Wednesday, August 1st, 1973
Roosevelt Stadium – Jersey City, NJ
No question, there was something special happening with the Dead and Roosevelt Stadium from 1972 to 1974. From all accounts, the ball field had nothing going for it. It was dirty, old, and unappealing. Yet, the venue brought forth some of the Dead’s most landmark performances, coupled with some of the finest outdoor audience tape documents of the era. It’s great when those things work together – music reaching transportational levels that melt your surroundings and leave you one with the music.
One show of this small bunch that might get some of the least attention is 8/1/73. The big set two jam circulates in pristine SBD form, and has for many years. The rest of the show turned up around 2002 in subpar SBD, and around that same time, AUDs made it into wider circulation.
Jeffrey Siniawsky contacted me one day out of the blue after finding my extensive notes that accompanied the Watkins tapes I put into circulation. He had his own recording, done on Uher reels, and wanted to get them to me in an effort to share them at large. Well, Watkins wasn’t the only date he captured from the Summer of ‘73. He taped 7/31 and 8/1 as well. Just as I set about seeding his 8/1/73, another AUD source came my way (I am a firm believer that these tapes find their way into circulation often due to nothing more than the attention being paid to them at particular times). This second AUD tape was a multi-gen source, but blew my head off. I immediately switched my efforts to the new tape, and used Jeff’s to fill in the gaps, which were large (Dark Star through Morning Dew).
This tape reveals some of the most up front, clear, rich, and powerful sounding Dead music of the year. An outdoor AUD paradise. Not only is everything crisp, but there’s great low end too. It’s a real pleasure for the ears. A strong show from start to finish, it is well worth travelling the entire road on 8/1/73. That said, the obvious highlights are mighty indeed.
There were 50 Bird Song’s from 1972 to 1973; the song making its return on 7/18/72 (also at Roosevelt Stadium). But of these, only 12 occurred in 1973 itself. It’s a real shame that this song fell out of the rotation because it consistently drew out inspired and richly psychedelic explorations. If ever there should be a Bird Song solo put to paper and held up as the one to study, this should be it. In a show that had no Playin’ to close the first set, this Bird Song tucked in the center delivers everything you could want in a jammed out first set closer. This particular version bleeds 1973. Jerry’s solo floats effortlessly. Toward the end, he plays a slow run of harmonics which tinkle like bells on the backs of butterflies, followed by a rapidly rolling lead line that takes the form of a thousand raindrops. The last verse comes back and Jerry’s voice overflows with gentle grace. Again, his solo leaps into the air and sings praises to the sky.
For the Dark Star, we switch to Siniawsky’s reel. Mysteriously, it begins with a recording not his own. On his reel there is this dubbed-in stereo master for the first minute. He couldn’t recall any details around doing this editing, and thus was seeded a still unfulfilled quest for the complete stereo AUD master from 8/1/73 (and 7/31). All I did was a smooth crossfade between sources. Siniawsky’s AUD only pales slightly to the main source, and we are once again treated to a wonderful recording.
Dark Star places us firmly back in the same luscious space where Bird Song left us. It grows and grows until the band picks up the pace and proceeds into one of the more stunning passages of the summer. Jerry and Keith deliver some of their finest work. When you hear people talk about the jazzy jamming of 1973, this is it. The space after the verse finds many interesting things going on. There’s the sound of trees creaking in the night breezes, or that of old boats rocking with the waves. From this Jerry plays a slide solo that sounds like an old Irish folk song of sadness and lamenting; like the story of some widowed bride who cries on a cliff top overlooking the sea that has stolen her love. There’s a moment where someone (Billy?) plays a thumb piano and later some chimes (not the norm at all – the chimes also appear on 7/31). Dark and quiet space ensues, and a tiger jam takes form, drawing the song to a close and slipping nicely into El Paso.
I’m always a fan of the way these cowboy tunes could appear in the heart of a set two jam. The tunes typically have a bit more going on than if they showed up in the first set, and this El Paso is no exception. Jerry is on fire. This leads us to Eyes of the World, a monstrous 1973 version clocking in at over 20 minutes. It rolls and rolls. Finally, the jam leads us to the pristine shores of another 1973 Morning Dew. 72 shows in 1973, only 15 Morning Dews. The song is timeless, typically betraying nothing of the era from which it is being played. Again, Jerry’s voice is emotive and hypnotically draws you in to listen. He’s solos ring with the same emotion, and from the near whispers to the colossal peaks, this Morning Dew is full of drama and fire. The song hardly ever disappoints.
08/01/73 AUD download
Audience Devotional Tree Round 8 – April, 2002
Audience Devotional Tree Round 8 – April, 2002