The Grateful Dead's Sunshine Daydream (Veneta, OR 08/27/72) is the New Music Pick of the Week

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Though there are audio recordings of just about every note the Grateful Dead ever played there is very limited video coverage of them playing live.  This is especially true of their early, seminal years from the late sixties to the early seventies.  As a collector I'd heard about the Sunshine Daydream video bootleg for ages and ages and how incredible it was.  It would be years before I managed to get a copy of it, but man was it worth the wait.

Recorded just after their fabled tour of Europe in 1972 Sunshine Daydream captures the dead at the height of their powers.  The show was a money raiser for Ken Kesey's dairy farm.  It was organized and filmed by Kesey's Merry Pranksters and became the very last Acid Test.  As such everybody is high as kites and the video shows it.  There were numerous hand held cameras being used up close and around the stage so that when they are filming the band it feels like you are right there next to them.  

The problem is that they often get distracted by things like Garcia's shoes, or some big dude hanging from the rafters, or all too often some topless hippies dancing in the grass.  I got nothing against naked boobs, but it gets a little old after the twentieth time when all I really want to see is Garcia launching into another incredible solo.  They do get some tight shots on the bad and how they play and it really is a pretty incredible document of the time, and I don't want to downplay that, but watching it I just kept wishing they'd hired a professional crew.

That complaint aside this really is the best video capture we have of the band at their peak and its an incredible bit of concert video.  The audio too is spectacular capturing the Grateful Dead at a moment when their songwriting capabilities had caught up to their musical prowess.  

I'm extremely excited to be able to watch Sunshine Daydream in a cleaned up, restored and mastered version, which will not doubt be a huge upgrade from my old copy of a copy of a copy VHS tape.  Which is why the Grateful Dead's Sunshine Daydream (Veneta, OR 8/27/72) boxed set is my Pick of the Week.

Also out this week that sounds interesting:

Wise Up Ghost - Elvis Costello and the Roots: Teaming the iconic singer/songwriter with the much more modern hip-hop band seems like a crazy idea.  But early reviews are good including one from our friend Lisa McKay over at Something Else.

From Here to Not to You - Jack Johnson: He's one of those guys whose music I find pleasant enough, but that doesn't really move me in any real emotional way.  This, his sixth album reunites him with producer Mario Caldato, Jr and Ben Harper.

MGMT - MGMT: These indie rock/alternative/psychedelic popsters get lots of love from hipster kids, but I've never found much to dig.  

Imitations - Mark Lanegan: Our dear publisher Josh Hathaway loves him some Mark Lanegan.  Here the alt-rock hero covers such strange bedfellows as Hall & Oates, Nancy Sinatra and Bobby Darin.  It will be interesting to see what the gravelly voiced Lanegan does with the sugary pop hits.