Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux, who produced this 20-track compilation, says he only chose song titles that did not appear on Europe '72 as a way to complement the original. "I think this album, coupled with Europe '72, represents a complete overview of the tour in every way," he says. "In fact, songs like "Beat It On Down The Line," "Next Time You See Me" and "Sing Me Back Home" were selected by the Grateful Dead for the first set, but were left off because there wasn't enough room."
In a nod to the original, Vol. 2 features new cover art by Stanley Mouse, the artist who helped create the iconic artwork from Europe '72, which features the return of the legendary Ice Cream Kid. "Trouble comes in many flavors. Ice Cream Kid is in hot water. The jury is out. His only defense is love," says Mouse of the Kid's return.
Recorded at various locations during the band's 22-show tour, the collection captures the Dead in white-hot moments of improvisational revelry as the band explores a number of its most enduring songs, like "Bertha," "Sugaree" and "Playing In the Band," plus relatively obscure cuts like "Black-Throated Wind" and Pigpen's "Chinatown Shuffle."
As a special treat, the set includes an epic hour-plus jam that combines "Dark Star" and "The Other One." Recorded at the Bickershaw Festival, it was the only show on this tour where the band broke out both of these beloved improvisational showpieces. Vol. 2 also includes "Good Lovin" and "Dire Wolf" from the April 26 show at Jahrhundert Halle in Frankfurt, West Germany. While much of that concert was released on 1995's Hundred Year Hall, these particular tracks were not included and have remained unreleased until now.
The high-quality sound heard on Vol. 2 stems from painstaking work done by Jeffrey Norman, who has been the primary mixer of the Dead's archival multi-track material for the past 15 years. For this release, he mixed each show from the original 16-track recordings while two-time Grammy®-winning engineer David Glasser mastered the music to HDCD specs.