Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72 Tour 50th Anniversary: May 18 – Munich, West Germany

Revisit the historic tour's 18th performance, recorded at Kongreß-Saal at the Deutsches Museum.

By Andy Kahn May 18, 2022 11:05 am PDT

In April 1972, the Grateful Dead embarked on their now-legendary Europe ’72 Tour. The band performed 22 times between April 7 and May 26, resulting in the landmark triple live LP, Europe ’72 that was released in October of that year. To celebrate the legacy of the band’s historic tour abroad, JamBase presents a retrospective look back at each of the Europe 1972 Grateful Dead performances.


The Grateful Dead’s Europe ‘72 Tour headed back to what was then West Germany for a show on Thursday, May 18. The band had a day off following their lone performance in Luxembourg and made the 531-kilometer journey to Munich for the fifth and final show in Germany.

The Dead – guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardists Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Keith Godchaux, drummer Bill Kreutzmann and vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux – had previously trekked through the country at the end of April, performing in Bremen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. Following the Munich stop, the Europe ‘72 Tour would head to its final destination, returning to London, England for a four-show run at the Lyceum.

The Munich concert was presented by Stimmen der Welt, a German concert promoter founded in 1970. Another German concert promotion company also helped stage the Dead’s performance in Munich, Lippmann + Rau, which was founded in 1962 by jazz musician Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau, who had previously organized the American Folk Blues Festival tours of Europe.

The pair of promoters booked the Grateful Dead at Kongreß-Saal at the Deutsches Museum. Located along the Isar River near the Ludwig Bridge, the hall opened in 1935 and hosted orchestral concerts and government events (including those held by the Nazi Party), but by the 1960s it was the site of performances by many jazz legends, such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald and others.

Popular rock musicians had also played the Kongreß-Saal prior to the Dead’s visit, including Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Jethro Tull and Small Faces. The Beach Boys, who were navigating through Europe around the same time and playing several of the same venues as the Dead, performed at Kongreß-Saal on May 9, 1972.

Concerts continued in the building through the 1970s and 1980s, but by the 1990s it was left largely empty and out of use. In April 2017, the hall reopened as Blitz, an 800-person capacity nightclub featuring a state-of-the-art sound system.

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“We’re having a few minor technical difficulties,” Lesh can be heard telling the audience before the show started, adding, “So we know that you’ll understand.”

An unidentified German-speaking man then asked the audience to not use flash photography before the band opened the show with “Truckin’.” This was the second of two times “Truckin’” opened a Europe ‘72 Tour show. About seven minutes into the 10-minute opener, Pigpen played an organ line that could have been lifted from “Green Onions.”

Pigpen fronted the band on four songs in Munich, all occurring in the first set, beginning with the tour’s 18th version of “Mr. Charlie.” Pigpen, nearing the end of his final tour with the Dead, also led the band through his “Chinatown Shuffle” and a cover of “Hurts Me Too” with his wailing harp paired with Garcia’s seering slide work.

Mid first set, after Weir-led an impassioned “Black Throated Wind,” a woman in the audience yelled a request for the Pigpen-led “Turn On Your Lovelight.”

“Pigpen, she wants you to turn on your lovelight,” Garcia can be heard saying off-mic, adding “Turn on your lovelight baby.”

The woman then told Garcia, “You turn on yours first,” to which the guitarist replied, “Oh, no, after you, I’m fine.”

The band then fired up a nicely jammed “China Cat Sunflower” into “I Know You Rider,” after which the woman again shouted for “Lovelight,” again to no avail.

The second to last song of the first set, “Good Lovin’,” relatively tame at a modest 12-minutes, was Pigpen’s final showcase of the night, which he made the most of by spouting off a remorseful rap. During part of his rap, Pigpen howled:

Sometimes, I may come home early in the morning / I been out on a four-day creep / All I’m thinking about doing / Is laying down in the bed / Thinking about laying down and getting myself to sleep / I don’t have no drinking and gambling things / I’m carrying on, yes I am / All that I can think about / When I get home / How good a little sleep gonna feel to me / The minute I get up / Up in the bed to take my rest / Here she comes saying / “Daddy, your turn to get ya! / Raise on up now daddy! One more time!”

Garcia hopped on Pigpen’s organ near the end of song that would be played with Pigpen just two more times. Prior to “Good Lovin’,” Bobby introduced Donna before kicking off an almost 11-minute “Playing In The Band.”

Counting both appearances at the Beat Club taping, it was the tour’s 19th “Playing,” and came with intense and focused jamming and a powerful conclusion. “That was Donna Godchaux,” Weir added at the end of the song.

While the “Casey Jones” first set closer was commonplace at that point of the tour, the second set opening with “Sitting On Top Of The World” was unexpected, as the cover made its first appearance in Europe 18 performances into the run. A staple of the band’s early setlists, the Munich performance of “SOTOTW” was only the fifth time Keith Godchaux had played the song since joining the band in October 1971. The surprising opener teed up an eight-song second set.

Quick jaunts through “Me And My Uncle,” “Ramble On Rose” and “Beat It On Down The Line,” the last coming with a false start, brought the second set song count up to four. The remaining four were “Dark Star,” “Morning Dew,” “Sugar Magnolia” and “Sing Me Back Home.” Some sources cite “Sing Me Back Home” as part of the encore, but the recordings seem to indicate mere seconds elapsing between “Sugar Magnolia” and “Sing Me Back Home.”

Though not necessarily the longest “Dark Star” played in Europe, the 28-minute Munich presentation was nonetheless another impressive display of the band’s improvisation talents. After a slowly built introduction, around the five-minute mark, the jam took off with a blast of otherworldly sounds. Garcia delivered the first verse 14 minutes in, leading way to a sequence described by author Blair Jackson in the liner notes to the Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set as:

“[T]he tempo collapses and then dissolves and, over a wash of cymbals and tom accents, Phil unleashes a torrent of his patented ‘bombs,’ as Jerry eerily squoinks away in the upper registers. It drifts into feedback, some subtle volume knob moans from Jerry, and even stolid Keith messes with some echo and tremolo effects. Then the cacophony builds and builds – Billy battering his toms and cymbals like a man possessed – until the assault is deafening.”

The sensational “Dark Star” drifted into the anthemic “Morning Dew.” The Munich coupling of the two songs was the first of what would become several delightful pairings of “Dark Star” and “Morning Dew.” Kreutzmann bridged the potent ending of “Morning Dew” with a brief solo that led into “Sugar Magnolia.” The above-mentioned cover of Merle Haggard’s “Sing Me Back Home” seemingly brought an end to the second set.

Europe ‘72 Tour’s most reliable encore, “One More Saturday Night,” was introduced by Weir as the last number of the show. None of the songs recorded in Munich were selected for the Europe ‘72 live album.

Here are additional statistics and information regarding the 18th performance of the Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72 tour:

At-a-Glance

The Show

May 18, 1972

8 p.m.

DM 12.30

377

The Music

15 songs / 105 minutes

9 songs / 81 minutes

24 Songs / 186 minutes
14 originals / 10 covers / 1 tour debuts

Dark Star 28:20

Beat It On Down The Line 2:46

10:59

11 Jerry / 9 Bobby / 4 Pigpen

10

52


Setlist (via JerryBase)

Set One: Truckin’, Sugaree, Mr. Charlie, Jack Straw, Tennessee Jed, Chinatown Shuffle, Black Throated Wind, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, El Paso, Hurts Me Too, You Win Again, Playing In The Band, Good Lovin’ [1], Casey Jones

Set Two: Sitting On Top Of The World > Me And My Uncle, Ramble On Rose, Beat It On Down The Line, Dark Star > Morning Dew, Drums > Sugar Magnolia, Sing Me Back Home

Encore: One More Saturday Night

Notes:

  • [1] Jerry plays organ for the last minute of the song

Below, stream the official recording of the Grateful Dead’s May 18, 1972 concert at Kongreß-Saal at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, West Germany, or check out other recordings via Archive.org:

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