So, that’s what Eyes of the World has been missing: noodly jazz horns. I’ve always felt that the song most prone to endless jamming would be improved by adding two more guys playing.
Apparently, the Dead took a horn section out with them in Fall of ’73 for ten shows or so. They did this because the Wall of Sound wasn’t finished yet, so the drugs said they had to spend money on something else absurd. Except it wasn’t absurd: the horns were great. Listen to the Weather Report Suite from the same show: after the lyrics end, they all–all SEVEN of them–split instantly in different musical directions, like kids scattering after the baseball breaks a window, but it holds together, still (Thanks, Billy!) and turns into the jazz that the Dead used to lie to themselves about being able to play. Hell, forget about what the actual horn players are doing, and just listen to the rest of the guys, who seem to be more excited than a dog in one of those Soldier Returns Home videos.
So there you go: September 15th, 1973. That’s your Rick’s Pick volume 1: a weird show of a forgotten tour featuring an experiment that all involved say didn’t work out. How am I not employed by this band?
PS: If you want actual information and, you know, facts about these shows, check out this article from the AWESOME website Lost Live Dead.
PPS: This show also contains one of only a handful of performances of Let Me Sing Your Blues Away. After you hear it, you will be wondering, “Why a handful? How could they ever do this again?” LMSYBA (never thought you’d see that acronym, did you?) should have been treated like an accidentally-killed hobo: you bury him, you have a longish talk with yourself about going back to work for your father, and you never go back to Dallas again. You don’t do it the next weekend at the College of William & Mary.
PPPS: Actually, check out the Truckin’ from 9/17 from Onondaga in upstate NY. They’ve had some time to work on the new horn arrangement and they’re just blasting ass, just blasting ass all over the assy plains, man. It’s not a totally new song, though: Bobby still fucks up at least half of the lines.