This was the third live double or triple album in the Dead's past five releases, revealing how the group's reputation rested on their live performances. Indeed, the liner notes simply stated: "There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert." The album contained considerable new material in addition to versions of tracks found on previous studio albums.
Despite the band being out of the country, Europe '72 showcased the Dead's mixture of American bluegrass, folk, and country influences, and provided the culmination to the band's early 1970s sound. Archetypal American images abounded on "Jack Straw", while "Cumberland Blues" and "Tennessee Jed" were firmly rooted in their regional feeling. "Truckin'", which had recently become the band's first hit song, catalogued its own troubled-but-resilient pathway through American life. The Dead's start-stop-restart segue of "China Cat Sunflower" into "I Know You Rider" also linked their psychedelic past into a more traditional context. Reviews specially praised the track "(Walk Me Out in the) Morning Dew", a ten-minute rendition of the melancholy folk standard that features guitar crescendoes from Jerry Garcia.
The tour represented by this album was Ron "Pigpen" McKernan's last with the Dead before he died in 1973, and the last album he would feature on as an active member. It was the first album to feature Keith Godchaux and his wife Donna Jean Godchaux.
Originally a triple album on vinyl when released in November of '72, Europe '72 was later reissued as a two-disc CD in 1990 and again in 2001 with bonus tracks as part of the band's box set, The Golden Road (1965–1973).
Europe '72 has been the Dead's best-selling live album, and one of their best-selling albums overall, achieving double platinum status in the U.S.
Although Europe '72 is billed as a live album, the songs featured on the release were subject to significant overdubs after the fact, specifically with respect to the lush harmony vocals. Unadulterated multitrack recordings of the performances used for the album are no longer available (because they were simply snipped from the multitrack concert tapes whereupon the band overdubbed directly onto them, destroying the originals) but, for example, the available two-track soundboard recording of the May 10, 1972 show indicates the band had not yet figured out the vocal arrangements for "He's Gone" that would later be overdubbed in the United States.
The tapes of the master reel that was used to make Europe '72 has always existed and the overdubs have been removed, as dead.net has announced a release of the complete Europe '72 shows, every note played on all 22 shows for the tour, under the name Europe '72: The Complete Recordings. Initially, this was to have been around 60 CDs but this was later revised, co-incidentally it was claimed, to be 72 CDs! Per dead.net, as a hedge against the costs of the nearly two-month trip, the Dead’s label, Warner Bros., paid for the band to lug around a 16-track recorder to capture the entire tour. Demand from fans was higher than expected, and the limited numbered box set of 7,200 copies sold out as a preorder in less than four days. The first three thousand copies ordered were also given a custom personalization option. A music only version without the limited box set accoutrements has been made available, though this may be limited in release as well. The box set is due to ship in September 2011.
Cover art and packagingEdit
Europe '72s packaging was designed by Alton Kelly and Stanley Mouse under their Kelly/Mouse Studios name (they also did other Dead albums) and set against mostly white, empty foldouts. The front cover shows a large Truckin' boot crossing the Atlantic, while the back cover depicts the corresponding Truckin' fool smashing an ice cream cone against his forehead. (Some of the ice cream flying through the air spells out the word "LIVE".) The ice cream to the forehead happened while Kelley was in New Haven. Kelley, Bill Brockett, Franz Douskey and Bill Ness used to hang out together. One night, after buying ice cream at Clark's Dairy, on Whitney Avenue, Bill Brockett took his cone and smashed it on his forehead. The image stuck and Kelley used the image on the Live album. The inside cover credits are in a reserved type font, but do not forget to list "Family", including Mountain Girl. The included color booklet contains photos of European sites and the concerts, a quote from Revelation, and a long account of how the tour split into two factions, the Bozos and the Bolos, with references to St. Dilbert and the Feast of Fools.
- "Cumberland Blues" (Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Robert Hunter) - 5:47
- "He's Gone" (Garcia, Hunter) - 7:12
- "One More Saturday Night" (Bob Weir) - 4:45
- "Jack Straw" (Weir, Hunter) - 4:46
- "You Win Again" (Hank Williams) - 3:54
- "China Cat Sunflower" (Garcia, Hunter) - 5:33
- "I Know You Rider" (trad., arr. The Grateful Dead) - 4:55
- "Brown-Eyed Women" (Garcia, Hunter) - 4:55
- "It Hurts Me Too" (Elmore James) - 7:18
- "Ramble On Rose" (Garcia, Hunter) - 6:09
- "Sugar Magnolia" (Weir, Hunter) - 7:04
- "Mr. Charlie" (Ron McKernan, Hunter) - 3:40
- "Tennessee Jed" (Garcia, Hunter) - 7:13
- "The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)" (McKernan)
- "Truckin'" (Garcia, Lesh, Weir, Hunter) - 13:08
- "Epilogue" (The Grateful Dead) - 4:33
- "Prelude" (The Grateful Dead) - 8:08
- "(Walk Me Out in the) Morning Dew" (Bonnie Dobson, Tim Rose) - 10:35
- "Looks Like Rain" (John Barlow, Weir)
- "Good Lovin'" (Rudy Clark, Arthur Resnick) >
- "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)" (Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Lesh) >
- "Who Do You Love" (Bo Diddley) >
- "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)" (Garcia, Kreutzmann, Lesh) >
- "Good Lovin'" (Clark, Resnick)
- "The Yellow Dog Story" (Grateful Dead)
The actual dates for most of the tracks have been determined as follows:
- "Cumberland Blues" – April 8, 1972 at Wembley Empire Pool, Wembley
- "Brown-Eyed Women" and tracks 6-10 on disc 11 – April 14, 1972 at Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen
- "Jack Straw", "China Cat Sunflower", "I Know You Rider" and "Tennessee Jed" – May 3, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris
- "Sugar Magnolia" – May 4, 1972 at Olympia Theatre, Paris
- "He's Gone" – May 10, 1972 at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
- "Mr. Charlie" – May 23, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London, London
- "You Win Again" and "Hurts Me Too" – May 24, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London
- "Truckin'", "Epilogue", "Prelude", "Morning Dew", "One More Saturday Night", "Ramble on Rose" – May 26, 1972 at Lyceum Theatre, London