600,000 People See Grateful Dead, Allmans & The Band At Summer Jam At Watkins Glen In 1973

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It’s been 43 years since over 600,000 descended upon Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway in Watkins Glen, New York for the Summer Jam concert featuring The Allman Brothers Band, The Band and the Grateful Dead. For this week’s installment of Throwback Thursday here’s a look back at the massively-attended single-day event in upstate held on July 28, 1973.

Promoter Bill Graham only planned on one day of music when he planned Summer Jam but the mass of concertgoers already on site on July 27 led to a now legendary soundcheck that saw all three bands warming up in front of many lucky fans. The Dead’s extensive soundcheck is a highly sought out recording among the band’s followers.

The proper day of music on July 28 started with “Bertha” opening the first of two Grateful Dead sets. Other highlights included “Box Of Rain” and the prophetic “Looks Like Rain” in the first set, as well as set two renditions of “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider” and “Eyes Of The World.”

Heavy rains disrupted The Band’s subsequent performance. Before the storm they played favorites like “The Weight,” “I Shall Be Released” and” Don’t Do It,” returning after the delay with “Chest Fever,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and several others.

The Allman Brothers Band were the last act to take the stage at Summer Jam there first set kicked off with “Wasted Words” and featured “Southbound,” “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,” “Blue Sky” and a closing cover of “One Way Out.” The Allmans’ second set was started by “Statesboro Blues” with “Ramblin’ Man,” “Jessica,” “Midnight Rider,” “You Don’t Love Me,” “Les Brers In A Minor” and a ripping “Whipping Post” making up the rest of the dream setlist. For the encore, the ABB was joined by members of The Band and the Dead on extended takes on “Not Fade Away,” “Mountain Jam” and “Johnny B. Goode.”

Below is a video that mixes audience-shot footage – including a clip of The Band’s performance – with archival photos from Summer Jam paired with a narration about the historic concert event. After the video is audio that’s available from the two days in Upstate New York.

[Grateful Dead July 28, 1973]

[Grateful Dead July 28, 1973 & The Allman Brothers Band With Guests Encore]

[The Band July 27 & July 28, 1973 (And other portions the Dead & ABB at Summer Jam)]

Setlist

Grateful Dead at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course

Set I
  • The Promised Land  
  • Sugaree  
  • Mexicali Blues  
  • Bird Song  
  • Big River  
  • Tennessee Jed
Set II
  • Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
  • Me and My Uncle  
  • Jam
  • Wharf Rat
  • Around and Around  

Setlist

Grateful Dead at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course

Set I
  • Bertha
  • Beat It On Down the Line  
  • Brown-Eyed Women
  • Mexicali Blues  
  • Box of Rain
  • Here Comes Sunshine
  • Looks Like Rain  
  • Row Jimmy
  • Jack Straw
  • Deal  
  • Playing in the Band  
Set II
  • Around and Around  
  • Loose Lucy
  • Big River  
  • He's Gone
  • Truckin'
  • Nobody's Fault but Mine  
  • El Paso  
  • China Cat Sunflower
  • I Know You Rider  
  • Stella Blue
  • Eyes of the World
  • Sugar Magnolia
  • Sing Me Back Home  

Setlist

The Band at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course

  • Back to Memphis  
  • Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever  
  • The Shape I'm In
  • The Weight
  • Stage Fright
  • I Shall Be Released  
  • Baby Don't You Do It  
  • Endless Highway
  • The Genetic Method  
  • Chest Fever
  • The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
  • Across the Great Divide
  • Holy Cow  
  • Life Is a Carnival
  • Saved  
  • Up on Cripple Creek
  • Share Your Love With Me  
  • This Wheel's on Fire  
  • The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
  • Slippin' and Slidin' (Peepin' and Hidin')  
  • Rag Mama Rag

Setlist

The Allman Brothers Band at Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course

Set I
  • Wasted Words
  • Done Somebody Wrong  
  • Southbound
  • Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)  
  • In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
  • Come and Go Blues
  • Trouble No More  
  • Blue Sky
  • One Way Out  
Set II
  • Statesboro Blues  
  • Ramblin' Man
  • Jessica
  • Midnight Rider
  • You Don't Love Me  
  • Les Brers in A Minor
  • Whipping Post
Encore
  • Not Fade Away  
  • Mountain Jam  
  • Johnny B. Goode