Grateful Dead’s monumental boxed set EUROPE ’72: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS has sold out of the 7200 individually numbered, limited edition version just weeks after it was first announced. The dead.net exclusive release documents the Dead’s momentous 1972 European tour, arguably the band’s greatest, with over 70 hours of music featuring every note recorded during the 22-show jaunt. The now sold out limited edition version comes housed in a replica steamer trunk reminiscent of the ones prevalently used at the time. Along with the music, a vast majority of which is previously unreleased, the travel chest contains tour memorabilia, a coffee-table book with never-before-seen photos, and a comprehensive essay by noted Dead author Blair Jackson.
Due to overwhelming demand, fans that missed out on the limited edition version are still able to purchase a CD-only version, which still includes all the music without the deluxe package and book, for the same price of $450, which works out to the remarkably low price of about $20 per show. Each performance comes accompanied by an essay specific to the show written by top Dead scholars including David Gans, Gary Lambert, Nicholas Meriwether, and Steve Silberman. Both the limited edition and CD-only versions are set to ship in September.
Originally thought to include around 65 discs, EUROPE ’72: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS now has a final disc count of 72 total discs. “Once we got rolling full-steam ahead on the mixing and mastering of the boxed set, we decided to not break up any segued jam sequences that took place on the tour or re-sequence any of the shows just to fit them on to three discs,” says Dead archivist David Lemieux. “This meant that several shows needed to be bumped up to four discs, resulting in the boxed set now containing 72 total CDs. That number is not a gimmick. In true Dead fashion, it just happened that 72 is where the final tally landed.”
As a thank you, all the Dead Heads who have ordered the set were sent their first taste of what to expect earlier this week when they received an exclusive first listen to the previously unreleased performance of the Grateful Dead live staple “Playing In The Band” from the April 14, 1972 show in Copenhagen, Denmark. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, the song was recorded at the Tivolis Koncertsal, which was the Dead’s first every paying gig in front of foreign language crowd. The song is now available for a free download at dead.net and facebook.com/gratefuldead. Fans can expect more surprises like this in the coming months leading up to the September release.
Jeffrey Norman, the primary mixer of the Dead’s archival multi-track material for the past 15 years, is mixing each show from the original 16-track recordings, with the high-tech Plangent Processes transfer and restoration tools used to bring the master tapes back to life. Two-time Grammy®-winning engineer David Glasser is mastering the music to HDCD specs. While many of the recordings heard on Europe ’72 were sweetened in the studio after the tour, those tracks will be included in this collection without overdubs, where possible.
EUROPE ’72: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS offers a snapshot of a band at the top of its game, still ascending in the wake of three straight hit albums—Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty, and the live Grateful Dead (“Skull & Roses”). It had been a year since the lineup had gone to its single-drummer configuration, six months since Keith Godchaux had been broken in as the group’s exceptional pianist, and this marked the first tour to feature Donna Godchaux as a member of the touring band.
There was a ton of new, unreleased material that came into the repertoire in the fall of ’71 and during the spring of ’72, including “Tennessee Jed,” “Jack Straw,” “Mexicali Blues,” “Comes A Time,” “Ramble On Rose,” “One More Saturday Night,” “Black-Throated Wind,” “Looks Like Rain” and Pigpen’s “Chinatown Shuffle,” “The Stranger (Two Souls In Communion)” and “Mr. Charlie.” (Sadly, this was Pigpen’s final tour.) All those future classics were interspersed with songs from the aforementioned “hit” albums—such as “Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Bertha,” and “Not Fade Away”—and then were topped off by loads of big jamming numbers—the Europe ’72 tour produced spectacular versions of “Dark Star,” “The Other One,” “Playing in the Band,” “Truckin’,” “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider,” “Good Lovin’,” “Lovelight,” and even the early Pig chestnut “Caution.”
Mastering engineer David Glasser working on 4/17/72 Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen
GRATEFUL DEAD EUROPE 1972 TOUR DATES
All shows included in their entirety
April 7 Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley
April 8 Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley
April 11 Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle
April 14 Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
April 16 Aarhus University, Aarhus
April 17 Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
April 21 Beat Club, Bremen
April 24 Rheinhalle, Dusseldorf
April 26 Jahrhundert Halle, Frankfurt
April 29 Musikhalle, Hamburg
May 3 Olympia Theatre, Paris
May 4 Olympia Theatre, Paris
May 7 Bickershaw Festival, Wigan
May 10 Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
May 11 Rotterdam Civic Hall, Rotterdam
May 13 Lille Fairgrounds, Lille
May 16 Theatre Hall, Luxembourg
May 18 Kongressaal - Deutsches Museum, Munich
May 23 Strand Lyceum, London
May 24 Strand Lyceum, London
May 25 Strand Lyceum, London
May 26 Strand Lyceum, London