Today in Grateful Dead History: June 9, 1973 – RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Today’s steller show is the “other” RFK Stadium show from 1973, the laid back cousin to tomorrow’s barn-burner of a show with Dickey Betts and Butch Trucks from the Allman Brothers Band.  The Brothers played on the bill with the Dead today too, but there was no cross pollination.  Despite the lack of Allmans, this is a great show in its own right and it’s a very good audience recording that I believe sounds much better than the soundboard.

The one thing you’re not going to get a lot of today is long, spacey jams.  (At least not by 1973 standards – if they played this way in 1984, heads would have exploded).  Instead, you get most of the standard ’73 Dead songs played really well through an exceptional sound system that allows you to hear everyone at the top of their games.  ’73 was a good year for Box of Rain, and Phil nails it here during the lengthy first set, which ends with a great China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider.

He’s Gone>Truckin’>Playin’ In The Band leads off the second set and provides the magic in spades, especially during Playin’ In The Band.  It’s hard to describe what the boys are doing here other than to say that they are dialed in and throwing ideas off each other left and right with endlessly good results.  The remainder of the show features a very nice (and relatively short) Eyes of the World that segues into a beautiful China Doll that quiets the previously rowdy crowd.  (One audience member is really happy to hear Eyes).

If your goal is to cram a bunch of well played shorter Dead tunes into one place, this show is going to be perfect for you.  Sure, there is no Dark Star or The Other One to really take things out there, but Playin’ in the Band is impressive and everything else is simply fun.  

A soundboard exists for this show, but I’m going with the audience recording.  Yes, there is a lot of “color” throughout the tape, but when the boys get going, you’re going to like hearing it this way.  Listen to the audience tape here:

The snobs can hear the soundboard here:

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