Time is short today, which stinks because I could write two thousands words on this excellent show and not sum it up properly. After further review, I even added this show to my “best of” list because, for some reason, this crappy stadium brought out something extra special in the Dead and why not have three shows from Jersey City in the mix. Anyhows, since there is so much to talk about with this gem, I’ll do a really quick list:
After a whirlwind tour of Europe in the spring, the Dead took some time off before heading out for the summer. There was a one off show at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17th and then a month before they opened the summer tour in Hartford on July 16th. So they are rested.
Pigpen was very ill at this point and didn’t come with the band on this tour. This would obviously completely alter the history of the Grateful Dead. For tonight’s purposes, it represents a dramatic left turn, song-selection wise.
This is as raw a show as you are going to hear between 1972 and 1974. It is just all power and very heavy guitar. If you doubt me, listen to the AUD.
You’re going to hear the first Bird Song in almost a year. Enjoy that.
Stella Blue debuted at that Hollywood Bowl show in June and was played in Hartford as well, but since this was the 70’s and music didn’t travel via the internet, I’m pretty sure that almost no one in this crowd had heard it before. (Wake of the Flood didn’t come out for another year). It’s amazing to hear everyone talking and yelling during the slow start, only to suddenly come under the spell of this completely new song. Jerry works the mojo throughout in a special version that stuns everyone into submission.
Oh dear Lord, Playin’ in the Band is an all time monster of guitar noise. One of the best “shorter” versions you’ll ever hear.
If that’s not enough, get ready for Truckin’>Dark Star. This is not delicate music, and comes as close to rocking as Dark Star will ever come, but it is also totally unique and impressive and gets better every time you hear it. Again, check out the AUD if you want to hear what this does to the people in attendance and if you want to get the gist of just how much energy was flowing from the band tonight (it’s a lot).
Dark Star segues into a crystalline Comes a Time that, if you were really into that Dark Star, is going to make you cry.
The rest (and there is still a ton before they’re done in this three set show) is quite the party, including an off-the-hook, second-time-played Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo and a brilliant, perfectly placed Sing Me Back Home.
I’ve written more than I thought I would. Since this show is obviously a beast, go from Playin’ in the Band through Comes a Time for the best part and add Stella for an encore. But it deserves to be played repeatedly and loudly, in full.
Matrix here: https://archive.org/details/gd1972-07-18.127703.mtx.dusborne.flac16