find the best versions of grateful dead songs

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No cholesterol.



March 24, 1973
The Spectrum

Heavens! It took a Dave's Picks to get this on the board! Soft, seductive, dark, and pretty much perfectly realized. Guitar break: shit yeah.
Estimated Prophet
Dec. 29, 1977
Winterland Arena

Bold, sharp, confident version with plenty of 1977 squoosh. This version has that great '77 restraint with Garcia speaking in MuTron tongues.
Brown Eyed Women
Oct. 29, 1973
Kiel Auditorium

Attention. To. Detail. - ESP Weir. Not the world's greatest recording, but the band is bubbly & effortless.
China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider
July 31, 1971
Yale Bowl, Yale University

Listened to this on a big PA outside over the summer and it's so alive, athletic, and filled with beautiful instrumental cross-talk. Improv!
June 4, 1976
Paramount Theatre

Another example of how Sugaree thrived in 6/76: Garcia's sweet, mellow, bubbly silver thread guitar and group dynamics both jaunty & subtle. Primo.


China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider
Dec. 8, 1973
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke U

There's almost a strange cautious approach at first. No rush. Then by the middle of the first break, it's a full blown talk party. It has that great springy glow indicative of Fall '73. And yeah DS67: Garcia adds rocket fuel, and everyone is FLYING. If memory serves, this entire show is a taste treat. Topic for further research.
Scarlet Begonias
Feb. 27, 1977
Robertson Gym, UC Santa Barbara

A healthy revisit. Out of the chute: a party.
Here Comes Sunshine
March 24, 1973
The Spectrum

Lush & inviting. Yes, things got more adventurous with this song in the Fall, but this baby stands toe-to-toe. Everything is easy but also precise - they take the listener on a serious ride. + This is a pretty good example of why I love the Strat Years for Garcia - the machine allows Garcia to be surgical, but also vary the touch whenever he wants - note-to-note if he likes. Allows the group to engage in collective pointillism. This song lives on that. Dynamics crazy.
The Other One
Nov. 20, 1973
Denver Coliseum

A grower. The interactions and intricacies begin to coalesce into something cool. And then I go, "Oh yeah, a '73 Other One - what can go wrong?" Answer: nada.
They Love Each Other
Nov. 21, 1973
Denver Coliseum

I'd say more mid-tempo than slow (leaning toward up-tempo), but groovy! Still way better than the slow versions - even with the desultory bridge, which has never made sense to me and seems completely tacked on. But this one slithers like a champeen. Dig it!