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Dead of the Day: February 15, 1973

Dane County Coliseum
Madison, Wisconsin
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The boys always seemed to put in an incredible performance at the Dane, and this show is no exception. The show starts off with what has to be one of the best Loose Lucys that Jerry has ever given to the world. From there, almost every song is a gem. In the first set, the most sparkly of all seems to be the Playin', which jams into the stratosphere and, yet, is just so sweetly sung and perfectly put together. In the second, the TLEO is beautiful, but the Dark Star> Eyes> China Doll will blow your mind. Phil absolutely lets loose with a full on carpet bombing in the middle of the Dark Star, and Jerry destroys the China Doll with haunting vocals and beastly licks.

Six days prior to this show, the Dead played their first date of 1973 at the Roscoe Maples Pavilion at Stanford University. The night at the Dane began a short little stretch that would occupy the band for the second half of the month, bringing them across the Midwest before they jumped over to Salt Lake City on the 28th. In '73, the boys played for similar short stretches of five to ten shows over a few weeks throughout the first half of the year before touring a little more consistenly from September onwards. For a band that had been playing as many as 140 shows a year back in 1970, this slightly more relaxed schedule (some of it caused simply by only playing one, rather than two, shows a night) represented a shift in focus and intensity that had begun in 1971. Outside of the hiatus years of 1974-1976, playing 60-80 shows a year would become the norm for the Dead over the rest of their career.

The recording that we selected from Archive is a matrix tape, mixing a soundboard recording with one or more audience tapes. A matrix usually provides the crisp sound of a soundboard and a little of the flavor of what it was like to actually be in the crowd. In many cases, a matrix also enables the person who is mixing it together to fill in splices and cuts in the soundboard, which would have made for an incomplete and oftentimes unpleasant recording. The straight soundboard that is out there for this night at the Dane has a few of these clips and also some modulation problems. Fortunately, this matrix smooths over all that, delivering a near-perfect experience.

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