LOS ANGELES – The Grateful Dead’s first tour outside of North America was immortalized on Europe ’72, a triple live album that distilled peak moments from the 22 shows the band played in six countries for thousands of Europeans. A triumph critically and commercially when it was released in November 1972, today the double-platinum album is an integral part of the Dead’s live legacy and is beloved by generations of fans. Appreciation for the extraordinary tour grew in 2011 when every show was released in the unprecedented, 73-CD boxed set, Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the first show from the Dead’s European adventure. It took place on April 7, 1972, at Wembley Empire Pool in London. To mark the milestone, Rhino and Dead.net are announcing a series of upcoming releases and events connected to the celebrated tour.
LYCEUM 1972: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS marks the Dead’s largest vinyl boxed set of all time, a 24-LP collection presenting the final four shows from the tour at London’s Lyceum Theatre in their entirety on 180-gram vinyl for the first time ($549.98). Limited to 4,000 copies, the set will be released on July 29 and is available now to pre-order exclusively from Dead.net for $549.98.
LYCEUM 1972: THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS comes in a colorful slipcase with new artwork by Brian Blomerth. The four shows are organized in individual clamshell boxes, each one features the cover art that Scott McDougall created for each concert in Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings. The accompanying book includes a new in-depth look at the Lyceum shows by noted Dead scholar Nicholas Meriwether.
A newly remastered version of the original Europe ’72 album will also be available on July 29. EUROPE ’72 (50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION) arrives in 2-CD ($24.98), 3-LP ($69.98, 180-gram), streaming, and digital download versions including Apple Lossless and FLAC 96/24. A special “Bozo Or Bolo” 3-LP version will see a special early release on June 3, exclusively on Dead.net. Limited to 5,000 copies and available for pre-order now, this special edition of the historic album is pressed on psychedelic rainbow vinyl, a visual callback to the original album’s iconic cover design by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse. Each LP features a 50/50 color split with alternating transparent and neon colors of a rainbow: LP1 is transparent red and neon orange; LP2 is transparent yellow and neon green; LP3 is transparent indigo and neon violet. All of the new 50th anniversary editions were mastered by Grammy® Award-winning engineer David Glasser with newly restored audio by Plangent Processes.
Rounding out the list of anniversary releases is LYCEUM THEATRE: MAY 26, 1972. This 4-CD set ($39.98) from Rhino spotlights the epic last show of the Dead’s European tour. Notably, it was also the group’s penultimate performance with founding member, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who died in March the following year. Despite his failing health, Pigpen electrified European audiences with his charismatic performances of “Chinatown Shuffle,” “Good Lovin’” and (his latest song) “The Stranger (Two Souls In Communion).” The tour, and the show, represent a bittersweet capstone to his too-short career.
“Throughout the Grateful Dead's 30 years of touring, every year, and every tour, had exceptional moments and monumental shows. Only a few tours, though, can be said to have an exceptional night of music at every single show. Europe '72 is one of the tours that can objectively and definitively said to include A+ performances on every stop,” says Grateful Dead legacy manager and archivist David Lemieux. “The Dead's momentum had been gaining steam during the past couple of years of non-stop touring, leading up to a peak in the Dead's performing career: the Europe '72 tour. From opening night on April 7 to the final show on May 26, the Grateful Dead made sure they were making fans for life, and the recordings don't lie. Every show was truly an event, and we're all so fortunate to be able to hear the tour's music 50 years later, sounding better than ever.”
To jumpstart the 50th anniversary of the Dead’s 1972 European tour, “The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast” returns today for a fifth season that promises to delve deeply into the historic ’72 tour. The first two episodes are available now with new episodes continuing to drop every Thursday for the next eight weeks, allowing for listeners to take a real time retrospective of the tour as it happened 50 years ago. This season also features stories from fans who saw the band on the tour, and there's still time for people to submit their Europe '72 stories for later episodes at stories.dead.net
Co-produced by singer-songwriter Rich Mahan and writer/DJ Jesse Jarnow (whose Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America will be released by Hachette Audio as an audiobook on April 12), the Deadcast mixes new interviews with musical dives, surprise turns, and deep archival research, including rare letters home from Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who sadly passed away less than a year later. Guests include travelers from the band and family including tour architect Sam Cutler, Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia, Donna Jean Godchaux-MacKay, Steve Parish, and a range of tour attendees, such as Elvis Costello, who says seeing the Dead in 1972 at the Bickershaw Festival was “a revelation.”
Tomorrow (April 8) will see the premiere of the livestream event “Dead Studies: The Wonders Of Dark Star” on the Grateful Dead’s Official YouTube channel. Host Dr. Graeme M. Boone, professor of musicology at The Ohio State University, will present his detailed analysis of the first “Dark Star” of the Europe ‘72 tour, from Wembley Empire Pool, 50 years to the day of the original performance. Boone’s commentary will be accompanied by a 30+ minute planetarium show synced to the song.