No band in the history of music has more maniacal, documentation-drunk fans than the Grateful Dead. This axiom has been reinforced by the 36-volume Dick's Picks live-recording series, Dave's Picks coming up on 15 volumes, and the Dead's 50th anniversary Fare Thee Well tour being prepped for a November 20 box-set release, mere hours after its completion.
Another manifestation of Deadhead fanaticism surfaced this week, when one Soinc Wallpaper uploaded 10 hours of "Dark Star" jams from 1972, a year during which the Dead were considered to be operating at a ridiculously high level (shouts to vocalist Donna and Seattle-born keyboardist Keith Godchaux).
"Dark Star," which originally appeared on
1969's Live/Dead LP a 1968 7-inch (thanks for the correction, @mackromackro), was traditionally a platform for the Dead to extrapolate on that recording's theme and improvise until the song disperses into phantasmal fractals and chimerical arabesques. Another venerable tradition: Your acid trip is supposed to peak during this bad boy. Do we need 10 hours of live "Dark Star"s, even if they're from the magical annum of 1972? In a nutshell, yes.
I'm no Grateful Dead authority, but this collage every well could be the group's definitive long, strange trip—even more so than John Oswald's Grayfolded. I like to think of this "Dark Star" marathon as the psych-rock equivalent of Miles Davis's electric-period concert performances: masterly players letting their imaginations run riot, fire-hosing an ocean of complex, telepathic musicianship in which to immerse oneself. Dip in anywhere and experience the cool heat of genius. I'm barely more than two hours into this, and my eyes have pinwheeled and I'm blowing deadlines left and right...