Grateful Dead 'Beat Club' Show Coming to Big Screen

Posted on June 9, 2014 | by Jason Walsh

If you can remember a Grateful Dead concert from 1972—you weren’t really there.

So it’s a good thing the band’s Europe ’72 tour is truckin’ to the big screen this summer as part of Rhino Records’ and Fathom Events’ annual “Meet Up at the Movies” series of Dead shows.

On July 17 at 7:30pm, more than 360 movie theaters across the country will present Beat Club 4/21/72, an audio-remastered studio documentary which finds the band taking a break from its legendary 1972 tour of Europe to tape a spot for the West Germany’s Beat Club television program. The film features the band in what many critics consider its “classic” lineup playing at its creative peak. The song list—a condensed version of the tour set—includes such highlights as “Bertha,” “Sugaree,” “Playing in the Band,” and “Truckin’.”

Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux describes viewing the session’s 20-minute version of “The Other One”—not to mention a “way out there” take on “Playing in the Band”—as a “truly remarkable experience.”

"There's never been a show from this era filmed so clearly in its entirety, and this audiovisual document captures the band at arguably their creative zenith,” says Lemieux. “As a Dead Head and an archivist, this is some of the most exciting footage of the Dead I've ever come across.”

Some of the takes from the show have been in circulation on YouTube, but this is the first time the Beat Club performance has been shown in its entirety.

For a list of participating theaters, visit

Meanwhile, check out the above clip of the Dead performing “Beat It On Down the Line” from that legendary Beat Club performance.

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