Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Winter 1973 Tour Journal of 2013

The deal: In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s November/December 1973 Tour, Ed Watts and his buddy, the legendary Lerry Camero, decided to listen to the shows on the 40th anniversary date of each show (or as close as possible to it). Below is the mind-blowing account of their journey.

November 9, 1973
Venue:Winterland Arena
Show Details
Ed: So stoked to be on tour! Solid show. Half-Step and China/Rider were the highlights for me. Respectable start to tour, but not spectacular: slightly disappointing second set centered around Weather Report Suite. Question: do we get to skip songs that we’ve heard a million times before and have no interest in listening to again (i.e., Bobby’s rockers), or do we have to listen to everything?

Lerry: Agree on show. Solid but not spectacular… I think if someone of Betty Cantor’s stature skipped the occasional Bobby rocker (note how the old soundboards often have an aud patch for the Bobby songs she skipped), then it’s all right if we do, too. In honor of Betty, I skipped the race is on, around and around and Johnny b good

November 10, 1973
Venue:Winterland Arena
Show Details
stealie

Lerry: Playin’ sandwich in set 2 is raaaaaaaaaad! In honor of Dick Latvala and his notebooks, I would give this a Steal Your Face award based on immensity of second set alone.

Ed: Absolutely agree. Let’s give this show a Stealie. Side note: I think the recording of the show we listened to ran a little fast, had a subtle ‘chipmunk’ flavor, for example check out Jack Straw.

Lerry: Jack Straw did sound a little weird now that you mention it. Loser (the next song) sounds fine though. In the between-song talking, Weir sounds just as spacey as ever, so I think it is OK…

Ed: Perfect way to measure tape speed: Weir’s spacey bullshit.

November 11, 1973
Venue:Winterland Arena
Show Details
Lerry: Very solid set all around.  Dark Star is great, but is NOT top tier. Of course, in the past I’ve been accused of being “too refined”, as per Dick Latvala’s accusation about Phil Lesh here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C18fAei0pg

So maybe I’m just being too refined again here about Dark Star, but in my opinion the best show of this Winterland run was last night.

Ed: Agree with thoughts on show. Solid but not top tier. Couple random thoughts:

  • The Bobby McGee reminded me why I really dig the dead version of Bobby McGee
  • interesting slow tempo version of loose Lucy although I’ll never be able to get past the lame lyrics,
  • Second set was awesome but of course not nearly as awesome as some of the second sets that come later in this tour
  • Dick Latvala’s thoughts about this show are interesting: in his notes about 12-2-73 (http://www.dicklatvala.com/notebooks/pages/731202notes.jpg), he references this show: “the 11-11-73 Winterland show might be in the same class since my mind was blown by that show, which is the last one that all of us saw together” – But he later appears to change his mind and days, “11/11/73: Performance is spunky, but there were lots of wrong chords/notes and no outstanding moments (other than the Mind Left Body jam, which was only a couple of minutes long) – not close to my memory of it.” (from http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2011/02/dick-latvala.html)
  • One question about the Dick quote above: who is “all of us”?

November 14, 1973
Venue:San Diego Sports Arena, Show Details
Ed: First set, always psyched to see a Cumberland Blues, not best ever, but still good… Second set is tremendous, contains a Truckin->other one-> etc jam, but reveals a philosophical problem for me: even though its totally tremendous, it’s not as tremendous as what I remember the similar Truckin->other one-> etc jam from Dicks Pick 1 being, which is December 19, 1973. Is it possible to listen to these November 73 shows with open mind/clean ears knowing that just around the corner are the utterly rad December shows? It’s an epistemological brain-fry. Couple of other random notes about the second set: I was legitimately psyched that bobby dropped a Big River in the middle of second set insanity… At the end of wharf rat, I was also legitimately psyched to hear the hints of the alien space bass dew drops to come on 12-6 dark star.

Lerry: The first set is TIGHT, filled with short, punchy jams. (16 songs total, which seemed about 3 or 4 more than normal.)  Agree 100% about cumberland.  Another high point for me was actually Here Comes Sunshine.  It is not my favorite tune at all (not even close… in fact, I think it is subpar Jerry/Hunter in general), and this version was a little sloppy, BUT 1) it was a good launching board for some solid Jerry solos… nothing too spacey, but just a nice long fluid solo and 2) since the song was only played between Feb 73 and Feb 74 (not counting 92 and on), it never got overplayed (at least to what I have listened to) so it was a bit refreshing.  The only drawback for me was Race is On followed by Beat It two songs later.  Too much Rock and Roll Bobby for one set for me.  I had to ask myself WWBD (betty). The rest was solid. Really solid.

Regarding set 2, the big jam is great. Really great.  I would probably not give it a steal your face award, basically because it is missing that X factor that makes some of the long jams so amazing, but it is really, really, really solid. I like the weird, trippy part about 10 minutes into the first stretch of the Other One.  PLUS, the Big River addition was nice

(Side note re: cowboy songs → When the mood is right for a cowboy song in a big jam, I love it.  When the mood is not right for a cowboy jam, it throws me off.)

Great transitions here too in the jam.  I also love that they played the Other One theme 3 times. Like, it was the glue that held the whole jam together.  Another thing that I noticed… listen to how tight Me and My Uncle is at the end of Set 2. I’m used to it being played early in set 1 and sometime you can tell the band is getting their sea legs still.

November 17, 1973
Venue:Pauley Pavilion
Show Details

halfstealie
(Only half a Stealie for Ed. Lerry, i.e. “Mr. Refined”, had an issue with two notes and thus is not giving it the award.)

Ed: First set: here comes sunshine as second song in first set jams! Clear the band came out ready to play. Bobby hits us with LLR right afterwards – Jerry does some volume swells which are cool but otherwise the song is what it is (this particular version is not without its charms, but its still LLR) – I wonder if Bobby thought it was cool to play a song titled looks like rain after a song called here comes sunshine? (Is bobby obsessed with writing about the weather? – see weather report suite, lazy lightning, etc)…

Second set: killer!! the playin’ sandwich is legendary, totally steal your face worthy in my opinion… the stuff in second set that is not playin sandwich is all top shelf, everything well-played… bobby to self: “oh yeah, this is totally the right time for el paso”…

Lerry: Loved the first set.  Here comes sunshine was excellent second. Great vibe throughout.  Brown Eyed Woman (or should I say Brown Eyed Women?) was great. Didn’t appreciate the Race is On.

Second set was classic.  Great setlist. I think the flow from Row Jimmy to Jack Straw to Ramble on Rose to the massive Playin’ sandwich is EXCELLENT.  Top shelf for sure. Playin’ was great. The transition to UJB was really well done.  Nothing too spacey, but the band really seems locked into each other.  My only two (minor) complaints were a very hesitant and sloppy section in the second half of UJB as well as a big flub by Bill and Jerry when going Back into the Playin’ chorus. (That stuff bothers me.)  Really great stuff though. I like Morning Dew in the middle of the sandwich. In fact, it really is a Morning Dew sandwich as you never refer to a sandwich by the bread and toppings (which is essentially what Playin and UJB are) but that’s OK.  (You order a roast beef sandwich, not a whole wheat bread sandwich.) Stella Blue sounds great here.  Possibly one of my favorite versions (although I have a harder time differentiating this one as it does not vary too much.)  El Paso is a little weird in the second set, but I guess it works. Jerry is a monster.

Ed’s favorite internet quote about the show:
“The fluidity of how the band makes its decision to head toward Uncle John’s Band approaches the miraculous” from: http://www.deadlistening.com/2008/12/1973-november-17-pauley-pavilion.html#ixzz2l1udAh6H

Lerry’s favorite quote from Archive:
“This is the Grateful Dead in full Calliope regalia: Bristling, bubbling, blasting like the blow hole in Punta Bonda. Electric Dixieland. Lord love a duck! Disneyland in your mind.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-17.sbd.ashley.23472.sbefail.shnf

Rating: Major controversy. Does the show deserve the much-coveted steal your face award? The Botch kills it for Lerry. Ed is not so sure.

November 20, 1973
Venue:Denver Coliseum
Show Details
Lerry: I like the first set. Don’t love it.  Ramble on Rose is a nice opener.  Brown Eyed Woman is funky and has a great groove. The main reason I dislike Beat it on Down is because in the intro, they almost always sounds like a shitty garage band, typically because of Phil. Perhaps it is a small pet peeve (I’m being refined again), but they sound so sloppy and they should not. It is just 8 notes in a row. The same note. Just play the fucking note 8 times in a row Phil.  To Lay me Down was nice minus some Donna flatness. God damn Race is On.  I do really like the faster, funky version of They Love Each other.

The second set is all about the Truckin’ > OO > Mind Left Body > Stella Blue jam. (No need to discuss anything else, really.)  This is great stuff.  Super top shelf. Like, a really high shelf that one needs a ladder to reach.  The band is so nimble and locked in. I love it.  And, I love that they get SO out there on MLB jam, and then bring it back down to earth with Stella Blue. In fact, this MIGHT be my favorite individual piece on the tour thus far.

Ed: Totally agree with everything said above. I’ll throw this out there about the first set, because I was not entirely impressed as well: it might be The Context. Contextually speaking, If a person went to a show in ‘92 and the band pulled out this exact first set, that person’s head would explode and they would forever say that ‘92 was the best year for the dead, and that show was the best show that ever happened. But in the context of winter 73, it’s just another first set.  Standing on it’s own, perhaps this actually is a great first set, but compared to it’s siblings, it wasn’t that impressive.

Second set = totally top shelf. In addition to what’s said above, the surprise Dire Wolf was a tasty move as well. And the stella blue’s on this tour are really knocking me out.

Lerry’s favorite quote:
“The dualism of mind/body is old as the dirt we walk on, but none the less needs to be discussed at some point again. Thoughts: where would you think if you had to think about something inside your body? Are you sure it is your body to begin with really what if Jerry’s body were the only body we had?? then what? why would that even matter but it does and does not in the duality of thought/body effects.”

Ed’s favorite quote (impossible to beat the one above, it’s so good, I love how mad he gets at himself when he says “why would that even matter but it does”, but anyway, thought this was interesting):
as reported on http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2011/02/dick-latvala.html, bottom of the page, dick’s thoughts on 11-20-73:
“11/20/73: Excellent show. Best 2nd set yet.”
What does Dick mean by “yet”, though?

November 21, 1973
Venue:Denver Coliseum
Show Details

stealie

Ed: Rightly or wrongly, I am one of those people who always, always roots for the underdog. It may not be rational, fun to be around, or even fun for myself, but I can’t control it. If there’s an underdog, I’m rooting for it. And I couldn’t help but notice yesterday when I saw Dick’s comments on 11-20, that right underneath was a comment from Dick about this show:
“11/21/73: The night before was ten times better.”

Then I did a stupid thing and searched the web for comments on this show and saw these:
– “Almost as good as 11.17.73. -Perrinswolf (05/02/2007)” (from http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0894)
– “There are some tuning problems, and some missed notes, that kind of sound like the band is having a somewhat off night.” – Capt Cook (From https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-21.sbd.barrick.192.sbeok.shnf)
– “Subject: A bit disappointed …. I have to say that, while the show is solid, I don’t think it’s quite all it’s cracked up to be… Taken as a whole, including the strong first set, I guess I’d call it above average, but not outstanding….” -Hitmeister (Also from https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-21.sbd.barrick.192.sbeok.shnf)

So with that in mind, I am in incapable of being objective about this show. And I have to say, I loved it. I know somewhere in the back of the objective part of my brain is acknowledgement that it doesn’t quite stack up to it’s winter 73 sibilngs, but, whatever, it’s all about the fucking Context, and I mean that HCS in the first set was freaking awesome, half-step was killer, with a transition into playin’, for chrissakes, which then morphs into (to use proper sandwich terminology) the wharf rat triple decker sandwich with el paso cheese on playin bread (with the last piece of playin’ bread having a seriously awesome bizzaro freak out jam), followed by a Truckin-> jam? Come on. So in the end I have to agree with this man: “…one of the most incredible sets of music played by the greatest band on the planet known as Earth. Caution: the jam that begins in Playin’ and ends in Morning Dew (what…48 minutes later?) melts faces. 
-Grateful Dawg (06/28/2011)”

Amen, Grateful Dawg, amen…

Ed’s Favorite Quote: “…the planet known as Earth…”

Random other note: some controversy online about the proper placement of weather report suite in the setlist, some say it actually closes first set despite it’s frequent attribution to middle of second set, other’s disagree

Lerry: To your point about “context is everything”, this AM, I had the perfect match of snow, coffee, not being too tired and an amazing setlist with an opening number (Me + Uncle) referencing “South Coloraduh”.  Quite possibly my favorite setlist thus far.  There were no full on Bobby duds (I don’t care about One More) and I think the whole thing flowed really, really nicely.

Set 1: Setlist progressed quite nicely. Lots of short songs, as was the norm, but different enough from the night before. Dire Wolf was a treat. I’m not a huge fan of Bobby’s weather-related numbers, but I can get through them.

Set 2: First of all, are you fucking kidding me?  This sandwich (or whatever it is here) is nuts. I actually like that they drifted away from the Playin’ > UJB > SOME_OTHER_SONG > UJB > Playin’ combo that they have been doing thus far on the tour.  Mississippi into Playin’ was awesome.  Great transition.  Then the transition to El Paso was great. Way more fluid than normal.  (It was actually part of the jam… normally, it seems that everybody just sort of lets notes ring out and then Bobby starts it up and then the rest of the crew join in.)  Then, we got a taste of Dark Star (sort of) nicely into Wharf Rat, which is INTENSE.  I love the far out stuff during the 3rd act of Playin’.  So great.  Just low-key weirdness.  I have to say, this MIGHT just be my favorite show of the tour thus far.  I’d probably have to compare it to 11-10 to really tell, but I loved this shit man…

Lerry’s favorite quotes:
1) “I saw that this will be the next Road Trips to be released, and it’s truly unfortunate that greedy people have found a way to monetize what should be free forever.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-21.sbd.miller.88612.sbeok.flac16
2) “I’m here to share my thoughts on how you can get both shows (11/20 – 11/21) onto five 80 minute compact discs.”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-21.sbd.barrick.192.sbeok.shnf
3) “Ignore the previous night.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-21.sbd.miller.88612.sbeok.flac16

Rating: Ed is incapable of being objective, and totally trusts Lerry to come up an accurate rating.  Lerry would give it a stealie.  For real.

November 23, 1973
Venue:County Coliseum
Show Details
Lerry: OK, to follow up on your comments from 11-20 regarding context, I have to say context is something really important that should not be written off, especially on tour.  Example → when I am having a shitty time with whatever (work, blah blah, etc.) and some of my friends go through some heavy shit with their families or something, it makes me realize that whatever I am so concerned about is basically nothing compared to what they are going through.  And it is 100% true.  With that being said, our surroundings are what we know, and thus they are real too. It can be hard to get past that and see the bigger picture.  As such, context is really important I think when judging a show on this tour.  While this setlist is really not up my alley (at all), to your point above, if Furthur played this exact set when we saw them in September (even if Bobby didn’t pass out on stage) we would have likely been fairly stoked.  But that doesn’t mean that this show was good. So, I don’t think context should be written off.  I think (in this exercise anyway) that not only is it is totally fair to let it enter the equation, it should be embraced.  (Now, if we were just comparing our favorite Dark Star or something like that, I think it should play a different role (if none at all).  No context, just choose your favorite Dark Star. (Like the Pepsi Challenge.)) So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m living in 73 right now, and this show was a bit of a drag.  Definitely the worst thus far.
The first set sounds like they just woke up.  Literally there are no highlights to me. Jerry seemed to have an off night getting his fingers to do what he wanted.  Bobby played a bigger number of clunkers than normal.

Set 2 was quite a bit better.  He’s Gone was actually awesome. Really awesome. Totally laid back and sleepy, but rad. If I made a mix on 5 CDs of “early morning Dead”, it might end up there.  It was probably my favorite song from the show.  I enjoyed the spacey Other One quite a bit too.  If I were to go back and listen to this show again, those two sections are basically all that I would revisit.

Lerry’s favotite quote:
“Lava lamp time.”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-23.sbd.orf.194.sbeok.shnf

Ed: 100% agree. If further played this in ’13, even if Bobby didn’t pass out, would’ve been the best thing ever, but nestled here 40 years ago among its winter 73 compadres it’s relatively unexciting. Ditto your comments on set 2 – He’s Gone total highlight, and I dug the truckin-other one, especially the space segment. It’s not perfect, sometimes it felt a little, dare I say, “directionless” (perhaps I am starting to become too “refined”?) – but a solid jam, with some nice weirdness.  There’s a part of me that feels like it’s all building to the 12-6 Dark Star. Like phil started to do the weird wah-wah thing in space here, and I thought, ‘OK, so Phil just figured that out, and now he’s going to master it for the 12-6 dark star”. Perhaps I am imposing too much of a narrative structure on the tour, but I can’t but feel like it’s all building to the insane climax of 12-6, when the boys slay the space monster in an epic showdown.

Ed’s favorite quote about this show:
“Subject: ’68 to ’71 is the best
I’ve said it before – I can barely listen to most shows after 1971.”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-23.sbd.orf.194.sbeok.shnf

November 25, 1973
Venue:Feyline Field
Show Details
Ed: Show is average for this tour (not bad, but not great either, just kind of “meh” for 73). Some comments:

  • the opening to this beat it down the line is truly disastrous – Lerry’s head will pop off
  • a self-contained Playin’ ends the first set, which is interesting for this tour — no sandwich, just baguette, kind of refreshing — actually my favorite part of the show
  • I know this is blasphemy, but as I’ve said before – I’m not a huge Eyes fan. That said, this version is pretty good, I like how they’ve been throwing in the ‘Milkin’ the Turkey’ lick from Blues for Allah in recent Eyes jams
  • I’m still not a fan of weather report suite (which anchors the second set, so, you know…)
  • Interesting a capella We Bid You Goodnight – I don’t think we’ve heard that on this tour yet? Maybe I missed it if we did… I just checked – it was actually last encore on 11-11, but honestly once I hear Johnny B Goode in an encore (which preceded it on that night) I stop listening

Favorite quote:
“73, Please transport me back to this year. If there is a god, he hung out with the Dead this year. There simply was nothing going on better in the world this year. 
This is a great sounding Miller Miracle redo of a great night for the dead.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-25.sbd.miller.113007.flac16

Lerry: I don’t have a ton to say about this show, primarily due to the setlist. The first set starts out sloooooow. The band sounds really sloppy for the first 3 songs, sort of sloppy during the next 4. From China Cat to Playin, they sound pretty good. The second set is tough for me, as I am really not a huge fan of the featured jammy numbers (Eyes and Weather Report).  The band seems like they are on autopilot here.

Favorite quote:
“What’s with the filler? Where’s it from and what the HELL is it doing in the middle of this spectacular show? Anyway, yes this performance does step up to join some of the finest from this incredible year. Sound quality is near perfect across the board. Don’t let the tack-sharp China Cat intro poke you in the skull. If this isn’t the tightest Eyes ever I don’t know what is. Wait, actually maybe it was Louisville ’74…no no..I mean 11-11-73 ….wait no… Seattle ’74! No No…THIS ONE! Let me put it this way: you’d have to be a real knucklehead to not get this.
Get it?”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-11-25.sbd.sacks.2213.sbeok.shnf

November 30, 1973
Venue:Boston Music Hall
Show Details
Ed: Another great overall performance by the band, but given that the second set was anchored again by a Bobby Weather song, I don’t think I can give this show the much-coveted steal your face award in good conscience. A few comments:

  • Morning Dew opener = NICE! I wonder what made them want to open with this?
  • Another stand alone baguette Playin’, which I thought kicked ass. One thing: listening to the matrix version of Playin’ – thought it was interesting that the audience was trying to clap along to the beginning part, I never really thought of the dead as a band that you clap along to (well, besides not fade away) – Auds Are The Truth!
  • Here Comes Sunshine was superb. I think this is the best so far? I feel like I say that every show, but this time I mean it. It really jammed.
  • The brief Dark Star jam was good, but couldn’t compensate for the Weather.

Side note:
This reviewer brings up something I didn’t realize until right now – Donna has been absent for this whole tour:
“Reviewer: Donna_Sucked and We All Know It
Subject: A Good Release
This whole tour is fantastic, as we don’t have to suffer through Donna. I saw over 330 shows, around 80 from ’72-’79 and she simply could not sing live. Major pitch problems plus she couldn’t hear so she screamed. In the studio she was fine. The band knew it, she knew it. They are just the kings of procrastination and they won’t confront anything ever. So we had to put up with her for 7 years. Sweet lady, but can’t sing a lick on stage.”

To me, this does feel like the best tour the dead ever had so far, but I’m not sure I would credit that to the fact that donna is absent. I would consciously say it’s more a coincidence, but maybe subconsciously I’m actually a Donna hater? Or maybe I am kind of more like this guy:
“Reviewer: Dylan M
Subject: Second Set Jam
The entire show is without Donna who was apparently too pregnant to perform. I am not a complete Donna “hater” though I do appreciate hearing a classic 73′ Primo Era classic with her absent. Vocally the boys take care of all the duties well without her. Nice rare circumstance.”

Lerry: Man, this is a great show, marred by some lame song choices. (Side note, imagine if Wake of the Flood (which this tour was supported) consisted of the songs I included in my email re: the Dead as songwriters (editor’s note: see below). There would be no real duds!)  Regardless, it is great to be back on tour.  Overall, I would not give it the Stealie due to the setlist.

One brief correction to your notes… Donna was only gone from this show on.  (I believe she missed the last 10 shows of this tour) but was howlin’ away on the other shows. Yeahuhyeaheaheaheaheahuhhh!  With that being said, it is pretty cool to hear only Bobby and Jerry doing the harmonies. I hope the rest of this tour does not turn me into a Donna hater. Those guys are lame.

Set 1: I agree with your assessment of Morning Dew. Such a killer opener. Jerry sounds awesome too.  I like how in 73 Dire Wolf was played fairly often.  It is so much less offensive to me than some of the short Bobby songs (Race, etc.).  As I mentioned previously, I like the They Love Each Other vibe during this era. I’m not sure when it slowed down (76 possibly?) but these versions almost had a China Cat groove, which is perfect for the middle of set 1.  I totally agree about the Playin’ baguette.   Sometimes, I’d actually rather they just stick with something like this and not try to shoehorn other songs in.  (When it works, I love it, but sometimes the band is too hesitant and clumsy getting from song A to song B, per our disagreement from 11-17… again, my problem.)  Jerry is doing some really cool stuff in the jam.  I was hoping Bobby would give us a Playin’ howl in Donna’s absence, but it was nice to just hear the band jam back into the chorus.

Set 2: This is where the show lets me down a bit.   I don’t think I like Jack Straw in the second set very much.  On an earlier show on the tour, I thought to myself that it was the perfect tempo for Jerry to really get warmed up and rippin’ early in set 1. Here comes Sunshine was fantastic. Perhaps best yet?  In fact, when I look back at the tour thus far, one thing that has come of it is a new appreciation for this track.  (At the end of the tour, we really have to nail down our favorite version.)  The jammy section is awesome here.  But man, I just can’t do the Weather Report Suite.  Let it Grow is especially bad.  (All I can think as I listen to it was that, while most Deadheads say that they think it is great, if they were told that it was a song by the band Yes, they’d say it was crap.)  I’ll give a good listen to Dark Star any day, however, Let it Grow right into Dark Star just feels like I am putting my shoes on backwards.  They don’t fit and make me uncomfortable and wish that something else was going down. Perhaps I am too rigid and square, but I can’t help it.  (Once again, it is my problem, not yours.) Also, I’m not sure if you noticed this, but the heads reviewing this show went on and on about the Eyes jam.  It was good, but not my cup of tea… It was sort of nice to not hear Donna howling “sunshine daydream” at the end of Magnolia.  Man, I’m not going to be a hater.

Favorite quote.
“This AUD is harsh, jangly, crowd-heavy, bassless and often hard to listen to, but it’s worth it to be able to listen to in your car. At home, stream the matrix version, which is to die for soundwise.” (LERRY ‘S COMMENT– I’m not sure why, if you have access to both as the reviewer obviously does, would you not want the good sounding one for your car?)
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-30.124131.mtx.dusborne.flac16

********************************************************************************************
SUPER IMPORTANT SIDE CONVERSATION THAT NEEDS TO BE INCLUDED IN THIS DOC:

Subject: the Dead as songwriters‏

Lerry: One thing that has always bothered me is that the Dead never get the credit that I feel they deserve as songwriters (primarily Hunter/Garcia). They tend to get lumped into some sort of jam band / San Francisco hippie acid rock box, and never really mentioned in the same sentence as some of the finer songsmiths of the era (not to mention “rock” bands).  They do get credit as being a creative live band, but the songs themselves are rarely mentioned.

With that being said, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty always get great reviews, so it is not as if critically they are unable to get some respect. (Blues for Allah, to a lesser extent, gets very good reviews as well.)  So why are they overlooked in this area?

In my opinion, part of the reason why they never got said credit comes down to the fact that Wake of the Flood and Mars Hotel were just OK records.  (Take off your deadhead hat for a moment.)  Some great songs are on both of course, but too much filler and a little too much “democracy” as well. (When Jerry Garcia is in your band, unless you write a REALLY killer song, leave the songwriting to him.)  So, with so much potential, why did these records suffer on this front?  I think it was primarily due to decisions that they made in what they were NOT releasing on them.

Example one → on both Europe 72 and Skull and Roses, both released during the same period, they released new songs that were never recorded, before or after, in the studio.

Skull and Roses- 1971
New songs:
Bertha
Me and my Uncle
Wharf Rat

Europe 72 – 1972
New songs:
Ramble on Rose
Jack Straw
Tennessee Jed
Brown-Eyed Woman
He’s Gone

Solid stuff!  While I think it is rad that they released new songs on live records and never touched them in the studio, I think that those writing reviews have a hard time separating live stuff from studio records.

Example two, Bobby and Jerry both released solo records in 1972 as well with some very solid songwriting.

Garcia – 1971
Deal
Bird Song
Sugaree
Loser
Late For Supper
Spidergawd
EEP Hour
To Lay Me Down
An Odd Little Place
The Wheel

Ace – 1972
Greatest Story Ever Told
Black-Throated Wind
Walk in the Sunshine
Playing in the Band
Looks Like Rain
Mexicali Blues
One More Saturday Night
Cassidy

Solid songs!

So, let’s pretend for a moment that Wake of the Flood and Mars Hotel was comprised of the following songs (basically songs that were in their live set for the remainder of their career):

Deal
Bird Song
Sugaree
Loser
The Wheel
Black-Throated Wind
Playing in the Band
Mexicali Blues
Ramble on Rose
Jack Straw
Tennessee Jed
Brown-Eyed Woman
He’s Gone
Bertha
Me and my Uncle
Wharf Rat
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Row Jimmy
Stella Blue
Here Comes Sunshine
U.S. Blues
China Doll
Scarlet Begonias
Ship of Fools

I’m not saying that they would have sold many more records as they didn’t really play the rock star game, but had they done this, strictly speaking from a songwriting perspective, they would have had 5 very solid records in a row, just like the Stones, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beatles, etc.  Would this change the credit they deserve, or does the deadhead stigma run too deep?

Ed: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

********************************************************************************************

December 1, 1973
Venue:Boston Music Hall
Show Details
Lerry: OK, to start out with I have a really important new theory that has been brewing.  This show (sort of) supports it (or at least it doesn’t negate it).  I absolutely need to go back and revisit other shows to see how accurate it is, but off the top of my head, I think it is fairly solid. (Keep in mind that it is not going to be absolute.)  Keep in the back of your mind moving forward and we’ll see how true it is.  Here it goes -> I think the band plays tighter in the first set when Jack Straw is played early, say in the first 3 songs or so.  There is something about the tempo that I alluded to on an earlier show that is perfect for the guys (especially Jerry) to get rippin’.  Have you ever heard a bad Jack Straw, playing-wise?  I really can’t think of any.  When they don’t play Jack Straw shows can seem to really take a while to get going.  This show, and the last one were perfect examples of this.  With that being said…

Set 1: The setlist is pretty solid, but for at least the first hour, the band sounded really loose, like they were rehearsing. Not much energy.  Looks like Rain doesn’t help with the energy problem.  Even on China Cat, which I have noticed can turn the band around a bit, they seemed like they were jetlagged or something. (Are Phil and Billy drunk here?)  So, what did I like from set 1?  Brokedown Palace was really nice, but even with that, the band still seemed a little jagged, especially towards the end. I don’t know…

Set 2: In the first half of the set, it sounds like they were having some real problems with the audience.  Perhaps that would explain the less than superb first set. Me and Bobby McGee was cool.  (Cool to hear only Bobby and Jerry on the chorus… but I’m not hatin’ on Donna!)  Mississippi was not as good as it has been on this tour. (I still think Phil and Bill sound drunk at times though).  The transition to Playin’ was terrible. (Man, I’m such a hater, and much too refined.)  However, I did dig the Playin’ jam.  Uncle John’s Band was just awkward.  It sounded as though for half of it, the band was looking around at each other wondering what to play.  The second half of Playin’ has some killer weird stuff, but that’s about it.  Nothing from the remainder of the show jumped out at me.

Ultimately, this show was a let down, and at this point, I’m not sure if it is a let down based on the rest of the tour, or if I would totally love it if we were on the 30th anniversary tour right now (83 was DOPE!!) and I just happened to put this on, OR if it is because we have listened to so many great shows recently and it just falls short?

Favorite quote:
“This was my excellent chiropractor’s first show ! And i said i’d get him a copy.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-01.sbd.clugston.6648.sbefail.shnf

Ed: Dude, that theory is potentially life-changing! Part of me feels like I just witnessed Alexander Fleming discover penicillin. I think it will hold up to scrutiny. I’m going to keep it in mind from now on. I wonder if the Straw-effect also impacts set 2? As in, if they play JS early in first set, which then opens up the rest of set 1, does set 2 benefit? Off the top of my head I think Cornell 77, Veneta 72, Vancouver 73 would all support that perhaps it does (I’m very interested in listening closely to the upcoming 12-6-73, which has no straw, but does have that ridiculous set 2 dark star). I plan on conducting a Beechwoodian data analysis on it soon.
Regarding this show: agree with your comments. Decent but not superb. Again, regarding context – this show is smack in the middle of the best tour ever, so judged against its peers does not reach quite the height of heights – and I had an annoying day at work with lots of interruptions, so perhaps I wasn’t able to give the show a fully fair listen. Couple of notes:

  • China cat/rider seemed sloppy to me too. Hadn’t thought of the inebriation factor, but would make total sense.
  • They love each other – to your point in last show about when did they start doing the slower version – I have no idea, but your guess of 76 seems right to me.
  • Playin portions of second set – dug it, solid second set anchor, it didn’t fully reach the stratosphere like it did on a couple of the other shows this tour (11-10, controversially 11-17, 11-21), but some good jamming, UJB was sloppy
  • GDTRFB: the crowd seems surprisingly revved up about this tune, I think I listened to a SBD, and I could hear the cheering leak into the mics – and the band are playing the shit out of it in a sort of bombastic show-closer way. I actually love this tune, but I enjoy it more when the dead play it with a more mellow approach, I don’t think it held up to the show-closing bombast.

Favorite quote:
“omsn after gdtrfb
-Anonymous”
From http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0898

December 2, 1973
Venue:Boston Music Hall
Show Details

stealie

Ed: Utterly righteous. Takes the previous few shows, and wipes the floor with them. I agree with dick 100% on this (see below) – the quality of the second set jam overshadows everything else. I would wholeheartedly give this show the much-coveted Lerry & Ed Steal Your Face Award. Some notes:

  •  Cold rain and snow – Dude, Jerry knew it would be snowing in denver 40 years (and 2 days) later. That’s why they opened with this. (and I really liked the slow-tempo mellowness of this version)
  • Beat It Down the Line – usually I actually like this tune, despite the frequently botched opening (I mean, it’s partially about how work sucks, a theory which I 100% subscribe to) – but this version felt like a kick in the nuts, the cold rain opener was so mellow, and I was watching the snow fall out my window, sipping tea, and then Bobby started screaming in my face.
  • Dire Wolf – mellow again. Seems like Jerry is feeling mellow, but Bobby is all amped up (thought that occurred to me later: perhaps this dialectical opposition dynamic is what leads to the totally incredible second set jam)
  • Pattern continues with Race is On. Bobby is sometimes a terrible person…
  • Regarding banter – why is Phil always such a dick to the audience? It seems like he’s the classic dork who gets mean to people as soon as he gets a little taste of power… then later he even says ‘we don’t play with two drummers anymore, and we don’t play pigpen anymore’ – pigpen’s dead! Seems a little cold-hearted if you ask me, reminds me that I read somewhere (I think the oral bio of jerry) that after jerry died when the band had the meeting to essentially fire most of their employees, after the meeting, Phil was overheard saying “well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be”. The dude seems to be kind of a dick (for more, see youtube video of bobby passing out on stage during Furthur show and phil not giving a shit at all).
  • Jack Straw effect – TOTALLY holds true in this case. Previous few tunes were sloppy (but mellow vibe was pleasing to me), then they prime the pump with this Jack Straw, and I feel like the rest of the first set opens up – I mean Dick (see below) even felt moved to give Big River a star. I think it’s because of the Straw-effect. I think Lerry has made a really important discovery for the future of humanity.
  • Straw-effect could unfortunately not save weather report suite from itself (admittedly some cool jamming during let it grow, but still the song is just so lame).
  • Second set – I love this set. This makes it to my personal list of all time best sets ever. I love the fact that jerry comes out all mellow with wharf rat, and that leads to insanity. The performance is great, vibe is spectacular, and the middle jam is immense. Pure awesomeness. This kind of set is the reason I’m into the dead. In my opinion this deserves the stealie. Curious to see what Lerry (aka Mr Refinement) heard (a couple of the transitions sounded a little botched, which might ruin it for him, but for me the jam was just too awesome…)
  • stella blue – loved the placement of it, and the vibe, but thought that perhaps some of the earlier versions on tour were actually better (in isolation) – not sure about this, just gut reaction
  • Morning Dew – they opened and closed this Boston run with Dew = cosmic

Ed’s favorite quote, “the quality of the jam overshadows everything else, and this show definitely deserves my highest award,” from Dick’s notebook:

731202notes

  • Also I love the fact that his entry for the time he listened to this show on 3-21-80 consisted only of “Garcia does some unique playing on sugar magnolia that is very pleasing” (side note: it’s interesting then that he (they?) decided to NOT include this version of sugar mag on DP14)(side side note: not exactly sure what the hell dick is talking about anyway – Jerry’s playing doesn’t seem that unique to me during sugar mag – am I missing something?)
  • Another interesting side note – how he praises 11-11-73 in his notes on this show. (about which he later changes his mind – see  http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2011/02/dick-latvala.html)
  • I also find it interesting that he gives Big River a star in this show.
  • And also I love the fact that he gives the second set medley a bigger star than the other stars.
  • Another side note: I just realized that dick WRITES IN ALL CAPS IN HIS NOTEBOOKS. Dick is seriously my hero.
  • Another another side note: I love how his handwriting becomes more unhinged as the years go by, compare his handwriting on the 76 listen vs the note on the 83 listen
  • yet another: I love how 3 of the 5 entries essentially say the exact same thing about the second set jam

Another side note (not about dicks notebook): beginning of set 2, Bobby says “who was listening to the radio last night?” – interesting that previous night was probably the worst night of the 3 night run – maybe it was the stagefright of being broadcast, they usually seem to suck for the broadcasts (couple of exceptions but in general I feel like a show that was simulcast usually sucks)

Also, I love the guy who screams “keep it loud, Phil!” despite the fact that Phil has been shit-talking the audience the whole time

Lerry: First, the snow was perfect.  Of course it snowed 40 years (and 2 days) ago!  It had to have.  Jerry knew what was up.

Second, regarding Dick’s notebooks: great catch about his writing deteriorating.  I’ll look for that moving forward.  I like that on his notes from 1-9-76, in a different color ink (did the pen run out of ink and he got another?  Did he add the last sentence as an afterthought?  Did he go to the bathroom and leave the pen in there and needed another one?  What happened?) at the end, he writes a single sentence → “THE QUALITY IS VERY GOOD.”  I’m so happy he got another pen to add this.  Also, his Big River star may have to do with his note that “I LIKE THE WAY THE AUDIENCE YELLS OUT THE START TO BIG RIVER (I.E. 1-2-3-4)” which is so not Dick.  That sort of thing is showman shit, but I love that he felt compelled to write this though.

Second of all, in comments from a previous show, it sounds like there is an interview from the Boston run where the interviewer asks twice about how many Heinekens Phil drinks on stage each night.  According to the reviewer, in Phil’s book, he claimed to not be drinking at this time.  Big controversy here.  Perhaps he was drinking a bit too much and getting surly.  I have no idea why he was being such a dick though.

On to the show:
Set 1:  I agree with what you said 100%.  I have no idea what Bobby was thinking. Jerry was setting the stage for something special (and mellow) and Bobby kept fucking it up.  (Your theory re: the dialectical opposition dynamic could be on.  We need to revisit the best jams and see if there was a tug of war in the beginning of set 1.)  The start of the turnaround for me was a really mellow Brown Eyed Woman.  Not the best version but I feel like it reigned Bobby in. (Note the taper getting busted after Brown Eyed).  Then, we got a great Jack Straw (great Bobby + Jerry harmonies) and from here on out, the set was great with the massive exception of Bobby’s weather “suite”. (I’m a hater.)  I dug Keith’s playing in particular on Ramble on Rose (actually, they all sounded great).  Excellent dynamics here.  I gotta agree with Dick too… Big River sounds great.  (Probably not any different than most other nights though!)  Deal sounds great too.  No Donna here, so it would great to just hear Jerry singing “Doncha let that deal go down!” over and over at the end.

Set 2:  Holy. Fucking. Shit.  This has to be top 3 best 2nd sets ever.  Maybe even the best, but I don’t want to back myself into a corner.  The big long jam was simply fucking awesome.  I love that it was not a “sandwich” (meaning they did not reprise anything).  Again, I do like the sandwiches when they work, but sometimes, it seems like they have too much of an agenda and are not free enough. In this case, they go from point A to B quite naturally without having to think “OK, when are we going to go back to UJB”.   Anyway, to start things off, I THINK this might be my favorite Warf Rat. If it is not #1, it is up there.  Such a great version. I mean, such a fucking great version!   The transition into Mississippi is PERFECT.  It picks up the tempo a little bit and just totally fits.  This is a (relatively) subtle thing (choosing songs that fit well together) that Bobby has a hard time with sometimes.  This whole thing is building to the Mind Left Body Jam.  I love it so much.  The transition to Playin’ is PERFECT too.  Again, picks up the pace a little bit.  My head would have exploded if I had been at this show.  The Playin’ jam (including the Mind Left Body, or Armpit Left the Universe) is one of the best ever.  Best ever. It goes so far out, but they seem to stay together. Also, going from the Armpit Left the Universe to He’s Gone to bring you back to the universe was brilliant. Then, cranking it up one more time, Truckin was placed perfectly here.  (Nice work Bobby.)  Then, Stella Blue to bring it all back home. God damn, what jam this all was!   Morning Dew bookends for the run was brilliant.

To summarize → I absolutely award this a Steal Your Face ™ logo.  The Warf Rat -> Stella Blue is so good it overloads the neurocircuitry.

Favorite Quote:
“Reviewer:rollandfin
– June 24, 2005
Subject: why one should avoid dick’s picks
great great show, would be the stalking-horse for all other 73’s if not for dick’s cut and paste job, The AUD is still there, thanks by the way, but I have to take offence and rate this dick’s 1 star. The idea of the releases are welcomed, and I’m game for the purchase, so long as It stays within the collecting sprit, finding value in the repackaging and remastering.
When you chop up a show, and then waste the parts that didn’t make it, ??? (PLEASE repost the leftovers.) it’s just mean and not well thought out.
I can relate to the idea that a shows highlights are always there, and that the typical left-outs, say mexicali blues or big river sound a lot a-like from other shows, but it’s not right to rule out that the tune might be special to someone out there for the most obscure reasons. When a whole show is broken up, it stops being just that, and becomes a commercial, a sampler, far less pure and honest and exciting. If the dick’s picks have no problem releasing two versions of the same song on one pick DP 14,, then they could surely find it in their hearts to get everything across once? And sure releasing all that is salvageable is respectable, but putting out all but a single track on 5-2-70 Cold Rain and Snow, which I believe was not damaged, frustrates the collector and reduces the integrity of the dick’s brand. If Dick’s Picks have not worries releasing a two or more from the same month, even week, May 1977, then why mash together the greats, 2-13/14-70.
Fact of the matter is, this music is highly valued by the many fans, and therefore money is far less the deterant, compared to the fear that supporting the dick’s brand, only encourages further tracks to fade away.
I want dick’s Picks to be the pride of Heads, not the Headake.”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-12-02.sbd.clugston.3415.sbeok.shnf

Ed: Went back and listened to ‘taper got caught’ – totally awesome. Question: the dude from “band management” seemed to have an Australian accent – do you think it was owsley?

Lerry: Yes, I was thinking that was owsley, but I have no real idea.

December 4, 1973
Venue:Cincinnati Gardens
Show Details

dollar-sign-3

Apparently this show was released as a “bonus disc” for the people who pre-ordered the Complete Winterland 73 box set. It’s not available from any other source. We had a lot of trouble tracking this one down, and only got to listen to it after we finished the rest of the tour. This gets an “Un-Stealie” award from Lerry and Ed. We would like to re-quote one of Lerry’s favorite quotes from 11-21-73:
“It’s truly unfortunate that greedy people have found a way to monetize what should be free forever.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-11-21.sbd.miller.88612.sbeok.flac16

Lerry: Well, it is hard to get much of a feel for the show as a whole since we only have 9 songs available to us (due to greedy people), but it sounds, in general, like a below average December 1973 show.  This one is a bit on the sloppy side, perhaps.  Billy and Phil have some questionable segments.  However, there were some good jams.  Stella Blue was great.  Space (the jam after Eyes) was pretty awesome. Apparently the band was several hours late and played a shorter set than normal.  From the pieces we get to hear, it sounds a bit like they were distracted or something.

Favorite quote:
“GDP, what you are doing is like taking a complete set of encyclopedias and tearing a few of the most important pages out every once and awhile.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-04.sbd.miller.86845.flac16

Ed: Totally agree. Hard to get feel of the show, but it seems sloppy/rushed.
I love this conspiracy theory:
“Reviewer: He Live’s – – April 28, 2008
Subject: not this show
compare it to the bonus disc from the winterland 73 box set.
this is not from that show.”
https://archive.org/details/gd73-12-04pt.sbd.elliot.11799.sbeok.shnf

December 6, 1973
Venue:Cleveland Convention Center
Show Details

stealie

Lerry: Wow.

Set 1:
Great start. Bertha, Mexicali.  It is interesting how mellow Loser was at this point.  (In 77, they were really bringing it up during some of the solos.)   The first set is just plain solid.  No Weather Report Suite! No Jack Straw either though…   Nothing was a major standout to me, however, I’d rather take this set over any from 1978 and on and it is probably as good as most others.

Set 2:
This is set is amazing. Totally f-ing amazing.  Compared to 12-2, I have to say that this set really is as good, namely because of Dark Star, but it is tough to compare the two.  They are so different from each other.  Here is the deal… as a whole set, I’d probably choose 12-2 over 12-6. However, this is simply because of the setlist (not the playing) which is more of a personal thing than a critique of the band’s playing.  (Specifically, I’m not a huge Eyes fan, but I’m a fan of all of the songs on 12-2.)  Furthermore, I absolutely love the multi-song journey on 12-2 that (basically) the whole set takes you on.   It really is perfect.  With all of that being said, this Dark Star is an absolute MONSTER.  It is definitely my favorite I have ever heard.  It is the whole package.  I think it is more intense and heavy and dark and crazy and goes deeper than anything on 12-2.  When Dark Star ends, my brain is fried.  Just straight up insanity.  There are plenty of times that I’d rather listen to this 45 minute Dark Star over anything else.  So, as I said, when comparing complete sets, I’d probably have to give it to 12-2.  However, this version of Dark Star is as good as anything from any show in the history of the universe and is a crazy journey in its own right.  Outside of Dark Star, the rest of the songs are played really well.  Jerry is RIPPING on Here Come Sunshine (which was the longest one ever played, by the way.)  Hearing it makes me really surprised that they stopped playing it after 74.  The Stella Blue here seems extra subdued to bring things back home from Dark Star and Eyes.

For real, I’d give this a Stealie award.

Favorite Quote:
“I’m a Brent guy through and through.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-06.sbd.miller.105560.flac16
“J.R., I’ve read a few of your reviews, and I think you might need to just forget about the Dead and return to Phish touring.”

Ed: Totally agree with Lerry, particularly that “this version of Dark Star is as good as anything from any show in the history of the universe”

A couple of random notes on the parts of the show that are not the outrageously insanely incredible dark star:

  • Loser, Deal, Row Jimmy, Ramble on Rose – not sure why, but I totally dug these versions, they’re not like ‘best of’ versions or anything, but I just got really psyched while listening to them. On Deal, Keith does some cool shit.
  • Beat it down the line – in the beginning Billy briefly almost breaks into a sort of country-swing doubletime beat (not sure how to characterize it), but then pulls back – I wish he had pursued it, would’ve given the version an interesting twist
  • I liked the phil-heaviness of China/Rider – and Jerry does some really cool pedal-steel-inspired licks near the end, around 4 minute mark of rider. The boys definitely seem loose and ready to play, harbinger of awesomeness of second set.
  • I even kind of liked this version of around and around. Maybe just because it’s Friday.
  • Cowboy Bob Trifecta!!! This show has Mexicali Blues, El Paso AND Me and My Uncle. When I heard opening to Me and My Uncle I was like, wait, didn’t they already play this? Then I realized. Has this happened in any other show? Beechwoodian analysis needed.
  • As established last night and above: This Here Comes Sunshine is freaking awesome! Like most of the rest of this show it’s very loose, veering to almost-sloppy, but just when it’s going to hit the skids they yank it back to make it awesome (another harbinger of dark star). I know we’ve been saying this a lot, but – best version yet. (The aud splice is a little nerve-wracking though)
  • Does Big River count as Cowboy Bob tune? Because then we have a Cowboy Bob Quadrifecta!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • The Dark Star is OUTRAGEOUSLY INSANELY INCREDIBLE
  • Check out the call-back to The Note that Phil does at end of Stella Blue. This Dark Star is a fucking orchestrated symphony of directionful awesomeness.

Eds favorite quote(s) – love this argument (from http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0901):

  • “Third longest darkstar ..and phat one at that 
-jesse”
  • “What is the longest Dark Star?
-Anonymous”
  • ‘”I have a 30 min. Dark Star from 5-18-72
-Nick”
  • “If I am not mistaken, the longest Dark Star was in between the 45-50 minute range, but I think there was even one that ran about 63 minutes. By the way, I think this November and December was one of the BEST Dead periods ever, no Donna, yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
-Stealie”
  • “This is in fact the longest Dark Star ever. 43 minutes.
-Duke”
  • “Rotterdam 5/11/72 (clocking in at 48:38) is the longest Dark Star known besides Family Dog 8/28/69 ( ~64min ) 
-raintheory”
  • “This is the third longest darkstar on record, not the first (as someone has already noted).
-Anonymous”
  • “There is debate over the length of Dark Star. The debate is which is longest, some include Dark Star’s with a jam, drum solo, or going into then back out of a song sandwiched between Dark Star. Others say the ones with no interuption of the Dark Star theme through out signifies total length played. I guess it rests on your opinion of the song, the Dead, and what they mean.

In my opinion, as humble as it is, Dark Star is flux of music that fades in and out of existence at periodic times and spaces of life. Therefore, the song itself is still being played, somewhere…

: )

-Lerry (06/24/2008)”

December 8, 1973
Venue:Cameron Indoor Stadium
Show Details

stealie

Ed: The big question, does it reach heights of 12-2 or 12-6? Hmmmmm. Comments:

  • I’m really interested to hear Lerry’s take on first set – the first set seemed really tight to me, like they came out already warmed up and ready to go. Even the standard tunes like El Paso and Big River had some really sharp playing by Jerry.
  • Candyman = awesome. Going on this tour has reminded of the power of the bust out. You’re on tour, you’re hearing a lot of the same songs, and all of a sudden, boom, the band busts out something you hadn’t even thought of in a long time, and it magnifies your consciousness. I thought the performance was surprisingly good considering that they hadn’t played the song in a while (just checked, they hadn’t played it since March of ’73 – so 9 months), sloppy in a couple of places sure, but really cool to hear.
  • I actually got some time to read the newspaper yesterday, which was like this incredibly wonderful experience given other demands on time, and I read an essay by a guy who was a judge in a literary contest, and a couple of the things he said about how do you really judge one book against another resonated with me about trying to judge a show against another, and then he said this: “Do you need to read the entire book to know whether it’s prize-worthy? No, to be honest. But you do need to read enough to be sure you haven’t missed something, and even then you feel guilty, worried that just a few pages farther on there’s a passage that might have changed your mind.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/opinion/sunday/caution-reading-can-be-hazardous.html)
  • Which just reiterated to me that we have the right to “Betty” the horrible Bobby tunes, and I decided to liberally use that right during this show. So honestly I skipped The Race is On, Weather Report Suite, Around and Around and Johnny B Goode (sounds like Betty skipped Johnny B also). Fuck those tunes. Unlike the guy above, I didn’t feel guilty at all. It made the show so much better.
  •  Even the tuning/get back to your set for the opening of second set has some tight playing – I feel like they are just really locked in tonight (and I thought they actually had some funny stage banter for once, Bobby: “I couldn’t help but notice no one moved”)
  •  Ramble on rose – although I don’t think ill ever feel a need to actually compile this list, I think this version would make it to my top ten versions of Ramble On Rose – keith is doing some cool shit, and jerry is really tight (for this whole show, jerry and Keith are really killing it in my opinion)
  •  Row jimmy – like we talked about the other night (I think we talked about – I was so baked I’m not sure what we actually talked about and what I was just thinking) – the row jimmy’s on this tour have been slightly disappointing. This one is cool, I like some of the electric keyboard work keith is doing (I seem to be really plugged into keith on this show) – but I’m interested to go back and listen to Row Jimmy from say, that June 73 Vancouver show, which I remember as having a really tight version for comparison
  • Also like we (perhaps) talked about the other night – bertha in the second set is such a party foul for some reason. When I heard the first few notes I was like, wait a minute – did my computer suddenly skip back to the beginning of the show for some reason? Begs the super important philosophical question – is their something inherent in Bertha that makes it so appropriate for first song of first set, or is it just that I’m so used to hearing it there?
  • Second Set jam is awesome, but… It seems like it doesn’t get the plaudits as 12/2 or 12/6 in online commentary, and I’m on the fence as to whether it does or not. The Space Jam is MINDBLOWING,  totally awesome,  and in any other year this would probably be the highlight of the entire tour, but I feel like when the second set jam has been based around The Other One as a frame on this tour it does become a tiny bit directionless, almost as if Jerry hasn’t quite constructed the map in his mind of how the whole overall jam will fit together, whereas in the some of the best of the other second set jams on this tour he had a planned route. I’m not sure if this second set completely reaches the heights of the 11-10 winterland playin sandwich, the 12-2 kitchen sink medley, or the 12-6 dark star. I love love love the spacey part. Really, that space jam is just incredible. But something is holding me back from giving full honors.
  • As mentioned in a lot of the comments I saw online: wharf rat -> stella = rare and awesome
  • You know what? Fuck it. This deserves a stealie. I mean He’s Gone into awesome truckin into CRAZY ASS Other One/Space into two jerry ballads? Stealie.

Favorite quote:
“It was during this set that my mother was removed from the show, since her brain had finally succumbed to the acidic overdose of euphoria.”
(From http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0902)

Side Note: During my wonderfully soul-soothing newspaper reading experience yesterday, I also read an article that maybe sheds a little light on one of Lerry’s favorite internet comments from the 12-6 show: “I’m a Brent guy through and through.”. I mean, how they hell can you be a brent guy through and through? But anyway, I saw this quote in a review of a late-period Thelonious Monk concert that is just being released, and maybe it sheds some light:
“There’s a small cult of late-period partiality in jazz: listeners who savor the poignancy of a great artist in decline. If this is your inclination, then you probably have deep feelings for Billie Holiday’s “Lady in Satin” and certain 1950s work by Lester Young. (Outside jazz, you’re inclined to like the albums Rick Rubin produced for Johnny Cash.)” (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/arts/music/new-albums-neil-young-thelonious-monk-and-shelby-lynne.html)

Add to that: ‘Or if you’re a deadhead, you’re a Brent guy through and through’

Lerry: I agree with your notes.  I WOULD give this a stealie.  The only reason to knock it was that it came after two of the best shows in history. That alone is not this show’s fault.   Three AMAZING shows in a row.  You know what this means?  We HAVE to track down 12-4 (editor’s note: we were later able to track down 12-4, but at the point Lerry wrote this, we hadn’t).  Seriously. This is the best run right here and those greedy bastards are fucking with us.  Why are the AUDs removed from the archive? This is like that part in the new Star Wars where they remove the planet from the database.  They always leave the shitty sounding AUDs there. What is with this one?  Is it better than a stealie? This is a problem.

Set 1:  I agree that they sounded really tight.  The highlight for me was Candyman.  An interesting thought… at this stage in the band’s career, throwing in the odd American Beauty or Workingman’s Dead track seemed to fit.  Later in the decade, I have felt that many of those tracks do not fit in with the set, and much after that, just sound like a novelty (“Hey, you guys remember this one?!?”).  For whatever reason,on this tour Attics, Candyman, Dire Wolf, Minglewood, etc. have sounded awesome!  Now, along those lines, I wonder if the issue with Row Jimmy on the tour is that it doesn’t really fit in?  I like the song. I do. But every time it has come on during the tour, I sort of feel let down. I don’t know. It is missing that X factor.

Set 2: Agree, amazing set sans Bertha.  (Warf Rat into Stella Blue is rad.)  An interesting thought that would need some Beechwoodian-style analysis.  I feel like looking at it from the long-term, the Dead excelled with certain songs for the long jams for a period of time. The explored all areas of the jam and when they were done with it, they didn’t really have much to say.  (See Dark Star in ‘93).   For a long time, the jams were mainly the Other One, Lovelight and Dark Star.  In 73, they started jamming out the Weather Report Suite and Playin’.  I wonder if they tired of the Other One. I am trying to think of an amazing Other One past this period?  (This is not a statement, but more of a question for you/Dr. Beechwood.)  I agree that it is great, but seems a bit wandering, unlike the amazing Dark Star and Playin’s we have heard recently.

On a related note, I would love it if you put together your top ten Ramble On Rose versions.

Second-related note, those contrarian reviewers are the worst. They are the ones that claim the religious period of Dylan was the best and that sort of thing.  Total Brent fans.  (Although, in the Head’s defence, I am guessing most of the Brentheads were people that saw shows in the 80s and have a connection to them.)

Favorite Quote:
“Subject: Thank You, Jerry Moore
I never met you, Jerry Moore. You died peacefully in your sleep on June 3, 2010, and i never got the chance to personally meet you and shake your hand, but you were my brother.
Thank you for dragging all your recording equipment into this show, and numerous others, and nearly getting nabbed.
Thank you for teaching me various miking techniques in live recording and for sharing with me your pithy logic regarding same.
Thank you, Jerry Moore.
Some of us remember you.
And some of us shall…
Never forget.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-08.aud.moore.berger.106138.flac24

December 10, 1973
Venue:Charlotte Coliseum
Show Details
Lerry: Man this tour was so good. This was another REALLY FUCKING GREAT show!  I would not give it a stealie, simply due to the lack of a second set big jam, but the band really sounds great. WARNING! The Download Series is missing a few songs due to greedy people.  (Odd since it is a download-only thing.)  There are no versions on Archive (again due to greedy people).

Set 1: Great set. Not many Betty skippers.  The stand-alone Playin’ was AWESOME.  Total high energy.  Garcia is totally shredding.  Officially Playin’ ends set 1, even though it is only track 6 on the official (greedy) release.  Oddly, I think the first set is better than the second.  (This MAY be my favorite set 1 of the tour, but it is not totally fair due to some songs being cut.)

Set 2:   Interesting second set.  It does not really have a single super stand out jam piece. I guess Eyes is, but it never goes that deep.  I have always loved Peggy-O.  I don’t know why. Just a nice melody I guess.  This was the first time they ever played it. It is a little faster and has a much different vibe than the standard ballad vibe that we are used to. I’ve actually never heard it sound like this before so it is cool to hear the earliest version.  With that being said, the playing here is very sloppy (particularly on the Phil side of things (did he even rehearse it?) but even a refined gentleman like me can appreciate the fact that they introduced a new song in the middle of the tour.  (Honestly, they probably should have rehearsed it in-between tours and not had Phil try to figure out what was going on, but that’s OK.)  Row Jimmy sounds pretty standard for this run.. nice, actually, but I have a hard time really telling them apart…  I feel like this song has been played every night, which has been a bit of a let down in my opinion. (It is not that great of a song. Play Mississippi every night if you have to promote Wake of the Flood for god’s sake!!)  I liked the Eyes jam and Brokedown Palace sounded great. Weird (but cool) to hear China -> Rider towards the end of the second set.

Favorite quote:
“music is great but the notes must have been written by someone from Chicago, Indiana or from Philadelphia, New Jersey”
http://www.amazon.com/Download-Series-Vol-Charlotte-Coliseum/dp/B0026P7TU6

Ed: Agree with Lerry. Very solid show but not quite stealie-worthy. I feel like we went up to the mountaintop with the 12-2, 12-6, and 12-8 shows, up to the highest heights of dead-dom, and now the band is leading us back down the other side. We’re still way up in the altitude, but slowly descending.

First set is tight, Playin was the highlight for me, and the second set was somewhat of a disappointment because of the lack of a big jam. I’m surprised this was officially released – why choose this one over 12-6 or 12-8? Maybe precisely because it’s a little more accessible and not so crazy. But in my opinion not as strong as surrounding shows on the tour that are unreleased. Also – really, why not release the whole show? Perhaps I’m becoming a “Dave-hater”

Regarding Peggy-O – I think I saw in the comments for another show that they practiced it during a soundcheck, and Jerry says at some point, “No Keith that’s a C right there” – can’t remember where I saw that though

Favorite quote about this show (because nothing like this actually occurred during the show):
“Reviewer:Lewis/Klitschko
The Casey Jones > Jam > One More Saturday Night suite is amazing. It spans about 45 minutes of pure gooey madness. There is a tiger jam right before OMSN and you can hear a Spanish tease about 12 minutes after the last note played of Jones. I thought the meltdown would lead into “Dark Star,” but they decided to go into “One More Saturday Night” instead. An interesting choice on a late ’73 journey through the ages.” (From https://archive.org/details/gd73-12-10pt.sbd.elliot.11800.sbeok.shnf)

December 12, 1973
Venue:The Omni
Show Details
Ed: Another totally solid show, but not quite stealie-worthy in my opinion, marred by a second set weather anchor. We’re still descending from the mountaintop. Couple of random notes:

  • Playin, China Cat-Rider, and Wharf Rat all were super enjoyable versions to me (also the transition from Wharf Rat into Me and My Uncle really worked for me, I actually really dug going into M&MU after Wharf Rat). I’m not sure if they are “best of” versions, or it was just once again the Context – I was listening on an airplane, and those tunes transported me out of my heinous reality and into the celestial realm of Jerry’s tear-drops
  • Which reminds me – regarding Context, and our conversation about it above –  I recently started reading David Byrne’s book “How Music Works” (love that the title is so pretentious, so perfect for Byrne) – anyway, the “Context” of music is a recurring theme for him, in fact he says that realizing that context affects music was the biggest insight he had in his life. On the very first page he wrote this: “context largely determines what is written, painted sculpted, sung, or performed. That doesn’t sound like much of an insight, but it’s actually the opposite of conventional wisdom… The accepted narrative suggests that the rock and roll singer is driven by desire and demons, and out bursts this amazing, perfectly shaped song that had to be three minutes and 12 seconds – nothing more, nothing less. This is the romantic notion of how creative work comes to be, but I think the path of creation is almost 180 degrees from this model. I believe that we unconsciously and instinctively make work to fit pre-existing formats.”.. He goes on to talk again and again about how context determines what music gets created and how it affects how we hear the music…
  • Ongoing investigation into the Straw Effect – the Jack Straw in this show itself was awesome. The whole first set was pretty tight to me, so it’s hard to gauge the specific impact this Straw had on this first set. Which is how it’s been the last few shows: they’ve been pretty tight from the first song.
  • Side note on the Straw Effect- it occurred to me based on the soundcheck files included on this show that there might be an unknown factor complicating straw effect – the band might have played jack straw during the sound check, making the show tight from get go, but we wouldn’t necessarily know unless we had the files from the soundcheck.
  • Side side note: someone really needs to create a site devoted solely to sound checks. Maybe dead essays should do this.
  • I noticed myself wishing that Here Comes Sunshine was part of this show – I missed it not being there. This tour has really opened my eyes to the awesomeness of HCS.

Ed’s favorite quote – love this argument (from http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0904):

  • “the omni did not exist in 73 this show is probally from the fabolous fox theatre
-ga cracker”
  • “Sorry…the OMNI did exist in ’73!! What a show!!!
-I wuz there”
  • “Don’t know where ga cracker was – but I was at the Omni too. I remember, believe it or not, that Sugar magnolia totally blew me away.

flashman
-flashman13 (06/09/2008)”
  • “The Omni was there in 1973 and so was I. What I witnessed and heard changed my life forever!
-Anonymous (01/06/2011)”

For the record, according the totally authoritative Wikipedia, the omni opened in ’72 and closed in ’97.

Lerry: Totally agree with your assessment.  Very solid show playing-wise, marred by a somewhat weak setlist.  We are getting spoiled at this point.  You found some choice quotes too.  Deadheads can come up with some awesome controversies, such as whether or not a show (that has been recorded AND has people claiming to have gone) actually happened.  I’m going to go with the naysayers on this one just to mix it up. This show never happened. The Omni was not even around until 1985. I know because my brother used to live out there.

But man, on Looks Like Rain I can never get past the “But it’s alright ‘cause I love you!”  God, this song is so damn cheesy. Dentist office music.

It is interesting hearing Peggy-O develop.  (The sound check was interesting too.)  I am curious when they turned it into a ballad. We will have to see over the next few years.   This version is way better than the last one, but still sounds weird to me as a faster song.

There are two important things I’d like to take this time to discuss:
1) The straw factor.  I think that this show certainly supports this theory.  The playing was great I thought.  The setlist, particularly weather report being the anchor in set 2, was not great. Your soundcheck concept is a definite monkey wrench, but it actually could support the theory more?
2) So, here is my new challenge. Since we are investigating the effect that Jack Straw has on the playing, is there a similar song that guides Bobby’s choice in songs for the set?  Some sets, he is on another planet. Some sets, he is locked in.  If, when they play song X, does it center him enough to make good decisions and avoid rock and roll + weather songs?  We must figure this out.
The Warf Rat > Uncle transition was hot!  I definitely don’t think this Warf Rat was the best ever, but it was 73 and great.

From now on, I will ONLY listen to AUD soundchecks. I am a true Deadhead.

Favorite quotes:
“Polka time folks!” – Bobby at the start of Mexicali Blues
“The Morning Dew has Phil dropping massive bombs before the bridge and then this version takes on a sweetness with Jerry playing soft, twinkling, and lilting runs then finally explode into crashing wave after waves of rapid strumming notes.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-12.sbd.miller.105561.flac16

December 18, 1973
Venue:Curtis Hixon Convention Hall
Show Details
Lerry: I’m going to sum up this excellent show in a haiku:
Amazing playing
Weather songs thus no Stealie
Fucking great Dark Star

Favorite quote:
“This is it,just stream Dark Star I dare ya!!!!!!!!I billion stars best thing I ever heard period.”
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-12-18.sbd.miller.113498.flac16

Ed: You captured the essence of the show so beautifully that I am not going to mar it with any more words.

Favorite quote:
“OK…I amend my previous post…the music pre-verse is makeout music. The music post verse is downright freaked. Maybe that’s the time you have baked-out sex. Let me listen to the rest of it…
-Steve (07/14/2008)”
http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0905

December 19, 1973
Venue:Curtis Hixon Convention Hall
Show Details

stealie

Ed: Last show of the tour, and it’s phenomenal. We’ve been coming down the mountaintop, still up in rarefied air yet slowly descending, when we turn a corner and see a vast vista of total awesome Jerriness. It’s like an alpine lake filled with the teardrops from the crying of Jerry’s tears. I can see why Dick would choose this as his first pick. The jam section after Truckin’ is some of the best Dead there is. Some notes:

  • Moments of absolute pure awesomeness in this show include: Here Comes Sunshine, Playin’ in the Band, and everything after Truckin’.
  • The post-truckin jam is total brain-fry
  • I mean, this jam is totally freaking incredible.
  • Side note – I wonder why they took a week off in between the Omni show and these two shows? I mean Atlanta can’t be more than a day’s drive from Tampa. What happened in the week in between? Maybe the boys wanted to stay warm in the south for an extra week in winter? I would genuinely like Deadessays to write a blogpost about it
  • This jam is just unbelievable.
  • Couple of interesting factoids from allmusic about DP1 (http://www.allmusic.com/album/dicks-picks-vol-1-tampa-fl-12-19-1973-mw0000622762) “With a surfeit of options to inaugurate the ongoing project, Latvala cited his desire to disseminate items that were “lesser known” by Deadheads and to reveal the sonic splendor of the opener “Here Comes Sunshine” when asked the reasons that he chose this specific date to christen Dick’s Picks.” and “A further point of contention between connoisseurs of the music was the out and out hatchet job done to “Playing in the Band” at the behest of Phil Lesh (bass/vocals). A caveat of including the performance was the removal of his bass solo.”  I think this means we need to compare the Playin’ from the auds to the DP1.
  • That jam blew my mind
  • The end of the tour is a bittersweet moment.

Favorite Quote, from http://archive.org/post/389252/best-dicks-picks:
“Subject: Best Dicks Picks
Here’s what I consider to be the best:
1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 26, 28, 29, 31, 34, and 36”

Lerry: This is the perfect end to the tour and our 41 pages of notes.  I will absolutely give this show a Stealie.  So so so so good.

Set 1:
Killer killer killer.  Nice song choices by both guys.  The Workingman’s/AB songs sound great (and both were omitted from DP).  In fact, CANDYMAN!  Such a great version.  The band sounded great during the first 6 songs. They really started rippin’ at Jack Straw and beyond (coincidence?).  Here Come Sunshine is AMAZING.  Very possibly my favorite yet.  I feel like I keep saying that.  The Playin’ here is fantastic as they have been as of late.

Set 2:
To get the negative out of the way, there are 26 minutes in a row that I am not too fond of… Row Jimmy into Weather Report Suite.  Row Jimmy is so bland at this point to me and Weather Report Suite is basically just a bad song.  OK, enough negativity.  The He’s Gone > Truckin > Other One > Stella Blue jam is AMAZING.  So amazing.  It does make sense that Dick chose this as his first pick.  The freak out sections are great and they very naturally slide back into more structured material. I love it. One of the best ever.

Favorite quote:
As this show was Dick’s Picks 1, I figured a quote having to do with Dick would be appropriate:
“Though his ‘day job’ in Hawaii was working at the zoo, Latvala’s main focus was growing pot”
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2011/02/dick-latvala.

NEXT UP: 1974

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