I think we can all agree that every era has something special to offer as there are gems to be found throughout the entire history of the band. With that said, I think folks tend to gravitate towards certain eras more than others, and for me that would be '72-'74.
One of the perks of my job is I can stream the Internet Archive daily while I work. Now, the reason for this post is to share a version of PITB that I keep coming back to over and over again from November 18, 1972 in Houston. The jam in this particular version just ebbs and flows with stunning interplay between every member of the band. Phil is an absolute animal, Bobby's phrasing is locked in perfectly with Billy, Keith's fills are extremely tasteful, and then there's Jer and his wah pedal....incredible. Check out the point in the jam at 18:30! My co-workers give me strange looks when they see me with a huge perma grin with my headphones on.
Like I mentioned, everyone has their favorite periods. In my humble opinion, the boys were at the peak of their craft in the early to mid 70's with Keith, and Billy as the lone drummer. Even though Bobby thinks the peak was the late 80's which also kicked ass, as did the early '80's.
Anyway, I felt the need to share this and if you have about 26 minutes to spare and enjoy versions of Playin' from 1972, I encourage you to give this version a listen and see if it makes you smile.
If anyone here was in attendance for this one, I'd love to hear your recollection of the evening.