"Promised Land" is fitting for the home stretch. Most of the rest of the first set is a blur because I heard it two weeks ago, an eternity for these kinds of recollections.
PITB clocks in at twelve and a half minutes, and I recall liking it very much.
SOTOTW is exciting. I have some tickle like maybe it was a game effort but flawed, I dunno.
"Rockin' Pneumonia" is a rarity that swings pretty well. It always reminds me of Big Boy Pete.
Mexicali is still fresh enough to be interesting - that feeling would fade.
The huge, crushing disappointment of this show, to me, is that there is no Pig rap in Good Lovin'. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Niente. Man, E72 captures a last, bright burn for Pig, but also its snuffing out. I have been feeling it for several shows --it's possible I wouldn't "feel" it if I didn't know the outcome, but what are you gonna do?-- and this GL seals it for me. In Paris at the start of the month he did one of the great Good Lovin's, and I had considered going back and transcribing his raps, they were so distinctively well-crafted. By the end of the month, he's got nothing.
The best backing band in the world rages through a smoking version of "Good Lovin'", but, at this point, they've got no one to back. I don't hear much organ during the instrumental middle, either, which was generally something I'd been taking note of during the tour. Keith is playing very well. By the late 5 minute mark this thing is *cooking*, what a band. Philip Lesh absolutely assaults the reprise to the GL theme, man oh man, he sounds mad.
Ramble on Rose is great the whole tour. Then we get the big half-hour Star (appropriately yipped and clapped for by the savvy Londoners), which I wasn't able to give the attention it probably deserves. The Dew is interesting, coming from Jerry and then Bob, no big Phil hit to start it off; Garcia starts on the wrong verse and the whole version feels passionate but kind of jacked up. I haven't checked the timing, but it's quite short. I don't think there have been more than one or two played previously on the tour, opening one night IIRC, but I'd have to double-check.
After Dark Star > Dew is one of the best post-big jam pieces of the tour. The amazing thing about this band of talented and peaking young men is that they'd just play for hours. They'd often do a half dozen or more tunes *after* blowing an hour on a Truckin' > Other One or most of one on a Dark Star > anything, to say nothing of some minds. But instead of a ballad to ease them home, the crowd would get another 45 minutes of musicianship.
He's Gone has matured immeasurably over the course of the tour - probably the tune that grew the most. This one has a more developed break to "going where the wind don't blow so strange", as I heard it. I imagined that they worked on it during their days off. Anyway, it's good. There still are not enough harmony vocals, and a few other things are wonky, but it's getting there. Garcia even takes it for a little spin on the back end, something I had noted from earlier in the tour, which will form the germ of many an excursion in the years to come.
What can I say - I love "Sugar Magnolia" in its album version, and I *hate* it as it was played after about this year, 1972. This is a good one. [Aside: if the Dead had played FOTD on the E72 tour, they would have done it fast, the way it was meant to be.] "Comes A Time" is fantastic, my only quibble that his first guitar turn was nothing but the same notes he had sung on the first verse. He has tamed the vocal, though, no longer trying the falsetto, and he delivers this one with a lot of feeling.
Not done yet!
GDTRFB ambles out of the gate very promisingly, stumbles a little bit, but then does its thing, which I love. Kreutzmann leads to NFA, Garcia scrubs into "Hey Bo Diddley" -- totally awesome, but man did I long for a "Caution" out of that scrubbing!-- and it's great. NFA reprises, drops neatly into another American Beauty, "Uncle John's Band", which hadn't gotten much play on the tour. I imagined somehow that Garcia did especially well with the Garcia-Hunters this night, something about Hunter and London and all that.
Anyway, there is an awful lot to like from this show, perhaps more if I get a chance to revisit the first set and the Star.