We may argue (good-naturedly, of course) about the BEST EVAR Dark Star. 10/31/70? The nearly hour-long journey to the center of Rotterdam from the Europe ’72 tour? The out-of-nowhere brilliance of 1/10/79? Cleveland ’72? Cleveland ’73?
If we’re honest: the best Dark Star is the one you’re listening to at the moment.
Unless you’re listening to this one: 12/31/81 from the Oakland Auditorium. Now, I’ve not listened to most of the 90’s Dark Stars because my time on this planet is finite, but none of them can possibly be as half-assed as this version. It is the dictionary definition of “ehh, fuck it.”
The rest of the show is worth a listen (and so is the DS: a bad Dark Star is still fucking Dark Star, maaaaaan), all three sets of it.
WARNING: Joan Baez.
BONUS: the recording I’ve linked to is courtesy of FoTotD David Gans, whose wonderful oral history of the band This is All a Dream We Dreamed can be purchased right over there on the sidebar.