Grousing The Aisles: Circle Gets the Square

The Band 7/31/73 and 8/1/73 SBD (FLAC):

Can you imagine this scene? The Band opened for the Grateful Dead at a football stadium in Jersey City for two nights in 1973. If Dr. Emmett Brown ever gets the Delorean cranked up again, I’d want to head right to the heart of Dirty Jerz to see two of the best bands ever throw down on one bill (or maybe Watkins Glen, with both of them and the Allmans). Fairly good quality recordings of the 8/1/73 have made the rounds, but the master soundboard tapes of both performances have finally surfaced, as well as an audience tape to fill in a few gaps. The Band’s two opening sets are included in this torrent.

It’s tough to pick highlights from these shows, but if forced I would have to pick Life Is A Carnival and Don’t Do It from the first night, and the tasty Jersey Jam from the second night. These soundboards should be part of any respectable music fan’s collection. You can also stream the Dead’s fine sets from both nights, thanks to the Live Music Archive.

Queen 5/15/85 SBD (FLAC):

1985 was about the end of the road for Freddie Mercury and Queen. That’s when the band was playing full stadiums with a catalog of some of the best songs ever written. One of the better sounding recordings from late in Queen’s career comes from their last trip to Japan. Freddie is in fine voice, and the band plays with incredible passion that leads me to believe they knew the end was near.

The opening combo of Tear It Up, Turn Your Mother Down and Under Pressure sets the relentless pace that made Queen one of the most underrated live acts of its day. Other highlights include listening to the Japanese accents as the crowd sings along with Radio Ga Ga, as well as the closing combo of We Will Rock You > We Are The Champions. There are even a few tracks thrown in from 1977 at the end to show how far the band had come over the course of their career.

Widespread Panic 1/19/96 SBD (FLAC):

In the winter of 1996, Widespread Panic headed out west for a tour of intimate venues in ski towns. The band’s guitarists played acoustically throughout the first set, and fiddle player extraordinaire David Blackman sat in for at least part of most shows on the run. Luckily for us, nearly every show is available from a crispy soundboard source.

My favorite show from the Sit ‘N Ski tour is from Boulder’s Fox Theater. The show begins with Michael Houser treating the crowd to a one-time only performance of Waiting For The Wind To Blow Down The Tree In My Backyard, a song that was a hidden track on 1994’s Ain’t Life Grand. With Houser and John Bell on acoustics, the beauty of the band’s songs really shines through before they tear the roof off in the second set. I bet it was cold in there after that.

Steely Dan 8/22/93 SBD (FLAC):

When I first started collecting live music, you couldn’t find many Steely Dan shows. But recently a nice little flurry of soundboard recordings from the band’s 1993 and 1996 tours have found their way out of hiding. Today we take a look at this recording from a stop in Saratoga Springs on the band’s 1993 reunion tour. All the classics can be found, as well as a few lesser-known songs like Book of Liars and Black Friday.

The final few songs of the show are from a decent quality audience tape, and the My Old School/FM combo to end the show with Walter Becker’s eight-year old son is a worthwhile listen. No band fused jazz and rock together like the Dan, especially in a live setting. Get on this one and get down…

Anybody feel like pointing out some stellar torrents or uploading their own like our man O_Crunk has been the last two weeks? Weigh in below…

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4 Responses

  1. Scotty, my man, great work as always.

    Re: 8/1/73 — I love the WS Wolcott’s Medicine Show from that night…such a cool fucking song, and clearly something right out of Levon’s memory that Robbie probably gets all the royalties for. Bastard.

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