6/23/76
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/23/76

 

Dick's Picks Volume 20 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 33 review

6/23/76

Dick's Picks Vol. 29 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 15 review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/23/76

The Grateful Dead
Tower Theater - Upper Darby, PA
6/23/76

Set 1: Music Never Stopped, Sugaree, Mama Tried, Row Jimmy, Big River, High Time, Looks Like Rain, Brown Eyed Women, Lazy Lightning > Supplication, Friend Of The Devil, Promised Land

Set 2: Samson & Delilah > Might As Well, Let It Grow > Drums > Let It Grow > Cosmic Charlie, St. Stephen > Not Fade Away > St. Stephen > Dancing In The Streets > The Wheel > Johnny B. Goode

Review
I'm getting to like June '76 more and more. these Tower Theater (sorry, that's Theatre) AUDs are quite enjoyable, too. Sure, there's crowd noise; there's an audience there. And they are having a wild time!

This being 1976, the first set starts out slow. As we know, 1976 had them pacing songs so the vocals would be better, which often meant slower; as if to emphasize the point, Jerry seems keen to call up songs that are already slow to begin with ("Row Jimmy", etc). Still, hard to complain when "High Time" turns up, and "Sugaree" is just beginning its development to the powerhouse it would be the following year. The transition into "Supplication" finds the band exploring some genuinely interesting territory, and every song has that 'alive' quality -- where you sort of lose consciousness as to WHAT song is being played, and just flow along with the band. Of course, that's what draws us to them, isn't it :-)

We expect the second set to take us out a bit farther, and they embark three songs in: "Let it Grow" finds Phil making for some interesting side excursions. A drum break intercedes, and the reprise of "Let it Grow" is really just a setup for ... what's that, a little slide guitar? Could it be ---- sounds like -- "Cosmic Charlie"!

Sure, I knew it was coming; I had the setlist. But it is a great transition, full of potential & release. The crowd is naturally ecstatic, just as they were for "High Time" but more so. Following this with the return of "St Stephen" sends them into orbit. Ah, the fine joy of a decent AUD! We don't have to imagine how thrilled the audience was to have these old chestnuts back on the fire; we hear it in full-throated approval. Heck, that isn't enough; they ratchet the energy up some more with a looong rave-up of "Not Fade Away' -- that's the stuff! NOW you're hearing the Grateful Dead!

Back out later on a "Stephen" reprise, and you've heard the best part of the show; Mickey tries to segue into "The Wheel'" but I guess that wasn't the plan. Oy vey -- Verklempt! Stop, discuss among yourselves. I'll give you a topic: "rock & roll" contains no rocks, nor does it roll .... OK, it's the disco "Dancin", which seems set to end only four minutes in but they stretch it to ten -- oh, right, we've got to throw in those descending seventh-note intervals. Not exactly perfect yet, but only a few errors are made & the tempo is steady. THEN someone arbitrarily cues the drum intro to "The Wheel". Ah, OK; couldn't you have ... y'know, back when the momentum was still, um ... oh never mind. "The Wheel" completes its placid arrangement & quickly peters out, acknowledging the faux pas, and Bobby leads us out with a spirited "Johnny B Goode".

Not a perfect night, but a very promising one. "Samson" is strong, "Lazy Lightning" & "Let it Grow" are well-worked, and the "Charlie> Stephen> NFA" sequence is beautifully developed. Unlike many AUDs of later eras, the crowd only adds to the Tower Theatre shows (although there is one rather loud guy near the taper on 6-21 you wish would chill out).
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 6/23/76, at the Tower Theater - Upper Darby, PA
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 6/23/76

 

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