May 16 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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 landed in Luxembourg, Luxembourg for a performance on Tuesday, May 16, 1972. Coming off a free show in Lille, France, the band – 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 two days off before their concert that was broadcast live on Radio Luxembourg.

Back on April 8, before the Dead played the second show of the tour in Wembley, England, tour manager Sam Cutler announced the May 16 Radio Luxembourg broadcast, pointing it out for those who were unable to get tickets to the concert.

The Theatre Hall in the Villa Louvigny building in Luxembourg was where the Dead performed on May 16 in front of approximately 500 people. The concert began at midnight and lasted just under three hours, making it one of the shortest performances of the Europe ‘72 Tour.

Prior to taking the stage, the band was emphatically introduced by DJ Kid Jensen. The David Gans-written liner notes for the officially released recording of the May 16, 1972 Radio Luxembourg performance quotes Simon Phillips, who listened to the show on the radio from Britain. According to Phillips, “David Jensen, the host of the Luxembourg show, was a London-based Canadian [who] adopted the name Kid Jensen, and went on to host the BBC music chart TV show Top Of The Pops.”

Jensen set up the Dead’s first set, telling the audience in the crowd and listening elsewhere:

Thank you Mark Wesley in the newsroom. This is Kid Jensen, good morning, in the Theatre Hall in the Villa Louvigny in Luxembourg. And for the second time in the history of Radio Luxembourg, a three-hour live broadcast. Tonight, with one of the pioneer groups that have changed the whole course of contemporary music over their last seven years in existence.


Originally a jug band in 1964, they are today rated as America’s finest. To all you listeners here in the hall, good morning. On short wave around the world, three FM stations in Germany, on the French long-wave, and on the medium-wave band in Britain, 208 meters. Radio Luxembourg, welcomes the Grateful Dead!

Just as it had in Lille and most often on the tour, the Garica-led “Bertha” opened the Luxembourg first set, marking its eighth and final time filling the opener slot. After “Bertha,” Weir wished those listening a “good morning, or good afternoon, or whatever is wherever you are.”

“Want to say hello to our friends in California,” Lesh added, “Where it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and sunny.”

Weir then dedicated “Me And My Uncle” to “the great state of Mexico.” The third song of the set was “Mr. Charlie,” which was one of just three songs to present Pigpen on lead vocals, as “Chinatown Shuffle” and “Hurts Me Too” came later in set one. With the end of the tour nearing, it was also nearing the end of Pigpen’s tenure in the Dead, as he would perform with the band just once more after returning stateside.

As was the case most often in Europe, the first set pairing of “China Cat Sunflower” into “I Know You Rider” came with a nifty jam during the transition from one song to the other with “Playing In The Band” providing the other dose of set one improvising.

The first set came to a close with Weir leading a cover of “The Promised Land.” It was not only the first time a first set closed with the song on the Europe ‘72 Tour, it was the cover’s first appearance of the tour and the first time Keith and Donna performed the song with the band. The Chuck Berry song would be played an additional three times over the course of the next five shows.

After “The Promised Land” tour debut, Weir gave some instructions for the radio listeners:

“Thank you, we’re gonna take a break and we’ll be back in just a few minutes,” Weir said. “So, whatever you want to do, go ahead and do it. You people out there listening on your radios might run to your refrigerators – or stand on your heads. Or whatever comes to your mind, and we’ll do the same. See you in a few minutes.”

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Jensen was back on the microphone at the start of the second set. This time a bit more concise in his delivery, his introduction stated:

“Thank you Dave Christian. Once again, Kid Jensen. If you’ve just joined us, this is Radio Luxembourg around the world on short wave, three FM stations to western Europe and medium wave on the AM band to Great Britain. A live recording, worldwide, second time for Luxembourg, first time, welcome back Grateful Dead!

“Truckin’” followed Jensen’s prompt, with Weir missing some of the lyrics. The nearly 12-minute “Truckin’” led into Kreutzmann taking a drum solo. The percussive breakdown segued into “The Other One,” which at 19-minutes was relatively restrained compared to other versions of “The Other One” played prior in Europe.

The rest of the set almost exactly mirrored the second set in Lille, which also began with “Truckin’” into drums in “The Other One.” The Dead swapped a longer cover of “Sing Me Back Home” where they had played “He’s Gone” and “Hurts Me Too” in Lille, and then ended the set just as they had in France with “Sugar Magnolia” (dedicated by Weir, “if Frankie’s still listening, this one’s for you”) and “Not Fade Away” into “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad” back into “Not Fade Away.” And there was also another “One More Saturday” encore.

None of the songs played in Luxembourg made the original Europe ‘72 live album. Portions of the show surfaced in the mid-1990s on an unofficial release called Dead De Luxe. The full show was released as part of the Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings box set (featuring the previously quoted liner notes) also includes the soundcheck from the Radio Luxembourg taping.

Of particular note is the soundcheck version of Johnny Cash’s “Big River” included with the official release. Not played publicly on the Europe ‘72 Tour, the Dead had previously performed the song once at their December 31, 1971 concert, which was also Donna’s first appearance with the band. Interestingly, the soundcheck in Luxembourg featured Garcia singing lead on the song typically sung by Weir. The band can also be heard soundchecking Weir’s “Sugar Magnolia” prior to going live on the radio.

Here are additional statistics and information regarding the 17th performance of the Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72 tour:

At-a-Glance

The Show

May 16, 1972

12 a.m.

500

192

The Music

13 songs / 73 minutes

7 songs / 71 minutes

20 Songs / 144 minutes
13 originals / 7 covers / 1 tour debuts

The Other One 19:36

Chinatown Shuffle 2:54

11:15

7 Jerry / 10 Bobby / 3 Pigpen

5

51


Soundcheck: Big River, Sugar Magnolia

Set One: Bertha, Me And My Uncle, Mr. Charlie, Sugaree, Black Throated Wind, Chinatown Shuffle, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, Beat It On Down The Line [1], Hurts Me Too, Tennessee Jed, Playing In The Band, Promised Land [2]

Set Two: Truckin’ > Drums > The Other One, Sing Me Back Home, Sugar Magnolia, Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad > Not Fade Away

Encore: One More Saturday Night

Notes:

  • [1] released on Europe ’72 Volume 2
  • [2] Last performance (by GD) 1971-08-23 (57 events ago)

Below, stream the official recording of the Grateful Dead’s May 16, 1972 concert at Radio Luxembourg in Luxembourg, Luxembourg or check out other recordings via Archive.org: