Dead Notes #3 :: Dark Star (8/27/72 Veneta, OR)

Welcome to the third installment of  Dead Notes, where we find ourselves deep in the heart of Oregon at the Old Renaissance Fairgrounds in Veneta, August 27, 1972. The Grateful Dead have now been home 3 months from a barn burner spring tour of Europe, where they famously divided themselves into two traveling camps -- the Bozos and Bolos -- wreaking musical and comedic havoc along the countryside. Upon returning to the states the party didn’t stop, with the band performing a handful shows along the East Coast before returning west into the arms of Ken Kesey's  Merry Pranksters. The Kesey family creamery business was in dire need of cash and prankster Black Maria was sent to San Francisco to beckon the Dead to return to rural Oregon and perform a benefit gig in the name of acidophilus. The day would become known as 'The Field Trip' .

There is little argument amongst Dead loyalists that 8/27/72 ranks as one of their top 5 performances, ever. It is a show of epic folklore — where the fat old summer sun punishes the crowd with 108 degrees, drinking water has run out and anything liquid has been spiked. This includes the refreshments for the cameramen on hand to document the band, whose filming captures their dosed exploration of some very intense jams, many of which are beautiful, dark and transcendental -- often all at the same time.

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