The source I’ve been using for the ‘40 years ago’ events says of April 14th, 1972: The Grateful Dead played their first paying concert in front of a foreign language crowd, in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Tivolis Koncertsa. (They played a free concert in the grounds of the ‘Honky Château’ in Hérouville, France in 1971, meaning good old Wikipedia is technically correct). So, as I don’t need to construct a tenuous link today, I’ll just play a song from what was the first of two nights at the Tivoli.
This is one of several from Ace, the ‘solo’ album they’d been helping Bob Weir to record just before coming over the Atlantic: Looks Like Rain.
Weir introduced it as a ‘crying song’ and, despite the clunky lyrics in the second verse, it delivers real emotional punch. Garcia’s pedal steel guitar was lugged across the Atlantic just for this song but he only gave it three outings: this is the last of them. I’ve picked it not for the pedal steel, however – it’s good but I can understand why Garcia abandoned it – but for Phil Lesh’s contribution on bass. The notes he chooses to play and the spaces he chooses to leave are, in my opinion, absolutely exquisite and his vocal harmonies are just as perfect.
For contrast (SR: this is from the end of the Brent Mydland line-up) you’ll also find a version of the song played in March 1990, sonically more rounded, more dramatic and yet….. Well, which do you prefer?