Picks Vol. 9
May 14, 1974
University of Montana,
Picks Vol. 9 brings us the second complete 1974 Grateful Dead concert with this
series. There have been some great 1974 releases, however, before
the Dave's Picks series, none were full shows. More, much first set
material from 1974 was left off so it is nice to have more of that
with this edition.
The first set is generous in length comprising of disc one and half of disc
two. Most of the material sticks to the framework of the songs, with jamming interplay
within that context. The set one song selection by Garcia is derived
from his solo albums, Garcia,
Reflections, and some
tracks not released on any studio album, but did appear on the Grateful Dead
Europe '72 album, and Mars
enjoyed all of the Garcia songs. "Bertha" seemed to have a
nice feel to it. "Tennessee Jed" has some interested
Garcia tones. No definitive moments in the set, but the arrangements
sound nice and offer a generous helping of that 1974 Wall of Sound
and grand piano melodies, oh yeah. Bobby played a few too many of
the cowboy songs for my taste, but does serve good versions of
"Black Throated Wind," and "Jack Straw."
They do stretch out the jamming a bit with "Scarlet
Begonias," but don't say much. After the "Scarlet" jam, Jerry hits the melody of "Maybe
it Was the Roses" and the way
Phil follows along is quite nice.
end set one with "Playing in the Band," a song that
stretched out to 20 minutes, which was commonplace in those days.
One unique thing about this rendition is a major flub as they
venture to the jam closing cord sequence that leads to the vocals.
Bobby keeps the band on track and they get back in synch pretty
quickly. Donna's wailing that follows is not pretty, but after she
stops, the band plays the end of the song really hard, and to me
that is the best part of this rendition.
second set is about the same length as first set. The second disc
has three songs, shall we say the warm up. "U.S. Blues" in
1974 are usually good as is this one.
my notes are complete, only six "Dark Star's" were
performed in 1974, and four of the six have been released. See
the bottom of the review for a list. The band executes the various
stages of the song in dazzling fashion, which includes a brief
Stephen" tease, and a furious Tiger Jam. The outro transition
jam is really remarkable too leading flawless into "China
Doll." Jerry commands the band through it in heartfelt fashion;
bass lines throughout are noteworthy.
rest of the evening is devoted to rock 'n roll. Very well played
indeed. We'll give Keith props to some nice contributions to
"Promised Land." The "Not Fade Away" has some
frenzied energetic peaks, leading into a tightly played rendition of
"Going Down the Road Feeling Band."
encore of "One More Saturday Night" has power, ivory
touches, Phil bombs, and more.
the sound and mix. The Wall of Sound 1974 releases all seem to have
great separation of the instruments allowing you to hear each of
their parts clearly. Phil is dropping bombs, especially on the third
disc. Keith displays his brilliance throughout the entire concert,
which is a key reason why I like 1974 so much. The mix nicely
showcases Bobby's rhythm guitar passages.
Picks Volume 9 doesn't unseat the top tier 1974 releases, it is
a solid full concert that you'll be ecstatic to have. While the jewel of this
release is "Dark Star," many
of my favorite 1974 repertoire compositions are not performed at this show,
like "China Cat Sunflower," "Morning Dew," "Eyes of the
World," "Ship of Fools," and "Truckin'." Therefore, it is hard to rank
this show at the level of the very best of that year. Though, the
third disc is quite magical and there are countless moments of cool grooves
throughout. This is a show that will get repeated listens when a
1974 mood arises.
Grade A -