This is the funkiest the Grateful Dead had ever gotten in the studio, in my opinion.
The slick runs and blistering solos that characterize this album are among the best the Dead have ever recorded. Songs that had become concert standards abound here. The gliding "Help is On the Way," the tricky "Slipnot!" and the rolling "The Music Never Stopped" all appear here. Also, one of my favorite Dead tunes (and the reason I started listening to them in the first place), "Franklin's Tower" is on this album. Each time "Roll away the dew" is chanted, it gets better and better.
Other good tracks include the oddly-metered "Stronger than Dirt" and the Indianesque "Blues for Allah." There's a little bit of filler here, but not so much that it gets in the way.
The jazz influence on this album is very evident. That, combined with the incredible jamming talent of the Dead, makes this their best studio album outside of "American Beauty." It's true, the Dead are truly a live band, and though much of their studio material seems less powerful, I think a lot of it is retained on this album.