Fall 1973 is one of those brilliant eras in Grateful Dead history. The "Wake of the Flood" songbook was being used on a nightly basis providing a fresh atmosphere to each night's festivities. The first set is the perfect example of this freshness with the sparkling versions of "Here Comes Sunshine," "Looks Like Rain," "The Race is On," and the slow steady "Row Jimmy." The train accelerates down the line for "China/Rider" and the rambunctious "Around and Around."
The second set is a gem. The set starts with a brief Garcia tease of "Cold Rain & Snow" for the Buffalo crowd. There are two season in Buffalo; winter and the Fourth of July like the wonder 1989 show that was released as "Truckin Up To Buffalo." A beautiful "Playin'" starts out the set. By now "Playin'" had really hit its stride. Garcia plays over Weir, who caps the Phil lines, who keeps up with Billy, all while Keith weavers his way through the boys patterns till kicking out of the monster jam. The final Grateful Dead version of "Sing Me Back Home" comes next and this song would only be preformed four more times by Garcia and all in 1982. A pretty common combo of a slow and steady "He's Gone" moves into an energetic "Truckin'." Phil comes out of harmonies to punchuate two lines during "Truckin'." First he exclaims "Truckin' right up to here in Buffalo" and then compounds it with "Sometimes the lights are shining on you, and you too" to the Buffalonian fans. Then the special guest Martin Fierro and Joe Ellis join the band for the rest of the show, starting with "Eyes." They play horns a lot differently then Branford does 17 years later, they don't riff instead they play it like a horn section. They add the same flare to the "Let it Grow" section of "Weather Report" until it collimates in a flurry of crashing symbols and horn whales. Bobby briefly revives the intro to "Weather Report" as the band closes the tune. The horns really add some pizzaz to the "Sugar Magnolia." Between Bobby, Donna, and the horns the "Sunshine Daydream" really sizzles. In a very cool way this brings the show full circle from the opener of "Here Comes Sunshine" to "Sunshine Daydream." Ironic for Buffalo! (Half my family is from Buffalo so I'm just poking fun.)
I: HC Sunshine, BIODTL, Deal, LL Rain, Jed, Mexicali, Loser, Big River, BE Woman, Race Is On, Row Jimmy, El Paso, China, Rider, Around
II: Playin', Sing Me Back, Uncle, He's Gone, Truckin', Eyes*, WRS*, Sugar Mags* E: Saturday Night*
*With Martin Fierro and Joe Ellis