It's fun listening to these things in such a way that I can't note times or what have you. I retain a lot less information, but maybe I enjoy the music more than I would if I were taking notes.
I really liked the Dark Star > Sugar Mag > Caution - what's not to like? The Star has a huge, focused, "feelin' groovy" piece that I like, but that more cynical Deadheads love to hate. I think it's good clean fun. This is really the only era during which I can listen to Sugar Magnolia. My vague sense is that I found the Caution less compelling than some of others on the tour, but I dunno.
5/3/72 in Paris
Context here is that, a) I am a raving Francophile, and b) I spent a lot of time with this show in the late 1990s, when it came to CD traders as a Honeymoon Tape.
This show is just amazing on every level. The band just comes at the crowd in waves and waves and waves, and inexorably the crowd is swept long. The tape sounds incredible, somehow better than the rest, and the band seems especially focused and tight, vocals all really clean. Bertha is a good example. China > Rider is very near perfection here, quite distinct from an earlier one on the tour, or maybe more than one (can't remember which), which didn't quite click, wanting to get to the big '73'74 transition jam, which wouldn't fully materialize for another 11 months, but not quite there. This one, by contrast - sharp as a razor.
"He's Gone" has verses mostly in correct order, as I understand it. A few of these iterations (all?), he sings that he "lost two rounds", rather than one. Since Hunter has said this tune is about Lenny, I wonder if there was another ripoff in reference? It's also possible Jerry just forgot or preferred it this way for singing purposes. They are also putting a little meander on the end that will, before long, for the trunk of long explorations that would especially connect to Truckin' and The Other One in some huge jams in the pre-hiatus Golden Era.
On this night, Truckin' -> Other One is one for the ages, some absolutely incredible interplaying throughout. As I have described it in some of these posts, all six players are playing as well as they ever would, and even Pig's organ work is engaged and inventive. They all throw all kinds of stuff at each other, break off into pairs, reform, etc. Weir hits a few Spanish Jam chords here (he has done so in some of the other jams I have heard on E72), and when he lopes it into Bobby McGee we have just traveled from the edge of the universe to a California highway.
Even after a huge jam, the band has the energy to show off sparkling versions of the new tunes, and to keep pushing each other through a high energy version of the NFA > GDTRFB > NFA medley. Outstanding.
Random question, not sure during what show it came up: why no "Hard To Handle" on this tour? During one of the Pig numbers of these last few shows, I think 4/29/72, Bobby is doing some of the great stuff he used to do in the jammy middle of Hard to Handle, and it reminded me. They stopped doing it in 8/71 when Pig got sick, and never picked it back up again. I would much rather hear it than "It Hurts Me Too", but then it's been said that I don't really get the blues.
Can't wait for the next few shows!