Grateful Dead’s _30 Trips Around the Sun_: First Look at Box, Premiere of “Cream Puff War” Music and Essay

August 25, 2015

In commemoration of the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary, the latest box set from the band will span the group’s touring career. 30 Trips Around the Sun presents one live show per year from 1966 through 1995. The set, which will be released on September 18 (and is now available for pre-order), also includes a 7” single of “Caution (Do Not Stop on the Tracks)” recorded during a 1965 studio session, while the B-side is 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. Today we present a first look at the ornate box that will house the 80-disc set (each will be individually numbered and limited to 6,500 copies). The box also includes a 288-page book with an extensive essay written by Nicholas Meriwether, who oversees the Dead archives at the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with reflections submitted by fans. Also inside is a scroll that “offers a visual representation of how the band’s live repertoire has evolved through the years.”

A four-CD version, 30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995, includes one song from each concert in the boxed set, along with the 1965 recording of “Caution” (click here for pre-order details). In addition Jesse Jarnow contributes an essay on each of the tracks. Today we also premiere the version of “Cream Puff War” from July 3,1966 at the Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, which appears in 30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995, followed by the Jarnow essay.

“Cream Puff War” (Garcia)

3 July 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA

The only Grateful Dead song written solely by Jerry Garcia, “Cream Puff War” was a staple of the band’s early sets at San Francisco’s new psychedelic dance halls, including the Family Dog-run Avalon Ballroom and the Bill Graham-operated Fillmore Auditorium. With spots for two Garcia guitar solos–one between verses, and one longer outro–the July 3rd take from the Fillmore reveals the band pushing modestly at the bounds of the song, beginning to blur the fine line between guitar solo and full-group improvisation. About halfway through the three minutes of outro, Pigpen flies momentarily into double-time on his Farfisa organ, subtly upping the tension for a few beats before locking into a new groove with drummer Bill Kreutzmann to fill in the rhythmic spaces between Garcia’s quizzical lines. Later in the year, the song’s short jams would become the first of Garcia’s original platforms for the distinctively psychedelic modal scales–ala The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” and the Dead’s later “Dark Star”–but by the time of the Dead’s 1967 Warner Brothers debut LP, the band would polish it down to a tight three minutes and change. Jesse Jarnow