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Published:July 18th, 2014 13:43 EST
Tie Dye and The Grateful Dead Go Good Together in Beat Club Show (4/21/`72)!

Tie Dye and The Grateful Dead Go Good Together in Beat Club Show (4/21/`72)!

By John G. Kays

Why didn`t you go? I mean the screening of a Grateful Dead taping at the Beat Club (Germany), on April 21, 1972, in the midst of their European Tour (this was presented by Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment), which resulted in that famous triple live album (I just purchased it on itunes this morning). It showed at many Cinemark Theaters (the Galleria auditorium here in Austin was more than half filled) at 7:30 PM yesterday (Thursday, July 17th), although the GD trivia questions began at 7 PM; I`m no Dead Head, but this part of the program was very interesting. 

Did you know, for example, that Jerry Garcia is playing dobra steel guitar on Crosby, Stills, & Nash`s hit Teach Your Children? How `bout that Bob Weir once roomed with Neal Casady, or that he once took guitar lessons with Jorma Kaukonen. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert; that`s my first time to see Ron Pigpen McKernan, who died not too long after this tour.

Let me get this out of the way, while I`m thinking of it: TIE DYE RULES! The German television station (I have no idea who that was) thought to use a tie dye backdrop behind the band, which I thought was a perfect fit. Quite a bit of editing went into the film footage they had, and this was done well when synched with the 24 track (probably 2 inch) master recording that was made (as it was for the entire `72 tour). 

As a result of all this work, we have very significant documentation of the band, a snapshot of one time and one place; I thought they were tremendously together, and you can really get some insight into the magical chemistry of committed, inspired musicians cuing off one another.

Let me list their lineup, since that had a way of changing quite a bit: Jerry Garcia, , Bob Weir, Pigpen, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Keith Godchaux, and Donna Jean Godchaux. I don`t think I need to list what instruments they played; from memory, and I wasn`t smoking any POT at the show (or before either) The GD trucked gracefully through: Playing in the Band  twice (the second performance was my favorite for the evening), Sugaree, Mr. Charlie, Bertha, Dark Star (which didn`t jam out quite as long as some versions do), One More Saturday Night, Truckin`, and probably the audience favorite, a 20 plus minute rendition of The Other One, showcasing a bodacious drum solo by Bill Kreutzmann

I gained a lot of insight (I`m an amateur guitar player myself), especially from watching Bob create strange chord progressions, while Jerry candy-coats these breaks with psychedelic, jazz-inflected, single string runs (Jerry played a Strat, while Bob used a red Gibson hollow body). I could riff a while longer, but I`ll let it go for now; I`m not a Dead Head, like I said before, but that could change in the near future *(note: even though Jerry is gone now, his energy has been preserved on analog tape for all time)!