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Dead of the Day: July 31, 1974

Dillon Stadium
Hartford, Connecticut
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Our Dead of the Day comes from Hartford, site of so many good Dead shows over the years. In this case, the boys lay out a three-set masterpiece with the Wall of Sound. It gets going with a hot Scarlet, Jerry ebullient on both guitar and vocals. Much to the crowd’s delight, Bobby comes out afterwards with the first of a number of cowboy tunes in Me And My Uncle. That is followed up with an excellent Brown Eyed Women and then a Beat It On Down The Line. Jerry just lights up and flies away in the middle of the BIODTL with Keith and the rest of the band chasing him in roaring fashion. And this amazing playing continues into Mississippi Half-Step; just listen to that jam at the end. Then Jerry’s guitar absolutely longs for the woman in It Must Have Been The Roses. The rest of the first set is just as superb, especially the Row Jimmy and China> Rider with a Feeling Groovy Jam. After the break, the Dead come back out with a solid Bertha and Big River. But the second set really takes off with the Eyes Of The World. It is laid back and groovy, but jammed out to the hilt throughout its outstanding eighteen minutes. Slowly, the Eyes meanders to a close and slides into a haunting, ethereal China Doll. The Promised Land that bursts forth next is an exuberant release heading into an immaculate Ship of Fools. But the highlight of the set may very well be the Weather Report Suite that ends it. The boys take their time developing it, unfolding the tune into textured, speckled rapture before unfurling the moody and layered Let It Grow. But for all the awesomeness in the early two-thirds, the final set is the cream. And the richest part of it begins with the rapturous To Lay Me Down, which is probably the best version the boys ever rolled out. But things really get off the hook with the epic Truckin’, all thirty minutes of it. From the very beginning, Jerry is spiriting off, bringing bright, sonorous licks to the tune. But after the verses run out, things get particularly interesting as the entire band heads off into a driving jam, restlessly rolling through the furthest limits of the Truckin’ theme. Eventually the song itself can no longer contain the brilliant searching, and the boys head off into a Mind Left Body Jam that reaches out even further, bristling down seemingly familiar paths only to end up in vastly new territory. Even that, though, is not enough as the band transitions into a Spanish Jam that, never lacking flare, almost predictably, and no doubt too quickly, arrives at Wharf Rat. From there the boys head out with US Blues and One More Saturday Night before coming back for a scintillating Uncle John’s encore.

The Grateful Dead released the show as Dave's Picks Volume 2.

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