The first three tracks present the basic elements of a Grateful Dead concert. “Promised Land” is a tightly structured song that serves as a warm-up. “Bird Song,” which clocks in at over 13 minutes, marks the first long improvisational piece where Garcia traveled his own journey a number of times before returning to the melody. They then move out of their element to transform Marty Robbins' classic “El Paso” into a a piece of psychedelic blues.
The highlight remains the band's 37-minute rendition of “Dark Star.” This is probably the best version I have heard of this old warhorse as the musicians expand and contract the melodies to set out paths never traveled.
Other superior performances include “Sugar Magnolia,” ”Morning Dew,” “Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad,” “Black Peter,” “One More Saturday Night,” and two visits to the early rock ‘n’ roll classic “Not Fade Away.”
Dick’s Picks 36 presents a concert experience that will leave listeners exhausted but satisfied. It’s good to have this release back in circulation.