June 6 - June 12, 2011
Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 3
November 21, 1973
Road Trip to the Rockies, ’73 Style!
It’s been a while since we’ve dipped into the uniformly magnificent fall of 1973 (the epic Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings came out three long years ago), and we’ve never put out a Road Trips from that year, so it’s high time we did! And you’ll have a high time getting lost in the majesty and mystery of Road Trips Vol. 4, No. 3, which consists of the entire November 21, 1973 concert at the Denver Coliseum spread across two-and-half discs, and then an excellent sequence of tunes from the second set of the previous night’s Denver show (11/20/73)!
Colorado has been fertile Grateful Dead Territory since the band’s first foray at the short-lived Denver Family Dog in 1967, and by the time 1973 rolled around, the group had built a large and loyal following there the old-fashioned way—by playing killer shows! Y’know, we often talk about the deluge of great tunes that came into the Dead’s repertoire during that fabulously fecund 1969-70 time period, but from the summer of ’72 through the summer of ’73, there was a veritable psychedelicornucopia of wondrous new Dead tunes introduced, including a handful that appear on this edition of Road Trips: “Here Comes Sunshine,” “Mississippi Half-Step,” “Weather Report Suite,” “They Love Each Other,” “Stella Blue”; each a classic in its own way, and indicative of some of the exciting new directions the Dead’s music was heading.
All of those except “They Love Each Other” turned up on the Dead’s exceptional Wake of the Flood album, released in mid-October 1973. It was the band’s first studio record since American Beauty three years earlier, and also the maiden release on their own Grateful Dead Records label, so they were way jazzed to be out there on the road digging into their recent tunes, several of which proved to be fine jamming vehicles and were instantly popular with the group’s ever-growing fan base.
The first set of 11/21/73 is a rock-solid and varied collection of tunes, including several “western” numbers (“Jack Straw,” “Me and My Uncle,” “Mexicali Blues”), a lovely “Brokedown Palace” (remember when that could turn up almost anywhere in a show?), a lilting and crystalline “Here Comes Sunshine” and a beautifully developed “Weather Report Suite”—already a monumental song after just three months!
The second set is where the fireworks really go off, however. It’s dominated by a spectacular hour-long medley that begins with “Half-Step,” segues into “Playing in the Band,” travels 715 miles due south for a little gunplay in “El Paso,” dips back into the “Playing” jam for spell, then into a superb “Wharf Rat,” back to a dynamic “Playing” reprise, and is topped off by one of the best versions of “Morning Dew” from this period. Nice! There’s plenty of show after that, too, with “Truckin’” rolling into a rare “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” then “Goin’ Down the Road” and “Saturday Night” as the rockin’ capper. “Uncle John’s” is the perfect anthemic encore.
Filling out Disc Three is a meaty triumvirate from 11/20 consisting of “Truckin’,” a typically convoluted and exciting “Other One,” and then a lovely “Stella Blue” that ends this Road Trips on a particularly poignant note.
As always, there is a CD booklet containing an essay about the show and period photos, and sonically this is certain to meet (or exceed) your expectations—once again it has been mastered to HDCD specs for maximum punch and clarity.
To see the complete song list for the three discs and to order this satisfying slice of Rocky Mountain Dead, click here.
- Blair Jackson
Note: Subscribers to the Road Trips series will receive their exclusive Bonus Disc with the mailing of this Denver set.
poor guy looked and sounded HORRIBLE. It's surprising he didn't die in 86 (I'm very glad he didn't).
Jerry sounds very tired and a bit careless during his contributions to Throwing Stones at RFK, particularly his main lead section. always tough to hear that either in this little rough period, or summer tour '95.
I am currently listening to the second of the three posts here, and I must say that 80's Dead, while not always the sharpest (pre-teleprompter days especially,) is certainly some of my favorite to listen to while working. There was something about the sonic landscape of the 80's and 90's that I really enjoy... I don't know... it seems to "shimmer" more than the earlier stuff. Plus, unlike a lot of folks, I really enjoy the "newer" songs like Hell in a Bucket, Throwing Stones, Standing on the Moon, Aiko/Women are Smarter, etc. Plus, I have always been a BIG fan of what Brent brought to the band. All in all, great selections guys and gals! Thanks for making my busy day of grading a TON of papers a little bit brighter!
Glad I missed the heat and humidity.
Mr. Knowitall sez TOG was filmed at LSeca, not Ventura.
DL2 has used it multiple times.
Ventura was a great place to see a Dead show. I remember the 87 shows when they filmed the Touch of Grey video the first night. It was a great start to the summer that ended even better with the Calaveras shows.
It was VERY hot and muggy both shows at RFK. The stadium was only half full during the Dylan/Petty part. I'll never forget during Satisfaction when Bob said "and over here we got old Jer" and Jerry let out a barrage of sound from his guitar that made your hair stand up!
I would LOVE to attend a Furthur show in Ventura.
misty water-color memories...
lucky enough to have attended
happy memories of listening to a tape of the Terrapin in my dorm room in a special frame of mind...MAGIC.
Hey Iamagonzo, are you familiar with the meaning of the word penultimate? It means second to last, which is what the 7/6/86 show was before Jerry's coma. 7/7/86 was the last. I'm sure I'm coming off sounding like a dick but I just don't like when people throw around words without knowing the meaning. Carry on.......