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

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…

: )

-Scott (06/24/2008)”

Next show: 12/8/73 Grateful Dead

Previous show: 12/4/73 Grateful Dead

(the deal)

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