Grateful Dead

30 Trips Cover
Grateful Dead
30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995
Rhino
By David Chiu

This 4-CD set is the abbreviated version of the massive 30-CD collection, drawing a concert from each year of the Dead’s existence. Thus 30 Trips Around the Sun is certainly much more manageable but still a very good sampling of what was the group’s bread-and-butter: the live performance. All previously unreleased, the track list contains the usual favorites from the Dead’s sets: the immortal “Dark Star,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Franklin’s Tower,” “Samson and Delilah,” “Lost Sailor,” “Shakedown Street” and “Feel Like a Stranger.” The set really does encapsulate the evolution of the band’s sound during those 30 years: from the psychedelic rock of the San Francisco era; to the country rock sound of the Workingman’s Dead/American Beauty period; to the more jazzy, art-rock period of the late ’70s on. Of course, the Dead has been known to rework its songs in the live setting, as is the case of an extended performance of the disco-oriented “Shakedown Street.” There are certainly highlights from 30 Trips for me personally, such as a really powerful performance of “Morning Dew” and a cover of Robbie Robertson’s “Broken Arrow.” On this 50th anniversary of the Dead’s existence, this collection is a fine way to commemorate what made the band tick.

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