Best recordings of Grateful Dead "Wall of Sound"?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by rogertheshrubber, Mar 17, 2010.

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  1. rogertheshrubber

    rogertheshrubber Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Freehold, NJ, USA!
    Can any forum Deadheads direct me to some best sounding recordings made of the "Wall of Sound" set up used by the Grateful Dead during 1973-1974?

    I already have the Cow Palace (Dick's Picks 23) and the Road Trips Vol 2, No. 3 sets.

    I would think, however, that there are some cool audience recordings of this available on the Live Music Archive website as well.

  2. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    I think the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack is from that era, but I'm no expert Deadhead.
  3. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    you are correct, sir. those were the last shows that used it. i saw/heard that system indoors in boston in june of 74 and twice outdoors in hartford and jersey city in july and august that same year.
    bzfgt likes this.
  4. Quincy

    Quincy Forum Resident

    Willamette Valley
    DICK'S PICK 12!

    Actually as it's a Dick's Pick and not a multi-track I don't know if it trumps audio fidelity, but from a music standpoint it's a must.

    DP 31 is another must have, and though lesser loved by many DP 7 does have a Dark Star>Dew.

    Yes I know, I've suggested about everything in print from that year. Though I did skip Steal Your Face! ;)

    Of those not released Selland Arena (7/19/74) can be had with no cassette generation. There's more - one place to look over what circulates with lineage info is and sort on the Dead for 1974.

    Some of the May/June shows have wonky mixes for the first few songs as they would work the levels on the fly (such as 6/18/74 - Road Trips avoided these songs). I actually find it kind of interesting as you'll have 20 seconds of just Weir's guitar and drums, then Jerry guitar w/out vocals, then Phil's bass goes up etc. Better to get that out of the way in the first set. :)

    Edit - I had included 2/24/74 which sounds excellent, but it isn't a Wall Of Sound show.
  5. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    As far as audience recordings like the original poster asked, there is one of 8/6/74 at the Archive which I think is good (assuming it is the one used as fills on my copy of the show). 7/21/74 is another one with a good reputation.
  6. zongo

    zongo Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    Original poster asked about nice audience tapes of Wall of Sound era GD.

    A few that I think sound really good (at least from my old cassettes) and are really fun musically are:

    3/28/73 Springfield
    2/23/74 Winterland
    6/26/74 Providence (particularly fun due to crowd reactions)

    I haven't checked, but I bet all of these are available on

  7. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Forum Resident

    That's right - one really needs audience recordings from 1974 to appreciate the Wall of Sound.

    8/6/74 is really nice sounding, and a fantastic show to boot (no pun intended). Greatest "Eyes of the World" ever.

    Also 6/22 and 6/23 as well as the aforementioned 6/26/74. has quite a few AUD's from 1974 ready for lossless download. Enjoy!
  8. Edgard Varese

    Edgard Varese Royale with Cheese

    7/21/74 is a very nice AUD of the Wall. It's been "remastered" by Mouth of the Beast and sounds great.
  9. Pappas3278

    Pappas3278 Forum Peasant

    New York City
    Let us not forget the new fresh 24bit transfers that Rob Berger performed on Jerry Moore's fantastic 1974 audience recordings.

    6/22, 6/23, 6/26, 6/28, 6/30 & 7/29

    These can found and had at

  10. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
    Dicks Picks 14 has the 11/30 & 12/2 1973 shows at the Boston Music Hall. They used a version of the WOS that would fit into smaller venues, but with the same effect. I was at the 12/1/73 show (the one not recorded for this Pick) and can attest to the same sonic principles as the full WOS, but in an opera house setting with fantastic acoustics.

    I recall that when I went to my seat and saw this huge speaker setup in this small space, I thought "we're going to go deaf!" But it was clean, not loud. You could feel the sound's heaviness in a sense.

    Try it, you'll like it!
  11. klownschool

    klownschool Forum Resident

    A lot of the soundboard recordings are way out of balance. Audience of this period is a must.
  12. vanhooserd

    vanhooserd Forum Resident

    this may be a bit off topic, but:the only time i saw the Dead was pre-WOS
    (Vanderbilt U., Nashville, 10/72) & the sound was excellent -clear,not too
    loud & improving after the early numbers.i was surprised at the number &
    type of speakers used-they looked like large "home hi-fi " speakers in stacks
    rather than the "concert " speakers i was used to.was the WOS really a big
    improvement ?
  13. BIG ED

    BIG ED Well-Known Member

    If a "WoS" tape is "re-mastered", are you really listening too the "WoS" sound???
    ruben lopez likes this.
  14. DP 31 is a must have. But since 1974 Dead has never really been my cup of tea, I'm afraid I'm not really the person to ask.
  15. klownschool

    klownschool Forum Resident

    There are two runs worth checking out. The first February tour and damn near any show from June in 1974. One of my favorites it Louisville. Great long improve jams.
  16. guppy270

    guppy270 Forum Resident

    Levittown, NY
    I agree, 8/6/1974 is a STUNNING show, one of the best ever. The aud tape is sweet.

    One personal caveat: although I LOVE the musical clarity of sound of the WoS tapes, I'm not a big fan of the "tinny-ness" on the vocals from the double mic setup.
  17. crazylegs69

    crazylegs69 Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    The 2/74 Winterland run wasn't Wall of Sound. The first WOS show was Cow Palace 3/23/74 (most the show is DP 24)...

    The 5/19/74 Portland show is not mentioned above & one I enjoy a lot...
  18. crazylegs69

    crazylegs69 Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    If you know where a circulating boot of this show is, please let us all know. The 10/21/72 Vanderbilt show is one of the long elusive shows nobody has been able to get their hands on...
  19. jacksondownunda

    jacksondownunda Well-Known Member

    JUst off the top of my head, the Grateful Dead movie soundtrack is closer to the "sound" of the Wall than the DP board tapes. I heard the Wall at least a few times (indoors and outdoors) and there was a light airy echo to it. I'm not sure if the Movie soundtrack is a board/aud matrix, but on Donna's yell on Playin' she doesn't seem to be coming through the board, but she's there. (There were rumors that she wasn't recorded at times, but the tapes seem to prove otherwise.)
  20. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
    From Wiki...

    The Wall was very efficient for its day, but it suffered from other drawbacks besides its sheer size. Synthesist Ned Lagin, who toured with the group throughout much of 1974, never received his own dedicated input into the system, and was forced to use the vocal subsystem. Because this was often switched to the vocal mics, many of Lagin's parts were lost in the mix. Also, the Wall's quadraphonic format never translated well to soundboard tapes made during the period, as the sound was compressed into an unnatural stereo format and suffered from a pronounced tinniness.
    ruben lopez likes this.
  21. klownschool

    klownschool Forum Resident

    I didn't know that. Thanks for the correction. I thought that they were using it as early as bad.

  22. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England
  23. reeler

    reeler Forum Resident

    I'd agree that the cd set Grateful Dead Movie soundtrack is the best I've heard from '74. They put the vocals tracks back in phase and eq'd them to fix some of the thin, tin sounding quality most WOS recordings have. But am I correct in remembering that Jeffery Norman said he played back Garcia's guitar track through a Fender amp and re-recorded it for the making of this cd. Watch the special features of the movie to find out. It does have a reverby quality to it, but maybe this was addivitive.
  24. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL, US
    As far as I know, the GD Movie recordings (Winterland October 74) were the only multitrack live recordings of the Dead in 73 or 74. I have read that some things went wrong with the recordings, including problems with Donna's track, and, IIRC, Bear said that the mic on Bob Weir's guitar amp fell over in the first set of the first night and was never put back in place. However, Bear has said some oddball things.
  25. Jerry

    Jerry Grateful Gort Staff

    New England

    That's an understatement! I've always thought his diet advice was a bit nutty. When I met him in the late 70's, he said was heavily into eating lobster, meat and milk.

    But read for yourself:
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