Welcome back to the third installment of “The Unofficial 31 Days of Dead.” The past two years were so much fun that I decided to do it again. The idea for these compilations came about after dead.net ran its “30 Days of Dead” in November 2010. While the Deadhead community at large was no doubt thrilled to receive previously unreleased tracks from the band’s vast archives, many of us were hoping for just a bit…more. Hey, we are Deadheads – we are always hoping for more! Therefore, I thought it might be fun to keep the music flowing by selecting my own daily picks. The month of December seemed more than appropriate since New Year’s Eve celebrations were such a big part of the Grateful Dead. Let’s think of these daily picks as an advent calendar leading up to New Year’s Eve. Unlike the “Official 30 Days of Dead,” there is no contest here. Instead, the prize is the music and the winner is the listener.
[Artwork by Brian Levine]
Here Comes Sunshine > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
2/17/73 St. Paul Auditorium, St. Paul, MN
This triad of songs has been a long-time favorite of mine. A reviewer on LMA referred to it as “the Holy Trinity.” That may be overstating it a bit, but the point is well-taken. On just their third performance of Here Comes Sunshine the band brilliantly segues into China Cat Sunflower. It’s quite possibly one of the best transitions the band ever performed in their career. The transition is so natural and seamless that one must wonder whether it was rehearsed and more importantly why it was never played again! Some are quick to point out that the performance of each of the songs taken individually is only average for the time period – which by the way is still amazing! However, I think most would agree that when taken together as a package it results in a powerful synergy that pushes this version into the realm of transcendence. It’s magic like this that fuels our obsession with this band.