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Despite the musical and lyrical eclecticism, innovative formal designs, and unconventional recording and production techniques of the Grateful Dead’s earliest studio albums, many fans and critics were skeptical that the Dead were capable of capturing the energy of their live concerts on record. The Dead were finally able to produce a distinctive form of recorded liveness with the release of Live/Dead in 1969, an artistic achievement and a critical success made possible by 16-track recording and mixing technologies. Subsequent live recordings reveal how, by the early 1970s, the Grateful Dead were content to produce live albums as a way of satisfying the material demands of the record industry. As purported documents of liveness, however, the band’s official releases owe more to the production techniques and editing processes more commonly associated with studio recordings. Consequently, a growing number of fans and critics were beginning to question the perceived authenticity of the form of recorded liveness that the Dead were promoting on their major label releases.

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