Archive for March 17th, 2008

Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Winterland 1973

Just posted on DeadNet: Winterland ’73: The Complete Recordings!

There’s a listening party of selected tracks from the set, and a viral video clip with an audio montage (created by yours truly) of bits from the set and visuals from the cover poster by Emek plus clips from The Grateful Dead Movie, which was shot at Winterland eleven months after this music was made.

I’ve had the nine discs for about a week now, and I am really impressed with the audio restoration and mastering – and of course with the music. This is a terrific run of shows, the groupmind in its prime and new songs happening all over the place.

Rare and different treasures here include the fast “They Love Each Other” and the slow “Loose Lucy,” both of which underwent significant changes before they were taken into the studio (on Jerry’s Reflections and Grateful Dead from the Mars Hotel, respectively). We also get two performances of “To Lay Me Down,” a song I would have been happy to hear many more times than I did.

“Looks Like Rain,” from the middle (Saturday 11/10) show, is just lovely: that classic warm Weir Gibson rhythm guitar tone and technique, and Jerry plays a mournful, straightforward solo that begins as a replica of the pedal steel part he played on the album Ace. The song has not a trace of the Wagnerian bombast that it verged on in later years.

It’s also interesting to note what songs the band didn’t play during this run: “Bird Song,” “The Other One,” and “He’s Gone” all spring immediately to mind. “Bird Song” had last been played on September 15, 1973, and wouldn’t be heard again until 1980. It would have been nice to hear what this focused, lyrical Grateful Dead did with that one in this run.

Not that I am complaining! I don’t have a problem with three complete “Weather Report Suite”s: all hands are on deck, fully engaged with the music they’re making, and you can feel the musical tree shooting new growth. “Big River” is a barn burner all three nights, too.

The centerpiece of the weekend is the epic musical layer cake of Saturday’s second set: “Playing in the-> Uncle John’s -> Morning Dew-> Band-> Band,” as I referred to it back in the day. I tend to prefer the one they played at the Cow Palace 19 weeks later (and released on Dick’s Picks vol. 24), which I heard in person. And we get a fine “Dark Star” on Sunday, with one of those “Mind Left Body Jam”s we love so much.

They’re offering a bonus disc of uncirculated music from Cincinnati 12/4/73, too. Get on over to DeadNet and see what’s shakin’!

(P.S. That’s my handwritten set list over there. Not sure when I wrote it out on one page like that – and since I only made it to the first and third shows of the run, I must have gotten my information on the 11/10 show from someone else.)