Saturday, December 03, 2011

Part 3 or Discs 3 + 4 of Europe 72 Olympia ,Paris Show - Review by Steve Seachrist

Disc Three
1. Truckin'
Bob repeats the Number-One-in-Turlock bit and the band plays like they are playing a
hit single. It’s a typical daydream in most ways. It’s nice that the verses and choruses
are remembered, lyric-wise. It helps with the credibility. I’m buying this version. We
arrive at the last verse unscathed but for Jerry’s awesome and unpredictable fills. Bones
are patched and we are on our way home. Jer winds up and bursts into a series of rock
figures before heading out on a more esoteric excursion. Pig backs him up admirably
with good jams on the Hammond. Before 7:30 we are certainly setting up for that repriseof the last verse, and that happens from a whisper to a scream within its short lifetime.The jam after this is short and rocky. It is fully flavored with the taste of the main song rather than any other side trip. This very suddenly drops into something that promises to
2. The Other One
Why on Earth the top of this CD track did not rate the “Jam” title (like 4/16 did) is way
beyond my pay scale. We basically land here on a desolate other world, dust our only
friend. This could make you cry if you did not know that rescue was imminent. Each of
the principals (minus Pigpen) carry on making all manner of rackets for several minutes.I really love these nebulous jams where searching is more important than finding. Jerry bows out near 4:45 and the others carry on beautifully without him. Bob strikes some really odd chords here. Jer comes tweedling back in a minute later, then he pushes out some volume-knob swells. This soon gets more aggressive, sparking Keith to make his own noise for a bit. At around 6:45 Phil makes several runs at the opening, but no one takes him up on any of them. More than a minute later, he pokes at it again and ever-so slowly everyone gets on board, but not all at once. In fact, they back off again, teasing us mercilessly with the entrance to the song proper. Phil rumbles through variations on his opening, now obviously just toying with it as the jam turns unpredictable corners again and again. The way this version blossoms is completely amazing. By 11:30 there is still tension even though a very high near-climax is reached. They back off yet again, setting up a little jam that Bob leads, again sans Jerry. Pig chimes in on organ and everyone except Jer comes to the table with the theme. Still no Garcia, they build it to its true structure and then the lead guitar finally warbles back into existence. Here the song has come around to its freakish form. It wails and wails here, all hands very much on deck. Parisian minds are being cracked open like oeufs. There is a slight cooling before Weir comes in with the verse. Pigpen is very active here and the backing vocals sound amazing. Piano leads the way out. Very quickly, the band leaves, and the only sound to be heard comes from the…
3. Drums
Billy displays his plentiful talents by knocking around on the trap kit for a few minutes.
It sounds like he has the snares turned off as he moves around the various three drums at hand. His right foot doesn’t do much but his left taps quietly on the high-hat pedal. His rolls are impeccable. A couple of minutes in, we can hear where this might go. Bill does a cool thing by pushing down on a drum head with one stick while hitting the drum with the other, then slowly releasing the hold, forming a change in tone kind of like a talking drum. We hear Phil warming up the bass as the track marker clicks over to one called…
4. The Other One
The top of this is a bass and drum solo, so I don’t know why it did not get a separate
title. Phil is front-and-center for almost two minutes before he plays the actual riff and
the band joins all at once. Jerry leads the jam into areas one would expect here but Bob
gets in some really tasty and unusual chording around 3:30. Soon after that both the hot
and cool dynamics of the song are displayed in turn. As space allows, more piano comes forward. The mood swings from bright to cloudy near 6:15 and it seems we will arrive at a verse soon. Before that can happen, a complete breakdown is called and Garcia works reverbed figures over slow, growling chords by Lesh. Next, Jerry clicks on the wah and dials it way back to a muted tone as he mimics demons. Phil and Bob are two ends of  the accompanying spectrum – one rumbling deep and the other strumming bright and squealing feedback. Jerry gets a grip on some pinch harmonics and lets them wail loudly. This is a fantastic little space jam. As its fruits dry on the vine, Bobby takes a chance on strumming the entrance to…
5. Me and Bobby McGee
Great song placement! As the cowboy ballads have been appearing in the midst of the
big jams, this one works just as well. It feels like relief. Groove, vocal harmonies, and a
catchy melody all come together as an antidote to the preceding madness. Pigpen warms the underpinning with organ as Jerry plays a perfect solo. The following verse is the one where Bobby McGee gets away and our singer wistfully regrets losing her. Wow, this is wonderful. The song builds to the wordless last verse and all cylinders are firing perfectly. Hear the guitar fills and piano embellishments. The cute last chord changes land kind of unexpectedly back on the still-unfinished…
6. The Other One
Oh, yes. We will hear a second verse soon, I can feel it right at the top as Garcia makes
no bones about playing the theme. The momentum is undeniable and the song moves
forward with that goal in mind. In less than two minutes, we are set up and Bob sings the one about Cowboy Neal. Note that it is Weir who plays those final guitar figures ending it and leaving an opening for Garcia to start…
7. Wharf Rat
I’ve really been enjoying the versions of this song from this tour. On this one, Weir rings some chiming chords in the first verse. Garcia sings it mildly at first, without as much conviction as I expected. He sounds a tad distracted, maybe. I think I detect some out of- tuneness in the guitar department and perhaps this is killing him. The song breaks down into its bridge and it becomes ever so delicate here. Bad things could happen. They don’t – the protagonist proclaims he will get up and fly away, and the song follows this sentiment. It lifts off and sails on. But it is still a bit of a struggle here. Nothing awful occurs, it’s just that the stars are not quite aligned. More barely off-color tones emanate from Weir at times when he could have been brought down somewhat in the mix to minimize this. Garcia decides to make the best of it and he gets busy with some colorful guitar work. The band jams out the ending only for a minute or so and lets the greater jam finally die here.
Disc Four
1.Jack Straw
I am dying to hear this. All previous versions have had Weir singing the verses instead
of alternating with Garcia as he had on the original

Europe ’72 album. So, was the

alternating idea something that came about in the field, or back at the ranch during
overdubbing sessions? Now we will find out (maybe).
Yup, the opening sounds precisely like the official version from all those years ago. But
then again so do these vocals, so I am guessing these are the overdubbed ones. Do I hear a ghost Weir voice during the Garcia parts? Maybe. We’ll know more after we hear the version from the next show. I’m really tempted to go straight there now, but I’ll wait. Even so, I’m pretty sure we just have a re-mix of the parts you’ve already heard a million times. It’s drier and more live sounding, for sure. It wraps up exactly like you knew it would. Great version. Weir says he wants to hear a pin drop and a crowd member yells something in English about California.
2. Sugar Magnolia
The band responds with this. It is a picture-perfect version, sung expertly by an audibly
hoarse Bob Weir. The verses are tight and rocking. Once they are dispensed with, Weir
quietly requests “rock-n-roll” and the band obliges. They set up the song-ending groove
and Garcia lets the changes go around a few times before chiming in with a lead. And
what a lead it is. He quotes familiar riffs and also goes somewhat sideways with these.
Unfortunately the false ending is a premature little wreck. Oh, well. They burst into
the coda with such force that the transgression is instantly forgotten and this is where
Weir earns his keep. The end is a scream fest and Garcia is so turned on that he begins
cranking immediately on…
3. Not Fade Away
Jerry’s gonna tell us how it’s gonna be. He sets a fast pace, Pigpen and the others climb
aboard and the song rocks hard. And by hard I mean very hard. The singing is yelling
and the playing is wailing. Stuff cools nicely after two choruses and Garcia takes the
opportunity to play some nice patterns. I am halfway expecting a familiar melody to
come forward (like “Mountain Jam” or something) but that does not occur. Instead, the
band jams on that one chord for a good while and Jer delights in playing over it. When it mellows sufficiently he begins working the riff for…
4. Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad
As the singing starts, Donna is onstage and the boys share vocal duties with her. Check
out Pigpen’s swirling Hammond here. Nice addition. The first guitar solo is fantastic in
its studied restraint. Donna lets out a yelp to celebrate and Jerry busts right into the next
verse with audible joy in his voice. Dig this! Another solo, why not? This one pushes
harder and includes some of the fastest little licks I’ve ever heard Garcia pull off. Don’t
miss this. Back to choruses and they of course build and build, with the not-bashful
Donna Godchaux adding interpretive screams. The breakdown lands on the “Bid You
Goodnight” changes which Jerry decides to double up on at the last split-second. Then
those quiet two chords are but a fakeout as we of course explode back into…
5.Not Fade Away
Hear Keith at the top of this, adding bluesy greatness. Then Pig gives us a taste too
before he jumps forward to join Bob on the vocal tradeoffs. This ending segment is one
for the ages. It cements my opinion that this whole show is near the top of the list for the tour.
6. One More Saturday Night
As the two guitars play the intro in harmony, Bob somehow also manages to mention
that this song is the new single and he suggests that the French audience go out and buy
it. Could they find it? Who knows? At least they got to hear it live. The version has a
lot of charm but it is not as together as some. Jerry makes up for some of that by playing fantastic, noisy licks near the end of the first solo. Bob comes back strong with a couple more verses. His voice is ragged and also right. More harmony guitar leads to the fun key changes in the bridge, which of course climb right back to the final choruses. It’s a raucous way to end a show that will remain one of my favorites from any time. The last chord is beaten to a bloody pulp and the crowd goes bonkers.

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