Grateful Dead ‘Listen to the River: St. Louis ’71, ’72, ’73’ Box Set Out 10/1; Stream “Sugaree” from the Fox Theatre ’71


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On Oct. 1, the endless Grateful Dead live vaults will open up once again for a new box set chronicling seven shows that showcased the strong bond between the jam band and the city of St. Louis.

Listen to the River: St. Louis ’71, ’72, ’73 features, per a news release, previously unreleased concerts recorded on: December 9 and 10, 1971 at the Fox Theatre; October 17-19, 1972 at the Fox Theatre; and October 29 and 30, 1973 at Kiel Auditorium. Each show was restored, and speed corrected using Plangent Processes with mastering by Jeffrey Norman.

The announcement came with the premiere of “Sugaree,” recorded at the Fox Theatre on Dec. 10, 1971, as a preview of the collection:

More about the set and the context surrounding these shows:

“There are a only few truly great eras in the Grateful Dead’s performing history that span more than a year and one of the very best is the transitional period that covers December 1971 through Fall of 1973. This was a period during which the Dead solidified their touring format (several distinct, somewhat short, geographically defined tours every year), where every night the Dead would wow their fans with a mix of over six years of music that clearly demonstrated their many transitions and transmutations,” says David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set’s producer. “The seven shows in this boxed set perfectly summarize 22 months of Grateful Dead music, performances, and growth. From the original five piece (plus Keith) showing off their Skull & Roses musical flexibility and discipline in December 1971, through the Europe ’72 iteration of the Dead in October 1972, to the independent Wake Of The Flood Dead of October 1973, this boxed set features the band at three distinct peaks, that show an inspired band that was always looking to grow and take their fans along for the ride. For loyal Dead Heads, sticking around through the Dead’s many growth spurts was always worth it as the payoff was always greater than its already lofty promise. And what better city to focus these show selections on than St. Louis, which always brought out the very best in the Grateful Dead.”
The seven shows in the collection span slightly less than two years, but they represent some of the best shows the Grateful Dead played during some of its best tours. The music tells the story of a band evolving, changing from one sound to another seamlessly, precipitated – in large part – by significant personnel changes in the Dead’s lineup.
The two 1971 shows feature the original Grateful Dead lineup of Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Bob Weir, and newcomer Keith Godchaux on piano. This version of the band would hold together for the next six months as the Dead embarked upon its Europe ’72 tour. By the time the Dead returned to the Fox Theatre less than a year later, they were without Pigpen, who’d played his final show with the Dead at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17, 1972. A year after the exceptional Fox 1972 shows, the Dead came back to St. Louis, but played the much larger Kiel Auditorium, touring behind the release of Wake Of The Flood, which came out just two weeks before the Kiel shows.
All told, the band played 60 different songs during these shows highlighted by blazing romps through “Beat It On Down The Line” and “One More Saturday Night” and wistful takes on “Row Jimmy” and “Brokedown Palace” (whose lyrics give the collection its name). Meanwhile, the copious jamming ebbed and flowed like the Mighty Mississippi River on multiple voyages through “The Other One” and “Dark Star.” Naturally, the band paid tribute to one of its favorite rock and rollers and one of St. Louis’ biggest stars by playing Chuck Berry songs at every show in the collection, including Pigpen galloping through “Run Rudolph Run.” 


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