Today in Grateful Dead History: May 20, 1973 – Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA

stealie NOTE: This material was originally published in 2015 on my previous site. It has been updated and edited, sometimes heavily, and was posted in several batches in August, 2016.

1973 is the year that keeps on giving, with massive, high-quality shows that tend to blend together since everything is just so jammed out and well-played. This daytime concert from the University of California Santa Barbara is no exception.

This whole show is very well done, but the versions of Tennessee Jed and Greatest Story Ever Told really highlight the interplay between the band members and stand out among the other short songs from this date. The jam in the middle of China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider is also tasty. Playing in the Band, closing out the first set, is the real winner here, with some exceptional moments. The second set is standard (other than the previously mentioned Greatest Story), but would be a good set to give to someone who really isn’t into the long jams.

The third set (yes, they played three sets for a lot of 1973) consists of Truckin’>Jam>The Other One>Eyes Of The World>Stella Blue>Sugar Magnolia and it’s a long haul, clocking in at over an hour. And what an hour it is. The Jam between Truckin’ and The Other One is a sparse back and forth, Jerry on one side and Phil and Bob completing each others’ thoughts on the other. Unfortunately, the solo out of Stella Blue is short – after this trip, you want one of those three minute beauties that Jerry ripped off in the 90’s but weren’t typical in 1973. Oh well.

Here is the link to the Charlie Miller transfer of the soundboard: https://archive.org/details/gd1973-05-20.sbd.miller.86905.sbeok.flac16

If you’re interested, the Grateful Dead Listening Guide has a post dissecting the third set in great detail.

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