45 Years ago the Grateful Dead Toured Europe.
2017 and 1972 line up on the Calendar, meaning that the dates and the weekdays match (ie April 7, 1972 and April 7, 2017 are both Fridays), so we have decided it would be cool to "follow" the Dead on this tour. What this means that we will be posting the shows as they happened. We will link to each show in this thread, which will be stickied for the duration of the "tour". (see below the tour description for the shows).
The Europe ’72 tour represented the most ambitious undertaking in the Dead’s career to date. While they had played Europe before—two dates in England in 1970 and one in France in 1971—the 22 shows they performed over the course of April and May 1972 represented their most extensive foreign tour. Indeed, their only other foreign tours had been to Canada, once for an eight-date engagement with Jefferson Airplane in summer 1967, and the commercially ill-fated but hugely entertaining four-date Trans-Continental Pop Festival tour in 1970, immortalized in the Hunter-Garcia song “Might As Well” and ultimately in the 2004 documentary Festival Express.
Europe ’72 was important for other reasons, too. It represented an experiment in applying their philosophy of shaping their business practices in accordance with their artistic philosophy, and that meant traveling with their extended family, bringing along wives, girlfriends, children and friends as well as a full crew complement. This ensured that they had the inspiration, comfort, and expertise necessary to successfully create, and record, their legendary improvisational alchemy. In order to pay for the trip, the Dead arranged to tape every show with a 16-track mobile recording truck.
...The tour also represented a swan song for their first front man, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who largely relinquished keyboard duties for the tour to newcomer Keith Godchaux. McKernan performed only one more time with the band after their return to the states before his tragic death at age 27 only a few months later, on 8 March 1973. Europe ’72 provided a moving epitaph for him in the form of three new songs by McKernan, his last recorded efforts with the band.
Those originals are part of the tour’s appeal for fans, but the caliber of the performances is what cemented Europe ’72’s place in the band’s history. Garcia complained afterwards that the pacing had been wrong, with too much work for it to be a real vacation and too much vacation for it to be a truly successful musical experience, but that may help explain the marvelous range of emotion and musical textures heard on the recordings. The energy of an enthusiastic (and well-rested) band, coupled with the leisurely determination to explore, mark the music the Dead performed in Europe as one of the peaks in their career. - Source