Grateful Dead "Sunshine Daydream: Veneta Oregon 8/27/72" (Rhino, 2013)
Twenty years ago this review would have taken on an entirely different flavor, and back in '72, fresh off their legendary European Tour, most of the things that exist today hadn't even been dreamed of. For Dead fans this was the concert that stands as a beacon, the hallmark for which all other Dead show are judged ... though who's had the time or the inclination to sit down and assess each and every Dead show is beyond me. Of course, no soon have those last words left my lips than I'm struck with the vision of countless Dead-Heads huddled around their vintage reel-to-reels and cassette archives, meticulously evaluating each song and event; with some shows lasting six hours or more.
No, had this visionary wonder been released in the mid '70's, it would have been raved about fans and the general public, because Sunshine Daydream is more than a simple concert, it's been turned into a HD movie ... an extensive documentary movie, a movie that many have walked out on, saying, "It feels like one long power point presentation." But for Dead fans, Sunshine Daydream [a name taken from the lyrics of "Sugar Magnolia"] is a tour de force, an unparalleled vision of a Dead show at its very best, one laced with kaleidoscope images, bizarre animations, flower power on acid, and with more dripping tie dye and naked dancing girls, than one can stand. Considering all this, unless you'r on some mild hallucinatory medication, the movie may at some point click into slow gear, and seem to drag on much too long. Of course ... if you were there, like your high school yearbook, no matter how tedious it is, you'll happily spend hours reading every handwritten remark, indulge every goofy picture, and smile with a sense of satisfaction when the last page is turned, and the book re-shelved. Though with Sunshine Daydream, it's not necessary to re-shelve the entire package, you're free to explore the concert music anytime you wish, jump in and out at any spot, and truly be treaded to a concert recording that stands heads above all other Dead shows you may, or think you may, have heard.
The truth being the curtain is that this event has been around for awhile, mainly as a bootleg of the August 27th, 1972 show at the Old Renaissance Faire Grounds in Veneta, Oregon, where in 103 degree temperatures, and with little water, 30,000 plus fans stood strong while The Grateful Dead ripped through twenty blistering numbers, often challenged by out of tun instruments, but hanging tight with the audience, delivering all, and giving no quarter.
On the street where I live, there have always been two types of neighbors, those who love The Grateful Dead, and those who hate them ... with possibly a third type waiting in the wings, those who are too young to know them. In any event, this outing has something for everyone, and may just open the doors for a new generation to discover the essence, splendor, and makeup of the one true jam-band.
Review made by Jenell Kesler/2013
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