The Grateful Dead: To the Eagle Palace (January 1968)

Illustration by Victor Moscoso. Typography by Tom Ford.

A while back, Jesse Jarnow (@bourgwick & suggested to me that there might be a single mega-suite hiding in the fragmentary, unreleased live recordings from The Dead’s tour at the beginning of 1968. On the 50th anniversary of the end of that tour (February 4, 1968), we present our ideal set, based on the extant, unreleased recordings.


In late 1967 and early 1968, the Grateful Dead began linking their newest songs into extended suites, resulting in the experimental "Anthem of the Sun" and the double LP "Live/Dead." By the time those albums made it to stores, though, the song suite had already evolved. During the early 1968 winter tour of the northwest, the band brought a multitrack, making recordings that would be used for Anthem, and one can hear them piecing together different combinations of their newest songs, their most psychedelic material yet and – not coincidentally – their earliest collaborations with lyricist Robert Hunter.

"To the Eagle Palace" (title borrowed from Hunter's 1968-'69 "Eagle Mall Suite") posits a seamless path through the band's early 1968 repertoire. Highlighting early drafts (such as "Dark Star" with a call/response Garcia/Lesh intro and a drumless arrangement featuring only hand percussion), forgotten songs (like the lovely Lesh/Hunter psych-jazz "Clementine"), and a few shifting audio fidelities, with edits and crossfades occurring inside song performances as well as within many of the transitions. 

It is a fantasy set, perhaps played on a night tape wasn't rolling. As it happens, it would also fit onto two LPs with even side breaks. LATVALA!

86-minute composite suite here

To the Eagle Palace

  • That's It for the Other One >
  • Clementine >
  • New Potato Caboose >
  • Born Crosseyed >
  • Spanish Jam >
  • Feedback >
  • Spanish Return > Dark Star >
  • China Cat Sunflower >
  • The Eleven >
  • Alligator >
  • Caution >
  • Feedback

Source dates included in mp3 tags.


Thanks to @mr_completely for tipping us off that our preferred “Spanish Jam,” which is split between two different sources, required a channel-flip to make the merger of the two halves sound right. And thanks to Jesse for forcing me to cut and re-edit until the result was as just exactly perfect as we could manage. Beyond that, we’ll let our editorial process remain mysterious. Just enjoy this amazing, non-stop, 86-minute tour through the birth of the mature Dead. 

20 responses
Great stuff. Thanks!
Thanks as always, really looking forward to listening to this. I think I have Terrapin Station Live figured out. I'll be posting it on my blog eventually but I have a few projects to post before it.
Uncadan - I hope you like it. Definitely alert me when your Terrapin Live is posted.
this is great, thank you!
Several friends and I have been kicking around the idea since the early 80’s of an overarching suite/theme/storyline that ties together a major chunk of the GD output. Drawn up charts, character sketches, tried to link it together. And it may well be there, buried deep. But I think it’s more of a lyrical, literary thing that came mainly from Hunter rather than from the band. The suite put together here is freakin delicious, and if it was meant to be, I’d have loved to hear it played in full at the peak of their power. I’m thinking more about some of the recurring themes, Fennario, Billy de Lyon, the Soldier and the Sailor...there’s a lot of crossover in the tales behind a lot of the songs.
SF Tico, I'm glad this mix did the trip for you! Jesse Jarnow deserves the credit for thinking to do this and for insisting on fat-cutting, until it got to this point. I don't have any insight on the overall, inter-linking Dead-song mythology. It does seem like something someone would have turned into a Broadway show by now - Dead songs linked by Dead song mythology into a ripping yarn.
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