Grateful Dead: From the Archives and From the Road
His dual work with Mickey as recorded on Dick's Volume 32 is one of the recurring delights of that set, to the extent the pair might listen to the comparatively succinct "Drums/Space" there to hear how such an interlude maintains pace rather than disrupting it(their second night spotlight was unintentionally comedic). The insistent means by which Brent Mydland insinuated himself into the Dead's instrumental mix is notable here too because during his tenure with the band the late keyboardist proved himself extremely versatile as a musician, singer and composer (The Dead played his "Just A Little Light" on July 30th 2004). And he wasn't reticent about taking part in the group jams either: as the Wisconsin set steams to its close, noticeably picking up speed via "Wharf Rat," his is no small role.
The Dead's peers in rock and roll improvisation, The Allman Brothers , might be rightly criticized these days for maintaining too standard a repertoire. But ABB knows quite rightly what tunes will get them where they want to go, either in soaring flight or descending to the depths of the blues. These days, The Dead might consider curtailing their free-spirited inclinations with just a touch of well-earned savvy and tailor their sets more carefully by their choice of songs: history based on the recorded documents of Rockin' the Rhein and Dick's Picks Volume 32, plus the near-schizophrenic presentation just outside of Beantown, suggests it'd make their shows much less of a gamble and tilt the odds in favor of the musical magic for which they are rightly renowned.