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Two from the Vault

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Album Review

As the title implies, this was the second complete show to be issued from the Grateful Dead's tape vaults. In contradiction of the "technical information" liner notes essay, this release was derived entirely from the second night of a two-night run (August 23 and 24, 1968) at the Shrine Theater in Los Angeles. These performances were documented using what was then a state-of-the-art multi-track machine provided (and administered) by the Dead's record company, Warner Brothers. After being shelved for nearly two-and-a-half decades, the band's longtime sonic gurus Dan Healy and Jeffrey Norman digitally reconstructed and released this aurally accurate and musically motivated performance. The set list is fairly typical of the band's mid-1968 repertoire. Having just issued their second platter, Anthem of the Sun, a month earlier, the Dead were concentrating fairly heavily on material from that disc — including most of the first side. The extended "That's It for the Other One" suite is executed with the acidic fury associated with this era of the Grateful Dead. The band is also looking forward to their upcoming projects. These include Aoxomoxa — their next studio effort — which contains "Saint Stephen." However, the track appears in the context of their 1969 release, Live/Dead, linked with "Dark Star" on one side and "The Eleven" on the other. (Also from the genre-defining double-LP set is "Death Don't Have No Mercy" and "(Turn On Your) Lovelight"). The developmental stage of these tunes is nothing short of aurally palpable. The band is able to achieve — if not arguably surpass — much of the same energy that drove the versions which became indelibly stamped into the psyche of the counterculture, as well as Deadheads world wide. Two from the Vault is a fun ride, as well as a glimpse into the immense improvisational talents of the Grateful Dead in the late '60s.


Formed: 1965 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Rock's longest, strangest trip, the Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades. The object of adoration for popular music's most fervent and celebrated fan following -- the Deadheads, their numbers and devotion legendary in their own right -- they were the ultimate cult band, creating a self-styled universe all...
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