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Dead of the Day: June 10, 1973

Robert F. Kennedy Stadium
Washington, DC
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Our Dead of the Day takes us to the second of a two-night run with the Allman Brothers at RFK in 1973. With a Morning Dew opener, you know things are going to be hot, and boy are they ever. The Ramble on Rose a song later has Jerry playing some lovely licks, arching skyward at every opportunity. Then Jack Straw comes around, with incredible guitar work by both Jerry and Bobby and some perfect harmonies. Everything is really so amazing in the first set it is hard to even point out high points. For instance, listen to Billy’s fills and lead-ins on Looks Like Rain, not a place you would normally expect to be noting the drumming. And check out Keith’s subtle keys on Box of Rain, providing layered substance in the background and thereby adding just an extra notch of sweetness. But whatever you do, do not miss the Bird Song and Playing that close out the set. The jams on the first are phenomenal and so different than most versions of that tune. The Playing is similarly outrageous and one of the more straight-up jammed out songs of the night, heading off into the outer cosmos. The second set of three begins with an Eyes, and at twenty-two minutes it picks up right where the Playing left off out in the far distance of the universe. The Stella that comes next brings things back down to Earth, but is so powerful in its own right, with luscious, aching guitar and heartfelt vocals from Jerry. But the Eyes and Stella are only the beginning of an insane set with an awesome Here Comes Sunshine – listen to Jerry’s weeping, numbing guitar licks – and then, after an Around and Around, a mind-blowing, face-melting hour and twenty minutes of Dark Star> He’s Gone> Wharf Rat> Truckin’, Sugar Mags. Following that, the band takes a well-deserved break, coming back for the third round with some of the Allman Brothers and Merl Saunders. Out of the gate, we get the band’s first interpretation of Dylan’s It Takes a Train to Cry. Though JGB played it regularly, listening to the Dead killing it, we sure wish this was not the only one they did until 1991. They come right back with another rarity, the blues tune That’s All Right. As everyone jams it out in the second half they hint at Melissa, which is no surprise given who was on stage. But, instead, they all roll into a super fine version of Chuck Berry’s Promised Land, followed by an epic Not Fade Away> Going Down the Road Feeling Bad> Drums> NFA to see out the set with some intense jams with everyone trading licks. After all their playing, the boys come out for a single, short, but oh so hot encore with a tight, rocking Johnny B. Goode. The entire show is really too much for words; just give it a listen and experience it for yourself.

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