Dave's Pick volume 2 features a show from the Wall of Sound tour of 1974. Since all but one show of this tour were single appearance shows, the Dead used two Walls of Sound (WoS). The Dead used two WoS, while one WoS was being set up for their next gig, the other was being used at the current show. The WoS was a big financial strain on the band and eventually lead to them calling it quits on 10/20/74.
Maybe it was the ambitionness of the WoS project or maybe it was the quality of sound, but the Grateful Dead played very well off of each other at this time. A perfect example of this is the "Mississippi Half Step" listed here:
1-05 Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Listen to Keith's fills over Jerry's intro. Then Billy's snare drives the verse before Phil harmonizes with Jerry for the chorus. Jerry's guitar takes over as he solos the link to the next verse. This verse is dominated by Keith's fingers dancing up and down the piano. Though once again, Jerry solos to the following verse, it is Phil's playing that is dazzling in this section. In the third verse, Phil and Keith's instruments are happily just below Jerry's vocals. Bobby's sly guitar ramps up the final chorus as the band explodes into the coda, like a cold glass of ice water on a hot day. Jerry, Phil, Bobby, and Keith each fill in the holes left by the next as Billy keeps it all together and Jerry quiets his bandmates for Donna's entrance, "Across the Rio Grande". The band is all working in unison. Together they jump on Jerry's guitar as he drives them louder, harder and bolder, until they work themselves down into "It Must Have Been the Roses"
The show starts with the most intriguing song off their new album, "From the Mars Hotel". The "Scarlet" features some brilliant guitar work from Jerry. By this point, this song hasn't seen it's full potential, but it is starting to get close. Bobby Cowboy sings "Me and My Uncle", followed by a tight "Brown-Eyed Woman". The fascinating "BIODTL" comes next. In the middle of the song the vocals go out, but you can hear Bobby and Donna singing in the background. Now, the WoS did not feature monitors, so they must have known that they weren't being heard, because the vocals came out of stacks behind the drummer. This is also why they used these funky double mics, one stacked on the other, because one worked for the vocal while the other eliminated feedback that would be caused by the vocal stacks. Another great thing about "BIODTL" is that you really hear the beautiful guitar work that Jerry does on the song. This must be the most anyone has ever written about "BIODTL"!
"Mexicali"and "Row Jimmy" come next followed by a "Jack Straw" that is very well received by the crowd. "China Cat Sunflower" is the second exploratory vehicle of the first set. The "China Cat" jam opens up with Bobby's rhythming away and Jerry quickly jumps on his gravy train. The two guitars keep the rhythm while Phil bops along to this grove, until they get to the descending jam. Then, Jerry unleashes his rhythm guitar, pulling the band through the descending jam. Keith's piano helps to even out the band as they groove into "I Know You Rider". The boy's three part harmonies are intact as they sing the verse. Jerry really lets loose on the "I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train." He actually peaks twice during it. You can tell that Bobby is really fired up as they close out the "Arms", which trips Jerry's vocals on the final word. So Bobby Berry closes out the set with a great "Around and
The second set starts with a subdued "Bertha". Instead of being the typical guitar driven rock song, the band slows it down a tad, so Jerry puts more of a vocal effort into this version. "Big River" picks up the band's tempo, setting the stage for "Eyes of the World". The slick, tight groove throughout the vocals parts of the "Eyes" or aka smile jam. There isn't anyway you can listen and pay attention to it without smiling. As the third chorus ends, Jerry takes on the rhythm as Phil starts pounding away over guitars. Keith joins the fray, playing off of the leads that Phil plays, until the band segues into the 73-74 post "Eyes" jam. Jerry leaves his rhythm for the lead as he takes the band through jam that ends in "China Doll". The delicate "China Doll" hushes the crowd, which is why Bobby hops the band into "Promised". Bobby
According to the linear notes, on this date the United States congress had just leveled it's third charge against President Richard Nixon for the Articles of Impeachment. "Ship of Fools" is perhaps the most politically charged song that Garcia ever penned with Hunter. Although many twist the meaning of the first line to mean that Garcia was the captain "strangest I could find" because of his nickname from the Acid Trip days of Captain Trip.
Bobby closes the set with his signature combo of the time, "Weather Report Suite". The beautiful guitar work Bobby plays in the "Prelude" is impeccable. Followed to "Part 1" with Jerry back on the slide guitar. This is followed by the odyssey "Let It Grow", which culminates with raising solo by Jerry. Keith's electric piano and Phil's bar chord shuffle compliment Jerry's guitar playing for the climax of "Let It Grow". This ends the set as Jerry said "Thanks a lot. We are going to take another short break we'll be back in a few moments".
Technical difficulties begin the next set, which apparently gets figured out pretty fast as Bobby says, "Ah there it is." "El Paso", "Ramble on Rose", and then "Greatest Story" gets the crowd going in the third set. Then Jerry puts a chill on the crowd with a beautiful rendition of "To Lay me Down". Billy plays the edge of the snare instead of the drummer and it adds real life to the song. Keith's piano is really working overtime to complement Jerry's guitar and vocals. Jerry's vocals are really crisp. Maybe the earlier "Bertha"was the perfect workout to get him into the "To Lay me Down".
"Truckin'" jets the band and audience off to rock n' roll bliss. The band shuffles through the song and then opens it up into a Jerry lead. Keith acts the 'little devil on his shoulder' as he eggs Jerry further and further away. Billy is more than willing to let everything come apart, just so they can rebuild it. As the music thickens, the band seems to be looking for something, which is where Jerry drops into "Mind Left Body Jam", a rift that was given that name by Dick Latvala. The "Mind Left Body Jam" progresses playing off the theme and it sounds like they might go back into it, when Bobby picks up on a flamingo type rift that Jerry has played and "Spanish Jam" begins. During the theme of "Spanish Jam", the band falls apart and into "Wharf Rat". Jerry's vocals are again stunning. He draws you in with his whisper, "Old Man down".
The song fades to only Keith's noodling and Jerry's guitar starts "US Blues". Despite the fact that the President is about to be Impeached, "Wave that flag". The crowd really appreciates the tongue and cheek matter in which it's being sung. Then Bobby closes the set with "One More Saturday Night". The band comes out and encores with "Uncle John's" and the crowd goes home happy.
Hartford Connecticut has become a favorite of Grateful Dead releases. Dick's Picks 6, To Terrapin; Hartford 77, and Dave's Picks 2 were all recorded in the little city half way between New York and Boston. All are very deserving choices for releases but it is a little baffling as to why?
For all you Phish fans, Trey called Hartford 10/14/83, which is Dick's Picks 6, his favorite show. He said during the Scarlet/Fire, Jerry was bouncing notes and the only other person he's seen do that was Frank Zappa. He called the show a defining moment in his life.