Grateful Dead - Dick’s Picks Vol. 14—Boston Music Hall 11/30/73 & 12/2/73 (4CD)
This is one of the more unusual volumes in the entire Dick's Picks series, both with respect to band configuration--neither Mickey Hart nor Donna Godchaux (who was off tour having a baby) are here--and the circumstances of the recording, as the first disc begins with a version of "Morning Dew" that had to serve as both a show opener and a sound check because the band was three hours late arriving for the gig! Interestingly, the last disc ends with an encore of "Morning Dew" (in a particularly spectacular version) too, and one imagines archivist Dick Latvala chuckling over that symmetry as he put together this 4-CD set, which compiles highlights from two nights of a three-night stand at Boston Music Hall. Lovers of Keith Godchaux's keyboard work will find much to savor, as he is higher in the mix here than on probably any other Pick, and the "Mind Left Body Jam" on Disc Four coming out of "Playing in the Band" is stellar. And how often do you hear (on Disc One) a FIRST set that begins with "Morning Dew" and ends with "Playing in the Band?!" All with a uniquely mellow vibe throughout...this is the Dead easing away from the jazzy 1973 sound towards the next step in their ceaseless evolution (the Wall of Sound is four short months away). Another keeper.