What does it sound like?:
How many live albums by the Dead are there nowadays – I suspect most fans, including myself, lost count a long time ago. This two cd set cherry picks highlights from their existing live catalogue, and thus there’s no unreleased material on offer here. Indeed, this set is really intended as a companion piece to 2015’s similarly titled compendium of studio recordings.
The nineteen tracks cover albums from 1969’s Live Dead right through to the So Many Roads box, the title track being, suitably, the final song here. In between, you get a good choice of cuts from the intervening years – highlights for me are Morning Dew (Europe ’72), Wharf Rat (Skull & Roses), Bird Song (Reckoning), Eyes Of The World (the fantastic version with Branford Marsalis) and, a left field one, a great version of a perhaps lesser appreciated song from the Brent Mydland era, Blow Away (from Crimson, White & Indigo). You also get the more obvious choices such as Truckin’, Sugar Magnolia, Ripple, Friend of The Devil, etc. Of course, it’s always easy to play ‘why didn’t they include’ – in this case Scarlet Begonias and Franklin’s Tower are just two that spring to mind, but it’s only a double cd so obviously there are inevitably going to be winners and losers. Nice packaging with a very good booklet, in which Dead scholar Blair Jackson discusses the whys and wherefores of the songs chosen, accompanied by a good selection of photographs.
What does it all *mean*?
A good introduction for the uninitiated, which will hopefully introduce them to the joys of the Dead’s live work and cause them to delve deeper, but fans will already have these songs, most likely in numerous versions!
Goes well with…
Being a Deadhead!
Might suit people who like…
Ideal for those who want to discover what all the fuss is surrounding this iconic American band.