Grateful Dead - Dicks Picks 23—Baltimore Civic Center Baltimore, MD 9/17/72 (3CD)
It's the topic of endless argument, but, bolstered by the legendary Europe '72 album and tour, consensus opinion holds that 1972 was the peak year for Grateful Dead live shows. And this Dick's Picks volume certainly adds to the weight of evidence in favor of that view; recorded exactly three months after Pigpen left the band due to health reasons, this beautifully recorded (by Bear, presented here in HDCD sound) show features the organic yet focused ebbs and flows and unexpected improvisational twists that are characteristic of a classic Dead show. Among the highlights (and they are many) are a sublime, exploratory reading of "Playing in the Band," a soaring "Bird Song," a potent coupling of "China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider" and a surging, emotional hour-long medley of "He's Gone/"The Other One"/"Sing Me Back Home." Out of print for years and a real keeper.
Release date 02.12.21