Shortlist: March 31, 1973 - Buffalo, NY

On the 45th anniversary of its playing, here’s a bookend to the February-March ‘73 material I’ve been posting lately. This is the next-to-last show of the March tour of the Northeast, which began in Uniondale, NY. The final show of the tour (4/2/73 Boston) was released as “Dave’s Picks” #21.

Unless I’m missing something, there’s no released show between 4/2/73 and 10/19/73. Dick Latvala maintained that the band flagged in the middle of the year, and I guess subsequent archivists have agreed. 

There are some obvious flaws in the material I’ve judged best from this show but it’s not for lack of The Dead trying and generally succeeding wonderfully. The sound of the mix/tape is great for instruments and not too hard on group vocals. 

70-minute mp3 mix here:

  • Bertha >
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • The Race is On
  • They Love Each Other
  • Mississippi Half-Step (instrumental edit)
  • He’s Gone >
  • Truckin’ (instrumental edit) >
  • Drums >
  • The Other One > Spanish Jam > The Other One >
  • Space >
  • Jam > I Know You Rider
  • Casey Jones

Points of interest:

This is the only instance of “I Know You Rider” NOT following “China Cat Sunflower” between late 1971 and late 1985. The performance of the song itself isn’t fantastic, but the three minutes between the end of “Space” and the first word of “Rider” are noteworthy. They begin a free-form jam (which an audience member recognizes and gets vocally excited about) that morphs into the “Feelin’ Groovy” jam, leading to “Rider.” 

The band was clearly into messing around with the “China > Rider” continuum in early ’73. On 2/24, they jammed into the transitional “Feelin’ Groovy” jam out of a bass solo, then brought it down to quiet before launching “Sugar Magnolia.” On 2/17, they jammed out of “Here Comes Sunshine” into “China Cat Sunflower.” There may be other mutations in March that I’ve never heard.

“The Other One” is strong out of the gate, flags for a couple of minutes, then builds wonderfully through the second half, including a dance with “The Spanish Jam” that has some great moments. 

This is the sixteenth performance of “They Love Each Other,” and it’s clicking well.

“Mississippi Half-Step”: Sooner or later, I will make an instrumental edit of every Dead song, just to hear what it sounds like and to see how long it turns out to be. 

Most “Casey Jones” are too thumpy and stabby for me, but I really like this crisp, swinging performance.