I’m back from my business trip so it’s all guns blazing for another weekend of going long beginning with my long 23k run this morning. I’m still focusing on distance so I’m still not trying to keep any specific pace or goal other than keep…moving…forward. As my soundtrack, I’m leaning towards another album from my “go to” long workout band the Grateful Dead. This time the stellar ‘Dick’s Picks Vol.11‘.
This particular set was recorded at the Stanley Theater in Jersey City on September 27th, 1972. It is known to have a patched cut in the original soundboard tapes made using an audience source. for example, track 2 of the second set, ‘I Know You Rider‘, contains a patch from another show performed on September 24th of the same year, which occurs at the 1:55 to 2:20 mark. It maybe be possible that there are other fixed cuts on this release as well, not that any of them are noticeable to me, like, at all.
‘Dick’s Picks Vol. 11’ was not only the first concert from 1972 to be released in the series, but also was the first full concert from that hallowed year ever to be released by the Dead. At the time, it sparked some controversy – it seemed like (and still does!) every Deadhead had his or her favorite 1972 show – but as usual, compiler Dick Latvala came through with a real beauty, highlighted by one of the greatest ‘Dark Star‘ versions ever recorded (clocking in at just over 30 minutes), with a bonus of a one-time-only segue into ‘Cumberland Blues‘. This volume also delivers an interesting set list marked by quite a bit of material from the debut solo albums by Jerry Garcia (Garcia) and Bob Weir (Ace), both of which had come out earlier that year. Quite a few folks will claim that this album actually tops ‘Europe ’72′, but maybe a better way to put it is to say it complements it, with a bunch of new material added to the repertoire and a new, post-Pigpen line-up playing at a very high level on this side of the pond.
The first set high-notes are a pretty and trippy ‘Bird Song’, featuring two dreamy jams, the always reliable ‘China Cat Sunflower> I Know You Rider‘ parlay, and the set closing ‘Playing in the Band‘ that had been evolving from a rock and roll dynamo into a mind-blowing intergalactic exploration at the 16:14 mark as I was running down House Rd., which is about as close as you’re going to get to the “middle of nowhere” around these parts.
Set two opens with the then new ‘He’s Gone‘ which is very relaxed considering I was starting up the long incline along Point Abino Rd. from Bowen Rd. at the time.
“Nothing to do but smile, smile, smile…”
Truth is, I was feeling pretty comfortable at the time. Shortly afterwards, the pace accelerates with John Phillips’ ‘Me and My Uncle‘, Garcia’s ‘Deal‘, and a scintillating and mind-bending ‘Greatest Story Ever Told‘ that erupts into a wah-wah guitar-bursting extravaganza. But as Point Abino Rd. stretches upwards towards Michener Rd., set two kicks in and is totally dominated by that incredible ‘Dark Star‘ which truly trembles and explodes (much like my quads at this point); unraveling into a rapid free-form (yet coherent) compelling jam. Garcia’s full of flare-shooting creativity when (short-lived) weirdness sets in as this piece unfolds into a rare Garcia, Lesh, Weir trio. It was truly breathtaking. Well, more breathtaking than my current pace anyway which was beginning to suffer a bit. I admit that I may not have finished as strongly as I might have liked, but keeping a steady 5:30min/km pace is also a pretty significant accomplishment I figure. Likewise, I got to run a few new stretches of back roads which I thoroughly enjoyed.
So, I have approximately two hours now to sip some recovery formula, have a bit of chow and maybe a hot drink before it’s time to hit the pool for my long swim followed by my routine bowl of hot soup at The Sanctuary to celebrate today’s long distance successes.