Day 280: U.S. Blues, 9/10/74

There’s a certain tongue-in-cheek quality about the Grateful Dead playing US Blues in the heart of London, the former Imperial metropole.

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Now I’m not saying that the Grateful Dead were Auber-patriotic yankees throwing their American rugged individualism in the face of their nation’s former overlords. No. But I can definitely see this as a gesture toward the humorous side of things. Am I reading too much into this? Probably.

Granted this was the encore of the show, but I can help but think that there’s a bit of extra gusto here, as the band knew about their upcoming hiatus, which would begin in a months time, and perhaps this song was a nod to the fact that the band wasn’t sure if they’d ever be back to Europe. As a matter of fact, this configuration never did cross the pond again (well not to Europe at least. They did go to Egypt in 1978 after all.)

Phil and Billy make U.S. Blues swing right out of the gate. Phil plays a nice chromatic run to add some color other than blue to this little ditty. The longer this song goes on the clearer it becomes that Phil is the star of this performance. Keith’s interjections provide some nice competition, but really Phil runs away with the thing. He is all over the place and plays melodic and chromatic lines that keep the song moving and interesting at the same time. You can’t stop and focus on any one riff for too long because they come so fast. Jerry and Keith dual a bit in the 3rd minute, but then Phil either turns on some overdrive or really digs in and steals the show right back. What a fun, raucous song. The perfect way to end a show, and Dick’s Picks volume 7!

Complete Setlist 9/10/74

Previous US Blues DFAY Selections

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