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Dead of the Day: August 5, 1974

Philadelphia Civic Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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With several good shows to choose from, we head out to the Philadelphia Civic Center in 1974. Promised Land takes the show out of the gate in blistering fashion with Jerry, Keith, and Bobby trading solos between – and sometimes straight through – the verses. Phil and Bobby then bring it into Brown Eyed Women, but it does not take long for Jerry to suddenly rush off on a run while Billy delivers a firm and lofty beat. Each and every song that follows is exceptional with the two cowboy tunes – Jack Straw and El Paso – actually serving as standouts with beautiful guitar work lacing through them both. After the latter of the two, a brilliant China Cat comes out, streaking off in the second half in a feverish romp that leads straight to I Know You Rider by way of a mesmerizing segue. At that point, the band slows it down for just a moment before picking up the pace again until the very end of Rider. But the quick tempo and rocking never slows in the Around And Around that completes the set. Out of the break comes a Mississippi Half Step, followed up with several wonderfully played tunes before a Scarlet Begonias crops up in the middle of the set. It heads off into some deep jamming territory, but you need to make it through some moaning by Donna before you can enjoy that music. After a momentary pause, Jerry plays the first notes of He’s Gone, eliciting a cheer from the crowd as the boys head into the tune. Building energy as it goes, the He’s Gone eventually turns into a steamy monster as the band and crowd combine on an extended round of clapping and vamping before coming back into a loose, noodling jam that leads to Truckin’. And this Truckin’ absolutely steals the show, working through some monstrous jams and spacey interludes, hinting at The Other One, and just barreling along. After over thirty minutes of music, Stella Blue emerges out of Truckin’s ashes, as reflective and melancholy as it ever is with Jerry’s haunting, resonant voice lording over it all. One More Saturday Night, which ends in pure chaos, then sees out the set with a U. S. Blues encore sending everyone on their way.

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