Lyceum Theatre, London, England 5/26/72 [4CD]
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Fifty years ago, when Europe '72 was released, the third LP of the set included two sides of some of the finest, most uniquely beautiful music the Dead had ever played, and thankfully, recorded. The "Truckin'," "Epilogue," "Prelude," and "Morning Dew" knocked everyone's socks off. Decades later, when tape traders were able to hear the entirety of the final show of the Europe '72 tour, not only were they greeted with this spectacular 40+ minutes of music, but what is widely considered one of the best complete shows the Dead performed in their 30-year touring career. With "Playing In The Band" clocking in at more than 17 minutes, by far the longest version of this improvisational masterpiece by this point and ending their first set with the traditional second set closing "Not Fade Away>Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad>Not Fade Away", the Dead signaled throughout this show that they wanted to leave everything on the stage. They clearly weren't out of gas and wanted this tour to keep rolling. If there was one show that encapsulates the entirety of the excellence of the Europe '72 tour, it's this one. Pigpen would sing a few songs this night, the final show at which Pigpen sang, as he left the band a few weeks later. – David Lemieux