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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1973 September 7 - Nassau Coliseum

Jerry Garcia 1973 GRATEFUL DEAD
Friday, September 7, 1973
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum - Uniondale, NY
Audience & Soundboard Recordings

This show marked the beginning of the Fall '73 tour (okay, I know it was still technically Summer). After being off the road for a month, the Dead come back on one of the highest notes of the year. Refreshed, inspired, and ready to do business.

I come back to this show (both in AUD and Soundboard) often for the logical highlights. Fantastic quality renditions pervade the show. This night, and the night after, were always tapes that hid slightly from view on lists. Hard to find, typically in lack-luster quality AUD (especially 9/8), we were blessed by the leaking of the SBDs right around 2000, not to mention Jerry Moore getting his master AUD into circulation.

Jerry Garcia - Sept 07, 1973Also worth noting is that this night marked the debut of Jerry's Wolf guitar in a live show with the Dead. Judging from Jerry's inspired playing, he was putting it through its paces, and it was performing like a true champ. The extra hieghts he reaches seem to indicate he was really getting off on the new axe.

Bird Song. There were only a dozen of these in 1973, none after September 15th. Then the song got shelved for years. Sad. For those that we did get in 1973, they always go to wonderful places and find a special spot in my heart. This night's version is no exception. Waterfalls of notes that swirl the time signature. Jerry's solo seems to mark the downbeat and start of each measure as if he has tossed all the measures up in the air and let all the 1's, 2's, 3's, and 4's float back into the music of their own accord. This, meshed with Billy's sensational drumming that seems to be slipping its own count across a glass-like frozen lake, makes for an unmistakable 1973 musical sensation - like running too fast down a hill and being caught forever in a limbo somewhere pasts having your footing yet not quite tumbling head over heels. It keeps you perpetually falling forward, like forever tipping just over the edge of a slow motion waterfall. The first tape I heard that brought this image to my mind was 11/14/73 San Diego. In its multi-Other One layers that make up the massive jam cake of set two, this feeling is extremely pronounced. This is a hallmark of 1973.

New Potato Bird Song Caboose

I find myself compelled here to raise a thread of thought. If you look back and trace the grooves of this band from its dawn on up through the years, you can find that there are particular "grooves" that always found their way into the picture. Dig out your copy of Anthem Of The Sun and listen again to the Cryptical. The jamming has a certain triumphant march feeling to it - like the band is leading us into a parade of delights. This triumphant march is duplicated some years later in Truckin'. Listen and you'll see. I'm not talking about the obvious connection between Truckin' and Other One here. It's Crytical, and rooted in Billy's playing. You'll see. Similarly, give New Potato Caboose a good listen and follow it up with any Bird Song jam you like. You will find yourself in the same jam. It's awesome. It's these deeply cut veins that followed the band always. Bird Song was absolutely the latter-year outlet for this special primal Dead groove.

Here on 09/07/73, Jerry also does something that he otherwise seemed to always consciously avoid in solos - he finds a phrase, and repeats it over and over, letting his brushstroke cover the same arch again and again over the canvas. This show is full of him doing this. Very out of character, but oh so welcome. (see the 5:50 point in Playin' for example).

The Playin' In The Band jam finds Billy having just slightly mellowed from his fevered pitch earlier in the summer. He's still in the driver's seat, but the drive seems a bit less high pitched. Jerry, however, is a man possessed. It is as if the entire Playin' exploration of the year up to this point is now summarized in this jam. It is archetypical 1973. The slow motion waterfall of Bird Song is replaced with a ride through rapids-like wormholes. From time to time Jerry clears the trees like a bird and sings his song to the sun, all of us riding his wing.

Let It Grow saw its debuts on this night - the band fresh out of the studio recording Wake Of The Flood. The jam turns very Playin'-like, yet Jerry is more lyrically minded in his phrasing.

Somehow, the band finds the ability to ratchet up the energy and power for the set two closing jam that starts with Truckin'. The Other One Jam (there is no sung verse) whips its tail around the hall. And the Eyes jam follows the band into nooks and crannies of jams that were never part of Eyes before or after. Set yourself to the 13:30 mark and you'll find the band bouncing on a solid refrain that comes and goes, a forgotten theme never developed. The entire song ends with Jerry bursting the sky apart with a staccato riff of Herculean strength and gusto (loving the Wolf), the band spiraling out on another lovely group-theme that comes and goes like a breeze, unique to this night's version only.

Whether you download the AUD (another stellar Jerry Moore tape - thank you!!) or enjoy the SBD stream, this show may well find itself in your regular rotation, again and again.

Audience Devotional TreeRound 21 - August, 2003


  1. Noah,
    First off, I just found your wonderful, wonderful blog. Thank you for your thoughts, commentary, wisdom, and all the rest!

    Second, thank you for turning me onto yet another quality recording. I've been recently digging on the Keith Gatto fob's of the Jan 79 Nassau shows, and it's fun to compare aud's from the same room (er, cave).

    Third, thank you for solving a back-burner mystery that's been simmering for ages. Back in the smokey dorm room days, one tape that was reserved for after-hours play was a friend's cassette that started with a fine HCSunshine marked by some uncharacteristic (and effective!) repetition of a few choice jewels springing up in the middle of Jerry's flow (that prompted some gratuitous shows of air guitaring from multiple parties in the room). The tape vanished, memories faded, but I always had this nagging, come-and-go feeling that there was a HCS out there with Jerry using repetition like never before. And so it was.

    So thank you, thank you, and thank you.

    ps. Keith on B-3? On 10/23 where it sounds like he's playing a Farfisa or something, but this was yet another cool surprise.

  2. Nick,

    So glad you're enjoying the blog. And please allow me to plumb this tape mystery a bit further.

    My first copy of this date was probably that same tape, starting with HCSS. That recording, as I recall (the cassette sits packed in a box, in a closet), comes from a completely different master. It's stereo, for one. And, Keith is very well pronounced.

    For me, I always struggled to believe it *was* Keith because the playing is so over the top, and yes, he seems to be exercising some other board here and there - with wonderful results.

    I later scored the first set from the stereo master source on cassette (AUD/??), and *thought* when I got Moore's that it would be that same recording. It's not.

    This mystery stereo master from 9/7/73 joins a small pile of other incredible 1973 stereo recordings (7/31, 8/1) from which I have snippets, and for which I still search the lonely night in hopes of finding some day. These are masters that would rival all the best recordings of the year.

    To say they will remain hidden forever is silly. One thing the Internet Age has proven - it's all out there just waiting to be found. We can only hope to find them before the tape turns to magnetic dust.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  3. All I can say is WOW - as if I need another way to spend my 24 hours :) Simply astounding. Never having been a taper or collector - lord knows I got enough other "stuff" collected - the infection of the sound has never ended.
    Its about the process and the discovery - thank you, thank you, thank you - today's discovery cloud surfing, KPFA and a proper domain name! Keep on with the goods!

  4. the thing about running down a hill. Know exactlly 100% what you mean. felt that when i heard the nassau 73 on pigpens birthday on the grateful dead sirius channel. i also had a strange feeling that bobby died that night but thank god he didn't must of been the, well you know might guess what but it rhymes with shmushroom,

  5. to nick im glad to see people enjoying Kieth Gatto's auds from 1-79 I was a close friend ,and K Gatto loved taping shows....unfortionatly he died at a young age 45,about 8 yrs ago (liver)he was a M.D. as well,im sure he's smiling with the rest of the boys up there to soon...:(

  6. this was my first show. A friend turned me on to the dead when I was just 14. I did not know what to expect, it was months before I became 'experienced'.
    After that my favorite show was 'the next one'.
    Thanks for your insight on a night that changed my direction.


  7. 39 years later to the day and this show still holds up. This was my second show ever and the one that really solidified my Deadheadyness. Thanks for reminding us about it!

  8. The 'jam' that you speak of in Eyes that seems to be a jam forgotten and never developed seems very Slipknot like to me,


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