Two shows in late-May, 1969, found the band playing at the Big Rock Pow Wow in Florida, and from these shows, we have the show-opener from the second night, 5/24/69, a very long, inspired Lovelight. They had also closed their set the night before with Lovelight , so this version can be looked at as the second part of an hour long rendition. Both nights were recorded to _” reel-to-reel tape running at 7.5 ips by Bear, and even though there are master reel cuts on these tapes, Bear also recorded to cassette, so if these shows are ever produced into CD releases, the cuts can be fixed thanks to the multiple source recordings.
Jumping up to 1972, on 5/23/72 the band played the first of their four nights at the Lyceum in London to end the massive Europe ’72 tour. From this show is this nice Good Lovin’, played here for two reasons: first, because it is excellent; and secondly because something very special is happening during the song, a nearly-once-in-a-lifetime anomaly. I’m sure plenty of people know what that is, but to keep those who don’t guessing, I’ll reveal what’s special next week, so be sure to check back.
Moving ahead a year to 1973, here’s a snippet of the Iowa show on 5/13/73 that we didn’t play a couple of weeks ago, They Love Each Other. We’ll try to play a bit more of this show later in the year. Moving forward a week to 5/20/73 in Santa Barbara is this classic 1973 jam, featuring Truckin’>The Other One>Eyes of the World>Stella Blue. And, again going forward a week, to the stellar Kezar Stadium show on 5/26/73, we have two classics from the era: Here Comes Sunshine and Playing In The Band. Although the band would play very few Bay Area shows in 1973 (Kezar was the only Bay Area show between Stanford on 2/9/73 and the Winterland run in November, 1973), they sure did play some exceptional shows. For a final taste of 1973, here is this historically unique sound check from 10/23/73, featuring Wang Dang Doodle with Jerry guiding the vocals, rather than Bobby who would do so in the 1980s and beyond. Nothing too tremendous here, but a nice bit of history.
Next up is some music from the consistently excellent Spring Tour of 1977, specifically some music from Richmond, VA on 5/25/77. The post Drums jam that night was typical of this tour, which is to say one-of-a-kind, out-of-left-field, and just generally amazing. Specifically, this night featured a jam of Drums>The Other One>The Wheel>The Other One>Wharf Rat>Around and Around, Johnny B. Goode. It’s still perplexing to think of the high level of playing the band sustained during this five week tour, which of course would be followed within two weeks with more equally great music from the Forum in LA on 6/4/77 (not in the vault) and the June Winterland run. Where did they come up with this energy?
We’ll now head into 1982, specifically to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, where from the 5/23/82 show we’ll hear the opening Shakedown Street>Promised Land. This is drawn from the cassette master, and is included partly to demonstrate the limitations of many recordings from this era (and partly because it’s really, really good). As you can hear, the mix on the tape just isn’t very good, and is typical of many of the 1980s-era board cassettes. So, despite the fact that the vault holds many soundboard master cassettes from this era, many are un-releasable due to mix issues. It’s unfortunate, but in cases like this, the music can certainly shine through and provide a pleasurable listen.
Finally this week, we’ll jump up to what many consider to be one of the greatest shows from the 1990s, particularly what occurred just before Drums. From 5/26/93 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, we have the show opening combination of Samson and Delilah-Here Comes Sunshine, and from this opener, you can hear that it’s going to be a great show. However, nothing would prepare the crowd for the second set jam of Victim or the Crime>Crazy Fingers>Playing In The Band, with the latter arguably considered to be the greatest Playing In The Band since 1974. Now, of extra historical significance, you’ll notice that for these segment we have included a Here Comes Sunshine and Playing In The Band, songs that were performed 20 years ago to the day at Kezar on 5/26/73, and heard a few paragraphs above. You’ve got to wonder if someone pulled out Deadbase before the Cal Expo 93 show…
Be sure to check in next week, when we’ll play some music from 1971, 1972, 1977, 1978 and 1980. We’ll also reveal what’s unique about the 5/23/72 version of Good Lovin’ played above, in case you haven’t figured it out. As always, write with questions, comments, suggestions or requests.
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