The Grateful Dead were best known for their live concerts, no two of which were alike. And while albums such as American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are certainly gems in any Deadhead’s collection, the band’s continued output of high-quality archival CD releases has kept their oven hot with sizzling jams, a full 17 years after the group officially disbanded.
“Every show by the Dead – whether it was in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties or Nineties – was a journey,” Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “They weren’t writing out setlists before the show, but wherever that show took them was part of that journey. . . And one of the great things about the Grateful Dead was that every show was a complete and unique adventure – for them and for us.”
When Lemieux was given the opportunity to launch a new live series, Dave’s Picks, earlier this year, he decided to get back to basics by showcasing nothing but the best of the remaining unreleased shows in the band’s vast vault. Dave’s Picks is the natural successor to the band’s legendary live series Dick’s Picks, which was discontinued in 2005, six years after its namesake and initial curator, Dick Latvala, passed away. His successor, Lemieux, has spearheaded several live series since then, including Road Trips. But those were often multiple-show compilations as opposed to complete live shows; Dave’s Picks marks a return to the more popular complete-show format.
“I think one of the best ways to bring people back to that Grateful Dead experience is by presenting this music to them,” says Lemieux. “And the best way to present [that] is to give them the complete show experience.”
Released in limited batches, the current Dave’s Picks, Volume 3, is already sold out. However, you can listen to one of its tracks, “Comes a Time” – taken from a show in Chicago on October 22nd, 1971 – right here.