Springfield was the final stop on The Dead’s September 1972 tour of the Northeast. Afterwards, the band took two weeks off the road (playing a special hometown show in the middle of that break), and then set off for the Midwest.
The Dead have released seven shows from August and September of 1972, which is quite reasonable, IMO, and I’ve posted highlights from four others.
With this one, as always, my picks reflect how well the particular soundboard mix works for particular songs. In this case, quiet Jerry and loud Bobby is the situation. Some songs work fine, some pop interestingly, and others feel too much like a rhythm section without enough of a unifying plot thread. If I've chosen wisely, you won't experience these issues unless you listen for them. When it works, this is quite a robust soundboard recording, on which all the players are clear.
Points of interest:
- As far as I can tell, “Greatest Story” peaked in late 1972. Springy on top, throbbing at the bottom, with demented, melting Garcia guitar and that "St. Stephen"-like riff in the climax.
- This is the first “Nobody’s Fault Jam” since 1970, establishing its relationship to “Truckin’” for the next couple of years.
- This is a very nice “Bird Song," musically, though a bit droopy vocally. I sequenced it between two second set selections to emphasize the dark starriness inherent in a big “Bird Song.”
- There are some ragged edges and one big error in this “Morning Dew,” but I Iove it. It’s a little loose, a little delirious, but drama and momentum are intact. When Jerry isn’t ready with the words for the final sung section, I guess it doesn’t matter anyway.
- This “Uncle John’s Band” had really feeble verses, but the playing is mighty, so you get an edit. The fade-in is in the source.
- This isn’t the first time I’ve made an instrumental edit of one of the Chuck Berry tunes, and I should probably make a few more. In between the barky verses, they could really rock and roll.
- Greatest Story Ever Told
- Beat It on Down the Line
- Truckin’ > Nobody’s Fault Jam
- Bird Song
- Jam > Feelin’ Groovy Jam > Noodling >
- Morning Dew
- Take a Step Back
- Uncle John’s Band (mostly instrumental edit)
- Johnny B. Goode (instrumental edit)
Cover image: Scan of a faulty Polaroid photo