Dick"s Picks 23: Baltimore Civic Center Baltimore"Dick" was Dick Latvala, the official tape archivist for the Grateful Dead until 1999, whose inspiration and encyclopedic knowledge of the band"s vaults spawned the fabled Dick"s Picks series of live Dead concert recordings. Comprised of 36 volumes, Dick"s Picks follows the band on its long, strange trip through a multitude of eras, tours and venues, featuring handpicked shows that display the band at its visionary, improvisational height. Now, Real Gone Music is finally bringing this unparalleled cache of Dead concert brilliance to record stores many of these volumes have never been available at music retail, and the others have been unavailable for close to a decade! GRATEFUL DEAD: Dick"s Picks Vol. 23 Baltimore Civic Center Baltimore, MD 9/17/72 (3-CD Set) It"s the topic of endless argument, but, bolstered by the legendary Europe "72 album and tour, consensus opinion holds that 1972 was the peak year for Grateful Dead live shows. And this Dick"s Picks volume certainly adds to the weight of evidence in favor of that view; recorded exactly three months after Pigpen left the band due to health reasons, this beautifully recorded (by Bear, presented here in HDCD sound) show features the organic yet focused ebbs and flows and unexpected improvisational twists that are characteristic of a classic Dead show. Among the highlights (and they are many) are a sublime, exploratory reading of "Playing in the Band," a soaring "Bird Song," a potent coupling of "China Cat Sunflower" and "I Know You Rider" and a surging, emotional hour-long medley of "He s Gone/"The Other One"/"Sing Me Back Home." Out of print for years and a real keeper.