidence that they didn’t always blow it on NYE. This is stuff for real Deadheads, the casual fan not so much I think.

  5. rambleonmike Reply

    – Joe says, great music and writing all month, for the last 3 years, russ, or is it ed? That’s OK. I’m not Joe.

    – And he’s not Ed! Hey, fella, how about bending a couple in the DooDah Room? If you catch my meaning!

    – If ya get my drift!

    Happy Unofficial 31 Days Of Sounds Of Silence!

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