Europe '72: Volume 2

Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead's infamous trek through Europe in 1972 has been immortalized in many ways. First and foremost, there's the Europe '72 triple live album that came out in late 1972. Subsequent follow-ups like 1995's Hundred Year Hall and 2002's Steppin' Out With The Grateful Dead: England '72 added additional highlights from the tour to the pile. Then in April 2011, it was announced a limited edition boxed set featuring music from the entire 1972 European tour - that's 22 shows! - would be released in September. That comes to 72 CDs with 70 hours of music, limited to 7,200 individually numbered sets, which have already sold out for $450 a pop (you can still buy a download). So what does that leave for the rest of us? How about Europe '72: Volume 2...

You could say that Volume 2 is a collection of leftovers, but that's hardly the case as many of the songs, like "Beat It On Down The Line," "Next Time You See Me" and "Sing Me Back Home," were intended for the original Europe '72, but at three LPs, they were already maxed out for space. In all actuality, you're getting a little more of the complete tour 7,200 lucky Deadheads are already enjoying. That includes a magical "Sugaree" from Paris, a heart-stopping "Black-throated Wind" from Copenhagen, and a cosmic, hour-long-plus slice of heavenly "Dark Star>Drums> Sing Me Back Home" from England. Best of all, the sound has been mastered from the original 16-track recordings by Grammy-winning engineer David Glasser and processed in High Definition Compatible Digital (HDCD) for more dynamic range and reduced distortion.

The cover also complements Europe '72 with new artwork from Stanley Mouse, the artist behind the original cover, as well as other major Grateful Dead art. In this case, it's new renderings of the Ice Cream Kid without the ice cream in the head routine. With extra attention to the packaging and the fact that anything from the Grateful Dead from this tour or virtually any other from the early to mid 70s is rarely less than awesome, there's little reason for discerning Deadheads who missed out on the complete tour box to not pluck down their hard-earned ducats on this double-disc of Deadly delight documenting a time when friends and family took the circus through the old country for a little merriment and music.

~ Shawn Perry

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