The roots between The Allman Brothers Band and Grateful Dead run particularly deep, with the two groups crossing paths on numerous occasions throughout the seventies. One such performance took place at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in 1973, as the Allman Brothers started a full day of music that the Grateful Dead brought to a close. With back-to-back jam groups going toe-to-toe, it’s no surprise that there was some on-stage collaborating.
In total, the Dead played three full sets spanning over five hours, including a very special third set with Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, and keyboardist Merl Saunders. The group stuck mostly to blues-based covers, opening with Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry”. The song was a staple of Jerry Garcia Band, which heavily featured Saunders. Why Saunders never joined the Grateful Dead after this is one of music’s greatest mysteries.
From there, they jammed into “That’s Alright Mama”, a blues standard popularized by Elvis Presley. They went into Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” before finding Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and the traditional “Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad”. The band then returned to “Not Fade Away” to close out the set. Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” was a potent way to close out a great set of music.
Thanks to taped audio, we can relive this performance in all of its glory below:
Grateful Dead – Robert F. Kennedy Stadium – Washington, D.C. – 6/10/73
[Audio: David Hollister and G.S. Hamilton]
Of course, RFK Stadium would prove to be an important locale for the Dead, who would later welcome Bob Dylan himself to the stage some years later. Happy Grateful anniversary of this awesome show!
Setlist: Grateful Dead | RFK Stadium |Washington, DC | 6/10/1973
Set One: Morning Dew, Beat it on Down the Line, Ramble On Rose, Jack Straw, Wave That Flag, Looks Like Rain, Box of Rain, They Love Each Other, The Race Is On, Row Jimmy, El Paso, Bird Song, Playing in the Band
Set Two: Eyes of the World, Stella Blue, Big River, Here Comes Sunshine, Around and Around, Dark Star, He’s Gone, Wharf Rat, Truckin’, Sugar Magnolia
Set Three: It Take A Lot to Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry, That’s Alright Mama, Promised Land, Not Fade Away, Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad, Not Fade Away
Encore: Johnny B. Goode
[Originally published 6/10/16]