Nov 2, 2013

November 17, 1973: Pauley Pavilion, UCLA, Los Angeles


The legendary Grateful Dead blessed a gymnasium filled with devout followers Saturday night at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, and if they could play basketball half as well as they play music they could be the national champions. No rock group, excepting those phenomenons from Britain, can come close to them.
For three and a half hours, not counting an intermission and interruptions by a perturbed fire marshal determined to clear the aisles of dancing Dead freaks, the greatest American rock group showed the few gathered in the gym who needed to be shown why they are so named.
Each member of the group complements the other members so well that, as a musical unit, they seem to be almost organically integrated. They make the extended musical journey, a very risky thing for any group to attempt, a very worthwhile trip.
Jerry Garcia, their fantastic lead guitarist, is one of the few rock superstars having the good taste to spare us all of those showy trappings. His musicianship defies any amount of glitter and his lofty position in contemporary music remains untouched.
Garcia is undoubtedly the group’s focal point. Without him the Dead would not be the Dead. His solo album last year almost sounded like a new Grateful Dead album where he pulled a Paul McCartney by playing all of the instruments with the exception of drums.
They revamped some established oldies such as “El Paso” and the George Jones classic, “The Race Is On,” reminding us that not enough attention has been paid to Bob Weir’s vocals, convincing enough to make even the most dedicated country and Western purist forget about those originals for awhile. They also gave a very impressive Los Angeles debut of material from their brilliant new album, “Wake of the Flood.” The good-time sounds of “Let Me Sing Your Blues Away” stood out among the standouts.
The Dead’s lyricist, who doesn’t appear with the group, is Robert Hunter and his story of “Casey Jones,” their only encore for the evening, is an animated Zap comic book. It’s a cartoon train ride with just enough stops to allow for the laughs needed to rescue a song of somewhat serious subject matter from becoming too heavy-handed.

(by Robert Kemnitz, unknown paper & date)

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The Grateful Dead made a four-hour stop in Pauley Pavilion Saturday night, performing before a capacity crowd of about 9,700. Guitarists Jerry Garcia (beardless for the first time in years) and Bob Weir brought the audience to its collective feet at several points in the concert, most notably on "Playin' in the Band" and "Sugar Magnolia." Despite widespread rumors of crackdowns on dope and booze, the 20 University police on duty reportedly detained only one person the entire evening. One officer patrolling the concert said it was a "good, happy crowd," but added that police were only asking people not to smoke.

(from the UCLA Daily Bruin, November 19 1973)

(Officially released - Dave's Picks vol. 5)


  1. While Kemnitz's review is not that great as a description of the show, it has some surprising similarities with the 5/14/74 review I just posted. Both reviewers mention how well-integrated the band is, and both single out Garcia for particular praise ("one of the best musicians there is" - "his lofty position in contemporary music remains untouched"). And oddly, both of them also praise Weir's singing in the country songs like El Paso.
    Kemnitz is obviously fond of the Dead, heaping on the superlatives. (He must be one of the few, though, who would single out Let Me Sing Your Blues Away as the standout among the new songs - especially since it wasn't actually played at this show! Maybe he was thinking of a different song.)
    He notes the "interruptions by a perturbed fire marshal determined to clear the aisles" - a frequent & unwelcome guest in Dead shows of those years, with 12/1/73 being one example. But the other reviewer more happily notes the absence of arrests.
    It's interesting to see that the crowd (at least those not already dancing) came to its feet in Playin' in the Band - probably when the Dead returned to the reprise. (Audience tapes of that period often show the audience going nuts & clapping the beat at that point - and at this show they would have been totally unprepared for the Playin' sequence.)

  2. Which show did Ike and Tina Turner open for the Dead at Pauley? 1970/1972? I was there but can't remember the year for certain...

    1. I can't find any trace of Ike & Tina Turner ever opening for the Dead.