Grateful Dead: Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 3: Summer ’71 (Real Gone) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Grateful Dead

Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 3: Summer ’71

Real Gone

Jun 29, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The Summer ’71 edition of Road Trips finds Grateful Dead as a quintet, with Mickey Hart’s extended hiatus having begun in February. The band is integrating new material here, with “Wharf Rat” and covers of “Me and My Uncle” and “Big Railroad Blues” due to premiere that September on Grateful Dead a.k.a. Skull and Roses, and with “Sugaree” and “Bird Song” following in January of ’72 on Jerry Garcia’s debut solo album.

With back-to-back hit LPs in 1970’s Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, demand for Dead tickets was greater than ever, and the first disc of this two-CD release finds the band at Yale Bowl in New Haven, CT on 7/31/71. After the opening welcome of “Big Railroad Blues,” Pigpen steps up for a lively “Hard to Handle,” sounding something like Jerry Garcia’s description of this lineup (as per the liner notes) as “a shoot-‘em-up saloon band,” With “Dark Star”>“Bird Song” the band moves into the disc’s first jam, and Phil Lesh’s bass is a wonder here, winding its way around everything. This “Dark Star,” the oldest Dead song in that set, was missing a couple of minutes from early in the jam (likely due to a reel change), but Summer ’71 patches in an audience-recorded version of the missing section to make it complete. Bill Kreutzmann’s drumming comes to the fore in “Uncle John’s Band” before segueing into a madly rocking “Johnny B. Goode,” another highlight from the New Haven set.

Summer ’71’s second disc, recorded at Auditorium Theatre in Chicago on 8/23/71, has its own set of wonders. A hot “China Cat Sunflower” runs into “I Know You Rider,” and “Truckin’” is great fun. And when the band settles in for “Cryptical Envelopment”>“Drums”>“The Other One”>“Me and My Uncle”>“The Other One”>“Cryptical Envelopment”>“Wharf Rat,” fans would have wanted to make sure someone had this on tape. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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