Jesse Jarnow

#deadfreaksunite 1973 (revisited)

#deadfreaksunite 1973 (revisited)
tape-by-tape notes

An extended listening project tracking the Grateful Dead’s evolution, recording by recording. Originally posted on Twitter on each show’s 40th/50th anniversary and edited here for readability and occasional revision/correction and minor expansion. Many shows streamable via archive.org. Expanded notes for many shows (with press, scene reports, and images) can be found on Twitter by searching for my username (bourgwick) and the show date. Please consult JerryBase for the latest data, Dead Sources for original articles (1965-1975), and LostLiveDead/Hootrollin for deep dives. My notes on my first full pass through 1973. Grateful Deadcast transcripts for May-June 1973, Watkins Glen, & Wake of the Flood are here.

[1965] [1966] [1967] [1968] [1969] [1970] [1971] [1972] [1973] [1974] [1975] [1976] [1977] [1978] [1979] [1980] [1981] [1982] [1983]

2/9/73 palo alto: a classic tape with 7 garcia/hunter debuts & introduction of new monitor-free sound system with noise-cancelling double-microphones, forerunner to wall of sound. garcia & lesh switch sides on stage, too, making it like the ’80s/‘90s l-to-r configuration through june. 1st hometown show since the ’67 palo alto be-in. big bounce is way palpable from 1st notes of PROMISED LAND opener. allegedly, all the tweeters blew out on 1st note, but not exactly audible. credible scene reports involve gym floor (including stage & speakers) rising/falling in waves. garcia immediately debuts ROW JIMMY, at a much brisker tempo than where it will land, no garcia slide guitar yet. 1st LOOKS LIKE RAIN since 7/72, now without lesh’s backing vocal. boo! hiss! think weir has new guitar compression? debut of LOOSE LUCY. unlike MONEY MONEY at least musically appealing. love the bounce of the early versions. @corry342 thinks it was written for pigpen to sing & i can totally hear it. 1st HERE COMES SUNSHINE, almost 10 minutes, already in glorious bloom with ragged/effective 4-part harmonies & rainbow guitaring. hearty 19-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND. i am now firmly in the camp that blames the new monitor-less system & noise-cancelling microphones for why donna jean’s singing is less-than-great in this era. after singing pretty well throughout ’72, suddenly with the switch to the new system, something’s not right with her vocals. wavy gravy speechifies before 2nd set, raising money for bach mai hospital in hanoi, bombed by americans over christmas, before a great intro, “polish your rainbows… and here they are, the rainbow makers, right?” & tremendous CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 1st dead version of the sweet THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, song #1 in the deadhead wedding band fakebook, performed previous fall by garcia/saunders, per credible witness & in early uptempo form. sweeping & remarkably compact 32-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL, debut for the latter 2, the dual centerpiece of the new batch of garcia/hunter songs. paired together throughout ’73, i think EYES & CHINA DOLL were intended to be a mini-suite. a new swingin’ vibe & instantly a major new jam, EYES transforms 2nd sets, here dancing between ambling & rambling, losing steam & re-forming several times (minus the yet-unwritten 7/8 coda) & melting into the delicate CHINA DOLL. then, nearly another hour of boogie, including a scorching BIG RIVER & the debut of WAVE THAT FLAG, the 1st draft of U.S. BLUES. somewhat disposable, but some fun alternate lyrics that hunter keeps rewriting over the course of the year. “eat at dave’s / sleep in caves / read the raves / walk on waves.”

2/15/73 madison: tape begins with rare bit of soundcheck (JACK STRAW & BOX OF RAIN). 2nd ever LOOSE LUCY is only ever show-opening version & 2nd HERE COMES SUNSHINE opens 2nd set (big & bold), really sellin’ the new tunes, playing them all except for the iffy WAVE THAT FLAG. in their early uptempo versions, ROW JIMMY & THEY LOVE EACH OTHER feel like groovier extensions of the “europe ’72” bounce. garcia briefly (maybe) half-quotes FIRST THERE A MOUNTAIN in between CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. 15-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, compact & bright, garcia moving slightly to background for opaque conversation. donna jean godchaux gets her 1st lead vocal, debuting loretta lynn’s YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH. not the keeper, but fun addition. 45-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. 1st ’73 DARK STAR is gentle & cymbal-heavy, lotsa volume-knob swells, sustained kreutzmann dance. post-verse, a bass solo (not the PHILO STOMP) & transition some say sounds like garcia’s LOVE SCENE from “zabriskie point.” don’t hear it. in EYES, garcia & lesh sketch new 7/8 ending.

2/17/73 st. paul: don’t know if it’s that the band has graduated to giant indoor venues or if their new monitor-less sound system isn’t quite giving them the monitoring they need & they’re shouting, or if it’s that the weird noise-cancelling vocal mics are extra-unsympathetic, but nobody’s singing is at its finest. choice of material doesn’t help, with drowsy early evening combo of HE’S GONE & LOOKS LIKE RAIN, the former featuring scatting by multiple suspects. 1st ’73 BIRD SONG, 11 minutes & quietly overflowing, garcia floating on little melody gusts & drifting off again. stark, luminous STELLA BLUE, entering year as standalone song. 15 minutes of soft-hued PLAYING IN THE BAND dances. ROW JIMMY a few bpm slower than 1st 2 versions. almost jamless 2nd set save buoyant 20-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE > CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, not so much a transition as sleight-of-hand revealing how similar the grooves are.

2/19/73 chicago: in their nudie suits. the new riders of the purple sage open. lots missing, but the jammy heart of the show survives on a great recording by owsley stanley. scene reports indicate weird vibes, but surviving tape is fantastic. magical soft-snared mix of 69 (nice!) minutes of HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. bass-led TRUCKIN’ exit. most of the 1-verse OTHER ONE is lesh-led, with dreamy post-verse bridge into 1st essential EYES. all dance/dart lazily, getting wider, disintegrating, returning to theme & finally to now-articulated 7/8 coda, itself disintegrating & recombobulating.

2/21/73 champaign-urbana: garcia playing new tunes in his 1st slot nearly every night. this evening, the only ever show-opening WAVE THAT FLAG. lesh’s vocal returns for the final chorus of LOOKS LIKE RAIN. gang harmonies sound nice on ROW JIMMY. 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER doesn’t exactly go minor in the middle, but there’s moody ambiguity occurring. 38-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE, the band still mapping passages to EYES. tonight, it almost starts 2x before they get there. after a breakneck bass solo, kreutzmann hits a reset, they drop into space, & build up at proper tempo. still finding passages out, too, the gearwork loosening but never fully stating the 7/8 coda, & folding a little clumsily into a magnificent STELLA BLUE.

2/22/73 champaign-urbana: many vocals are again a bit meh, combo of harsh recording texture, off harmonies, & occasional weird mixing. 11-minute BIRD SONG & 14-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND provide ether access. end of 1st set is missing, though. 37-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. patient floating-apart post-verse, kretuzmann briefly deploying comic, martian flexatone. brief meltdown triggers EYES. dense thrills but 7/8 coda is iffy.

2/24/73 iowa city: 46 minutes of soundboard are fantastic quality, including 21-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, kreutzmann riding the crash like a demon, plus excellent lead bass where lesh does that thing playing rapid upper-register double-time over everybody else (or something?) before jam shimmers into wateriness. then, big fun 18-minute excerpt from the post-EYES sequence, bass solo developing into bright FEELIN’ GROOVY jam & detailed coda, landin’ gently before SUGAR MAGNOLIA. grungy audience tape shows off new system, can really hear everybody pretty well. the taper nopes YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH, stops after 30 seconds. the full 42-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > SUGAR MAGNOLIA puts soundboard excerpt in context. TRUCKIN’ moves into NOBODY’S FAULT jam, opens outward, & turns into a gorgeous garcia/lesh EYES prelude. no 7/8 coda, feinting towards OTHER ONE before thromping into aforementioned bass solo sequence.

2/26/73 pershing: excellent 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER left off “dick’s picks” is 1st to contain hint of the FEELIN’ GROOVY transition, lesh briefly hitting the bassline. follows the jam’s return to rotation at the previous show. the new songs sound especially boss, “woo!”-filled LOOSE LUCY with an exuberant spring, carrying over into BIG RAILROAD BLUES, though several songs edited out between them. THEY LOVE EACH OTHER works nicely as set opener, a boogie overture. 52-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP. bright DARK STAR themes loosen until lesh urges band into his jazzy 6/8 diversion before hitting verse around 17 minutes. gnarly noise erupts under post-verse semi-PHILO STOMP bass solo & lesh eventually slows into 1st great EYES segue. similarly, maybe 1st time band all hits EYES coda together. mostly. love hearing kreutzmann & keith jump on garcia’s move into powerful HALF-STEP.

2/28/73 salt lake city: featuring an increasingly rare appearance by the heavy water light show (maybe their last with the dead?), then in residence at nearby planetarium. weirdly short, maybe some tuning shaved out? 12-minute HE’S GONE gets pretty crackling after the extended vocal outro. quiet garcia songs sound lovely, ROW JIMMY jewel-like after one tour. 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER opens 2nd set, luxuriating in the joyous shred-space beyond weir’s transition riff before dropping fully into RIDER (where lesh is still lead vocalist, per tonight’s mix). heavy water lights visible behind garcia. 56-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > MORNING DEW. TRUCKIN’ takes the NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE & bass solo route into THE OTHER ONE. post-verse jam gets dense & beautiful, lesh/kreutzmann/godchaux making weird jazz pockets. long sweet EYES (nice lyric swap: “lazy country home”), exploring the spaces in the coda before settling into perfectly titanic DEW. 1st BID YOU GOODNIGHT since 8/71 closes show/tour, with original trio vocals for last time.

3/15/73 nassau coliseum: phil lesh’s 33rd birthday & the 1st show since pigpen’s death. sons of champlin open. bill graham introduces the band members one by one, nothin’ fancy. garcia leans into his new material, playing only 4 then-released songs. the audience portions of the tape really capture the lawnguyland energy, especially the singalong TENNESSEE JED, which seems to acquire an extra l’il pep in the jam. HERE COMES SUNSHINE happily returns after getting semi-shelved for last part of early winter tour, a new 1st set jammer for the year. 54-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. not much happening in TRUCKIN’, but swings into jazz mode as they switch into OTHER ONE, lesh attempting to derail them again just before 1st verse. post-verse freak scene settles into EYES, which hits a cool expansive pocket before reaching the coda, which is tentative but open/jammy.

3/16/73 nassau coliseum: in their nudie suits for the last time i believe. the new riders of the purple sage open, replacing sons of champlin after the sons have to cancel their tour due to deaths in the family.  lesh introduces bill graham & graham once again introduces the band. “for new and old members of the fan club, we’d like to introduce some of the boys individually.” weir (i think) cheers for garcia. dandy of a 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, 1st to feature fully developed & fuckin’ exuberant FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, migrated from DARK STAR & a transition feature until the road hiatus in late ’74. fun to hear everybody circle & then jump in full force. last show with all the big late ’72 jams (DARK STAR, PLAYING IN THE BAND, CHINA/RIDER, & BIRD SONG) & rare ’73 show without EYES OF THE WORLD. 1st local cheer for “just like new york city” in RAMBLE ON ROSE. garcia’s WAVE THAT FLAG vocals still tentative, but rest of band (especially k. godchaux) sinking teeth into it. elegant BIRD SONG variation by garcia in 1st jam, lesh pushing band higher in 2nd. 20-minute PLAYING with nice bass stomp that sends jam in slightly different direction. ironic, given the harsh police presence at these shows…
garcia: all you people throwing joints on the stage, why don’t you light them up…
lesh: …& pass them to your neighbor. we’re *already high*!
weir: & if you’re throwing anything heavy out there, just make sure you’re throwing it at someone you don’t like.
lesh (genuinely pondering it): i guess that’s right?
51-minute DARK STAR > TRUCKIN’ > MORNING DEW starts with confused harmonies, establishing 5+ minutes of dreaminess. threatening to space out, kreutzmann snaps into a beat & turns into a detailed swing-shuffle weird-out, garcia playing slide for a bit. post-verse freakouts lead to short minor space that feels headed for DAYS BETWEEN 20 years early. instead, short TRUCKIN’ gets within breath of the big not-yet-worked-out peak & lands in DEW. props to weir for not forcing anything after it.

3/19/73 nassau coliseum: a folkloric event – the night that HE’S GONE becomes “about” pigpen, the 1st version since his death, with many slightly exaggerated memories. there’s no audible dedication to him. probably some of the story sources from an ambiguous reference in a review of the show by the hero lenny kaye in rolling stone, his last time reviewing the dead before becoming a full-time musician, i believe. weir watch: a new lyric sets up MEXICALI BLUES to achieve title, “made me trade the gallows for the…” switches to “now i spend my lifetime running with the…” 1st dead version of george jones’s THE RACE IS ON since 5/70 after weir brings it back with the new riders the night before & 1st time electric. also makes me wonder if weir saw christgau’s very positive newsday review of 3/15 where he suggests the band introduce some new covers. 15-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND eschews freakout for lovely mellow jam bubbling with piano/bass colors, which i just looped 3 times. band takes time even in 2nd set, standalone songs setting up 22-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > STELLA BLUE > JACK STRAW. slight but effective linkages with sweet energy flow, though garcia’s fully occupied STELLA BLUE & nice soundboard both help a lot. weir’s JACK STRAW vocals getting microscopically more histrionic. 51-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. i believe this is the 1st time they all hit the big peak in the TRUCKIN’ jam, collectively written gradually over previous 2+ years. comes pretty early here, settling into one of the more-developed NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE themes. OTHER ONE floats down to similar mellow bubbling as 1st set PLAYING.

3/21/73 utica: appreciating ROW JIMMY’s cryptic americana & its particular sway that’s slightly more western than country, but not really either.
lesh [almost snarling]: for all you ST. STEPHEN fans out there [big cheers] *we don’t do that song anymore*
weir: yeah, we had to quit doing it cuz you liked it too much.
15-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND is both more up & more static than other recent versions. 2nd set features lesh’s more militaristic take on the “take a step back” routine. shouts to naked god dude mentioned in article. 1st BROKEDOWN PALACE of the year has ace piano & subtle 1-drummer swing. 50-minute WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE > DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT. tried a few times in ’72, this is 1st time whole band clicks with the not-yet-titled PRELUDE, excellent set-up to DARK STAR. 1st jam stays in gentle orbit; noisier 2nd with kreutzmann tracing beats inside pick-scrape clouds. EYES builds to dense intricacies coalescing into glorious coda & 1st ’73 WHARF RAT.

3/22/73 utica: weir & garcia finally find a pleasing guitar texture for LOOKS LIKE RAIN. still nothin’ on the pedal steel versions, but back to a nice softness. really fantastic 11-minute BIRD SONG with assertive 1st jam & equally assertive but much quieter 2nd jam where godchaux/weir/lesh/kreutzmann find a quiet, vibrant weave that sounds like #ECM #jazz underneath garcia’s high pinched harmonics. apparently the pigs are in the house & most amusingly (on tape, but also in general) lesh becomes the band’s onstage representative. “the man is hassling our people at the booth, so we’ve gotta make this announcement about the fire aisle…” just utter chaos as lesh tries to explain with dripping sarcasm. “is that alright sir, now?” garcia: “try to keep your fires in the fire aisle.” weir: “who’s that lighting up back there?” lesh: “last & not least, the narcs are among you in force.” primo example of the the era’s one-two 1st set-closing jam combo. another glorious CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, patiently jamming through the usual peak & (everybody now being ready for it) turning decisively on a dime into the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam, getting big cheers & hanging for a few minutes before gliding into RIDER. super-fine 15-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, lesh dotting & chattering & dancing & pushing band to weird a little, garcia shading in flickering arpeggios. 9-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE feels more confident in 2nd set, band finally getting inside dynamics (or maybe its the tape), cheers for transitions. great set-up for substantial 56-minute TRUCKIN’ > OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. another especially developed NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE theme. long OTHER ONE denouement, garcialogue & noisy bass pluckings. sleek & soaring EYES shifts nearly imperceptibly into thrilling coda jam. fragile perfect CHINA DOLL.

3/24/73 philadelphia: mammoth show starts with nearly half-hour of uptempo tunes & takes a while to unfold. nearly 2-hour 1st set has modest HERE COMES SUNSHINE & sparkling 19-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, slipping into democratic space-swing. garcia’s soft wah-wah guitar makes excellent bed for driving lead bass, weir adding leads, too. another delightful CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with FEELIN’ GROOVY transition, made better by exquisite mix. marquee event is 59-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > DARK STAR > SING ME BACK HOME. long vocal jam in HE’S GONE sets up rip-snortin’ TRUCKIN’, patiently hitting new mega-peak & disintegrating. garcia signals DARK STAR but, before anyone can state the theme, band gallops off for 20 A+ thematic minutes, left-turning into 1st SPANISH JAM since 2/70 (& 2nd since ’68) & developing it pretty fully before melting/floating into a verse of DARK STAR before 1st lush SING ME BACK HOME of the year.

3/26/73 baltimore: big americana feels leading off, weir’s chuck berry & george jones covers balancing with (& enhanced by) garcia/hunter’s weirder take via MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP & WAVE THAT FLAG. garcia’s WAVE THAT FLAG delivery finally starting to sound more confident & charming & punchline-like. 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is pretty happening & lit even before the peak & the FEELIN’ GROOVY transition. wolfman jack hisself comes out before the 2nd set & growls an introduction, encourages crowd to light matches for the dead; “everybody love one another right now.” band clicks into RAMBLE ON ROSE behind him with its reference to him, which gets solid cheers. (the release of the WJ-canonizing “american graffiti” is still a few months away.) assured HERE COMES SUNSHINE dynamics working in lovely focus & detail. 1st CANDYMAN of year is rusty, but nice solo. 48-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE > WHARF RAT. nice blend in the HE’S GONE vocal outro, sweet night for donna. elegant garcia slide guitar TRUCKIN’ outro leads to most fully-formed version yet of weir’s instrumental, articulating into a rich, moody jam it’ll sadly lose when formalized. 27-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > MORNING DEW. EYES purposefully & inventively climbs towards tight group execution of the coda, dynamics carrying into detailed group build in DEW.

3/28/73 springfield, MA: 1st ever CUMBERLAND BLUES show opener (of 2) is tip-top, garcia’s banjo-freshened phrasing pretty audibly carrying over from recent old & in the way gigs. garcia plays 8 of his 9 new songs, everything besides CHINA DOLL. for reasons i can’t quite understand, AROUND & AROUND is extra hopped-up, with lit-sounding weir ad-libbing lyrics & over-emphasized chords. lesh announces interstate smoke-in on 4/19 at hartford capitol, 12 noon, gets big cheers. “bring your own.” 48-minute WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE > DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD. DARK STAR abstracts before garcia pops a string or has to take a leak. awkward garcia-less break briefly sounds like an ‘80s pre-DRUMZ. when garcia gets back, jam instantly de-scatters. post-verse, drums disappear for sustained insect dread, lesh leading charge into visceral noise. sleepy & on-point EYES lands cleanly before 15-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, rare for 2nd set, a gentle late-show space-dance comedown.

3/30/73 rochester: crackling CUMBERLAND BLUES cuts through cruddy audience tape, but BIRD SONG kinda lost in the muck, besides a dense & slightly unusual outro. high-fidelity flips on just in time for 14-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND set closer, decent low-key conversation. virtually every CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER of the FEELIN’ GROOVY era is a highlight. still baffled as to why somebody (weir?) clearly says “BEEP!” at the 1:10 mark of RIDER. 46-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. long TRUCKIN’ epilogue, garcia switching to slide & laying back, godchaux (kinda) stepping to the front for cool jazz/blues hang that almost turns into EYES but dissipates to nearly-empty garcialessness for a moment before the song starts. rare NOT FADE AWAY sequence feels misplaced in the post-EYES gloaming.

3/31/73 buffalo: “short” 86-minute 1st set, with only 17-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND. feels a bit like an ‘80s version, floating in place & accelerating a little bit. 2nd set opens with another turn going between PROMISED LAND/BERTHA/GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD via next-beat bops. 48-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > I KNOW YOU RIDER. apeshit cheer for local TRUCKIN’ reference. can hear band working on big peak, hitting it quickly & doubling back more deliberately & half-missing. lots of sub-themes: NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE before wee drum break opens into fairly developed pre-verse multi-flare SPANISH JAM. after the verse, nothingness & reformation. lesh suggests FEELIN’ GROOVY & they do, leading naturally to only CHINA CAT-less RIDER between ’70 & ’85.

4/2/73 boston garden: a tour closer that sounded pretty fried ’n’ frayed on 1st listen, but slightly better on revisit. they don’t skimp on stage-time, despite having the new riders opening, with 3.5 hours of music, including more than a new album’s worth of material, apparently ending close to 2 in the morning. 17-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND wastes no time, typically devastating, crackling dynamics/interplay. weir watch – new method of crowd control. “you folks that are crushing to the front will be alarmed & dismayed to know that we just let loose a bushel of spiders, big fat tarantulas, up front here,” he sez. “and hotttt ssssnakes.” after the slightly manic AROUND & AROUND in springfield, it feels like dialed down, closer to the sluggish later versions. conversely, weir’s SUNSHINE DAYDREAM scream-out seems slightly dialed up, as it has past few versions. if feeling generous, 52-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE > ME & BOBBY McGEE > WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL is almost a continuous musical thought. a fun 1-time sequence anchored by only “out” HERE COMES SUNSHINE (wish it’d happened more often), zapping into noise & cross-fading to BOBBY McGEE. last PRELUDE before full suite is written, love it as a modular piece. rippin’ EYES. CHINA DOLL especially hushed despite cavernous venue, gorgeous bass counterpoint.

5/13/73 des moines: the dead really take their time. 1st time for ROW JIMMY & THEY LOVE EACH OTHER & others in their natural daylight habitat, though not quite a sunny afternoon. garcia tests drives his new (& never again played) eagle guitar, made by doug irwin, & guessing it’s during 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, with typically ace FEELIN’ GROOVY interlude but also a bit out of tune. weir tags AROUND & AROUND to the end of DON’T EASE ME IN & it sorta works. mellowness of the day definitely underscored by the TENNESSEE JED 2nd set opener. in 2nd set, some threat of rain during LOOKS LIKE RAIN & one of the first dead-control-the-weather moments when the sun comes out during HERE COMES SUNSHINE (though rain apparently arrives later). jam star of the 2nd set is 28-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, getting right down to the conversation, a few moments of frenzy but settling into more bubbling mellowness. a rainbow at some point, too, possibly double. 67-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. weir substitutes “des moines” for “detroit” in TRUCKIN’, 1st time with regional variant, i believe. big peak is messy fun, exiting into a lesh/kreutzmann bridge. OTHER ONE hovers in mellowness, floating into brief not-quite SPANISH theme. after verse, squonk & good crossfade into EYES with squalls & resolutions. think weir is also soloing in SUNSHINE DAYDREAM.

5/20/73 santa barbara: garcia has a cold, apparently treated with pharmaceutical cocaine. his voice is a bit scratchy & getting scratchier throughout. sounds uncomfortable, though still sweeter & more listenable than the “laryngitis” shows of ’78. longish 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER finds some tiny melancholic places just beyond the FEELIN’ GROOVY jam before RIDER. exquisite 19-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND with all 5 musicians weaving in percolating hyper-detail, sharp sense of group movement & clarity of purpose. 2nd set is filled with afternoon dance numbers but largely jam-free besides 10-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE, in spring splendor. pretty happening GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, the ST. STEPHEN-esque wah-wah licks still pretty tasty & pronounced. 52-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE. nifty garcia licks under “you’re sick of hangin’ around” verse of TRUCKIN’, which dazzles through the newish peak, moves through the semi-usual NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE theme, & turns inside-out into glorious swing-space. short OTHER ONE dispenses with verse quickly. after the freakout, kreutzmann drives more quiet, detailed swing that flips into EYES with thoughtful spiraling down into STELLA BLUE.

5/26/73 kezar stadium: with waylon jennings & the new riders of the purple sage. a go-to tape, largely due to betty cantor jackson’s magical mix. prototype runs for bill graham’s day on the green(s), alembic’s delay towers, & rock med tent. 1st show in the haight since ’68. show really takes its time getting going, but once the mix settles, the garcia tunes are just blissful spring dead. lotsa piano, but they forget to turn up the rhodes until the very end of the 17-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, which has A+ stereo spread otherwise. sounds much fuller when godchaux switches to rhodes during jams in 2nd set opening HERE COMES SUNSHINE, a nice texture change, though not sounding totally comfortable just yet. healthy 12-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER is another bit of uncut spring, especially hitting during the FEELIN’ GROOVY transition. 60-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL, very ’73, last of 4 versions. TRUCKIN’ murks gradually into a drums/bass transition with lesh mega-stomp. post-verse OTHER ONE jam takes scattered, mellow route to EYES. more switching back & forth to electric keys during incremental climbing to 7/8 coda.

6/9/73 RFK stadium: “only” 2 sets & 3.5 hours! great summer vibes from garcia in 1st set. more testy in real life, apparently. weir asks people to stop climbing onto the stage. LOOSE LUCY is a snappy ~10bpm faster & makes room for more of a jam, instead of just trading solos. only a minute longer than earlier versions, but different feel. great gang vocals. bunch of jams in 2nd set. sparkling piano through FEELIN’ GROOVY transition in 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. nice group vocals continue on 49-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > PLAYING IN THE BAND. post-vocals, HE’S GONE bends upwards into TRUCKIN’. which disintegrates into semi-aimlessness. garcia winks at MORNING DEW & HERE COMES SUNSHINE, clear they’re going for something besides the OTHER ONE, but PLAYING wins out. fascinating conversation, godchaux’s electric keys almost entirely missing from mix. compact/direct 18-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL.

6/10/73 RFK stadium: rare MORNING DEW opener signals biz. surprising intimacy & almost effortless dynamics for a football stadium. all the garcia tunes are sparkling delights, even WAVE THAT FLAG, locale appropriate & last version before it’s retooled as US BLUES. 12-minute BIRD SONG with wonderful conversation on both sides of drum break, some thrilling piano. 18-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND gets swoopy & intricate, brilliant fast-moving counterpoint by weir, godchaux floating by on rhodes. 30-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE opens 2-hour 2nd set, 1st (& always rare) EYES set opener. might be more dynamic on audience tape, stretching the build to the 7/8 coda. can really hear lesh driving jam in 1st sections, weir’s minimalist slashing coming to front, & then lesh moving up again. garcia accidentally (?) loses melody in STELLA BLUE, finds new one. sparkling 11-minute full-color HERE COMES SUNSHINE comes with big bolts of bass. 48-minute DARK STAR > HE’S GONE > WHARF RAT. satisfying fully-formed 15-minute pre-verse jam with high-speed maneuvers, sub-themes, PHILO STOMP bass solo, & landing. after the verse, gentle electric keys & guitar colors go sideways into a gradual but quite full bass zorp-out. a good zorp-out. and thorough. WHARF RAT’s a little rusty but kreutzmann lays out entirely during the bridge. wonderfully quiet music in big, big stadium. TRUCKIN’ & SUGAR MAGNOLIA appropriately big. hour-long 3rd set superjam features dickey betts, butch trucks, & merl saunders or chuck leavell (or both). mega-hippie bullshit but also great, owing to the righteousness of the betts/garcia & kreutzmann/trucks combos. sweet vibe melding. lurvely GD debut of bob dylan’s TRAIN TO CRY & then moldies: 1 elvis, 1 buddy holly, 2 chuck berry. 31-minute NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > DRUMZ > NOT FADE AWAY overflows with harmony leads; lesh, too. even JOHNNY B. GOODE rocks.

6/22/73 vancouver: all 3 NW shows rescheduled from earlier in the spring. final 1st set to feature the big jamming BIRD SONG, PLAYING IN THE BAND, & CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER. standard ’73 sunshined CHINA/RIDER with the FEELIN’ GROOVY transition. shimmering 14-minute BIRD SONG with godchaux’s rhodes back in lush & gentle conversation & adding unexpected peaks in finale. splendid 19-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, shimmering bright & traveling far with rhodes & bass interjections, semi-phish-like before easing back. set-opening 12-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE has self-propelling feel with co-leads by weir. PROMISED LAND feels extra-speedy. 1st BLACK PETER since 10/72. 61-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT with much substance. TRUCKIN’ jam segments include non-minimal drums/bass (with fun garcia harmonization at one point), super-minimal/ambient guitar/bass/rhodes, & patient ramble towards OTHER ONE, which has a more compact move from abstraction to shattering anthropoidal zap sesh.

6/24/73 portland, OR: stellar, but save CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER/I KNOW YOU RIDER with the FEELIN’ GROOVY transition, no real lift-off ’til 50-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. DARK STAR floats a bit until lesh upshifts, garcia & weir harmonizing figures, & band locks for 10 captivating minutes before 1st verse. keith is absent, his rhodes not captured by this sub-mix. he/it finally turns up quietly in deep space, boosted in time for fully realized EYES & prominent in outro.

6/26/73 seattle: increasingly rare CASEY JONES opener, 1st since ’71, last ’til ’77. 16-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND moves through rhodes dances & glorious bass storms. 65-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & BOBBY McGEE > THE OTHER ONE > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. last BOBBY McGEE inside OTHER ONE, fairly mild until extended final immolation. transition saved by kreutzmann, keeping the space cymbals going until weir’s safely into the SUGAR MAG intro.

6/29/73 universal amphitheatre: 18-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND (with some cuts) ascends into cloud-space with sky-toned rhodes & soft-hued garcia. 56-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > MORNING DEW. working out the TRUCKIN’ peak. OTHER ONE runs on semi-automatic, through excellent garcia self-immolation into DEW.

6/30/73 universal amphitheatre: rough vocal night. hawt piano in THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. last show to feature BIRD SONG, PLAYING IN THE BAND, & DARK STAR. 10-minute BIRD SONG, 1st jam gently bobbing in the air & moving into quiet lesh-led space, 2nd blending buttery rhodes & soft-hued almost attackless guitar leads. small electrical fire breaks out. “don’t panic, folks,” garcia says, “this is the movies, remember?” (weir: “wait ’til ya see the volcano.”) modest 15-minute PLAYING with democratic jazz dancing, an era of peak weir. 44-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE is nice all-garcia full-suite statement. lots of rhodes mist/shimmer on both sides of DARK STAR verse. 1st jam has group flowing together like water, 2nd jam is more like falling together like martian rain. EYES is almost 20 minutes, a perfect balance between open-feeling mellifluousness & dramatic movements, great piano in coda jam.

7/1/73 universal amphitheatre: wild 26-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND closes 1st set, moving through usual drama & sounding like its going to end but melting over edge into democratic rhodes-heavy hippie jazz. 1st slowed-down/de-pepped LOOSE LUCY, which takes much of the fun out of it for me. 46-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > ME & BOBBY McGEE. pre-verse, lesh leads OTHER ONE into more hippie jazz, shimmering garcia threads. full 10-minute post-verse space zonk.

7/27/73 watkins glen: clarifies phil, “this whole thing is a fraud, we’re really clever androids.” joyous 15-minute BIRD SONG (more dynamic but cut on cooper’s tape), catches quiet sunshine & overflows with kreutzmann & godchaux flourishes, big leap into final segment. classic 30-minute JAM > WHARF RAT, conversation climbing through casual knottiness, big weir slashes, gentle space, & rhodes bubbles, resolving to 2-chord proto-FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN bliss. open-feeling WHARF RAT.

7/28/73 watkins glen: not much intimacy, but solid dead. enjoying godchaux’s BROWN EYED WOMEN piano. last BOX OF RAIN until the 1986 revival. weir repeats a few songs from the soundcheck on previous day. a small thing, maybe, but the last outdoor HERE COMES SUNSHINE until returning in the ‘90s, weir setting off a few dramatic solar flares. 1st set closes with wide-ranging 24-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND that sails some big waves. slightly meh 28-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > EL PASO. TRUCKIN’ rolls through NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE jam & dissolves towards THE OTHER ONE but weir chooses violence, or at least a gunslinger ballad. 29-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. EYES never quite rises above mellowness, having a hard time rolling into the outro drama. another unusual weir pairing that only seems to happen because the coda jams lose momentum, or maybe cuz garcia had just played STELLA BLUE. the band’s set is their 1st full show since new year’s ’71. love this picture of lesh, godchaux, bill graham, & others crowding around richard manuel’s piano. also albert grossman hanging out backstage. skydivers make their jump during the band’s set & one of them accidentally lights himself on fire (& dies). “looks like the second coming,” says someone onstage. the band will create a fake watkins glen album & shelve it, rediscovered & reissued in the ‘90s. superjam after allmans’ set is messy on multiple levels, even figuring out who’s playing. rick danko ring-leads. he & garcia duet on LET ME WRAP YOU IN MY WARM & TENDER LOVE. danko is slurring on-mic at start & during of 14-minute NOT FADE AWAY. in wrong place on board tape, AROUND & AROUND has extra B3, maybe hudson? 23-minute MOUNTAIN JAM gets deep, love the conversation by (i think) c. leavell on piano, g. hudson on B3, j.r. robertson on weird guitar. FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN-like peak.

7/31/73 roosevelt stadium: the Band’s set is more together than watkins glen, though a few songs shorter. only real change is that GENETIC METHOD > CHEST FEVER is pushed later with a weirder (though briefer) garth hudson solo (teasing LA BAMBA/GOOD LOVIN’) & bigger feeling outro. this time, rain during NIGHT THEY DROVE OL’ DIXIE DOWN. dead’s sets are summer fun, but almost feel like a watkins glen hangover. not much stirring. a few crowd attempts to sing early “happy birthday” to garcia. set-closing 23-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND is show’s only deep jam. bunch of fun scene changes, including foreground rhodes, long drumless field with brief unexpected chimes by kreutzmann (?), guitar meltdown, etc. fireworks show during finale, apparently. exciting 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with extended ramps in/out of FEELIN’ GROOVY transition. 25-minute TRUCKIN’ > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > JOHNNY B. GOODE is like a superjam minus the super & the jam.

8/1/73 roosevelt stadium: slightly more subdued GENETIC METHOD by garth hudson during The Band’s otherwise static (but fun) set, their last crossing with the dead ’til everybody but robbie reunites a decade later, phil lesh hanging off the sound booth to watch. the dead find the gentle glow & jams that were mostly missing at watkins glen. 11-minute BIRD SONG has spare garcia guitar in middle, especially cool phrasing on final verse. exuberant final peak. wondrous & classic 62-minute DARK STAR > EL PASO > EYES OF THE WORLD > MORNING DEW. sparkling lunar rain as prelude to spacedust curlicues from weir & kreutzmann’s new chimes. even EL PASO is fire, the last time DARK STAR goes into any of weir’s cowboy tunes. extra-long EYES floats/ambles, allowing itself to get slightly lost. finds new territory in outro with garcia/rhodes duet. huge DEW, garcia soloing in joyous, apocalyptic paragraphs.

9/7/73 nassau coliseum: A+ tour opener. 6 big jams & debut. weir mixed warmly, especially on on 13-minute BIRD SONG, sparkles increasing through outro. keith on undermixed B3 on parts of LOSER & TRUCKIN’. lots of ambient rhodes, too. good era for LOOKS LIKE RAIN, last with lesh harmony. debut of weir/barlow’s LET IT GROW, premiered apart from full WEATHER REPORT SUITE, giddy with aero-flips as band explores new space. no organ on ROW JIMMY or HERE COMES SUNSHINE, despite being on the LP. 11-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE, shortened in studio but now with more complete jam. 18-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, garcia/lesh/weir-involved bounce, probably keith too. on audience tape, guy yells incessantly for ME & MY UNCLE. finally, irritated dude replies, “YOU & YOUR SISTER!”, before chris bell by 5 years. 48-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > OTHER ONE JAM > EYES OF THE WORLD > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. someone splats OTHER ONE intro but powerful jam. generous, inventive EYES.

9/8/73 nassau coliseum: debut of weir’s full WEATHER REPORT SUITE, long time coming, PRELUDE chords turning up as early as ’69. autumnal & beautiful, a big new piece. 21-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL, weir throwing shapes & pushing EYES jam in new directions, everybody loco in outro, great rhodes solos. 1st of 6 versions of keith godchaux & robert hunter’s LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY & only one without horns. both song & keith’s thin-but-sweet voice have grown on me over the years. even counting CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER, 2nd set is a bit short on jams. 48-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOT FADE AWAY > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > NOT FADE AWAY. gorgeous HE’S GONE outro shimmers briefly (on what would’ve been pig’s 28th). rare era in which NOT FADE AWAY is rare. big & colorful, godchaux playing only B3 of the night, though pretty much dies entirely before GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD. STELLA BLUE should work as encore, but feels awkward.

9/11/73 williamsburg: lots of the fall ’73 treats, including a wonderful LOOKS LIKE RAIN (as called out by @mountain_goats) with intricate quiet garcia detailing. sweet garciaing in JACK STRAW, too, presaging the ‘80s shredfests. solid 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with full righteous FEELIN’ GROOVY transition, but mostly just hangin’. full-fire gang-of-one drumming in deep 17-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND, in constant motion as the jam slowly widens. crowd work, when a request comes in:
lesh: beg your pardon, ma’am?
weir: if you’re gonna shout stuff, you better bring a bullhorn or something, because otherwise it’s really indistinguishable out there.
lesh: believe me, we’re louder than you are.
weir: really work on your diction.
garcia: (kinda agro) and if you wanna shout, shout in YOUR NEIGHBOR’S EAR. (long pause) or better yet, don’t shout at all.
saxophonist martin fierro (from sahm’s band) joins for set-opening LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY for LET IT GROW. not sure i need the horns, but it cooks pretty hard, using the PRELUDE as ending tag. 36-minute DARK STAR > MORNING DEW, a few bright themes before the DARK STAR verse, & imploding post-verse into wild noisy bass solo, PHILO STOMP adjacent. didn’t glance at the setlist in advance & gasped at the drop into DEW. the band originally had 9/12 at william & mary on the newsletter, but the info didn’t get to william & mary apparently, so at the end of the night lesh announces (on the audience tape), “we were thinking that we’d kinda like to come on in here tomorrow, a sort of unscheduled event & play here, same thing, like tonight, but for $3 & take all the chairs out, everybody have a good time.” crowd predictably goes apeshit & they make some h3ads 4 lyfe, including bruce hornsby.

9/12/73 williamsburg: a bonus night that was somehow originally on the schedule. lesh: “it just goes to show that spontaneous emission of energy can happen anywhere at anytime, entropy notwithstanding.” 1st show with horn section, which i suspect i like more than most. wonderful 13-minute BIRD SONG opens into soaring cathedral space, keith’s electric keys undermixed but twinkling like a celeste. big energy fun in general. grown-on-me lite-prog LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY features martin fierro on sax, plus joe ellis joins on trumpet for LET IT GROW. digging how garcia/lesh find high-velocity weaves under the free squonk & the space they land. 22-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE with proto-SLIPKNOT.

9/15/73 providence: another glorious BIRD SONG with typical quizzical garcia lyricism & atypical assertive electric piano, but for reasons i utterly can’t fathom, the last until ’80, making it the last with keith godchaux. yugh, why?! 16-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND surfs into some neat places, the audience tape translating keith’s rhodes into otherwordly sounds for garcia waterfalls. martin fierro (sax) & joe ellis (trumpet) on much of 2nd set & actually sound pretty integrated. pair of 30-minute suites: TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > EYES OF THE WORLD. horns are big sunshiny mess on TRUCKIN’ & SUGAR MAGNOLIA, but they push EYES to thrilling new downshifted groove. then, WEATHER REPORT SUITE > STELLA BLUE. PRELUDE flute is a little lol, but both horns go full squonk in LET IT GROW & jam turns surprising corners. garcialogue bridge to STELLA BLUE.

9/17/73 syracuse: keith godchaux plays some kind of quiet monophonic synth (sometimes mistaken for theremin), audible on LOOKS LIKE RAIN, WEATHER REPORT SUITE PRELUDE, & TRUCKIN’, possibly an SH-1000. the horns slightly more worked-out: LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY, then 55-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > WEATHER REPORT SUITE > STELLA BLUE. horns more reined-in & pro, but band is less-unhinged, too. EYES & LET IT GROW don’t find the next levels, as at previous show.

9/20/73 philadelphia: short by ’73 standards, or even ’83. platonic blissed 14-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with FEELIN’ GROOVY transition. 38-minute TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE with martin fierro (sax) & joe ellis (trumpet), skipping 2 of their usual songs. TRUCKIN’ veers into detailed/varied NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE theme. EYES hits ecstasy, digging horns on 7/8 ending break & how band/horns sail beyond. SUGAR MAGNOLIA kinda schmaltzy with horns, though.

9/21/73 philadelphia: solid 1st set jams with 11-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE (finding a neat final gear) & 16-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND (cut slightly on soundboard) filled with kreutzmann/garcia chatter. some confusion over proper 2nd set order, but seems to have opened with 44-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, not counting apparently big OTHER ONE cut. TRUCKIN’ jettisoned from the mini-set with horns. great HE’S GONE with cool between-verse colors & especially from garcia in jam. fun PHILO STOMP bass intro to OTHER ONE, long jazzy diversions & sly kreutzmann heroics & subgrooves with MIND LEFT BODY descent into 2nd verse. thoughtful WHARF RAT with lovely piano in outro. then, well-placed ROW JIMMY breather & a short set with the horns, including final LET ME SING YOUR BLUES AWAY (with bad cuts), a song i’ve now come to love. another wild LET IT GROW blowing onto the far shore.

9/24/73 pittsburgh: few jams. garcia plays 3 recent album leftovers, THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, LOOSE LUCY, & CHINA DOLL (in odd standalone spot). 27-minute TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > EYES OF THE WORLD. after flirting with NOBODY’S FAULT since previous fall, garcia finally sings it for 1st known time since ’66. okay, i guess? horns don’t come out ’til EYES. both that & WEATHER REPORT SUITE are slightly more hinged than recent shows, but could be mix. rare pic of keith with B3.

9/26/73 buffalo: HERE COMES SUNSHINE opens show for 1st time, an ace mood-setter to my ears. 19-beat BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE intro. “typical” ’73 pleasures, including cloud-hopping 13-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & star-scraping 19-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND. last dead SING ME BACK HOME, le sigh, done acoustic by garcia in the ‘80s. final mini-set with horns starts midway through satisfying 62-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > EYES OF THE WORLD > WEATHER REPORT SUITE followed by weir’s rawkers. lovely HE’S GONE denouement. lesh inserts “right up here to” before “buffalo” in TRUCKIN’ to big cheers. after peak, jam veers towards OTHER ONE but dissolves to sweeping EYES. horns arrive & squonk away, driving band further, even to some unexpected quiet in LET IT GROW. on the whole, i kinda dig them?

10/19/73 oklahoma city: driving THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, ebullient ornamentations. well-weirded 18-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND. 39-minute DARK STAR > MIND LEFT BODY JAM > MORNING DEW. odd DARK STAR thing starting this version: slower intro establishes even moodier/sparser feel, though tempo is usual ~60bpm, somehow more confident in its abstract freeness. MIND LEFT BODY creates post-verse solidity in the space-void. crisp 22-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE encore, bass solo fun.

10/21/73 omaha: mess of a 1st set with lots of random tape noises. weir announces the A’s world series victory (“another baseball year endeth”), which means garcia’s responding LOSER is for the mets. appropriately, it almost crashes. 1st BLACK THROATED WIND since february. final YOU AIN’T WOMAN ENOUGH, donna’s last lead vocal ’til ’77. great piano throughout. WEATHER REPORT SUITE coming into its own without horns but loses ending where it reprises PRELUDE. casually pro 2nd set with 2 extended suites. 32-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > BIG RIVER > PLAYING IN THE BAND, each transition feeling deliberate. especially far out & baroque PLAYING reprise, usually short-handed. 42-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA, all firing dramatically, nice transitions. a few scene reports about glowsticks going back ’71, but 1st time i’ve seen a band member pissed about ‘em.

10/23/73 bloomington, MN: soundcheck sliver of WANG DANG DOODLE with garcia on vocals, 10 years ahead of weir’s dead debut. k. godchaux plays wurlitzer on soundcheck, as well as BLACK THROATED WIND & TRUCKIN’ during proper show (& ignores it on ROW JIMMY & other “wake of the flood” songs where he used organ), sounding more natural than his keyboard explorations earlier in fall. notes say it belonged to the venue, but it turns up on the next 2 shows, too. 43-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > WEATHER REPORT SUITE has fun organ & brief NOBODY’S FAULT theme in TRUCKIN’. raging LET IT GROW with big piano & PRELUDE ending. scene report: CASEY JONES aborted when security roughs up a fan & billy kreutzmann (at least in some accounts) abandons his drums & roughs up security. the abandoning-drums part is certainly audible.

10/25/73 madison: snappin’ 11-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE. godchaux again playing underamplified wurlitzer (or B3?) on BLACK THROATED WIND. 48-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE followed by WEATHER REPORT SUITE is wonderfully autumnal “wake of the flood” centerpiece. another sparse DARK STAR falls quickly into deep MIND LEFT BODY, extended post-verse freakout held together by crazed kreutzmann swing. maybe more organ blurts. hot full-band weave through EYES, big bass solo.

10/27/73 indianapolis: 3rd/last(?) show with godchaux on wurlitzer(?) for BLACK THROATED WIND. after unsuccessful 23-beat intro on 10/23, BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE gets 27. pair of suites: another 32-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > BIG RIVER > PLAYING IN THE BAND (wee too clever but dark reprise jam) & 33-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT (powerful HE’S GONE solos, more TRUCKIN’ organ, NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE theme, & bad cut in jam).

10/29/73 st. louis: 1st COLD RAIN & SNOW since 2/28. 1st set 21-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL with big bass solo. getting pro at the next-beat drops between PROMISED LAND/BERTHA/GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. sweet BROKEDOWN PALACE sets up 53-minute TRUCKIN’ > DRUMZ > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT, dropping quickly into low-flying jazz (with more big bass) before some long, dread-edging post-verse sparseness. weir watch: a.) weir finally articulates the alternate BLACK THROATED WIND lyric: “but i can’t deny the time that’s gone by / full of babies and bottles and mountains of debt.” b.) double-berry in chuck’s hometown with AROUND & AROUND 1st set closer & PROMISED LAND 2nd set opener.

10/30/73 st. louis: lesh, “at least don’t throw [stuff] towards the stage, we’ve lost 200 speakers this year already.” 7/8 of “wake of the flood,” all luxurious. bass light-beam break in opening HERE COMES SUNSHINE. low-fat 2nd set with autumnal 68-minute DARK STAR > STELLA BLUE > EYES OF THE WORLD > WEATHER REPORT SUITE centerpiece. bright extended DARK STAR glide lands in pre-verse MIND LEFT BODY, kreutzmann keeps order in post-verse space. nifty descending godchaux piano in EYES outro.

11/1/73 evanston: 43-minute MORNING DEW > PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND is pretty wonderful set opener/anchor. deft melt from DEW into the PLAYING. the 1st of many moves from PLAYING into UNCLE JOHN’S (& back), later well-worn transitions played on/off through ’90, but feeling like fresh snow here, with some nice questing in the back half. 38-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT, graceful one-time drop from HALF-STEP to HE’S GONE.

11/9/73 winterland: just absolutely alive & lush & bouncing, weir & godchaux perfectly up in mix. great dynamics on THEY LOVE EACH OTHER & ROW JIMMY, etc. powerful 20-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND with subtly renewing kreutzmann richness & great donna screams. 1st (live) TO LAY ME DOWN since 9/70, only played a few times in its 1st incarnation, inspired choice for elegant quintet dead. centerpiece is 38-minute WEATHER REPORT SUITE > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL, all thoughtful & fresh. a small thing, but the last time the big jams in CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER & PLAYING IN THE BAND go back-to-back to finish a 1st set.

11/10/73 winterland: a fascinating day/night at winterland. doors open around noon for people who lined up early, getting a soundcheck performance by the roadies’ band sparky & the ass-bites from hell, an airing of robert hunter’s “prelude” tape, & a slate of roadrunner cartoons. when the dead hit the stage, lesh welcomes the crowd, “it’s the electronic spiders, folk, they’ve struck again. we’ll have to trim their antenna…” lesh’s LOOKS LIKE RAIN vocal is gone. oh well. show mainly remembered for 43-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND, 1st of 3 versions of the sequence. all the pieces are powerful, the jam pathways feeling open despite the band clearly having a plan. sparkling godchaux piano during drive back into PLAYING. 30-minute TRUCKIN’ > WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA surely gets the winterland disco ball spinning.

11/11/73 winterland: mix doesn’t glow as much as earlier nights, but a loose sunday with fun, flowing 1st set, keynote by butter-segued PROMISED LAND > BERTHA > GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. great playing everywhere (EL PASO!). 55-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > CHINA DOLL. DARK STAR floats gorgeously until post-verse space-out when kreutzmann drops into beat & shit gets real. major key drama, ricochet crosstalk, dissolution, & doubletime MIND LEFT BODY as near-perfect bridge into EYES.

11/14/73 san diego: spiffy HERE COMES SUNSHINE & effortless CUMBERLAND BLUES (in a lesh slot). playful era continues with delightful 70-minute 2nd set-opening TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > BIG RIVER > THE OTHER ONE > EYES OF THE WORLD > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT. patient dissolve into OTHER ONE, never fully spacing-out on either side of the verse, especially thoughtful weirdness surrounding BIG RIVER. EYES bass solo folds into brief but not-totally-necessary reprise.

11/17/73 pauley pavilion: deep HERE COMES SUNSHINE jam seems a breath from MIND LEFT BODY. rock scully (i think) asks crowd to return to seats. lesh: “fire marshal’s chicken to come up here & talk to us himself, huh?” 49-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > MORNING DEW > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND. masterful but less crackling than winterland, bubbling reprise. 23-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. packed, precise EYES. garcia ready for CHINA DOLL but nope.

11/20/73 denver: LET IT GROW finding room to breathe, but still lands before everybody’s ready. easy left turn from MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > DIRE WOLF seems to catch all by surprise, 1st DIRE WOLF since 10/72, ~10bpm slower. 39-minute TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE has PHILO STOMP-ish bass zone at 1st transition, high-stepping pre-verse jams. post-verse, after resetting to space, peppiness twists into another well-executed MIND LEFT BODY as thrilling bridge to quiet garcia song.

11/21/73 denver: surprise opening set by *the* #bluegrass #banjo legend earl scruggs & revue playing through the proto-wall of sound. HALF-STEP now a jump-off, tonight a 62-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > PLAYING IN THE BAND > EL PASO > PLAYING IN THE BAND > WHARF RAT > PLAYING IN THE BAND > MORNING DEW. kreutzmann fire in 1st PLAYING jam, ace planned transitions. DARK STAR-like turn pre-WHARF RAT & wild starstuff before reprise. 27-minute boogie-suite TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD > ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT.

11/23/73 el paso: great belting by garcia on opening BERTHA & TENNESSEE JED. crowd goes repeatedly ape for EL PASO, even “the badlands of new mexico” line. 52-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > THE OTHER ONE > ME & BOBBY McGEE. endless waves of high-velocity drums in high-energy OTHER ONE pre-verse, low-frequency post-verse abstractions, the long drift into deeper weirdnesses continuing apace. rare standalone 15-minute EYES OF THE WORLD before late-show boogie suite.

11/25/73 tempe: fun 15-minute CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with bass solo intro. not much outside jamming. short 2nd set anchored by tight & dramatic 31-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > WEATHER REPORT SUITE, with EYES bass solo & landing, followed by ritual boogie. encore is rare BID YOU GOODNIGHT with rarer 2nd verse & sweet donna jean counterpoint, her last singin’ before she goes on maternity leave for the rest of the year.

11/30/73 boston music hall: the sound system arrives later after one of the equipment trucks gets stuck in the snow on the mass pike & has to be rescued with a helicopter. but they can’t set it up in the usual array with speaker stacks on either side of the band so, for the first time, everything is behind the band. perhaps to make up for late start, last ever MORNING DEW show opener & they mean it. even slower DIRE WOLF. big bouncing bass on BLACK THROATED WIND & throughout. donna jean on maternity leave, giving harmonies austere winterly feel. almost-abstracting bass break in HERE COMES SUNSHINE, cool piano leads in outro. effortless, dynamic kreutzmann jazz dances in 24-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND. lesh signals BERTHA with ’71 motown-style groove he sometimes plays. 43-minute WEATHER REPORT SUITE > DARK STAR JAM > EYES OF THE WORLD. lesh, i think, pulls the LET IT GROW jam down to speed before all fold into DARK STAR together. before they get to the verse, brief spidering DARK STARring dissolves (maybe accidentally) into a short garcia/weir bridge to long patient EYES. laidback bass solo enters into jam, finding a cool low-riding groove on far side of 7/8 outro before dissolving.

12/1/73 boston music hall: rare soundcheck jams, including garcia singing bits of BLUE SUEDE SHOES & (more alluringly) merle haggard’s WORKINGMAN’S BLUES. maybe a semi-full performance in there. WEATHER REPORT SUITE lands on big cool outro pulse, garcia pushing against, lesh getting jaunty, but weir lands quickly. unusually mojo-less crowd control by weir/lesh in 2nd set. “besides, all those cops are from heaven!” garcia interjects & can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or having bad trip. until these great recently-surfaced front row photos credited to chad inver’s father, i didn’t notice that kreutzmann has been rocking a cut-out horse’s head on his kick-drum since the fall tour started in september. it last through early ’74. somebody’s got a ST. STEPHEN sign & weir starts to promise they’ll relearn it. lesh cuts him off, “don’t promise nothin’, man.” 38-minute MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > PLAYING IN THE BAND > UNCLE JOHN’S BAND > PLAYING IN THE BAND, garcia’s phrasing pushing jam down triumphant abstract paths in/out of UNCLE JOHN. rare ’73 NOT FADE AWAY to lead off a late-show boogie, only 7th of the year, garcia re-brightening the corners. after the show, weir & kreutzmann & probably at least one godchaux hang out on the air at WBCN.

12/2/73 boston music hall: lively LET IT GROW, garcia & godchaux dancing around. like, wow: 80-minute WHARF RAT > MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP > PLAYING IN THE BAND > HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE. gorgeous drumless WHARF RAT bridge. PLAYING rumbles into nonlinear spacedust whiteouts, lesh & garcia finding next-level galactic notelessness before gentle MIND LEFT BODY. NOBODY’S FAULT jam floats into STELLA BUE. enjoying the rare small room, encore is 2nd MORNING DEW in 3 days & even bigger.

12/4/73 cincinnati: show is delayed, lesh apparently tells crowd to take it up with promoters. still line-checking when tape starts. not the tightest gig, but lotsa big bass. 17-minute TRUCKIN’ > STELLA BLUE linked by short blooze deconstruction, STELLA BLUE starting in whispered fragments. deep 24-minute EYES OF THE WORLD stretches 10 minutes past the 7/8 outro, another extended turn by lesh into concrète silver-clouds, plus brief coda freak. curious what new gear/settings got him there.

12/6/73 cleveland: lesh checks & asks if anybody’s seen the comet (see also sun ra’s “concert for the comet kohoutek” & other musical events). weir watch: “we’re fortunate enough tonight to have a recruiting station for the venusian red cross. it’s the gentleman over here with the big red blinking eye.” ecstatic 17-minute HERE COMES SUNSHINE is almost the longest, peak of the 2nd jam almost sounding like a slow-motion VIOLA LEE BLUES. it seems like these ohio shows were the debut of the vocal cluster at the center of the growing wall of sound. usually, that date is given as march, but it’s clearly visible in these photos. what’s more, brian anderson (who is writing a book about the wall of sound!) turned up some alembic blueprints for the cincinnati show, suggesting ron wickersham turned around the design within days of the boston music hall gigs. classic 68-minute DARK STAR > EYES OF THE WORLD > STELLA BLUE. slow, unsettling coalescence from tuning to theme & mellow mood with patient, rich de/re-constructions & assertive electric keys throughout. 25 minutes before singing, now-rare pre-verse drumlessness & bass drone. great singing, too! post-verse melt into fuzz-bass nebulae & more top-speed ultra-melodic inventions. aces EYES with fun semi-implosion just before 7/8 jam. dreamy STELLA BLUE comedown & final bass feedback punchline.

12/8/73 durham: chaotic crowd control by weir/lesh. 69-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > THE OTHER ONE > WHARF RAT > STELLA BLUE. lulling weave-waves in HE’S GONE outro jam. long in/out of focus OTHER ONE with jazzed sub-group dialogues & half-time adventures before verse & glorious lesh blastage after. these bass episodes from 12/2-12/19 could totally be gathered into the dead equivalent of neil young’s “arc” (cc @4cp). unusual back-to-back slow garcia tunes.

12/10/73 charlotte: lesh calls out the bolos on the equipment crew. 1st PEGGY-O! traditional sung in lovely quiet by garcia. brisk compared to how they’d do it later but still feeling timeless from the start, both as folk song & in band’s repertoire, like it’s been there forever. somebody sets off fireworks mid-song. (weir: “have a safe & sane 4th.”) 21-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND hints at bass canyon & thromps towards peak, but no total fuzz envelopment tonight. 34-minute TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > EYES OF THE WORLD > BROKEDOWN PALACE is condensed but wonderful. NOBODY’S FAULT abstracts a bit before incredible EYES with hyper-tonal (almost smooth!) bass throughout & full band precision. ace coda with BROKEDOWN, leaning into donna-lessness. plus, rare late-show CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with extra-sweet transition & 1st (accidentally?) split SUGAR MAGNOLIA, GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD in middle.

12/12/73 atlanta: another half-hour of soundcheck, the music is less interesting than just hearing what they were fooling around with. tonight, almost-forgettable noodles on SLEIGH RIDE, little richard’s RIP IT UP, carl perkins’ BLUE SUEDE SHOES, & chuck berry’s THIRTY DAYS, plus working on PEGGY-O & running through a few tunes. slowly unfolding show. another jaunty PEGGY-O. TENNESSEE JED has fun little charge in jam. weir: “for all you folks that came late, we’re the warm-up band.” besides 22-minute PLAYING IN THE BAND that pulls itself almost totally apart, no real out jamming. pretty evolved TICO TICO “tuning.” 2nd set anchored by extra-sweet CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER (almost allmans-y enough to be a nod to dickey betts on his 30th, garcia wishes a happy birthday to later), WEATHER REPORT SUITE, & 29-minute EYES OF THE WORLD > MORNING DEW. even the EYES outro feels mellow with soft collapse into DEW, an uncommonly gentle swirl.

12/18/73 tampa: last fast version of THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. already in its golden era, a sweet mini-period for CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER > I KNOW YOU RIDER with extra-sweet twists in transition. much ‘73ness with ROW JIMMY & crackling WEATHER REPORT SUITE setting up 58-minute DARK STAR > DRUMZ > EYES OF THE WORLD > WHARF RAT > SUGAR MAGNOLIA. labyrinthine 1st DARK STAR jam unfolds into mellow, slow-motion MIND LEFT BODY. widescreen post-verse DARK STAR brain blastage driven by lesh’s feedback/overtone waves & garcia’s wah-noise tiger attack. “we’ve got a blown speaker,” garcia yells off mic. short gliding EYES. “go ahead!” lesh prompts weir off-mic before SUGAR MAGNOLIA. weir making up for donna jean’s absence by ratcheting up his SUNSHINE DAYDREAM screams. in my college house, we’d cue up the ending to this whenever we needed unstoppable laughter.

12/19/73 tampa: generally down with the “dick’s picks 1” edit, but fun to hear the full version. audience tape also has a great pre-show warning by the band about security. garcia: “remember your hippie training, folks: be cool!” weir sneezes during 1st line of PROMISED LAND opener. penultimate HERE COMES SUNSHINE that opens “dick’s picks” is midway through 1st set & one of the best. 14 minutes of curling lightbeam solos. PLAYING IN THE BAND somersaults into the spectral wah-wah void. really on-point MISSISSIPPI HALF-STEP, melting again into ME & BOBBY McGEE. 52-minute HE’S GONE > TRUCKIN’ > NOBODY’S FAULT BUT MINE > THE OTHER ONE > STELLA BLUE, every aspect firing perfectly. mournful HE’S GONE outro. NOBODY’S FAULT dancing into jazzishness. bass solo bridge excised for album is only on audience tape. last few minutes of OTHER ONE are the most sustained fszszszzt-out so far, dripping with absolute grace into STELLA BLUE.

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