Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 12/6/73

December 6, 1973
Venue:Cleveland Convention Center
Show Details


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.”
“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!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 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 
  • “What is the longest Dark Star?
  • ‘”I have a 30 min. Dark Star from 5-18-72
  • “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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • “This is in fact the longest Dark Star ever. 43 minutes.
  • “Rotterdam 5/11/72 (clocking in at 48:38) is the longest Dark Star known besides Family Dog 8/28/69 ( ~64min ) 
  • “This is the third longest darkstar on record, not the first (as someone has already noted).
  • “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…

: )

-Scott (06/24/2008)”

Next show: 12/8/73 Grateful Dead

Previous show: 12/4/73 Grateful Dead

(the deal)


Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 12/4/73

December 4, 1973
Venue:Cincinnati Gardens
Show Details


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.”

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.”

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.”

Next show: 12/6/73 Grateful Dead

Previous show: 12/2/73 Grateful Dead

(the deal)

Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 12/2/73

December 2, 1973
Venue:Boston Music Hall
Show Details


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:


  • 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:
– 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.”

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.

Next show: 12/4/73 Grateful Dead

Previous show: 12/1/73 Grateful Dead

(the deal)

Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 12/1/73

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.”

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
From http://www.setlists.net/?show_id=0898

Next show: 12/2/73 Grateful Dead

Previous post: the Grateful Dead as Songwriters

(the deal)

Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: Super Important Side Conversation

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:
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
Bird Song
Late For Supper
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

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):

Bird Song
The Wheel
Black-Throated Wind
Playing in the Band
Mexicali Blues
Ramble on Rose
Jack Straw
Tennessee Jed
Brown-Eyed Woman
He’s Gone
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.

Next show: 12/1/73

Previous show: 11/30/73

Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 11/30/73

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?)

Next post: the Grateful Dead as Songwriters

Previous show: 11/25/73 Grateful Dead

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Ed & Lerry’s Grateful Dead Tour Journal: 11/25/73

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.”

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?”

Next show: 11/30/73 Grateful Dead

Previous show: 11/23/73 Grateful Dead

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