Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks Vol. 2-Columbus, Ohio 10/31/71 CD
The Grateful Dead's Halloween 1971 performance is almost enough to make one believe in spirits. For that night--captured on this, the only single CD release in the entire Dick's Picks series--the group played the most ethereal, dreamy, and, yes, spooky version of "Dark Star" ever recorded; it's almost as if Jerry Garcia was communing with his ancestors (and maybe John Coltrane) for the first seven minutes of his beautifully structured, contemplative and yearning solo. Then, after the vocal verse, Garcia, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, and bassist Phil Lesh take turns suggesting a new improvisational theme before the band telepathically picks up on a two-note theme and Garcia launches into some of the most ecstatic guitar playing ever captured on tape anywhere (labeled by some the "Tighten Up" jam after the Archie Bell & the Drells song; others hear an embryonic "Eyes of the World"). The rest of the disc is more than fine, with a spirited "Sugar Magnolia," a rare, early-'70s performance of "St. Stephen" (the final live version until 1976) and a great "Not Fade Away"/"Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad" closer rounding out the 59-minute program. But really, the "Dark Star" is worth the price of this single CD release alone. Out of print for years!