I saw them five times: three at the old Boston Garden, two at the old Giant Stadium. One of the fun parts of aging is the sudden, saddening realization that not only do the bands you love no longer exist, but the places you saw them at also no longer exist. There were six Garden shows: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, no Friday show, then Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I remember that specifically because that Friday in September roughly 60% of an entire freshman dorm stayed in and ate the acid the Dead shows had brought to town. It wasn’t an Acid Test– more of an Acid Pop Quiz.
There just aren’t any concrete memories floating around in my head, just little flashes. Outside one of the Boston shows, I bought a bumper sticker and stuck it on a cop’s car. Because I was a rebel, man. One show found me without a ticket, so I did the “Who’s got my extra” thing and I didn’t get in until a song or two into the first set.
At the Giant Stadium show, it was hot and Bob Dylan opened. I saw a guy I went to sleep away camp with. That is the entirety of the information I possess, which is odd because at one of those shows, this happened when they played Wharf Rat. Listen to it, please, for as log as you can.
Garcia has no idea where he is; he’s playing Throwing Stones, kind of, and singing Wharf Rat in this awkward new melody. The other guys in the band were, somehow, following along with both things. he’s hitting clam after clam and the saddest thing about it is how scared he sounds. God bless Billy, who starts hammering on his high hat trying to bring Garcia back to the song. It’s a mess.
And I have no memory of it whatsoever.
Which is why I read people’s memories of shows they went to in 1973 with such astonishment. You remember Garcia’s second solo from Deal? I forgot to buy toilet paper while I was out today.