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)


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