Today’s lights out show at UCLA in 1973 features one of the all time epic Playin’ in the Band sandwiches . (Don’t know what a Playin’ in the Band sandwich is? There’s more information here and the Grateful Dead Listening Guide has a useful description in its write up of this show here). At today’s performance, the sandwich is played thusly: Playin’ In The Band>Uncle John’s Band>Morning Dew>Uncle John’s Band>Playin’ In The Band and oh boy is it a good one! (There are a ton of mistakes when it comes to the lyrics, but all is forgiven because of the quality of the music). I’m not going to get into a detailed description of this sequence, 1, because none is needed and, 2, because the Listening Guide is, as always, spot on. Just let the music play and get lost in the flow. (If you’d like to compare 1973 to 1974, check out this same sequence of songs from the Cow Palace on 03/23/74 to get a sense of just how far out there the Dead got just five months later).
Since this is 1973, the rest of the show is also incredible. I think that 1973 and 1974 were the apex years for the Dead in large part because they were playing together, but at the same time, they were all playing amazing solo passages that interacted with one another in a patchwork mystery that can’t be readily explained. The “basic” songs at tonight’s show illustrate that principal – check out what is going on during Deal and Row Jimmy to hear this dynamic at work.
And if you want more jams, listen to Here Comes Sunshine, the second song played at this show, which is a blast of jammy energy that must have knocked everyone for a loop as they were in all likelihood still streaming into the venue.
Oh yeah, you also don’t want to miss China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider. And Stella Blue. And Eyes of the World. Get the drift? This is that kind of show.