With the ongoing celebration of the band’s 50th anniversary and the upcoming reunion shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Grateful Dead have arguably been more visible in 2015 than in any point since the passing of Jerry Garcia in 1995. The long strange trip continues this fall with Rhino Records’ release of the band’s most lavish release to date. 30 Trips Around the Sun, due on September 18, is a whopping collection of never-before-released live Dead. It will be available both as an 80-CD box set and a lightning bolt-shaped USB drive.
This one -of-a-kind set features 73 hours of music and premieres 30 previously unreleased live concerts, one for each year the band was together, from 1966 to 1995. One track from 1965 rounds out the collection. The 80-CD edition is housed in an ornate box that is individually numbered and limited to 6,500 copies, referencing the band’s formation in 1965. Along with the CDs, it also includes a gold-colored 7-inch vinyl single which bookends the Dead’s career. The A-side is “Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)” from the band’s earliest recording session in 1965, while the B-side features the last song the band ever performed together live, “Box Of Rain,” recorded during their final encore at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 9, 1995.
The press release quotes Grateful Dead archivist and producer David Lemieux: “When we began discussing audio projects to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead back in 2012, we knew we wanted to do something completely unprecedented. We could think of nothing more exciting or ambitious than a career-spanning overview of the band’s live legacy focused on what best tells the story: complete concerts. Our first criterion was the very best live music to represent any given year in the band’s history. We wanted to make sure that there were not only the tentpole shows that fans have been demanding for decades but also ones that are slightly more under the radar, but equally excellent. For those who listen to the entire box straight through, chronologically, the narrative of the Grateful Dead’s live legacy will be seen as second to none in the pantheon of music history.”
Rhino is rolling out the specific information as to each concert included. The first four shows featured in the box have been announced today and include:
- 11/10/67 – Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
- 10/27/79 – Cape Cod Coliseum, South Yarmouth, Massachusetts
- 9/18/87 – Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
- 10/1/94 – Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
The remaining shows and complete track listing will be revealed in the coming weeks on dead.net. The label assures fans and collectors that all 30 of the unreleased shows in 30 Trips will not be available for individual purchase on CD at any time in the future.
The box set also includes a 288-page book that features an extensive historical essay written by Nick Meriwether, who oversees the Dead archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz, plus special remembrances of the band submitted by fans. Also featured is a scroll that offers a visual representation of how the band’s live repertoire has evolved through the years. The USB edition is shaped like a gold lightning bolt, with the band’s 50th anniversary logo engraved on the side. The drive includes all of the music from the collection in both FLAC (96/24) and MP3 formats and is an individually numbered limited edition of 1,000 copies.
If 73 hours of Dead is a little too much for your tastes or wallet but you still want to celebrate the band’s immense legacy, Rhino has a highlights package coming, too. September 18 will also see the release of a four-CD version of the collection titled 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995. This sampler boasts 30 previously unreleased performances – one from each concert in the box set – plus the 1965 recording of “Caution.” Dead aficionado Jesse Jarnow provides the liner notes addressing each track in the collection. This distillation will be available on CD as well as digitally.
Both the boxed set and the USB drive will be individually numbered limited editions and are available now for pre-order exclusively at Dead.net for $699.98 each with a release date of September 18. You can peruse the track listing of the 4-CD highlights edition. and place a pre-order, now at Amazon U.S. and Amazon U.K., below!
Grateful Dead, 30 Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995 (Rhino, 2015) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
- “Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)” – 1965
- “Cream Puff War” – 1966
- “Viola Lee Blues” – 1967
- “Dark Star” – 1968
- “Doin’ That Rag” – 1969
- “Dancing In The Street” – 1970
- “The Rub” – 1971
- “Tomorrow Is Forever” – 1972
- “Here Comes Sunshine” – 1973
- “Uncle John’s Band” – 1974
- “Franklin’s Tower” – 1975
- “Scarlet Begonias” – 1976
- “Estimated Prophet” – 1977
- “Samson and Delilah” – 1978
- “Lost Sailor Saint Of Circumstance” – 1979
- “Deep Elem Blues” – 1980
- “Shakedown Street” – 1981
- “Bird Song” – 1982
- “My Brother Esau” – 1983
- “Feel Like A Stranger” – 1984
- “Let It Grow” – 1985
- “Comes A Time” – 1986
- “Morning Dew” – 1987
- “Not Fade Away” – 1988
- “Blow Away” – 1989
- “Ramble On Rose” – 1990
- “High Time” – 1991
- “Althea” – 1992
- “Broken Arrow” – 1993
- “So Many Roads” – 1994
- “Visions Of Johanna” – 1995