Grateful Dead “Dave’s Picks Vol. 21” Boston Garden, MA – April 2, 1973 CD Review
By BOB PUTIGNANO

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Bob Putignano is Music Editor of the Yonkers Tribune.

Note:  It’s important to remember that at the time of this performance Pigpen had recently passed and that the Dead were evolving into somewhat different band.

From this incarnation of the band; their first-set is routinely typical. Though there is a rare “Box Of Rain” from Phil Lesh, and a peekaboo “Wave that Flag” version of what soon would be retitled as the popular “U.S. Blues,” that are noteworthy.  Also notable are Donna Jean Godchaux’s horrific vocals on a cover of Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough” are far off base and unlistenable. Despite these mostly forgotten rarities; the set ends culminating with a seventeen and a half minute “Playing in the Band” setting the groundwork for the latter portion of their adventurous and their mostly engrossing second-set segment.  Yet their opening second-set renditions are reminiscent, similar to a continuation of the first-set with overused and worn-out versions of “Ramble on Rose,” “Mississippi Half Step,” and “El Paso.” Even so there’s an early and interesting version of “Loose Lucy” that’s pretty bluesy and pleasurable.

Grateful Dead “Dave’s Picks Vol. 21” Boston Garden, MA – April 2, 1973

This leads us to the third disc where we are finally treated to a six-song excursion that runs uninterrupted for over fifty minutes. This mini trip launches with a surprisingly bouncy “Here Comes Sunshine” that spawns a sparky eleven-minute instrumental jam that lands onto Kris Kristofferson’s playful “Me and Bobby McGee,” that flows into a short “Weather Report Suite: Prelude,” segueing to a dynamic “Eyes of the World” that runs on for almost sixteen minutes. This continuous trip concludes with Garcia’s soulful “China Doll,” easily making this six-song jaunt the highlight of the evening. Even though it’s already been a lengthy night and set, the Dead don’t seem to be in a hurry as they close their set with a rocking “Sugar Magnolia,” followed by a raucous “Casey Jones.” Oh, but there’s more as they encore with their third Chuck Berry cover of the eve (the first-set opened with Berry’s “Promised Land,” and they also covered “Around and Around,”) concluding their night with Berry’s most well-known classic: “Johnny B. Goode” that closes with the traditional “We Big You Goodnight” for a splendid punctuation to the evening. This especially when Garcia officially concludes the festivities saying; “see you all later.”

This 21st volume of Grateful Dead archivist Dave Lemieux’s Dave’s Picks series documents the last show of their winter/spring tour from 1973. The Boston fans were treated to a whopping thirty-four song extravaganza with many longtime favorites, and a handful of creative and extended jams that can be found near the end of their respective performance. In summary, all of these disparate pieces make for a varied and pleasing listen.

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eHeziGrateful Dead “Dave’s Picks Vol. 21” Boston Garden, MA – April 2, 1973 CD Review
By BOB PUTIGNANO

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