January 11, 2019

The Allmans and the Dead

"I love the Dead. As for Jerry Garcia, Jerry Garcia could walk on water. He could do anything any man could ever do. He's a prince."
--Duane Allman (1)

The Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead had a close relationship in the early ‘70s – both bands admired each other and played a number of famous shows together. They drifted apart after 1973, so their contact was brief; Allmans and Dead members wouldn’t interact again until well after Garcia’s death. But this is the story of their connection in the first few years after the Allman Brothers formed.

In a 1973 interview, Garcia said that some of the Allmans had seen the Dead play the Miami Pop Festival in December ’68: “Dickey and the guys had flashed on our music when we played at a festival in Florida about five or six years ago. We really inspired them and they’ve patterned a lot of their trip after us.” (2)
I've never seen any of the Allmans mention this, though; probably Garcia heard it directly from Duane or Dickey Betts. I think Garcia exaggerated how much of an influence the Dead were on the early Allmans. But we know at least Duane was at the Dec '68 Miami Pop Festival – it’s mentioned here: https://www.duaneallman.info/chronologypart1.htm (3)
I don't know whether Betts or Oakley went to the festival as well, but from Garcia’s comment it seems likely.

Could Duane have seen the Dead earlier? His early band with Gregg, the Allman Joys, had been renamed the Hour Glass when they moved to Los Angeles in spring ’67, where they stayed through spring ‘68. I’ve seen speculation that Allman may have seen the Dead during this period, but there’s no way to know. At various times the Hour Glass were booked with other San Francisco bands like Country Joe (Los Angeles 7/14/67), Jefferson Airplane (Sacramento 10/15/67), Quicksilver (Torrance 5/17/68), and Big Brother (St. Louis 8/9/68), but never with the Dead. And I suspect Duane was much more interested in seeing blues acts than San Francisco rock bands at the time.
In any case, band member Paul Hornsby recalled, “We played San Francisco occasionally – we played two or three times at the Fillmore and we played the Avalon Ballroom.” (Skydog p.47)
They actually played in San Francisco a number of times, as an opening band:
Oct 19-21, 1967: Fillmore Auditorium (opening for Eric Burdon & the Animals)
Dec. 21-23, 1967: Fillmore (opening for Buffalo Springfield)
Feb 9-11, 1968: Avalon Ballroom (opening for the Siegel-Schwall Band)
May 2-4, 1968: Fillmore (opening for Moby Grape)
May 24-26, 1968: Avalon (opening for the Youngbloods)

The Hour Glass were better on stage than on record, but despite a year’s efforts still flopped, failing to make much of an impression on the California music scene. Though the Allmans favored the blues, the Hour Glass were “all over the place,” playing a variety of pop material from ‘Norwegian Wood’ to ‘Buckaroo.’ After the Hour Glass split up, Duane & Greg briefly joined a band called the 31st of February (with Butch Trucks) and recorded some demos in September ’68, including ‘Morning Dew’:
The Dead had come up with their own arrangement of the song, but the Allmans derived theirs from Jeff Beck’s (released on Truth just the previous month), which in turn was based on Tim Rose’s single. (Duane had long been a Jeff Beck fan, covering Yardbirds songs since 1965. Gregg recalled that the Allman Joys played “Yardbirds tunes by the hundreds. Duane loved the early days of Jeff Beck.” (4)
In any case, they dropped the song afterwards when they turned to a more blues-based repertoire.


The Allman Brothers came from a very different background than the Dead. The leading Dead members had been in folk groups and were taking up rock & electric blues for the first time; while all the Allmans but Jaimoe had been in rock bands for some time, playing popular covers in clubs. The Allmans’ music was a determined attempt to get away from the standard stuff they’d been doing and come up with a new blend. As with the Dead, the new style they found was a combination of their various influences, as each member had a different genre he preferred.

They were all Cream fans. Duane's daughter wrote that "Duane and Gregg had driven for hours to see Cream play when they lived in Los Angeles." (4a) 
Butch Trucks said, “Cream opened the door to what we did. They were the first band to really get into improvisation. They were an absolute necessity to what came later. Without them, you don’t get us. Now they did it strictly from a blues base. When you listen to their jams, it was mainly one chord, one volume and one time signature. We started where they left off. Then Jaimoe introduced us to John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. Once we started listening to them, we said, ‘My God, you can do THAT with music.’” (5)

Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley were the Dead fans in the Allmans – they’d been playing in a band called Second Coming, a rock & blues band that would play some Cream, Hendrix, and Airplane covers.
Keyboardist Reese Wynans said, “Berry was very dedicated to jamming and deeply into the Dead and the Airplane and these psychedelic approaches and always playing that music for us – and it was pretty exotic music to our ears, because there were no similar bands in the area.” (6) 

Betts recalled, “Duane and Gregg had a real purist blues thing together, but Oakley and I in our band would take a standard blues and rearrange it…[a] psychedelic approach to the blues… We loved the blues, but we wanted to play in a rock style, like what Cream and Hendrix were doing. Jefferson Airplane was also a big influence on us; Phil Lesh and Jack Casady were Oakley’s favorite bassists. We liked to take some of that experimental stuff and put a harder melodic edge on it.” (7)

Trucks wrote, “Jack [Casady] was probably the single biggest influence on Berry’s playing with Phil [Lesh] not too far behind. The Second Coming played many covers of Jefferson Airplane and with Dale, Dickey’s wife, singing like Grace Slick they did a damn good job. Berry could sound exactly like Jack when he wanted to. When he joined the ABB he, of course, brought along that influence and, I’m sure you can hear it, especially on the early stuff. As we developed our own voice Berry became more and more his own but Jack and Phil were always tucked in there somewhere.” (8)

The Second Coming released a single of the Airplane's 'She Has Funny Cars' (backed with Cream's 'I Feel Free') - and 'Funny Cars' was even performed at the first recorded Allmans show on 3/30/69. (These kinds of imitative pop covers would quickly be dropped from the proto-Allmans repertoire once Gregg joined.)

Gregg said, “Dickey and Berry had come more from that psychedelic scene. Dickey was way into Jefferson Airplane – he was a big fan of Jorma Kaukonen, and he loved Clapton’s work in Cream too… Duane, Dickey, and Berry also picked up on the Butterfield Blues Band sound – that album East-West was a killer. Berry and Dickey were also way into the Dead’s American Beauty album.” (9)

Jaimoe recalled, “Everybody had their records that they listened to and we just shared them. I had no idea who the Grateful Dead or Rolling Stones were, though I had heard some of their songs on the jukebox. Butch turned me on to all that stuff. Dickey was into country and Chuck Berry. [The rest of us] were the rhythm & bluesers.” (10)
Jaimoe also played his records for the others – Gregg said that “the main initial jazz influence came from Jaimoe, who really got all of us into Coltrane together, which became a big influence. My brother loved jazz guitarists…I brought the blues to the band, and what country you hear comes from Dickey.” (11) Butch Trucks “was into jazz too, even though he came from a band [31st of February] that did a lot of Byrds stuff and electric folk. Me, I was strictly rhythm and blues.” (12)

Gregg wrote, “Jaimoe turned all of us on to so much neat stuff. He gave us a proper education about jazz and got us into Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Kind of Blue was always on the turntable – my brother really got his head around that album – and he also seriously dug Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things.’” (13)
Jaimoe says, “Duane had listened to Miles and Coltrane before he met me, but we did spin those a lot. His two favorite songs were Coltrane’s version of ‘My Favorite Things’ and Miles’s ‘All Blues.’ Those two songs were the source of a lot of our modal jamming, without a lot of chord changes.” (14)
Betts agreed: “I always loved jazz – guitarist Howard Roberts, for instance – but once the Allman Brothers formed, Jaimoe really fired us up on it. He had us all listening to Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and a lot of our guitar arrangements came from the way they played together.” (15)
Gregg recalled, “Eventually, the jazz thing rubbed off on Dickey – you can hear it on ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’…what he and Duane did on that one came straight from Miles Davis.” (16)
Duane also said, “That kind of playing comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue. I’ve listened to that album so many times that for the past couple of years, I haven’t hardly listened to anything else.” (17) 
(There's even an Allmans home rehearsal of 'My Favorite Things.' It has a lot in common with the Dead's 'Clementine,' which was partly based on the same tune.)

Otherwise, Duane didn’t say much about the band’s influences when asked: “I don’t know how much other musicians have influenced the sound of the band, but probably not very much… I know I have been by other cats: Miles Davis, Roland Kirk, Muddy Waters, BB King. Those cats had a lot of influence on my music.” (18)
Duane would rhapsodize about his favorite jazz at every opportunity – for instance on one radio program he put on ‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘My Favorite Things,’ saying, “Miles Davis does the best job, to me, of portraying the innermost, subtlest, softest feelings in the human psyche; he does it beautifully... John Coltrane [was] probably one of the finest, most accomplished tenor players. He took his music farther than anybody I believe I ever heard.” (19)
Gregg said that “[Duane would] listen to an album or hear a song on the radio, and the next thing you know we’d be working it into our music onstage.” (20) (One classic example of this was in the Hour Glass days in 1968, when Duane saw Taj Mahal with Jesse Ed Davis doing ‘Statesboro Blues’ live, flipped out, and immediately took up the slide. Another different kind of example was when Duane slipped King Curtis’ ‘Soul Serenade’ into ‘You Don’t Love Me’ on 8/26/71, as a tribute to Curtis.)

But Duane also decided they wouldn’t be influenced by current rock bands. Trucks recalled, “We made a conscious decision we would not listen to any of our peers. I remember somebody came in with Chicago Transit Authority and we listened to it one time. Duane broke the damn record and said, “No, we’re not going to listen to this” – not because it wasn’t good, but because they weren’t able to teach us like Trane, Miles, Herbie [Hancock], Charlie [Parker] and people like that. We were either listening to jazz or Robert Johnson, the old blues man, but not to our peers.” (21)


Having two drummers in the band was Duane’s idea, but it was not inspired by the Dead. Duane’s manager Phil Walden originally thought Duane’s new band “was supposed to be a three-piece with Duane, Berry, and Jaimoe,” but as Duane kept adding more members, that idea was tossed.
Betts recalled that “Duane, Oakley, and Jaimoe decided to put a trio together, and Duane’s manager, a guy named Phil Walden, got them a record deal. So Berry started going up to Muscle Shoals to record with Duane… Their group was supposed to be a power trio, like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream, but Duane had to sing, and Jaimoe doesn’t play drums in that style at all. Berry brought back some demos of the stuff they were doing, and even though it was good, they weren’t going to be able to stand up next to Hendrix and guys like that.” (22)
Meanwhile, Betts would join in: “We’d get together and just jam… Butch would come over and jam with us, and some other drummers. We just were getting into some pretty good playing, so [Duane] decided to put six of us together instead of three.” (23)

According to Jaimoe, “It’s been said that Duane was at first going to put together a power trio like Jimi Hendrix or Cream, but…that’s not what Duane was thinking. Duane had the idea for a different band right away. He was talking about two guitars and two drummers from the start… I asked Duane why he wanted two drummers and he said, ‘Because Otis Redding and James Brown have two.’” Trucks agreed: “He wanted two drummers like James Brown had.” (24)

Nor did the drummers take much from the Dead. According to Jaimoe, “No one else was doing something similar to what Butch and I did. I had never heard the Grateful Dead until we did some gigs with them.” (25)
Trucks said, “Jaimoe and I studied a bit of what Kreutzmann and Mickey were doing in the Dead, but it was much more contrived than what we did. I’m not criticizing, because it worked for them really well, but not for us.” (26)
The Allmans drummers took a looser approach. Per Jaimoe, “We just played and played and worked stuff out that way… I would sit in there and start practicing, Butch would come in, and we’d just play. We never said, ‘You play this part and I’ll play that one.” Trucks also said: “Our styles mesh in a way where we don’t talk about it. We don’t work it out… [We] play what [we] want to play, and it just works.” (27)

The Dead drummers, in contrast, spent a lot of effort working out their parts. Kreutzmann also brought up the difference in an interview -
Q: “Did you and Mickey work stuff out or just sit and play?”
Bill: “Oh, no. No. (laughs) It looked that easy, huh? We worked stuff out.” […]
Q: “The closest comparison is the Allman Brothers, but - ”
Bill: “There’s really no comparison. I love the Allman Brothers – and I love you, Jaimoe! – but there’s no similarity other than having two drummers. And there hasn’t been anyone that really used two drummers like Mickey and I did, which is that four-limbed beast thing... By the way, Jaimoe is one of the greatest drummers ever.” (28)

As bandleaders, Garcia and Duane Allman were quite different – each was the charismatic center of the band, and they both favored collaborative approaches where all the bandmembers contributed, but Duane was much more ‘in charge’ of his band. Duane was the clear leader of the early Allmans in a way that Garcia always avoided.
Alan Paul brought up the comparison in his interview with Kreutzmann -  
Q: “The similarities and differences between Jerry and Duane Allman are very interesting. Duane was not shy about telling people what to do.”
Bill: “Right on, and Jerry did not like that.”
Q: “Right, but they both had this thing where people wanted to please them unconditionally and followed them, without them ever having to be asked.”
Bill: “Yes! I don’t know how to describe it, but there’s a spark in some people that you can’t deny.” (29)

Betts also compared them in one interview -
Q: “Did Duane function as the bandleader?”
Betts: “He didn’t see himself as the bandleader; he led by example. And you gained a lot of respect from Duane if you earned it, if you proved you could keep up with him… He was very different from Jerry Garcia, who was very easy going. Duane didn’t have time to be easy going; there was much more urgency to his personality.” (30)
As Betts saw it, “Duane was a natural leader…but no one would be the leader [in the band]. Whenever we needed a leader, someone would step forward and lead… [Duane would] often say, ‘I’m not the leader of this band, but if and when we need one, I’m a damn good one!’ And he was.” (31)
Duane himself said, “When we need a leader, I’m it. Everyone understands that. It’s just that we don’t usually need a leader because we got that goal…one sound, one direction.” (32)

The Dead famously bonded on acid; the legend goes that the Allmans musically bonded on mushrooms.
Gregg wrote that in the band’s early 1969 rehearsals, they would take pills of “pure psilocybin mushroom extract... Our [gear] would be set up, somebody would name a key, and we’d start jamming, and that really spurred on our creative process. The mushroom logo for our band came out of this early experience… There’s no question that taking psilocybin helped create so many spontaneous pieces of music. That music would come oozing out of our band. We hit some jams that were out of this world, and they were so powerful that we couldn’t talk for a long time afterwards… We kept doing that, learning how each other played, learning where each guy was coming from. Our musical puzzle was coming together, and mushrooms certainly enhanced that whole creative atmosphere.” (33)
But other Allmans members disagreed about how important they were. Jaimoe said, “To me, the mushrooms didn’t really play that big a part in anything. It was just a cool thing that became a logo.” (34)
According to the drummers, rehearsing on psychedelics didn’t accomplish much. Jaimoe recalled, “Rehearsal was a waste… Butch couldn’t play the drums because he said they were flying away… So we just called off practice… We couldn’t even play.” Trucks concurred: “We could not play on that stuff… That led to us imposing a rule that we’d all stay straight until after rehearsal, because we knew we had work to do.” (35)
(That said, once they were on the road, the Allmans became notorious for consuming drugs in epic quantities, staying high all the time on a nonstop diet of pot, speed, coke, pills, heroin, and booze. If anything, they were probably even more out of their heads than the Dead most of the time. One label promo man recalled shows “where they were so fucking high that Berry would just fall over…during the first song, and they’d drag him offstage.”) (36)

After they formed, the Allmans lived in one house together and rehearsed all the time. As Gregg said, “We wanted to play, and we just played and played all day.” Part of this meant playing for the public, whether they had shows scheduled or not – “We were busting to get out of that warehouse where we were rehearsing all the time and play for people.” (37) One friend of the band said, “It was Berry’s idea to play for free in the parks for the hippies.” (38) (His last band, Second Coming, had regularly jammed in the park.)
Gregg wrote, “We just wanted to play all the time, and it didn’t matter where or for who. Everywhere we went, we played for free. If we had a gig on a Saturday night, then on Sunday we’d play for free at the nearest park. We would just plug in, start playing, and an hour later there would be 2000 people there. Sometimes it would take about an hour for the word to spread and for people to start showing up, so by the time we had played for two hours, the place was starting to fill up, and we’d start over. We’d just pick all afternoon, because we loved to play.” (39)
(After a while, though, Gregg felt that “playing for free in the parks was really starting to get to me. I hated busting our asses like that and just giving it away… Of course, it did help us become the ‘people’s band,’ so to speak…” (40) It did help word-of-mouth enormously, especially when Atlanta's underground paper, the Great Speckled Bird, took note of this new people's band in the park and wrote a number of enthusiastic articles about this "incredible music.") 
Trucks was thrilled about the trips to Piedmont Park in Atlanta: “We didn’t ask permission, we just set up and started pouring out all of this music… We played and played and it was amazing. It was church, it was electrifying, it was inspiring, it was so much fun.” Over time, as the crowds grew from a few hundred to thousands, “this grew into a weekly event…[on] a big flatbed stage…and a lot of other bands started coming and playing as well.” (41)
Piedmont Park was Duane’s favorite place to play. He said, “Playing the park’s such a good thing because people don’t even expect you to be there. About the nicest way you can play is just for nothing, you know. And it’s not really for nothing. It’s for your own personal satisfaction, and other people’s, rather than for any kind of financial thing.” (42)

7/7/69 Piedmont Park, Atlanta

The first time the Dead and the Allmans played on the same stage was, appropriately enough, in Piedmont Park, where the Allmans had already made a name for themselves with their free shows. A couple days after the first Atlanta Pop Festival, the Dead came to Atlanta for a free concert in the park put on by the festival organizers. They were the last to play that night, and apparently missed the Allmans’ set earlier that day, so they wouldn’t hear the Allmans for a few more months. The Allmans had only formed a few months earlier and were becoming a popular local band in Atlanta, but the Dead hadn’t heard of them yet.
It’s rumored on some sites (including deadlists) that Duane and Gregg Allman played on Lovelight – they didn’t. But after the Dead’s set, many of the musicians who’d played that day joined the Dead onstage and jammed into the night. Patrick Edmondson recalled, “Most of the musicians retook the stage to play with the Dead. Big horn section, background singers, eight drummers, a bass quintet, and Harold Kelling, Glenn Phillips, Duane Allman and Dickie Betts, Delaney Bramlett, Chicago’s guitarist, Randy California, and Jerry Garcia trading and interlacing lead lines.

https://archive.org/details/gd1969-07-07.123468.sbd.miller.flac16 (just the Dead’s show; there’s no tape of the closing jam)

For more stories of that day:


The Allman Brothers first played at the Fillmore East in December 1969, as an unknown band opening for Blood Sweat & Tears.
Allan Arkush, on the Fillmore East stage crew, recalled: “We didn’t know anything about the Allman Brothers [when they opened in] December 1969. No one had ever heard of them. The album wasn’t out yet. But the album cover was up in the lobby of Fillmore East. It had a picture of these guys standing naked in a stream, and we thought, ‘What a bunch of redneck yo-yos.’ Our cynical New York attitude.
“Not only that but they were late for the soundcheck – a cardinal sin. We were waiting and waiting. We didn’t realize they were driving up from Georgia. This van pulled up and they piled out of it with all their amps. It must have been their first time in New York. [It wasn’t.] These rednecks with their crummy, beat-up Marshall amps. We were going, ‘These guys are going to be something else. Hope they don’t get naked… You guys going to keep your clothes on while you play tonight?’
“They launched into…the soundcheck and people came out of their offices. Everyone stopped working and just sort of stood there and went, ‘Oh. These guys are for real.’ They played four 45-minute sets that weekend and we couldn’t get enough of them. We thought they were fabulous…” (43)
Dan Opatoshu, also on the stage crew, concurred: “We had said, ‘Who the hell are these sheep-fuckers from who knows where?’ Until they started playing. Then we were, ‘This is something amazing.’” (44)
Arkush said, “The crew all voted to have the Allmans back. We just requested it so they brought them back six weeks later to play with the Grateful Dead.” (45)

Apparently the Fillmore audience wasn't so enthralled with the Allmans at that point; it's said "the crowd even booed." As for the headlining band, Blood Sweat & Tears, Duane was asked what he thought of them in an interview a year later. After a long pause, he finally replied: “My mother told me when I was a child: ‘If you can’t – don’t.’” (46)
But their next time at the Fillmore East, they were booked with a more compatible band, the Dead. Graham also promptly booked them for some shows at the Fillmore West in January 1970 with BB King, whom the Allmans worshipped. According to Gregg, Graham "had fallen in love with us after he'd heard us."
The story goes that Kip Cohen, managing director of the Fillmore East, told the Allmans "he thought the band was great and everybody had enjoyed working with them... The bill had worked against them [so] he wanted to have them back as soon as possible." He asked what bands they liked, and Bill Graham immediately lined them up with their top choices. 
When they were in San Francisco, Graham reportedly told their road manager Twiggs Lyndon, "I love your band... I asked Kip because I felt so bad that I put you on the bill with Blood, Sweat & Tears. I wanted to make it up to you. I asked Kip to find out who the Brothers like, and he said the first band you said was BB King, and the second was the Grateful Dead. Well, you've got two weeks to get back to the Fillmore East. I've got you booked with the Dead." (46a)

2/11/70 Fillmore East

Bear had this to say about encountering the Allmans:
"In the summer of 1969 we played at a pop festival in a park in Atlanta. We had been hearing about a local band from Macon called the Allman Brothers Band, and someone brought members of the band over to meet us. As I recall they didn't play at that time [or the Dead missed their set], so we didn't hear their music until their first record came out that fall.
So when we were booked into the Fillmore East on a triple bill with the Allman Brothers…I was very pleased and looked forward to the shows with anticipation, as I had heard their record and liked the band. On seeing their setup, I was surprised to note that they, like the Grateful Dead had two trap sets... There is a lot of percussion in the Allmans’ music, like the Dead, and so the two bands were really close in many ways…
There was a wonderful feeling at these concerts that made the shows a lot of fun for us all… [The Allmans] were fantastic at these shows, and were a real inspiration to the boys. Everyone was having a real good time. I hope that they decide to do something with the tapes I made of their sets at some future date." (47)   

The Allmans were delighted to find, around 1996, that Bear had kept his tapes, and the “Fillmore East Feb. ‘70” CD was soon compiled. Kirk West (Allmans manager) said: “We never knew [the tapes] existed. Owsley had taped our three sets, ranging from 45-60 minutes long. We played essentially the same set every night. We put together one CD from them and released it… It was a joint effort between GDP and us.” (48)
Latvala said of the release, “We had this tape of the Brothers opening for the Dead, which Bear had recorded… And then I met Kirk West, who’s like my counterpart with the Allman Brothers, and bam. We were like instant soulmates, karmic buddies and all that. So we decided to do this together and it was great fun, man.” (49)

One of Latvala’s friends recalled, “When Bear finally brought his stuff in [the Vault], there were just big cardboard boxes filled with shit. I mean filled, I don’t mean placed in…but as if they were just dumped out of the sky. Stuff in boxes, stuff out of boxes, stuff labeled, stuff not. I’m not sure that Dick ever got through all of it. Bear had a ton of stuff not related to the Grateful Dead. That’s how that Allman Brothers release came… [Latvala] called Kirk at the time, when they found this stuff from the Fillmore. The Allman archives are almost non-existent from the early days… There is pitifully little stuff in their archives with Duane, much to everybody’s chagrin… Kirk never knew those tapes existed till Dick called him up. In fact, working on that project was how they became good friends.” (50)
Latvala was very excited about the Allmans release: “I don’t know if there’s anything that’s thrilled me this much, because I’m an Allmans freak.” (51)
The tapes have recently been re-released:

The other band on the bill was Love, the Los Angeles band who had no connection with the Dead. Bear said, “Love did not impress me…so with the vain hope each night that they would improve, I used the same reel of tape over - thus I only have the last show - all their sets were less than 45 min and thus fit on a single reel.” (52)

Fleetwood Mac dropped in on the 11th. Phil remembered, “Our new friends from New Orleans, Fleetwood Mac, were in town – playing somewhere else the next night – and they fell by the Fillmore to say hello.” (53) Actually, they had been friends with the Dead since meeting in July 1968. They were touring the US, and had a few days off before playing Madison Square Garden on Feb. 13. They’d just played at the Boston Tea Party on Feb. 5-7, where they’d recorded their shows for a possible live album; before that, they’d played a few shows with the Dead at the Warehouse in New Orleans. Peter Green had memorably joined the Dead for Lovelight on Feb. 1, and he was eager to sit in with them again.
Phil had a fond memory of that night in New Orleans: “Peter’s powerful, cogent playing makes our band focus more on leaving room for one another… Mick Fleetwood dances onstage, shirtless, with drumsticks in hand, drumming (on every available surface) his way randomly through the band. A sign hangs around his neck reading: OUT OF ORDER.” (54)
For more Dead/Fleetwood Mac stories, see:

The Dead’s first shows with the Allmans would become famous. Allan Arkush, the Fillmore stage-crew member, recalled, “The Allman Brothers were still unheard and unknown. But these were legendary shows.” (55)
According to Phil Lesh, Garcia had told him before the first show, “Hey, Phil, make sure you check these guys out. They’re kinda like us: two drummers, two guitars, bass, and organ, and I hear they jam hard.” (56)
The obscure Allmans left an impression on the Fillmore crowd, as well as the Dead. Audience member Jeff Kaplan writes: "Feb 13, 1970 early show was my first Dead show. I had no idea who the Allmans were (nor did most people) but remember thinking that they were amazing. Garcia and Pigpen sat in seats right in front of us for the Allmans set."

As usual when Owsley was around, everyone backstage had to beware. Arkush said, “Backstage was crazy that whole weekend. The Dead’s roadies had all this Owsley acid and were dosing everyone…they put it in the water cooler.” (57)
“Owsley dosed everyone that weekend. That was the night that Fleetwood Mac came down and got dosed.” (58) The entire stage crew was dosed on Feb. 11 as well: “That was a legendary show. Someone had put acid in the water, so we were all under the influence.”
Fillmore crewmember Dan Opatoshu said, “They would dose everybody. And we would fall one by one… You’d just say, ‘Ah, ah. They got me. I’m outta here.’” (59)
Allmans crewmember Kim Payne had an Owsley experience: “I remember the first time we played with the Dead, I was filling [our equipment case] afterwards…it was a huge airlines case filled with cables of all sorts. I opened it up and they were all moving and looked like snakes, which freaked me out.” (60)
Butch Trucks was also dosed:
“I had had an adventure once before when we played with the Dead at the Fillmore East. The Dead had a "roadie' named Owsley Stanley that was the chemist that made the LSD for most of the civilized world. It was his goal to dose every living person. That night at the Fillmore Owsley poured enough pure acid into our garbage can of beer that if you drank a beer you'd get enough LSD from the ice water around the can to get totally loaded. I had more than one beer and by the time we were half way through our show that night I was unable to play.” (61)

Trucks didn’t have a fond memory of that night: “It was a total cluster-fuck. There was every member of the Grateful Dead, every member of the Allman Brothers, and Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac onstage jamming. I guarantee it was total cacophony.” (62)

Mick Fleetwood also said, “I remember playing at Fillmore East, not officially, with the Grateful Dead. On acid. They had the two drummers and I didn’t actually drum. I had a tom-tom and a snare drum and I was gooning around on the stage. Peter Green and Danny Kirwan were playing as well. That was one of the crazed nights there.” (63)

Arkush recalled, “Mick Fleetwood was so heavily dosed that he was sitting on the stage as the audience was filing out with the microphone in his hand. He kept going, ‘The fuckin’ Grateful Dead. The fuckin’ Grateful Dead.’ We didn’t have the heart to turn off the mike. He was saying it like a mantra, ‘The fuckin’ Grateful Dead!’” (64)

Arkush remembers the show ending in daylight as the doors opened and the awed audience streamed out: “Snow had fallen and there was snow all over the ground. We had been in that theater so long and now you could see big shafts of light coming through the open doors because the place was full of smoke.” (65)
Phil Lesh also remembered the end of the show: “The audience slowly files out as the musicians gather behind the amp line, congratulating one another… Someone opens the loading dock door behind the stage. I walk outside – it’s daylight, and snow is falling gently on the streets of New York.” (66)


There are two tapes of this evening:

(The Reynolds/Gadsden 99052 AUD source is a different copy of the same original recording, in worse sound quality and missing the NFA, but including the encore.)

The AUD tape is a good one for the Fillmore East – the instruments are clear in the quieter parts, but it distorts in the loud parts. During the big jam, it gets worse as it goes along: very murky by Lovelight, much of it sounding like a noisy wind-tunnel. But at least during the Dark Star, it’s one of the few Fillmore AUDs that hints at how good the sound in the theater was. The AUD is better for the overall effect and the instrument balance, how the music actually sounded in the room; but the SBD is better for picking out details. 
(Note: My timings are only approximate. They’re from the SBD - the AUD times vary due to the different tape-speed.) 
The jam commences with a spiky Dark Star, starting out light and bouncy with the three Dead guitars and light percussion. Initially it seems like it’ll take the same course as the recent Dark Stars from 2/2 and 2/8/70, but soon its path is altered. (Garcia will never sing a verse tonight.) Peter Green enters at 2:20 – he’s in the background on the SBD tape, perhaps only caught on the vocal mikes, but more audible and balanced with the Dead on the AUD. He fits in well, and Garcia leaves space for him as Green immediately takes the lead. They intertwine comfortably like two Garcias – Green’s quite at ease in Dark Star.
The Dead drop into a quiet, delicate passage, and it sounds like they’re leading up to the verse, but Green steps up front again for several minutes starting at 6:20 while Garcia lays back. (There’s an AUD patch at this point, where you can tell how much louder and easier to hear Green is than on the SBD.)
Duane Allman sneaks in sometime by the 10-minute mark, while Garcia & Weir play a heavy riff. I can’t hear exactly when he comes in: the SBD tapers had the Dead perfectly mixed, but didn’t account for other musicians joining in. With the SBD so imbalanced, the Dead are loudest in the mix, but they’re just backing the other guitarists who can barely be heard, whereas the AUD at this point is a bristling wall of guitars all blending together.
After 10:30 they enter a quiet part. Despite all the guitars, the music is still open and spacious, conveying the icy grace and splendor of Dark Star. But Garcia & Lesh pump up the groove, around 12:15 Weir starts slashing Smokestack Lightning-like chords, and the music gets heavier with louder drums, more like a rock & roll jam. Garcia mostly just plays rhythm backing through this along with Weir, until he steps up around 14:30 and trades lines with the other guitars. The organ joins in at 15:30 – I believe it’s Gregg Allman playing throughout.
(The lopsided SBD makes it hard to appreciate Green & Allman’s contributions. They’re both crammed off to the left; you can tell there’s some hot soloing far in the distance, as if they were playing along backstage, but you can hear them better on the AUD. Neither source is ideal, though. In the AUD, the guitars are all one big blur and you can’t tell who’s who; so despite the imbalance, it’s a little easier to make out the interaction between instruments on the SBD.)

16 minutes into the jam, Weir abruptly introduces the Spanish Jam chords, and the band rapidly groups around the new theme. Not played since 1968, it’s an inspired choice, as everyone easily joins in. Garcia waits a minute before entering; the jam quiets down after a couple minutes and the crowd cheers, but it keeps going and heats up, the band cooking along.
Garcia drops out around 4 minutes in, then Duane turns up his volume and solos for a minute, shading into feedback at times. (Uniquely, Weir plays a strong counterpoint alongside Duane, meshing well with him.) Green takes a solo at 5:30, culminating with an organ flourish at 7:00. (These solos are searing on the AUD, but more faint & muted on the SBD.) Garcia’s been absent for some time, but comes back in around 7:30; Lesh steps on the beat and they get into a heavy groove. (This must be the most danceable Spanish Jam.)
There’s a mix change at this point: someone finally noticed that Duane wasn’t coming through on the SBD tape. He’s turned up and moves over to the right channel at 8:20, loud and clear at last, just in time to play another blistering solo.
Weir suddenly starts up Lovelight as Duane soars off, and the Dead instantly join in. Everyone was familiar with this hit: Green had played on Lovelight with the Dead a couple weeks earlier, and Duane & Gregg had played it in the Escorts back in 1965; it may even still have been in the Allman Brothers' earliest setlists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA09AyQK9NY

Lovelight is faster-paced than usual. Pigpen takes the first vocal, with a guitar echoing him in the second verse. During the first instrumental break, Garcia’s back in his usual lead role, but Green takes over 4 minutes in, and then there’s a little guitar duel between Green and Allman. Danny Kirwan joins the band after 5 minutes (he shows up on the right, alongside Duane & Weir). There are some mix fluctuations in the SBD tape – Green wobbles in volume and then practically vanishes on the left, rarely to rise above the din again, though he remains loud on the AUD tape.
With yet another player tossed into the stew, there’s a virtual guitar explosion leading to the second vocal at 6:50. Gregg sings the verse this time (sounding more lugubrious than Pig), then Duane solos again over a drumbeat. The music drifts for a bit, Gregg & Weir singing some more at 8:45 as the jam goes on. Lesh blasts out a big chord around 9:50 as he exits, putting down his bass. (“‘I just want to listen to this for a while,’ I tell [Berry], as he plugs into my amp.”) (67) There’s a short drum break, and another verse from Gregg; then at 10:50 Berry Oakley takes over on bass. His style is more thumpy, less fleet than Lesh’s.
More jamming follows, a tangled mess of guitars – there’s a little duet between the two Fleetwood Mac guitarists (easier to hear on the AUD, since Green’s too quiet on the SBD), which the audience cheers around 15:00. Pigpen sings another verse over audience clapping, percussion, and backing vocals (“let it shine,” “shine on me”), leading to a short Pigpen chant with the audience stomping the beat. (Another singer is ‘answering’ Pigpen in the back, but I can’t tell who.)
Another lengthy guitar fest begins after 17:00 in a quirky rhythm – a clashing army of wailing guitars that I can’t distinguish (the AUD’s just a murky mess here). Garcia & Oakley establish a new heavy riff after 18:30. The jamming winds down at 21:20; once again, Pigpen chants over a beat and light guitar riffs, and sings the “boxback nitties” verse around 22:20. The music speeds up in another flurry of soloing (Duane starting around 23:30, then a longer echoey solo from Kirwan at 24:15). Gregg sings a verse around 26:00 (with Pigpen backing him), then Garcia re-introduces the main riff at 26:30 and takes the lead again while Gregg & Pigpen trade growls. Again the music pauses for a drumbeat, and Pigpen does his pockets rap for the clapping crowd (someone’s still ‘answering’ Pigpen’s vocal gospel-style behind him).
“Sometimes I get a little lonely – and I know sometimes some of you fellas get lonely too – I wanna tell you, the first thing that you got to do if you need a little company in the evening – you look around yourself, that’s the first thing you do, and you find yourself a pretty little maiden that you may want to keep company with this evening – and I tell you what you do – instead of standing around like some kind of fool, like so, you take your hands out of your pockets, and get something together, that’s the first thing you do – but I tell you, I never get lonesome – ‘cause I got myself an old lady that won’t quit – she’s about nine foot tall, six foot wide, and she wiggles like pigs fighting in a sack (audience cheer) – that keep me pretty happy – so I tell you what – when I get lonesome, all I got to do is reach over my left shoulder, ask my rider to turn on over and to do everything, do it better every time too – I ain’t lying, would I lie to you? Ha – I might, but you never know about it.”
Finally after 29:00, the ending chords emerge (there’s a short AUD patch here). Everyone pitches in on the ending vocals, storming into the final raveup. Oakley’s bass amp starts buzzing in the finale, adding more noise as they all crash down to a grand finish.
Weir says, “From all of us to all of you, thanks and good night.” Unsated, the crowd cheers for more. On the AUD, you can hear a dazed Mick Fleetwood repeating: “The Grateful Dead are fucking great!”
The audience won’t give up, so finally Garcia, Lesh & Weir come out to quiet them down with just one acoustic. Lesh announces, “If you folks would all be kind enough to be quiet for a while, we’re gonna sing a purty little old song with only an acoustic guitar.” And they bid farewell with Uncle John’s Band.

Overall, it’s not quite the cacophony that Trucks recalled! The music is structured, varied, and audience-friendly throughout. Even Lovelight isn’t much more rambling than usual (the version on 2/1/70 was much longer and looser, dragging in spots). All the players get equal space on stage – no one dominates for long, before someone else gets a turn, and there’s rarely a moment when you feel they’re lost for ideas or struggling to cohere. Considering it’s three different bands merged together, they follow each other very well, guitarists teaming up and quickly synchronizing on new riffs. It’s also noticeable how much Garcia steps back and lets the other guitarists take over, to the point where he barely plays for long stretches; his role is mainly to set a theme and then let the others roll with it. (Weir, in contrast, steps up to the challenge and plays more aggressively than usual.)
Though it’s not apparent on tape, the Dead also had other guests this night. Arthur Lee (from Love) is said to have added percussion during Dark Star, though I’m not sure about that. Later on at some point, Butch Trucks got on Mickey Hart’s drum kit and played with Kreutzmann through Lovelight, while Mickey handled extra percussion (off-mike?). And Mick Fleetwood was also wandering around stage banging on things, as he had in New Orleans.

The photo captures a moment in Lovelight.
In front: Mick Fleetwood, Peter Green, Pigpen, Bob Weir, Danny Kirwan (facing the back), Gregg Allman on organ.
In back: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, Berry Oakley, unknown tambourine player, Butch Trucks, Duane Allman, and Mickey Hart with a drumstick on the far end of the stage.
The photo makes it even more surprising that the jam was as coherent as it was, with everyone able to hear each other across the stage. Garcia’s positioned himself in the far back, suiting his role in the background, and seems to be keeping an eyeline with Berry and Duane. (Also note: the bored guy beneath Gregg, wondering when this awful din will ever end.)

Phil Lesh has a good, lengthy account of the jam in his book Searching for the Sound (p.175-177), based on a close listen to the tape. (He mixes up Duane and Peter Green, though.) He says he wasn’t expecting anyone to sit in, which is a little hard to believe, but suggests that Garcia invited them. He concludes that it was “a surprisingly coherent free-for-all.”
The Dead & the Allmans decided not to jam together on the following nights at the Fillmore, perhaps feeling that once was enough.  


The Allmans would return to the Fillmore East a few more times over the next year. Just like the Dead, they loved the place – Butch Trucks said, “The Fillmore East was the best gig there was.” (68) Trucks felt, “You can’t put into words what those early Fillmore shows meant to us… The Fillmore East was it for us: the launching pad for everything that happened.” (69)
Gregg wrote, “That venue was something special, and we always had a special connection to it. The acoustics in there were incredible – the kind of perfect sound you almost never get.” (70)
Betts agreed that the place was special: “The Fillmore was the temple of rock and roll. It was the lowest-paying gig out there. But everybody wanted to play the Fillmore, because it was the artistic presentation of rock & roll music. And it was because Bill Graham made it a point to present rock & roll in an artistic form… He had created this whole atmosphere.” Because the venue was so good, “the bands felt it and the crowd felt it and it lit all of us up. The Fillmore was the high-octane gig to play.” (71)
Berry Oakley described the feeling: “There’s some special places we play where we’ve done it before [hitting our peak], and every time we go back, the vibes are there and it ends up happenin’ again. We’ll end up playin’ three or four hours, and when we finish, I’ll be so high I can’t hardly talk. When you start hittin’ like that, the communication between the members of the band gets wide open. Stuff just starts comin’ out everywhere.” (72)

The Allmans, like the Dead, would play until dawn if you let them. There were Fillmore East shows where they didn’t stop until “somebody opened the doors and the sun came pouring in.” They decided to record their live album at the Fillmore East in March ’71. (Betts: “There was no question about where to record a concert.” Gregg: “That was the place to record and we knew it.”) (73) Their last set went until 6 a.m., and still the audience demanded more: as one reviewer wrote, “They didn’t want to quit and the audience wouldn’t let them.”
Then Bill Graham chose them to be the last band to play when he closed the venue on 6/27/71. (In a bit of poetic justice, the Beach Boys reluctantly opened for the Allmans – back in 1965, Duane & Gregg’s first band, the Escorts, had opened for the Beach Boys in Daytona Beach.)
Unfortunately their show the night before, when they played for hours with encore after encore of jamming, wasn’t taped. One Allmans manager rhapsodized to Rolling Stone, “Oh my God, the boys was hittin’ the note for sure, brother. They smoked up the place til seven in the mornin’. That was a great place to play.” (74)
Butch Trucks recalled it as “the greatest show we have ever played. And it was just magic… It was one of those nights where you couldn’t make a mistake. No matter what I did, two or three other guys in the band were already there. No matter how far out…we all went to the same place, and the crowd was right there with us all night long. It was just unbelievable.” (75)
When Graham introduced the Allmans for the last Fillmore East show on the 27th, the night before was still ringing in his ears: “Over the past year or so we’ve had them on both coasts a number of times. In all that time, I’ve never heard the kind of music that this group plays. And last night we had the good fortune of having them get onstage about 2:30, 3:00, and they walked out of here at 7:00 in the morning, and…in all my life, I’ve never heard the kind of music that this group plays. The finest contemporary music. We’re going to round it off with the best of them all, the Allman Brothers.” (76)
(Ironically, their show on the 27th was rather short and didn’t reach such heights. Gregg explained, “Everybody was already whipped from the night before… Everyone was burnt out.”) (77)

And as with the Dead, Graham had a warm friendship with the Allmans.
“[We] had a special relationship with Bill Graham,” Gregg said, “Bill loved us.” (78) Gregg appreciated that Graham was professional, fair with everyone, and treated all bands the same: “I loved this guy Bill Graham because he was such a straight shooter with us. There were never any confrontations, and he always came back and shook our hands, telling us that we had put on a hell of a great show. He would ask us if we thought the light show was okay, and if there was anything he could do to make the show better… We owe so much to Bill Graham.” (79)
Betts concurred: “The Fillmore was our Carnegie Hall, and we loved Bill Graham so much. He never gave us one grain of bullshit, and he’d raise hell with other bands over all kinds of things.” (80)
Betts recalled, “We were scared to death of Bill Graham when we first started playin’ the Fillmore East ‘cause if you’re not in tune, if you’re not ready when the curtains opened, Bill would jump all over you after the show. And we were never in tune, we were never ready, as hard as we’d try, and he just loved us. He never jumped at us or snapped at us. You know Bill, he could be very explosive. Over the years, he was really one of my heroes and one of my best friends in music, as far as musical relationships. We knew he was a square shooter.” (81)  
Duane Allman said in 1971, “Bill loved us. But we loved him just as much. I think Bill Graham is the best; he’s number one with me. I have more respect for that guy than just about anyone. Folks are always bitching about the way he treats them. I’ll tell you somethin’. He treats a band exactly the way a band treats him. You show up on time; you do a professional sound check; you don’t hassle him for bread – man, he’ll treat you like a prince. That’s the way he treats us and that’s the way we treat him. Anybody don’t respect Bill Graham got their head messed around.” (82)

5/10/70 Sports Arena, Atlanta

The Dead met the Allmans again in Atlanta three months after their Fillmore East jam. The Dead flew down after their May 9 show in Worcester, but the airline left the Dead’s equipment behind in Boston, so the Allmans pitched in and loaned the Dead their own gear. (The Allmans had played the Georgia Tech Coliseum in Atlanta on May 9, so they were near at hand.) The Hampton Grease Band opened; it was announced that the Allmans were present and would jam with the Dead; and at the end of the Dead’s set, Duane, Gregg, Oakley, and Trucks came out and jammed on Mountain Jam>Will the Circle Be Unbroken.

Murray Silver, the promoter, wrote: “The Dead arrived in Atlanta without their equipment, and I called Duane Allman at home in Macon early on Sunday morning to ask him if I could rent his sound system. He asked me who it was for, and when I told him it was for the Dead, he told me that I could have it for free... The Brothers brought their equipment to Atlanta and the two bands met... At the end of the Dead's set, the Allman Brothers joined them onstage and played a version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" unlike anything that has been heard before or since.” (83)
Sadly, there is no tape.

Those who were there recall the show fondly.
David: “The Dead played a very long set with members of the Allman Brothers Band sitting in for a monumental Mountain Jam and more at the end. It was a magical night.”
Tom Lindley: “An announcement from the stage about lost equipment and the Dead would be using the ABB equipment. The Allmans did not play a separate set but they came out and jammed with the Dead at the end... On the final song Duane and Jerry were plugged into the same Marshall head and at a high point in the song the amp head exploded. Everybody rushed out to replace the head and they finished the song.”
David Powell: “My favorite version of "Dark Star" was one I saw the Dead perform live in Atlanta on Sunday, May 10, 1970 at the small Sports Arena. It was memorable because Duane Allman sat in & played second lead with Jerry. The Allman Brothers had driven up from Macon to lend the Dead some equipment that day and later sat in to play an encore set with the Dead. The opening act was Atlanta's Hampton Grease Band. The Allman Brothers did not play a set by themselves, but sat in & played with the Dead as an encore.” (84)

Duane was happy to meet Jerry again, this time with his infant daughter. She writes, "Duane took me out of my mother's arms and carried me off. 'Duane! Where are you taking her?' my mother asked. 'I want her to get blessed by Jerry!' He took me into the Dead's dressing room, and Jerry Garcia rested his big palm on my tiny head." (84a)



The Allmans actually quoted Dark Star in a Mountain Jam later that year – in the 7/26/70 Stony Brook show, Duane plays the melody clearly at 1:05. For about 25 seconds, we get a glimpse of what an Allmans Dark Star would have sounded like:

The Mountain Jam theme was based on Donovan's 1967 single "There is a Mountain":
Dick Latvala thought, “Mountain Jam almost might be said to be something they both collaborated together [on].” (85)
There has been some confusion over how both bands came to play this theme - it's even been printed that Duane first jammed it with the Dead at the Fillmore East! This is not so. It was one of the Allmans' earliest tunes, and shows up in a May '69 concert.

Gregg recalled, “Mountain Jam was my brother’s thing. He just started playing it one day. It’s not that he had a thing for Donovan – it’s just a happy little melody, and it makes for a really nice jam.” (86) 
Jaimoe said, "Twiggs came up with this thing, a Donovan song, 'There Is A Mountain.' Twiggs and Duane played it, then Dickey and Duane played it." (86a) Twiggs Lyndon was the Allmans' road manager, who brought a suitcase full of 45rpm records and a portable record player along on tours; it seems Donovan's song caught Duane's ear.

Duane may well have recognized it on Anthem of the Sun, where the melody shows up at 9:00 into Alligator, for about 20 seconds. But while the Allmans promptly built up the tune into a giant jam piece, in Dead shows it was always a fleeting quote from Garcia, never a lengthy jam.
A couple Dead examples:

Phil Lesh was surprised to hear the Allmans playing it at the Fillmore East. “The Grateful Dead had played around with [the theme] for a while in live performance, so it was a very pleasant surprise to hear that the Brothers had also discovered the tune and developed its potential.” (87)

Butch Trucks once said, “You take a silly little melody, like that Donovan thing, ‘First there is no mountain, then there is.’ You turn it into an hour long epic, and it’s never the same night after night. It’s always different. You go with it wherever you feel like going that night. Some nights, it may be mellow. Some nights it may be like a damn thunderstorm. You just never really know what is going to happen.” (88)

But Mountain Jam also illustrates one difference between the Dead and the Allmans: the Allmans’ jam material was much more rehearsed and arranged than the Dead’s. As Gregg said, “All the arrangements are pre-rehearsed down to the letter. But with the solos, you can take it as long as you want.” (89) Allmans jams tended to be a succession of solos and planned-out changes, rather than the loose group improvisation that the Dead specialized in, and their shows didn’t vary so much from night to night.

That said, in spite of their smaller repertoire, audiences experienced the Allmans’ music as being very fresh and unpredictable. One label promo man said, “Unlike anyone else I’d ever seen, every night was different. It was the same setlist, but I’d never seen a band that was so spontaneous and reacted so well to each other. They would let a song stretch because ‘it just felt good tonight.’ Some nights ‘Whipping Post’ would be 6 minutes…and sometimes it’d be 20 minutes. It was all about ‘how we’re feeling tonight.’ I’d never experienced that in show business before… It was absolutely real and spontaneous.” (90)
A Rolling Stone reporter following the band in October ’71 noticed that they were playing the same standard repertoire each night, but the shows could still vary a lot depending on how band and audience were feeling: in one show, “the sound is soggy” and the band out of sorts; other nights are “tight, subdued,” or “jagged, unpleasant,” especially when the audiences are indifferent or the halls have a bad ambience. (Surprisingly, in one show after another, “Streams of people begin leaving before the set is done.”) But one night in Santa Monica is different – “This time around, the acoustics of the hall are crisper, the audience is more responsive, and the band’s music flows more smoothly, although there’s little if any variation from the previous evening’s program.” (91)

In one interview, Duane praised the “natural fire” of playing live, “the spontaneity of the music. There’s rough arrangements, rough layouts of the songs, and then the solos are entirely up to each member of the band… So some nights are really good, and some nights ain’t too hot. It’s the natural, spur-of-the-moment type of thing that I consider a valuable asset of our band.” (92)
Not being too satisfied with their first two studio albums, he planned to record their next album live, to show the band in their natural element. And like the Dead’s, it would turn out to be a double album.

I haven’t found many comparisons between the Allmans’ and the Dead’s live albums in the press at the time. It took a couple more years for the Allmans’ reputation as an improvisational band to grow; but a few early reviewers did notice a similarity.
One reviewer of the 1971 Fillmore East album noted that “in several places, especially near the end…the Allmans sounded just like the Grateful Dead in their live electric state. Two drummers, just like the Dead, and swirling, free-form music.” (93)
Robert Christgau, a longtime “admitted fanatic” of the Dead, was less charitable. Live/Dead was “gently transcendent as usual…the finest rock improvisation ever recorded.” But he was bored by the Allmans: “Even if Duane Allman plus Dickey Betts does equal Jerry Garcia, the Dead know roads are for getting somewhere. That is, Garcia…always takes you someplace unexpected on a long solo. I guess the appeal here is the inevitability of it all.” (94)

One Fillmore East review in the Rag (the underground paper in Austin, Texas) is worth quoting at length since, without drawing an overt connection between the bands, it could almost be a review of a Dead live show:
“This is a damn good record. The Allman Brothers are…a band that comes out of the freak community and elicits enthusiastic response from it, not just because it’s the ‘home town boys’ but because the music is so fine. I remember reading stories in the Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta’s underground paper, a couple of years ago about this fantastic band that turned everybody on at a free gig at a local park. My expectations from that were pretty high; I’m glad to report that this lp fulfills them completely. […]
It starts off with several blues cuts…and moves into longer pieces, with more and more free-form improvisation in each one. The instrumentation is like the Dead, two lead guitars, two drums, a bass and an organ. The sound is moderately heavy; when all the players are going at once it gets quite dense. But much of the time is taken by solos by…the guitars or the organ. The playing is always in impeccable taste…[the players] can improvise almost endlessly on a single chord, elaborating a basic riff again and again without repeating, in an electric style somewhere in between a raga and white mountain country picking. Side Two, for instance, is 19 minutes of ‘You Don’t Love Me,’ a jumpy Chicago-style blues, but after playing the song for a while the band flows into a raga-like jam on a single chord, with some fine slowed-down solo guitar breaks, going back to the blues at the end to wrap it up. The improvisation is acid-rock, not jazz…the tempos and harmonies go through flowing changes and much of the soloing is long, hypnotic variations on a single theme, also going through slow, flowing changes. The high point of the lp is 22 minutes of ‘Whipping Post,’ a heavy but very soulful number in 6/8 time with fine crying vocals and endlessly inventive guitar and organ jams over a four-chord repeating sequence, the different lines weaving in and out creating a massive, richly-textured background of sound from which first one then another of the instruments stands out. I can just see crowds of freaks in a park or dance-hall writhing and gesturing in ecstasy.
This is a four-sided set and there’s not one minute that’s boring; most of it is completely entrancing high-energy good-time rock.” (95)

The Allmans left Mountain Jam off their Fillmore East live album (which would have turned into a triple album!), but included it on Eat a Peach the next year, as a tribute to Duane. Per Gregg, “We had already made the decision before Duane died to include Mountain Jam on the [next] album.” (96)
Ironically, they were very disappointed in that version:
Trucks: “That Mountain Jam is only on there because it’s the only version we had on multitrack tape, and it was such a signature song of the band with Duane that we simply had to have it on a record. We played it many times so much better, but better a relatively mediocre version than nothing at all.”
Betts: “That was probably the worst version of Mountain Jam we ever played.” (97)
Trucks: “There was only one decent recording of it that was good enough to put out, but it was also one of the worst we ever played. We said we had to put that one out because it was Duane playing on it, and we had to use as much of his music as we possibly could at that point.” (98)

11/21/70 WBCN Studio, Boston

After the Atlanta jam, Duane met the Dead again in Boston that November. The Allmans were playing the Boston Tea Party on Nov. 19-21, and the Dead played Boston University on Nov. 21. After the Dead’s show, some members of the Dead and Allmans (and friends) headed over to the WBCN radio station for an impromptu wee-hours acoustic set. About half an hour survives on tape, but unfortunately both tape and recording are pretty poor.

El Paso starts the proceedings, Garcia & Weir on acoustics, followed by some inaudible chatter. (Throughout the tape, there’s a crowd of people talking but most of them are nowhere near a microphone.)
DJ: “Sitting in with the Allman Brothers and Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Dead. How was the concert tonight?”
Weir: “Pretty good.”
DJ: “Kinda weird, cause there were a lot of police out front at the beginning.”
Garcia & Weir talk a bit about it (but I can’t make them out because of the poor sound). The DJ complains that the mike is picking up the guitars really loud but not their voices, can they move closer?  
Pigpen?: “Maybe we should just talk a little louder.”
Weir: “You wanna sing Deep Elem or something?”
DJ: “Do anything you want.”
They do Big River, Garcia singing it by himself.
DJ: “Duane, you have a long-distance call from Atlanta.”
Garcia: “The sheriff knows you’re here!”
Weir asks someone: “Was that the Big Railroad Blues or Big River Blues you were asking for?”
I Know You Rider follows, Garcia on vocal again (Weir doesn’t sing harmony until the last verse).
Duane returns – the DJ asks, “What was that phone call about, Duane?” There’s some mostly inaudible chatter about his phone call. (Weir tells the radio audience: “A lotta news about a non-event.” Garcia: “Comin’ atcha live.”)
The DJ mentions that both bands have new albums out.
Garcia: “I haven’t heard yours yet – how’s about laying a copy on us?”
DJ: “I can’t get ‘em for you tonight, I can get it for you Monday.”
Garcia: “We’ll be out of town, truckin’.”
DJ: “Are you gonna be able to, or want to play that song about people going all over the country – Truckin’?”
Garcia: “No, man, my voice is shot.”
Weir: “As you can hear, we’re sounding pretty scratchy.”
DJ: “Can you do any kind of thing using Duane?… Do you have any high school football songs you all know?”
Garcia: “It’s not our fault that he didn’t bring a guitar. We can only look after the cat so much.”
Weir: “The guy’s gotta take on some responsibility.”
DJ: “Duane didn’t bring his guitar.”
So Garcia & Weir play a bluegrass-style dual-guitar instrumental. (This may be Beaumont Rag, but I’m not sure.)
Weir: “You got any requests?”
Garcia gets a request and starts strumming Candyman, but says, “I can’t sing it, man.”
Weir: “I’ll do ‘Blow Your Whistle, Freight Train’ – run out and get my capo.”
Some banter ensues, and Garcia coughs into the mike.
DJ: “Oh, my earphones!”
Garcia: “I’m sorry, man.”
DJ: “Even Jerry Garcia’s cough is melodic.”
Garcia: “Yeah, sure.”
Weir: “Even his cough is heavy.” (laughter)
Another request, but Garcia says: “I haven’t got a slide with me… I see you came completely prepared…”
Weir sings Dark Hollow.
The DJ announces that Bob, Jerry, Pigpen, and Duane are here: “They’re all here, but the Allman Brothers didn’t bring their instruments.” There’s more inaudible chatter and laughter.
DJ: “Say what?”
Garcia: “You lost it, man.”
DJ: “I was talking!”
Garcia: “Yeah, well, that’s when all the good stuff goes by.”
After more banter, Duane’s invited up.
Garcia: “Here, take this seat over here.”
Weir: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the last gasp of a dying man.”
Pigpen?: “You ain’t gettin’ out of this one.”
DJ: “Duane Allman’s got a guitar in his hand, relinquished by Jerry. You need a pick?”
Duane: “I’ve got everything I need.”
As the others laugh and tease him (“I’m a guitar player, I swear I am.” “I’m good, I’m good, give me a chance!”), Duane’s at a loss what to do. He plays the instrumental Anji for a minute.
DJ: “That was Duane Allman, playing – you have a name for that song?”
Duane: “That was Anji, by Bert Jansch, as much of it as I know.”
Weir: “Oh, I know one.”
Weir sings Let Me In (I’m not sure if he’s accompanied by Garcia or Duane), and the tape ends.

It’s disappointing Duane doesn’t play more than one brief instrumental, but it’s still a glimpse at Duane’s acoustic side that otherwise didn’t appear in public, except for ‘Little Martha’ on Eat a Peach.

4/26/71 Fillmore East

The following spring during the Dead’s Fillmore East run, Duane showed up to play with the Dead again. (The Allmans were on tour in New York, and had the night off.) Unfortunately he missed the first set on 4/26 with its Dark Star, but he sat in for the first three songs in the second set – Sugar Magnolia, It Hurts Me Too, and Beat It On Down The Line.

Garcia tells the cheering crowd, “We got Duane Allman over here, helping out on this set.”
The Dead play Sugar Magnolia like Duane isn’t there, but he catches on pretty quickly, familiar with the song and adding some fills, and coming right in with a solo during the extended raveup. It’s great to hear him and Garcia twining guitar lines and building the intensity until the fine Duane-driven climax. (He can barely be heard on the circulating tape, though, and isn’t really present in the mix until the next song.)
After some lengthy tuning, they head to Duane’s home territory with a slow blues, It Hurts Me Too. There’s some “who’s on first?” confusion when they start the solos, but he and Garcia take turns soloing, Duane’s slide contrasting with Garcia’s rather cautious, minimalist playing. (It sounds like everyone’s being careful not to step on each other.)
Then the Dead throw Duane a curveball with a raucous BIODTL, to which he can’t add much but a short rock & roll slide solo. In a hurry, he doesn’t stick around for any more songs, and splits. This would be the last time he met the Dead.

David Lemieux has said that the BIODTL with Duane was almost included in the Ladies & Gentlemen set, but had to be dropped due to a lawsuit.
Kirk West (Allmans manager) said in 2001: “We were able to…make ‘Sugar Magnolia’ for the Duane Box. That’s also tied up in a lawsuit right now… It’ll be out and it’s wonderful. On the tapes that are floating around, you can’t even hear Duane until they get to ‘Beat It On Down The Line.’ You can’t hear him hardly at all on ‘Sugar Mag,’ but he’s all over it… Duane was hot in the signal the whole time [on the 8-track]; he just wasn’t mixed right [on the 2-track].” (99)

Sugar Magnolia has now been released on the Skydog box set:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oaodK8zdtI (a better mix than the circulating two-track tape)

7/16/72 Dillon Stadium, Hartford CT

In the summer of 1972, the Allmans’ and Dead’s tour plans crossed paths in the northeast. Though they weren’t yet playing joint concerts, they decided to informally sit in at each other’s shows on a couple dates. Both bands had changed: Duane was gone, and Pigpen was ill at home. (Dickey Betts actually hadn’t played onstage with the Dead before, leaving it to Duane.)

In the Dead’s show on 7/16, Dave Tamarkin writes, “During the 2nd set Gregg's gear starting getting set up, but we didn't know it was his… I seem to recall Betts coming out during Sugar Magnolia [and] I clearly remember Betts, Berry and Jaimoe on the rest. Gregg ended up just watching from behind his organ that they went to the trouble of setting up.” According to one witness, “Jerry and Bobby pretended to mock Dickey by ‘showing him how to play,’” but a very hot rock & roll suite ensued.
Sugar Magnolia has severe SBD mix problems, including a loud distorted piano. Betts is present and playing in Sugar Mag, but you can barely hear him. (He could be heard in the audience, though. If the audience tape for this portion circulated, we’d be able to hear what he’s doing.)
Fortunately, the mix is sorted out in Not Fade Away. The band has become a Dead/Allmans hybrid with Betts, Oakley, and Jaimoe playing, and Lesh sitting out. So we get a rare thing: a 1972 Dead with two drummers, two lead guitars, and a different bass player. Oakley immediately stands out with his thick, powerful bass tone pushing the music. It’s a very energetic performance - the guitars take turns soloing (even Weir gets a solo! which sounds awfully like his usual China Cat turn). Betts sounds restrained and even delicate next to Garcia, who dominates.
The end of NFA calms down into a nice tranquil Allmans-type passage, Garcia & Betts blending guitar lines, but Garcia soon shifts into Goin’ Down the Road. Betts’ solos still sound very tentative and laid-back compared to Garcia’s; Garcia decides to pick up the pace and storm into Hey Bo Diddley. (The Allmans are right on top of it.) Garcia & Weir yell the lyrics, and after a few minutes of jamming, they wind it down in a relatively smooth rock & roll finish.
For the last number, they dive into Johnny B. Goode. Though setlist sites don’t mention it, Oakley and Jaimoe are still playing on this. They don’t jam it out, and Betts seems to have left the stage since Garcia takes all his usual solos.

7/17/72 Gaelic Park, NYC

The next day, Garcia, Weir, and Kreutzmann went to the Allmans’ Gaelic Park show to sit in. (The show had originally been scheduled for the 13th, but was pushed to the 17th, perhaps because of rain.) The show only survives in a harsh, tinny audience tape – just about listenable, but still clearly a strong show. They joined in during the last song, Mountain Jam. Weir isn’t really audible on the tape, but Garcia & Betts are loud and clear.
After some tuning, they slip right into Mountain Jam without the usual intro. This is an edgy, charged-up version, more frenetic than graceful. Oakley’s thundering bass, the spiky guitars, and shrill organ all compete in a jangling maelstrom. There’s no drum/bass break in this Mountain Jam (and only a short organ solo), so it’s almost a half-hour of non-stop twin-guitar nirvana. Garcia & Betts’ styles are similar enough, it’s hard to tell them apart at times, though Garcia seems to dominate, particularly in the second half. Garcia takes a piercing solo for a couple minutes after 18:30. The closing few minutes after the melancholy interlude are particularly stomping and triumphant, and very stretched-out, with Garcia taking the lead for a final run through the theme.
Perhaps the best of Garcia’s Mountain Jams.

November 1972

After those shows, the Dead & Allmans decided to organize more concerts together, and made plans for the fall.
As Weir said, “A joint show with the Allman Brothers was an opportunity to play to at least a partially new audience, which would always make it more of an adventure for us. We also looked forward to the cross-pollination; we would play with them, they would play with us, and that was always fun.” (100)

Reports of the upcoming shows appeared in the press:

9/25/72: “Rumors of an Allman Brothers split-up after their cancelled tour have fizzled out with the word that they are trying to set up another concert.
Bunky Odom, representing the Allmans, and Sam Cutler, representing the Grateful Dead, have been negotiating for joint concerts for the two groups. The proposed concerts would be six hours. Each band on for two hours and a jam for the other two hours.” (101)

10/14/72: “The Allman Brothers Band…will go back on tour in November. Current negotiations between Phil Walden and Associates and Out of Town Tours indicate that a late year tour may feature the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead in several six hour concerts, two hours for each band and two hours for jamming.” (102)

11/4/72: “The Allman Brothers and The Grateful Dead will be playing together in Houston November 18 and 19. Phil Walden will be recording the Allmans’ set, and the portion of the show that the two groups jam together, and both will be released.” (103)

11/72: “Houston – A series of six-hour concerts with the Grateful Dead and the Allman Bros. will begin at Hofheinz Pavillion here, Nov. 18-19.
Schedule calls for each rock combo to play for about two hours with a two-hour jam at the end. Acts will alternate as openers. Shows will start at 6 p.m. with tix at $4.50 and $5.50. Dates in other cities are being lined up.” (104)

Had any other dates actually been lined up after Houston? It doesn’t look like a full tour was planned. Record World said “the concert will kick off a possible series of dates,” but the SF Examiner said that “further concerts are not definitely set.”
It was an ambitious program for the Houston shows, though – two hours left open for jamming (!), and a possible live album (from the Allmans, at least – the Dead had just released Europe ’72 that month).

But after Berry Oakley died in a crash on November 11, the Allmans had to call off the shows.

Steve Parish remembered, “After the death of Duane we really tried to support them, to get them through that tough time. We scheduled some shows together and on the way to one in Houston, I crashed our truck and I was almost killed and our PA was all over the road, and the whole thing was just a mess. I was lucky to be alive, and we didn’t know how we were going to make the show, but we were thinking, ‘At least we have the Allman Brothers there to pick up any slack.’ We got there and found out that Berry Oakley had died and they, of course, weren’t coming. What a weird and horrible day.” (105)
(Parish’s memory is off here: Oakley had died a week earlier, and even though the Dead had been on the road all week, it’s impossible they hadn’t heard before arriving in Houston. Most likely they’d known since starting their tour in Kansas City on Nov. 12.)

An annoyed Houston reporter complained: “The Allman Brothers weren’t able to make it. Their bass player was killed in a motorcycle accident recently and the show doesn’t always have to go on… The concert was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., with just San Francisco’s The Grateful Dead performing. It began promptly at 9 p.m. The three-hour delay, it was explained, had something to do about an equipment truck having a wreck on the way from Dallas. So for three hours it was the big wait.” (106)

The Allmans were also scheduled to play December 10-12 with the Dead at Winterland, but cancelled those appearances as well. They did manage to do a show at Ann Arbor on Dec. 9 (new bass player Lamar Williams’ first show) – less than a month after Oakley’s death – but didn’t play any more shows until the end of the month. The Dead found new opening bands for the Winterland run:

The Allmans resumed touring in 1973, and the plans for joint shows with the Dead continued. Bill Graham was going to have them play his first Day on the Green, announced in the papers:
“The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and Waylon Jennings will take part in the first rock concert at the Ontario Motor Speedway from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 27.
Tickets to the event, to be sold in advance, are $7.50. Promoters expect a crowd of 150,000. Law enforcement officers will set up road checks within a five-mile radius of the stadium to be sure that only cars with special stickers and people with tickets are allowed in the area.
The Grateful Dead has become one of the major rock groups in the past few years, and their concerts are almost always sold out. Currently they are enjoying big success with their “Europe ‘72” album… The Dead usually performs alone in concert, spending at least 2-1/2 hours on stage for a show. At the Ontario Speedway, it will stage a marathon concert for the fans.
The Allman Brothers have been consistent crowd pleasers.
Waylon Jennings and the Waylors are big country attractions.” (107)

But the Happening didn’t happen. Billboard reported: “Refunds for the May 27 rock concert at the Ontario, Calif., Motor Speedway are being made available… Promoter Bill Graham cancelled the show when Ontario police and civic officials allegedly permitted insufficient time for all three acts to perform during the daytime event.” (108)

A local article stated that the show was “canceled because the time allotted for the program was too short, promoter Bill Graham said today…
Ontario police said the concert at the speedway would have to end exactly three hours before dark, to avert any problems. The Weather Bureau pinpointed that time as 5:54.
Graham said he doubted he could honestly end the show by that time, since both the Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead were scheduled to perform for several hours each, to give fans their money’s worth.
At a recent Des Moines concert, also promoted by Graham, the Dead were on stage from 1 p.m. to 7:05 p.m.” (109)

The Dead still played with Jennings and NRPS at Graham’s “Dancing on the Outdoor Green” event at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco that weekend, May 26. (I’m not sure why the Allmans weren’t scheduled for that event as well, since they were available.) Graham was able to start his series of “Days on the Green” at the Oakland Coliseum later that year. The Allmans and the Dead, meanwhile, already had more shows scheduled on the east coast.

6/9-10/73 RFK Stadium, Washington DC

Sam Cutler introduced the Allmans on the 9th: “A lot of energy’s been put out over the years to bring these bands together, and prior to this day it hasn’t happened for a while. Everybody from our end of the music is real happy that at long last we’ve been able to welcome on the same bill as the Grateful Dead – the Allman Brothers Band.”

For a good historical account of these shows, see:
Some entertaining newspaper clippings on the 9th are here:

And an overview of the tapes is here:

On the 9th, Doug Sahm opened shortly after noon, then the Dead played in the afternoon at about 3, then the Allmans closed with an evening set, starting around 7 and finishing at 11:15 pm. Per the Washington Post, the music “continued for almost 12 hours Saturday, with hour-long breaks between bands.”
On the 10th, Wet Willie opened, then the Allmans, then the Dead closed with a marathon show of over five hours (including set-breaks).
The reporters in attendance generally preferred the Allmans. For instance, the Rolling Stone reviewer: “The Allmans closed the Saturday show with an inspired performance most obvious during ‘Les Brers in A Minor,’ which was driven to incredible levels of intensity by Dicky Betts' searing guitar lines. Sunday evening, the Dead did not fare as well.” He complained that the Dead played for too long (“more than six hours,” with 3 or 4 hours of “extended variations on the Dark Star theme”!), but admitted that the “hard-core” fans “seemed to enjoy every minute…stomping and clapping” to the end. (110) 
The Washington Post: “The Grateful Dead carried the crowd through Saturday’s afternoon heat with the relatively relaxed style of San Francisco soaring rock. In the evening the Allman Brothers clearly stole the show with high-power boogie music that had the audience undulating throughout the night.” (111)  

Chuck Leavell, the Allmans’ new keyboard player, had started playing shows with them in November 1972, and this would be his first chance to meet the Dead. He recalled, “I was a fan of the Grateful Dead and was really excited about the opportunity to watch them and meet them.” (112)
The Allmans told him to watch out, though: “I had already been warned about the notorious dosing of folks that would sometimes happen backstage with the Dead…which I believe mostly came from a guy named Owsley, one of their “insiders.” I was told not to drink anything from a bottle, can or glass that had been opened, and to wipe the top of any can before I drank out of it (sometimes drops of acid would be put on the tops of the cans in the coolers). So I was very careful, and luckily avoided any surprises.” (113)

One backstage incident illustrates the Allmans’ condition during the shows. Dick Wooley was vice president of Capricorn, the Allmans’ record label. Visiting the band, he found mayhem on the stage. Wooley recalled, “Backstage, the Grateful Dead roadies dosed the food and drinks of as many people as they could with LSD. Bunky Odom [Allmans manager] warned us in advance so we didn’t partake of anything. However the ABB road crew already had.” (114)
Wooley was dismayed by the Allmans roadies, who were all high: “In our organization everyone was out of control.” (115) They weren’t happy to see him either. Odom explained, “It’s always intense on stage and the road crew has to watch this and that, and…Dick Wooley came on stage with some people and they didn’t want him there.” (116)
Jaimoe remembered, “The stage was really crowded and everyone there was specifically told not to come up without clearance from the road manager.” (117) (Sam Cutler asked the audience on both days to not climb up on the stage.) Roadie Kim Payne was “full of drugs” that day and worried, “The stage was constructed on the field and it was not all that stable. The Dead had an entourage that must have been 300 people. We were playing and there were probably 150 people on the stage, which was not designed to hold so many, and I could see the whole thing shaking and swaying. I was really worried about the thing falling.” He told the others, “Nobody else gets on this stage.”
Next thing he knew, “there was this guy I had never seen before with short hair wearing a suit and holding a briefcase. He said he was with the label and he was coming up, and I just said, ‘No you’re not,’ and punched him in the nose.” (118) Wooley started fighting with several Allmans roadies who threw him offstage, beat him up and left him bleeding. Given that he worked for their record company, they were fired after the shows. The road manager sighed, “the road crew had gotten pretty demanding…controlling access to everything… That was a culmination of everything falling apart. There was just a general malaise going on.” (119)

Nonetheless, the Allmans played two good shows in the heat. The playing and setlists in both shows are much the same, so they’re not that different (Allmans shows being a lot more similar to each other than Dead shows), but the first evening show on the 9th is longer and stretches out a bit more, with a continuous flow in the second half. A few examples of the show:

6/9/73 Mountain Jam

Sam Cutler announced the Allmans’ encore on the 9th: “This is where the scene gets a little loose and various people from various well-known and unknown outfits will be joining the folks onstage to play a little.”
No guests appeared in Whipping Post, but for the Allmans’ last song, Mountain Jam, they were joined by Bob Weir and guitarist Ronnie Montrose. (I don’t know what connection Montrose had with the Allmans.) You can hear Weir very faintly in the background after the first minute – the mix isn’t well-balanced; he remains too quiet for a while after that. Montrose comes in briefly after 3:30, loud but sounding off-key. Weir gets a solo after 4:30 (in his usual jagged, edgy style), and he finally gets bumped up in the mix by 6 minutes in.
Montrose joins Weir for a bit around 7:10; Weir finishes his solo, but Montrose has nothing to add, so they all just comp for a bit as a piano solo emerges. The music grooves along without much distinction, until Betts starts stepping out around 10:15. Afterwards, the performance quiets down and becomes more mellow and unified. Montrose, perhaps sensing he’s out of place and not contributing much besides some rhythm chops, gradually fades out and (by 14 minutes in) vanishes until the finale, leaving Weir & Betts together. With Betts in the lead, they interact well, Weir following him closely like a regular Allman (Weir was used to backing another guitarist!). Although it was a missed opportunity not to have Garcia participate, it’s interesting to hear Betts with a supporting Dead-style guitar rather than a twin lead.
Not a standout Mountain Jam, but the second half is nice.


Dickey Betts and Butch Trucks join the Dead for their third set. (Though Merl Saunders is said to be on organ as well, he can’t be heard at all, and I wonder what he was even doing in Washington DC since he didn’t have any shows on the east coast.) Garcia assures the crowd as they tune up, “We’re having a few minor technical difficulties, but everything’s gonna be all right.” (Then Weir announces a lost purse backstage.)
On some special occasions, Garcia would break out his solo repertoire at Dead shows (for instance on 3/25/72), and here he introduces a couple numbers he’d been doing with Saunders. Partly this was because the Allmans guests would know the songs and they’d be easy to play! (Trucks, joining Kreutzmann on drums, may well have played It Takes A Lot To Laugh in his pre-Allmans band, the Bitter Ind.) Unfortunately, the band sounds pretty tired during this set – it was now well after midnight on the 11th – and Betts in particular seems so fried he can barely play. (One witness wrote in Deadbase, “Dicky Betts had to be egged on by Garcia. He seemed rather intimidated.”) (120)
Betts stays in the background during the Dylan tune, not coming forward until after the second verse, when Garcia nudges him into trading a few lines; but Betts seems not to want to play a solo, and soon fades into the background again. So the song stays much like a Garcia club performance, very laid-back with extended Garcia solos.
Garcia then brings up That’s All Right Mama, which is more up-tempo – in the instrumental break, first Garcia solos, then Keith, then Weir, but Betts still refuses to step up, so the band comps for a while til Garcia starts another solo. Finally, after everyone leaves another empty space for him, Betts takes a solo at last, in a restrained country style. (Garcia joins in for a few harmonized lines, Allmans-style.) The performance has warmed up, and they groove along happily for a few more minutes, no longer really soloing but weaving parts, placing new melodic lines in the groove. (Towards the end, Betts seems about to break into Jessica.)
After some tuning, they settle on Promised Land, picking things up with more ‘50s rock & roll. The first break has a very mellow Garcia solo, the second has a rather sleepy, uninspired Betts solo where he drops out midway, and the third has Garcia again to finish the song. Not a very energetic performance!
Kreutzmann starts the Not Fade Away beat, Trucks somewhat awkwardly joining him. It’s a standard but subdued performance, the drummers keeping up a solid rhythm pattern throughout. Betts is barely noticeable for the first few minutes, and Garcia takes a quiet, understated lead. When Betts does step up, he sounds very tired and unable to play anything extended; so Weir shares the lead, supporting Betts with much better playing. The music starts to sound a bit like Mountain Jam; Garcia joins in and there’s some nice, gentle three-guitar interaction before they settle into Goin’ Down the Road with a smooth transition. Betts has perked up a bit, and in the first break he intertwines lines with Garcia, playing a melodic solo before handing the baton back to Garcia. The second break is more uneventful: Garcia urges Betts forward, but Betts once again seems to drop out mid-solo, so Garcia takes over again.
The passage out of the song is a bit rough, as Garcia forgoes the usual Bid You Goodnight melody and the band reverts to a 1971-style two-chord jam. It works nicely with the guitarists sharing an arpeggio, but within a couple minutes they cut it short for an impromptu drum break between the two drummers. After a lively six-minute drum duet, Lesh decides to burst in with a brief little solo, teeing up the band for a return into Not Fade Away. Betts trades some fills with Garcia in between Weir’s screams during the reprise, but by now it’s a race to the finish. They muster up a grand rock finale, and Garcia throws in a quick Johnny B. Goode. In the first break, Garcia’s solo is uncharacteristically weak; in the second, Betts takes the lead with a more authentic Chuck Berry-style solo; and they quickly wrap up the song.
Garcia tells the crowd, “Thanks a lot, everybody, we’ll see you all later.”

Though it ends one of the Dead’s most famous shows, this guest set isn’t very remarkable. It stands out mainly for Garcia’s tunes, which are quite nice (and the Dead wouldn’t play again for decades), but the timing wasn’t great. Betts must have been dead on his feet by that point, and Garcia sounds worn out as well, leaving Weir as the most energetic guitarist onstage. The energy is rather low throughout, and it’s noticeable that when Garcia and Betts play together, they’re frequently just copying or harmonizing with the other’s lines, with only a few brief spots of interesting jamming. The set also stands out for its unique 1973 two-drummer setup, almost bringing Mickey Hart to mind (particularly in the drum duet), though much of the time Trucks seems to just be doubling Kreutzmann’s beats. That’s All Right Mama is probably the highlight.

7/27-28/73 Watkins Glen, NY

The Allmans’ next show with the Dead would be a historic giant festival in New York, with 600,000 kids attending. Naturally there are tons of newspaper reports and audience memories – but here are a couple good historical accounts, one by Robert Santelli:
And one by Alan Paul, which I’ve used heavily for this narrative:

And some fun newspaper clippings are here:

The idea for the Watkins Glen festival had begun back in 1972. Promoter Jim Koplik recalled, “I partnered with Shelly Finkel and we got the Dead to play at Dillon Stadium in Hartford [7/16/72]. I remember getting my first Grateful Dead contract, how excited I was. And then Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley came to the Dead show and jammed with them… I got a call from the road manager of the Allmans, Bunky Odom, asking, ‘Do you mind if we come up and jam with the Dead?’ I loved both acts, so I said, ‘Oh my God, that would be great!’” (121)
“The music they produced was unbelievable, and we decided we had to get the two bands together for a planned concert.” (122) “After I saw them onstage together…I started talking to the managers about putting them together for a big show, and they were all for it. Shelly actually came up with the Watkins Glen site, and we showed it to them and they loved it.” (123)

Allmans manager Bunky Odom was already thinking of putting the bands together for some shows when the promoters approached him. “Sam Cutler of the Grateful Dead and I put Watkins Glen together. I made twelve trips to San Francisco to meet him, and he came to Macon twice. It started with two dates we had booked together in Athens, Georgia, and Houston [in November ‘72], which got canceled because of Berry’s death. We wanted to work together more, kept talking and talking, and eventually decided to do three dates: the two at RFK and one at Watkins Glen.” (124)  

Cameron Crowe wrote more about the background to the festival in one 1973 article on the Dead:
“The original idea for these supershows started over a year ago when a full length, cross-country tour with the Allman Brothers was booked into some of America’s largest stadiums. The two bands have been long time friends, going back to the days the members of the groups first met each other backstage at the Fillmore East. Both bands were set to hop on planes to begin the tour last fall when Allman bassist Berry Oakley was killed in a motorcycle accident just a few days before their opening show in Houston, Texas. The joint tour was cancelled until this past summer, when the Allmans and the Dead made an appearance at the RFK Stadium in Washington. The RFK Stadium appearance made concert history. Ticketron, the computer network covering the eastern coast, reported that tickets to the Dead-Allmans concert were snapped up as far away as Montreal, Canada. More than 80,000 seats were sold for the two consecutive concerts.” (125)  

Bill Kreutzmann recalled the “competition between us and the Allman Brothers… Originally, the bill was supposed to just be the Dead and the Allmans, but our respective camps fought with the promoter over which bands would get headline status. The solution was that both bands would co-headline and they’d add a third ‘support’ act.” (126)
Odom recalled, “We invited the Band to open Watkins Glen, which Sam and I decided on together, because we thought those three bands represented America. They were the three best American bands and they related to each other…they knew each other. It was just a great fit.” (127)
Koplik said, “It was so great having the Band there. That was the Dead’s choice. We had actually agreed to put on Leon Russell as the third act on the show. But then the Dead or Jerry…really wanted the Band, because that was their home territory. I remember having to pay Leon Russell to not be at Watkins Glen.” (128) Koplik told a reporter, “We had Leon Russell signed on, but the Dead said no. They wanted someone else – the Band. I thought the Band had broken up, but Jerry Garcia called the Band and got them interested, and we offered them a ton of money, and they came.” (129)
From Phil Lesh’s point of view, “We put a tremendous amount of planning into that gig. We practically had to do it ourselves, despite the promoters. The biggest hassle was convincing the Band to come out and play – ‘Hey, man, it’s just down the road a piece. Come on out and play. What can you lose?’ They played great!” (130)
Robbie Robertson recalled, “We didn’t really want to play Watkins Glen… We felt the only reason to do things like that was the money. But we were talked into it. You know: ‘Oh come on, it’s only just up the road.’” (131)
These were actually the Band’s first shows since 1971, so it’s little wonder they needed convincing. They followed this up with two more shows with the Dead at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City the following week, then didn’t play live again until 1974.

Chuck Leavell said, “It was very exciting to think about those three bands playing together. We knew it was going to be a big draw and the figure of 100,000 people was being thrown around in the weeks prior, which seemed incredible.” But that turned out to be not even close to the number of people who showed up. “The day before…[I saw] this mass of people, like an exodus, out on the little highway. People were abandoning their vehicles in huge traffic jams and there was total confusion and mayhem.” (132)
With hundreds of thousands of people swarming in, abandoning their cars on the roads miles away and walking to the site, everyone was unprepared. The bands couldn’t drive to the site, so they were flown in on helicopters. Bob Weir recalled, “It was hard to get in and out of that place. It got way, way bigger than we intended for it to get. We thought maybe if we’re lucky we’d get 100,000 people; 60 to 70,000 would be nice and handle-able… As it turns out, the news reported there were 600,000 people there… People who were interested in going home…well, they couldn’t. If they wanted to leave, it just wasn’t possible. People had to be peeled away layer by layer.” (133)
The bands were astonished by the “sea of humanity” and “ocean of bodies,” which newspapers immediately compared to (the less-crowded) Woodstock. Reporters marveled at the rock groups’ “fanatical, somewhat cultish followers willing to travel any distance to hear the groups.” (133a)
All this meant more work for Dead roadie Steve Parish: “All the stuff like transportation just broke down. Amenities were impossible to maintain, fences were broken down. It became a serious security situation for the crowd, but the stage was secure. The Allman Brothers were a little more disorganized than us. We were hard at work building a tremendous PA system. Because of the crowds pouring in, the soundcheck day became a day of free music; it ended up being two days of music instead of one.” (134)
In an incident reminiscent of the Allmans’ road-crew altercation at RFK, promoter Koplik went onstage before the soundcheck to greet the band, only to be blocked by a surly Parish, who picked him up and dropped him off the edge of the stage. (McNally tells the story in Long Strange Trip, p.456-458.)

To help out, Bunky Odom said, “We had the promoters fly Bill Graham in to be the stage manager, because both bands had total faith in Bill, and that paid off.” (135) Koplik was relieved: “We ended up agreeing to hire Bill Graham to build a stage and bring the sound, so we had the goodwill and education of Bill Graham helping us… We were not really fully capable of pulling this thing off without his expertise.” (136)
Graham asked the promoters to do a soundcheck on Friday the 27th since there were so many early arrivals: “I said to the promoters, ‘Let’s…do a soundcheck in front of 100,000 people.’ Everybody agreed… At noon on Friday the sound was set…the Dead played two hours. It drove the kids crazy. The Band came on and did an hour. The Allmans did two hours. By Friday night 150,000 people had gotten a five-hour show.” (137)

Butch Trucks said, “The afternoon rehearsal ended up being my most powerful memory because in daylight you could see [all those] people stretched out in front of you… It was sort of intimidating but also very, very inspiring.” (138)
Lesh wrote, “We were looking forward to a pleasant afternoon and evening with two of our favorite bands. [But] by the time we got there on Friday the highways had been closed and reopened already, there were about 200,000 people camped out at the site, and many more were expected overnight.” So they decided “it would be a good idea for each of the three bands to do an extended sound check… The Band went first, and in keeping with their predilection for short sets, played for 45 minutes to an hour. The Brothers were up next, and jammed out their stuff for a good hour and a half. Not to be outdone, we went up and had a blast doing two short sets, playing about two hours and sounding a lot better in the cool of the evening than we did the next day.” (139)
Bill Kreutzmann agreed that they “blew” the show on the 28th, but during the soundcheck, “without any of the pressure of the ‘official show’ the next day, we really let loose and played a good one.” (140)
According to Koplik, “I thought the Dead’s soundcheck set was much better than the show set. The funny thing about the first day is it was only supposed to be a half-hour or 45-minute soundcheck, and they played something like two hours. I was sitting backstage with Dickey Betts and he was saying, ‘Oh shoot, now we have to play two hours!’ So they ended up doing a long soundcheck also.” (141)
(Koplik’s memory is off here – the Allmans went on before the Dead – but he recalled the order correctly elsewhere. He might be remembering the Dead’s long opening sets the next day, which might have alarmed the closing band. On an audience tape of the Dead’s soundcheck set, the announcer comes on after the last song and announces that “there’s a lot of stuff that has to be done to the PA…before tomorrow, so we’re gonna knock off and let the equipment guys do their work… See you all in the morning.”)

In the meantime, the bands hung out backstage. The Allmans road manager said, “Everyone had a grand old time hanging out back there.” (142)
Steve Parish recalled, “We shared three days of hang time together. The guys were jamming on music together the whole time, mostly in the trailers set up in the back.” (143)
For Kreutzmann, “the memory that I’m most fond of…from that whole weekend was jamming backstage with Jaimoe… We were just sitting in the dressing room, banging out rhythms, and that was a lot of fun for me… [Jaimoe] is a soulful drummer and just an incredible guy who is impossible not to like.” (144)

On the 28th, “The concert opened on schedule at noon. The Grateful Dead led off to thunderous applause and rhythmic handclapping…” (145)
The newspapers generally wrote nothing about the actual music that day, focusing instead on the crowds. But Rolling Stone reported, “Promptly at noon Saturday, the Dead came on and began a five-hour set. The Band played from 6 PM until 9, and the Allman Brothers came on at 10 PM and played until 2 AM. Then everybody jammed till 3:30… While the Band was playing, the rains came for about thirty minutes, churning the turf into mud. When the rain stopped, the Band came back to finish up… At ten it was dark…and the Allman Brothers chewed ‘em up and spit ‘em out.” (146)
One college reporter wrote, “When the concert started, the sun bore down on the field and the Grateful Dead played a four hour set. Normal Dead enthusiasm was diffused by the sun which scorched into brains which [were already fried by] beer, wine, liquor, LSD, THC, MDA, quaaludes, sopors -- and some horse tranquilizer…
During the middle of the Band's set, there was a heavy summer thunder and lightning shower. The pianist got drenched, but after the tech crew put plastic sheets over all the electronic equipment, the Band played on…
After the rains and the Band were through, the Allman Brothers' technical crew took over two and a half hours to set up, and it was hard for the crowd to keep patient; there was no outlet for frustration, either. But a lot of people cheered when firecracker flares were aimed at the Allman Brothers when they finally took the stage, without apology. Bill Graham introduced them…at 10:30 p.m.” (147)

The bands all recorded their own sets. Koplik complained, “We had an agreement with the bands that none of them would record audio or video of the shows, per the Dead’s wishes, and then everybody did.” (148)
Per the Washington Post, “A film of the Watkins Glen concert was not made, promoters said, although the music was recorded for a possible album.” (149)
Rolling Stone reported that “Capricorn Records, the Allmans' label, recorded their set. So some sort of Watkins Glen album seems probable. However, there won't be a Watkins Glen movie. The Grateful Dead refused to participate...” (150)

It was generally agreed that the Dead’s show wasn’t the best of the day. McNally writes, “The Dead opened the show and played listlessly in the heat…rattled by the sheer size…[but] the Allmans were superb.” (151)
Kreutzmann felt the same: “I watched the other bands play and I honestly thought the Allman Brothers played better on the big day than we did. As for the Band, well, they always sounded great.” (152) Lesh agreed that “they played great.”
Koplik thought the Dead were “fine, but they really weren’t cooking” – their soundcheck the day before was “great, better than the real show.” (153) He recalled, “It was pouring during the Band’s set... The Band was excellent, and I thought the Allmans were great also. I thought the Dead were a little flat. We knew they wanted to do a closing jam. I wanted to get them to rehearse it, but it was too crowded. And there was no way to make it look like it was a surprise jam, so they decided not to. I don’t remember the jam being particularly memorable.” (154)
Bob Weir sighed, “The music itself – well, typically for us, we didn’t play our best show in front of our largest crowd. We got the short stick on who would open and who would close. As I recall, it was essentially determined by drawing cards out of a hat because it was impossible to rank the bands. It would have been nice to have the lights and we didn’t get them because we played in daylight. I do remember the jam at the end was pretty spectacularly wiggy.” (155)

It must be said that even a flat Dead show could hit the spot for this giant sun-baked, jam-packed, wasted, tripping audience, many of them passing out, in a drunken stupor, or just sleeping through the music. One reporter observed the crowd “packed tightly…[lying] listlessly on mud-soaked blankets… The audience barely stirred except to applaud the musicians. Occasionally a few in the crowd would gyrate into a frenzied bit of dance – and after about three hours of Grateful Dead, many stood up and boogied – but throughout the hot afternoon most seemed content to pass the time lazily passing marijuana joints and large jugs of wine.” (155a) This was not an occasion for deep musical space exploration.
From the perspective of one audience member on LSD: “I became somewhat of a space man as the legs and arms were a huge sea. I was an experienced tripper but this was tough because of the faces [that] kept coming out of nowhere. Thank god for the Greatfull Dead… They have been accused of playing it safe at the Glen, and I had seen them before and knew they could get wild and experimental, but they played a mellow two set show. It was nice and I felt safe during it. They were great for that day.” (156)

Chuck Leavell admired the bonding of the crowd: “It rained like hell and people didn’t seem to mind… I don’t think we had the best show in the world, but it was just so exciting to be there. At the end, we had a long jam, and it was not exactly picture perfect – but there were interactions.” (157)
Gregg wasn’t so thrilled about the event; he wrote that Watkins Glen “was like three Woodstocks…a little too big… A show like Watkins Glen was uncomfortable, because you know that you’re getting the show across to this many people, but you’ve still got two times that many behind them. You could finish a song, take your guitar off, put it in the case, and latch it up before the last guy heard the last note… When you’re playing in that situation, you’re kind of thinking about the end… You can’t even hear yourself… It’s hard to get any kind of coziness, any kind of feel with the audience.” (158)
Phil Lesh was also “staggered” by the size of the crowd, “the open areas on all sides completely covered by human bodies...all the way up to and over the skyline.” For him, the crowd crush and muggy air “made for an oppressive, claustrophobic setting. The high point of the day for me was the festival closer, a riotous superstar jam… There was a special feeling of camaraderie between the Brothers and us… Despite the large crowd, it was very warm and intimate on stage playing with our old friends.” (159)
(Like many statements in his book, this seems very warm and diplomatic, but I’m not sure he felt the same way at the time.)

Butch Trucks thought the closing jam was garbage: I think a lot of those people came to hear the greatest jam of the three best jam bands in the country. So after we finished playing, we all came out for the jam and all I can say – I’ve heard the tapes – is it was an absolute disaster. I kept listening and listening, then thought about that night. It was a jam that couldn’t possibly have worked because of the mixture of drugs. The Band was all drunk as skunks, The Dead was all tripping, and we were full of coke.” (160)

Chuck Leavell wrote at length about his experience at the show. (He remembers it as the first time he met Garcia, though I’m sure they must have met at the RFK shows, but in any case we must take his memory as it is.)
“I was fairly new in the band, having joined in the summer of ’72… I remember meeting Garcia back stage the day before the show, when we were all doing sound checks… I was only 21 at the time, young and wide-eyed at all that was going on. Garcia was an icon, a cult music hero and of course a very famous guy and easy to recognize. I was pretty shy at the time and felt a bit intimidated by the whole situation, but of course I wanted to meet Jerry Garcia, and was thrilled to do so. We didn’t exchange a lot, just some pleasantries and musical compliments, with him welcoming me into the ABB and both of us saying that we looked forward to the jam the next night after all three bands had played…
The Dead opened the show the next day, playing two long sets and Garcia taking some adventurous and exploratory solos. I didn’t watch all of it, but peeked out occasionally to listen. They were in their element and had the crowd going strong…
After all [the bands played], there was a v-e-r-y long jam session that included members of all the bands. I jumped in occasionally…I certainly wanted to say that I had “Jammed with Garcia”! I may have played on “Not Fade Away”, “Mountain Jam” and a couple of others…and it was a real treat for my young self to share the stage with…all the others in the Dead and The Band.” (161)

https://archive.org/details/gd73-07-28.sbd.weiner.14196.sbeok.shnf (SBD - more recent SBD copies are upgrades for the Dead show, but don’t have the encore jam)
https://archive.org/details/gd1973-07-28.135585.aud.cooper.berger.flac16 (AUD - none of the other AUDs on the Archive include the full encore jam)

The multi-band jam set followed the Allmans’ show after 2 am on the 29th. Notably, all of the Dead appeared in the encore, but only a few Band and Allmans members – perhaps the Dead were the most eager to participate, or the least burnt-out after a long day!
The jams on Not Fade Away, Mountain Jam, and the Chuck Berry tunes have long been well-known. However, there was more to the encore set that never circulated with the Dead's tapes – Garcia playing on a few songs with the Band. The whole set seems to have emerged only in recent years on Jim Cooper's full audience tape of the show.
Since Around & Around, Mountain Jam and Johnny B. Goode are available from a (rather poor) SBD tape with the Dead's show, it's likely that the earlier part of the set was recorded on SBD as well. But for now the Band’s songs are available on a good stereo AUD recording (along with the rest of the Band's show).

The encore set starts with the Band by themselves - Rick Danko sings a couple songs (A Change Is Gonna Come and Raining in My Heart). He sounds quite drunk, and even with just piano, guitar & drums, the playing is very shambolic. The noisy crowd (sounding just as drunk) is inattentive and shouting for rock & roll. Garcia comes onstage during Raining (the audience shouts, “All right, Jerry!”), but doesn’t play yet.
After some lengthy sound adjustments between songs, there’s a big cheer when Garcia plugs in (“All right! Let’s go, Jerry!”). Richard Manuel, on piano, sings the blues tune Five Long Years (aka Have You Ever Been Mistreated). Garcia plays the first solo, taking over the song with sweet authority; I think Robbie Robertson plays the following, more blustery solos.
Then Rick Danko does the rollicking Da Di Da Day (not sure about the actual song title), with a little solo from Garcia, who stays more in the background in this song. It's hard to tell how many guitarists are onstage by this point, but I think Dickey Betts has come on as well, playing little fills. Bob Weir seems to be on guitar now too (announced by an audience member before the song), and it sounds like Lesh on bass. In fact I’m not sure how many Band members are even playing, since it may be Keith on piano, Bill on drums, and Gregg Allman on organ here; there are no evident instrument switches before the next song. So the rest of the Band might have been sitting out this set.

As Rick Danko asks for his vocal monitor to be turned up (“so I don’t have to sing so loud,”), the Dead stomp into the Not Fade Away intro, to appreciative crowd cheers. It’s a very energized performance – Weir takes a stinging solo four minutes in (Weir always seems to stand out in these guest jams, playing harder than usual). Danko moans and vocalizes drunkenly as Garcia jumps in with a long, hot solo, punctuated by fireworks. Then the band vamps for a while without any leads – Betts is present, but stays in the background playing some quiet fills. Danko moans some more, making up some lyrics, “all around the world…” The last few minutes are instrumental, a loose but propulsive groove – at 11 minutes, there’s a brief bass/drums break with little interjections by Betts and the organ (probably Gregg). Keith, who’s been a strong presence on piano throughout, brings in a funky rhythmic motif that the rest of the band picks up on, and around 13 minutes there’s a veritable fountain of guitars echoing each other. Instead of returning to the vocals, they just slam to a finish.
Other than Danko singing, I don’t think any Band members play in this. I assume it’s Gregg on organ, but it might be Garth Hudson (which I doubt), or perhaps Chuck Leavell. Unlike 2/11/70, there’s no photo to help identify who’s playing. Leavell said he played in the jam, so there may be a third phantom keyboard playing chords in here too. There’s a little drum duet out of Not Fade Away, the drummers (Kreutzmann and Trucks) unwilling to stop. [Actually it might be just Kreutzmann, miked in stereo, which would be quite impressive for an audience tape. But I think I hear two drummers in the later Mountain Jam, and Trucks said he played in the jam too.]

Danko interrupts the drums: “I hate to leave, but…I’d like to sing one song before I go… It’s just a simple song…” Another Danko vocal doesn’t seem too promising, but a highlight of the show follows, Garcia & Danko singing Percy Sledge’s Warm and Tender Love. It sounds a lot like a song the Garcia Band might have done, with soulful organ and a nice Garcia solo.
(Trivia note: It’s very likely that Donna Godchaux – then named Donna Thatcher – sang on the original recording of this song back in 1966, when she was a session vocalist at Percy Sledge’s studio, but I haven’t been able to find out for certain.)
The band, all wired up now, takes a couple minutes to figure out their next step, which turns out to be Around & Around. (On older SBD copies of the Dead’s show, this track was misplaced as a Dead set-opener.) Garcia takes the first solo, but on the following breaks no one really takes the lead, though Keith pounds away. It’s a standard Dead performance, no extra jamming, but with the extra organ and guitar adding weight to their sound. Betts doesn’t do anything but play the rhythm chords, so he’s barely there. (The AUD and SBD have significantly different mixes – you can’t hear Betts on the AUD on this track, but he’s clear on the SBD.)
The band takes a tuning break for a few minutes, as the increasingly impatient audience shouts out unlikely requests. (“Let’s rock on all night!”) After lying low for the last few songs, Betts finally takes charge and Mountain Jam emerges from the ether.  

They ease into Mountain Jam, solid but uncoordinated in spots (not everyone’s sure of their parts and they don’t sync up as easily as the Allmans, so there are some off-notes). It’s a heavy-sounding version with lots of instruments (three guitars, organ & one or two pianos, bass & two drummers). The SBD has a rather dense mix, making it hard to tell just how many people are playing in this Dead/Allman supergroup. The guitars are more up-front in the AUD mix, which has a clearer, wider soundspread than the SBD.   
Garcia leaps into the first solo in his light, summery 1973 style; he gradually heats up with the band, and ends it by restating the Mountain Jam theme. Betts only plays a brief solo to follow, then from about six minutes in, the band comps for a while, the piano leading rhythmically. After a short but lovely bit of intertwining guitars, they putter ahead on one chord for a minute. The music stays static, no one taking the lead or developing the jam (it reminds me a bit of a ’77 Scarlet>Fire transition here). Around 10 minutes, Garcia plays some fast runs and Betts makes his bird sounds; then a minute later, energy suddenly sweeps back into the band and they catch a groove; the music gets heavier, rocks harder. They subside into a quiet period, Garcia & Betts blending together and rising to a frenzy around 13 minutes in, the music taking over and rolling ahead in a wave, melodic riffs crossing and churning in a great passage.
As the wave passes around 16 minutes in, Betts slows down the band to play his melancholy melody line (they’re slow to follow his line, but catch up after the first try). Garcia gives him a bluesy backing, and they sweep into grand, sorrowful chords. Then they follow Betts back to the uplifting Mountain Jam theme at 19 minutes (by now sounding just like the Allmans, all joyful guitar harmonies), and bring it to a rousing, clattering finish.
As the only all-Dead Mountain Jam we have, this is pretty unique, full of hypnotic dark magic. With Betts, Gregg, and Trucks sitting in, it follows the traditional Mountain Jam structure closely, and obviously Garcia & Weir know the tune very well. There are unsynchronized goofs here and there, and it takes a while to really get going, not catching fire til the second half, but overall it’s remarkable how closely it duplicates an actual Allmans Mountain Jam. It’s also striking that Garcia, having teased the Donovan tune in jams five years earlier, is now basically playing Duane’s part – Garcia pairs with Betts like a long-lost twin.

They finish the set with a loud & heavy Johnny B. Goode. It’s hard to distinguish who plays the solos in this one, it’s all one big noisy stomping rock & roll blur. (Quite a contrast from the tepid RFK version.)
Garcia tells the crowd, “Thanks a whole lot for coming everybody, we’ll see you all later. We had a great time…”
The crowd cheers for more, so Sam Cutler comes on and tells them that the time is 3:33, and thanks the musicians and everyone. “Watkins Glen was out of sight, thank you.”

This is a much hotter encore set than 6/10/73 was. Not perfect: sometimes they stumble over each other, Betts takes a long time to wake up, and Rick Danko’s inebriation doesn’t help the first half of the set, but it flows nicely and has some great jamming. You’d think a loose 2am jam after a long hot day in front of a half-million people with all the players tired, drunk, or stoned (or all three) would be pretty lazy and sloppy, but once the Band gets out of the way it’s a standout set.


Butch Trucks thought it was awful. “One of the reasons that we had such a massive crowd is everyone was coming to hear the three best jam bands in the country jam together. But the jam was just ridiculous, because by the time we all got together everyone was fucked up – and fucked up on different drugs. The Band was all drunk as skunks and sloppy loose, the Dead were full of acid and wired in that far-out way, and we were all full of coke and cranked up. You put it all together and it was just garbage. While we were playing, we thought it was the greatest thing the world had ever heard, but then we listened to the playbacks and it was really horrible.” (162)

Trucks had a sour view of the whole Watkins Glen event: “We just gave the people what they expected. Also, it was not a time for making friends. I remember that Jerry Garcia came out onstage with us and took over. There was no doubt he was going to dominate. He’d step right on top of Dickey’s playing. Then he made the mistake of playing Johnny B Goode, and Dickey just fried his ass, and we left. [laughs] They never seemed to like us, the Grateful Dead, and they had been gods to us at one time. But everything was so on edge in those days, and like us, they were really in a certain eye of the storm. They were playing for huge audiences and were trying to sell lots of records and they had also lost a couple members of their band, so they were probably feeling a lot of the same doubts.” (163)

It’s true that Garcia tended to dominate whenever playing with Betts – perhaps partly due to Betts deferring to him, or partly because they often played after days of partying and long shows, when Betts wasn’t at his best. Trucks heard Garcia “stepping right on top of Dickey’s playing,” but it may often have been more Garcia egging him on or stepping in when needed. Garcia had to “take over” at times when Betts wasn’t playing! I doubt Betts “fried his ass” in Johnny B. Goode, but it’s understandable Trucks would feel that way. He clearly didn’t consider the Dead “friends” – “they never seemed to like us, and they had been gods to us at one time” – but this is something the other Allmans never mentioned.

Some early information on the Allmans/Dead relationship was reported by Cameron Crowe, who followed the Allmans for some time in 1973 to write several articles on them for the rock press. In one piece, he speculated there might be a joint “Grateful Dead tour eagerly anticipated ever since the two bands tore it up in Gaelic Park last year when the Dead showed up at the Allmans gig to play ‘Mountain Jam’ all night.” (164)

In another article on the Dead, Crowe asked Garcia about playing with the Allmans:
“Garcia waxed ecstatic about the experience, saying he couldn’t have been more at home with The Allmans.
‘It’s kind of like playing with us the way we were five years ago,’ Jerry laughs. ‘Musically and set-up wise, they’re kind of similar to the way we used to be. They especially sounded like us when they were the original Allman Brothers. They had two drummers, two guitars, organ and bass...exactly the instrumentation we had [when drummer Mickey Hart and organist-vocalist Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan were in the band].
‘In fact, Dickey and the guys had flashed on our music when we played at a festival in Florida about five or six years ago. We really inspired them and they’ve patterned a lot of their trip after us. They’re like a younger, Southern version of us in some ways musically. I really enjoy playing with those guys, they’re fun to play with. They’re good.’ …
There are definite plans afoot to release an album of a monumental Dead-Allmans jam-session early next year…” (165)

Another article went into some detail about the planned album:
“A triple-LP live package, due out in December, features both The Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band. Proceeds from the album, recorded at the July 28 Watkins Glen Festival in New York, are tentatively earmarked for the American Indians. In preparation for the big event, the ABB recorded the set at their recent appearance in Washington’s RFK Stadium.
‘We got some nice things,’ beams [producer Johnny] Sandlin. ‘Some of the songs are tunes that have been on other live albums, but they’re all quite different, with the new band and all.’” (166)

But it was not to be, although a few 1973 live tracks (one from this show) were later included on the Allmans’ 1976 live album Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas.
The Band’s set was supposedly released on their “Live at Watkins Glen” CD in 1995, but that turned out to be a fake set with almost no relation to the actual show, including only a couple tracks from the concert!
The Dead, meanwhile, didn’t want any of their set released. Latvala said in the ‘90s that the Watkins Glen master reels were “filled with gremlins and glitches, and would never be suitable for official release,” and when he listened he was left with “a less than glorious impression of the show itself.” (167)
So Watkins Glen listeners had to content themselves with whatever bootlegs and poor audience tapes they could find. (For the Band and the Allmans, that’s still all that’s available.) Ironically, there had been a pirate radio broadcast of the PA feed from all the sets that day, supplied by Alembic engineer Ron Wickersham himself, who lamented that “the band had always wanted to run a pirate station at each of their concerts but they had never found anyone interested in doing it.” (He even gave the radio broadcaster a tour of the Wally Heider remote 16-track recording truck on the site, saying that “their intent was to release the concert as a multi-disc LP.”) (168)

In 2001, Kirk West (Allmans manager) said that after the Allmans’ Feb. ’70 Fillmore East CD release in 1997, “we were also working on two other projects that had release potential. We loved the idea and the Dead loved the idea. These were to be a package from the RFK and Watkins Glen [shows]… We have the multi-tracks. We went through them and edited them and pieced things together. We were going to do a 4-CD release: two Dead, two Brothers… The Brothers jammed with the Dead on their first encore, and the Dead jammed with the Brothers on their second encore… We were working on it when [Latvala] died… And then shortly after that, the Brothers sued Polygram, and so the thing got jumbled up… The lawsuits aren’t quite resolved yet. Once they are, we’d like to finally get it out… They’re in the process but they’re slow. There’s a royalty situation to be resolved. Too bad because these projects were ready for the artwork. Two 4-CD box sets. It’s all been tied up for three years now.” (169)

12/31/73 Cow Palace, Daly City

Playing in Atlanta on 12/12/73, Garcia told the crowd, “I’d like to wish Dickey Betts a happy birthday,” and the Dead played a little ‘Happy Birthday’ for the Allmans’ home base. (Betts turned 30 that day.)
Garcia would have the chance to meet Betts again soon, for the Allmans were coming to San Francisco a few weeks later.

The Allmans had played the Bay Area a number of times in the previous years:
Jan 15-18, 1970 – Fillmore West (opening for BB King)
Jan 28-31, 1971 – Fillmore West (opening for Hot Tuna)
Oct 8-9, 1971 – Winterland
Mar 3-4, 1972 – Winterland (The Dead played Winterland on March 5, but the Allmans were in Long Beach that day.)
Aug 4, 1972 – Berkeley Community Theater
Sep 25, 1973 – Oakland Auditorium
Sep 26, 1973 – Winterland
(The 9/26/73 Winterland show was broadcast live on KSAN, and has since been released.)

The Allmans had slowly built popularity in the area. Joel Selvin wrote an article on the Allmans in the 2/14/71 SF Examiner, introducing them to Fillmore West audiences: “Though relatively unknown in the west, they have managed to attract a considerable following in the eastern half of the country. Among instrumentalists, Duane Allman is most highly regarded, largely because of the reputation his recording session work gained him.” (170)
The Fillmore East album caught peoples’ attention, and later that year, Phil Elwood wrote an Examiner review of the Allmans at Winterland, 10/9/71, calling Duane “brilliant” & Betts “equally impressive:” “The Allmans produce powerful, substantial stuff… Duane’s shimmering solos wail out over the churning ensemble like a fire siren… The band is ‘heavy’ in all respects. They are very much into their music and tend to drive very deeply into a listener’s soul… I was so engrossed in the Allmans’ instrumental lines that…I had trouble catching much of the vocal effort.” (171)
By his 9/26/73 review, Elwood decided “they may be, indeed, the best American rock band around,” calling Betts “one of the strongest guitarists…I’ve ever heard in a rock oriented group… The Allman Band is, basically, a jazz-blues group who enjoy jamming on riffs and boogie beats, and who can wipe you out with their drive, volume, enthusiasm, and basic musicianship.” (172)

By late 1973, the Allmans had a #1 album (Brothers & Sisters) and were hugely popular, playing arenas and stadiums nationwide. They accepted Bill Graham’s invitation to play on New Year’s Eve for a national radio broadcast. (The radio announcer said they were airing on “110 stations across the country.”) Gregg recalled the show fondly, calling it “a monster New Year’s Eve show at the Cow Palace… That was a big old smelly place, and it always reeked of cowshit, but we did it for Uncle Bill… [It was] one of those amazing nights…that show was our pinnacle.” (173)

The Dead were conspicuously not playing New Year’s Eve for Graham that year, breaking a tradition that already went back years. Interviewed on the radio before the show, Graham said, “This is the first time in seven, eight years we haven’t had the Grateful Dead because they decided they wanted to have one off after all these years… But they couldn’t get a better group to replace them than the Allman Brothers.”
Garcia was asked in 1974 about the Dead being Bill Graham’s house band: “We’ve been trying to bust that…like we didn’t do New Year’s Eve last year because, having done it so much in the past, we’d like to not be locked into traditions which we haven’t decided about.” (174)

Butch Trucks wrote at length about his experiences that night:  
“We were facing New Year's 1973, without the Warehouse [the band’s favored New Orleans venue, where they’d played New Years for the past three years, was closed that month], and management and Bill Graham came up with the idea that we play the Cow Palace in San Francisco for two nights, December 31, 1973 and January 1, 1974. Both shows sold out very quickly and it was decided to put the show up on live, coast to coast radio... I believe it is still the largest radio audience ever.
Anyway, here we are getting ready to play for 20,000-30,000 people live and millions on the radio and someone tells me that the Dead had showed up to jam. Well I had had an adventure once before when we played with the Dead at the Fillmore East. The Dead had a "roadie" named Owsley Stanley that was the chemist that made the LSD for most of the civilized world. It was his goal to dose every living person. That night at the Fillmore Owsley poured enough pure acid into our garbage can of beer that if you drank a beer you'd get enough LSD from the ice water around the can to get totally loaded. I had more than one beer and by the time we were half way through our show that night I was unable to play.
Upon hearing that he was around that New Year's eve at the Cow Palace I grabbed my bottle of wine, open the lead and held it close and made sure that I drank nothing else. I did not want a repeat of what had happened at the Fillmore. Well......
New Year's came after our first set… So far, so good. We then kicked off our second set and about an hour or so into the set, just before Les Brers in A Minor, that was to include Jaimoe and my drum duet, my drums started just drifting off into space. When I could actually hit one it was like hitting a marshmallow. I just went, oh hell, he got me again. I turned around and there stood Bill Kreutzman looking just like Jesus, complete with the halo, and I held out my sticks and asked him if he would play my drums, I couldn't catch them. He did and went on to play what was to be my big time in the sun before an audience of millions. I moved to the side of the stage and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the show which included the following jam with Jerry Garcia and Kreutzman still on my drums.
Years later I ran into Owsley and he told me that he had filled a water gun with LSD and got close enough to my wine bottle that was under one of my floor toms and shot it till he hit it enough to do the trick. Well it certainly did.”
But Trucks wasn’t upset about it: “I was disappointed that I wasn't able to finish the show, but I did have a great time listening to Jerry and the guys back when they were still really playing. And if you know Owsley "The Bear" there is no way on earth you could ever get mad at him. He was a big man (thus the nickname) but a kind and gentle soul with a mission. He truly believed, and I tend to agree with him, that people's minds would be more open after taking LSD.” (175)

Chuck Leavell wrote:
“It was an amazing show, both bands playing well and everyone partying to the Max. Bill Graham, who promoted the show, came down from the top of the building at midnight dressed in a diaper as the “New Year Baby”. The crowd was thoroughly entertained, and we had the obligatory jam afterwards, playing well into the early morning hours of 1974. Garcia played his ass off, and it was again a real pleasure to be on stage with him. By then we knew each other better, and I was more willing to stretch out and participate with stronger energy. We had some nice exchanges between us, and I can just say that I am truly grateful to have played with such a giant of rock music. Jerry was always nice and encouraging to me, and I only wish I could have spent more time with him. By the way, one of our drummers, Butch Trucks, did not escape the efforts of Mr. Owsley on that New Years’ Eve concert…he got dosed and told me later that as he was playing his drums kept moving away from him and he had to chase them…ahh, that was the way of the times!” (176)

For more on the show, see:
Brief write-ups of the show are also on Wolfgang’s Vault, in three parts: 1 - 2 - 3.

Complete 12/31/73 audio:
(From the FM broadcast. The radio announcer said before the Allmans’ show, “Right next to us is a truck from the Record Plant who’s recording all of tonight’s music. Perhaps it will be used on an album at a later date.” But that recording hasn’t surfaced.)

It was a “Southern Rock” night at the Cow Palace, as the Charlie Daniels Band and Marshall Tucker Band opened for the Allmans. Boz Scaggs was also present as a guest – he had been a friend of the Allmans since 1969, and opened several shows for them earlier that year. (Asked before the show if he’d play onstage, he claimed, “I’m gonna be up there watching; I came to see the Allman Brothers.”)
(A trivia note: on Boz Scaggs’ debut album, recorded at Muscle Shoals in spring 1969, Duane Allman had played guitar and Donna Thatcher (later Godchaux) had sung backing vocals on different tracks. I think the only song they both appear on is ‘Look What I Got,’ on which Duane played dobro.
But since they were both session musicians at the same studio, they saw each other in passing. Donna recalled, “I met Duane Allman, who worked with Wilson Pickett and some other people there. I remember going to the studio and seeing Duane, lying next to the bathroom door, on the floor, playing his guitar. I thought it was very weird. I had never seen the California attitude [sic] – sort of laid back, and the long hair. He totally blew me away. I couldn’t really relate to his music until I moved [to California], but I knew that he was really, really good. The whole hippie, trippy thing he represented was completely foreign to me.”) (177)

Like many FM radio broadcasts, the mix is cavernous and echoey, catching all the Winterland reverberations, and there are some volume wobbles, but it’s in good stereo. Leavell’s keyboard is up in the mix, and he shares a lot of space with Garcia in the jams, so the keyboard has a more prominent part than in the previous Allmans jams with the Dead. (Leavell's playing is much more assertive and up-front than Keith Godchaux's playing with the Dead.)
The Allmans play a typically strong show for the radio audience, and the second set starts with the New Year’s countdown. The Dead guests show up later on, at about 1:15 am; their entry must have been planned, but the timing left open. Gregg Allman, probably dosed, leaves the stage after the opening of a rather shaky Les Brers in A Minor, so there’s no organ for the rest of the night. Towards the end of Les Brers, Garcia signals his entry with a few brief notes; shortly afterwards, Trucks slides off the drum kit, and Kreutzmann slides on. Understandably, with bandmembers dropping out and new guests hopping in, the climax of Les Brers doesn’t spit fire; but Betts leads an atmospheric segue from Les Brers into a smooth instrumental progression, the slow interlude from Whipping Post. (The two are seamless, much like a Dead transition.)
Garcia sits out for a few minutes, coming back in momentarily when the band shifts into the familiar Whipping Post chords. (He starts out in the center of the mix with Betts, but after a few minutes Garcia is moved to the left side, making him easier to distinguish.) With Gregg out, this Whipping Post becomes an instrumental jam. Garcia finally comes to the fore after laying out for several minutes (making adjustments?), and trades some lines with Betts. After a keyboard turn from Leavell, Garcia plays a needlepoint solo, turning on his wah midway for more atmospheric effect. The result is a unique blend of Garcia’s Playing in the Band-style wah trippiness with the Allmans’ driving rhythm. Betts stays out entirely for a few minutes as Garcia plays, so it’s mainly Leavell prominently backing him. Once Garcia finishes his solo, the band grooves on for a bit and the music quiets down. Betts starts a rather tentative, minimalist guitar solo; but the playing at this point is more about the groove. The music picks up in intensity, and Garcia & Betts share a little twin-guitar duet.

Betts brings the Whipping Post jam to a graceful close and immediately starts up Linda Lu (Ray Sharpe, 1959), a simple 12-bar blues riff which the others pick up on right away. They take turns with the solos: first Garcia, then Leavell, then Betts, who stretches out (Garcia backs Betts nicely with harmony lines), then back to Garcia for a bit. Boz Scaggs comes on and starts singing the song (initially muffled in the recording mix, until his mic gets turned up) – a few verses with simple backing, another Betts solo, then more annoying scatting & wailing, until the song ends to Boz’s screeches, and applause.
Betts starts Hideaway (Freddie King, 1961), a simple instrumental perhaps suggested by Garcia, who loved the tune. It starts out as a pretty straight cover version, until Betts switches to his regular soloing style. He turns it over to Garcia, who’s rather muted in his solo; then Scaggs starts singing You Upset Me Baby (BB King, 1954) over the same basic blues backing. There’s another light Garcia solo, Leavell takes a turn, and Betts brings back the Hideaway theme in a very long solo (Garcia plays a nice counterpoint in one section). But as Garcia resumes another pinched solo, the music’s running out of steam, becoming duller by the minute; and Scaggs returns to sing the closing verses. This is not very exciting, just a standard bar-band blues jam.
Bill Graham steps in to say, “We’d like to thank the gentlemen who joined us at the last moment, Mr. Boz Scaggs on the organ, Mr. Jerry Garcia on guitar.” (He forgets Kreutzmann – not sure what he meant by Scaggs on the organ, since Scaggs didn’t play the organ, and in any case none can be heard. I think at this point Scaggs is just singing, not playing anything.)

They start up the Bo Diddley riff (probably another Garcia suggestion), the band quickly cohering around the tumbling cross-rhythms – Garcia chopping out chords on the wah like a funk soundtrack, Betts filling in rhythm stabs, Kreutzmann pounding the toms, and Leavell switching to a dark Rhodes sound. Scaggs loosely sings what lines he can remember (from both ‘Bo Diddley’ and ‘Hey Bo Diddley’) and Garcia plays a nice wah solo, unfortunately punctuated by Boz’’s Donna-like high wails. More verses follow, Garcia playing along with the vocals (coming up with a neat descending riff during “papa gonna bring it on home to me”). Betts plays bluesy call & response lines with Boz’s shrieks, which are excruciatingly drawn-out; but then Garcia pulls out another nice solo. Scaggs finally stops, and Leavell takes a subdued turn on the keyboards before dropping out for some time; the guitarists take the opportunity to enter some interesting territory. Betts brings back the Bo Diddley theme, playing the vocal melody while Garcia responds on the wah, a playful moment. Betts enters a Mountain Jam tonality and the music quiets down, becoming kind of a blend of Mountain Jam & Bo Diddley. Then Garcia solos at length, straying close to Goin’ Down the Road in feel; there’s a Dead-like feeling of several songs being suggested at once. Eventually Leavell quietly comes back in, and Scaggs starts singing the verses again (a bit more restrained now). The song goes on unremarkably for a while until it ends, with a strong final minute as they dramatically wrap it up.

My copy has a cut here so I don’t know if any banter followed, but several musicians then took a break and the audience was subjected to a little Boz Scaggs set. ‘Save My Life’ (actual title unknown) starts abruptly with a more stripped-down band – just Scaggs, a bass player (Lamar Williams?), and Jaimoe on drums. There’s also a backing guitarist – Les Dudek – who plays nothing but muted chords in the background throughout. (Dudek was in Scaggs’ band at the time; he was a friend of Dickey Betts’ who had played guitar on the studio versions of ‘Ramblin’ Man’ and ‘Jessica,’ but almost never actually appeared live with the Allmans.)
It’s a long, uninteresting blues song; Scaggs is on lead guitar, playing solid blues – his style is actually quite similar to Betts’. The song almost drags to a halt with a dead stretch in the middle, going nowhere, only Scaggs & the bass really playing. Eventually it peters out to just meandering bass & drums. The bass establishes a new rhythm; Dudek finally comes to life and plays lead for a bit (but stays pretty withdrawn), then turns it back to Scaggs, who doesn’t do much; and the song finally trickles to a stop.
After some tuning, they resume with a generic blues-boogie riff (fairly similar to Hideaway). Scaggs and Dudek take turns soloing; but Dudek is hesitant and out of place, sounding like he’s having some guitar trouble. His first solo collapses incoherently, and his second solo is still strangled and awkward (or maybe this is intentional?). Scaggs is, at least, a strong assured blues soloist (and, for me, hard to tell apart from Betts in that style). Chuck Leavell comes back on the keyboard during the middle, injecting some much-needed energy in the tune. He takes a solo of his own, pushing the others, and the performance becomes much more enthusiastic, ending with a bash.
Bill Graham thanks the bandmembers (including a couple names I couldn’t identify) and announces, “We’re gonna close out and bring the Allman Brothers back on, and Jerry and Bill and some of the others. There’s a couple here backstage that decided they want to get married this evening, go into matrimonial bliss – so while we’re setting up, there’s a reverend we found in the house, they’ll get married right here…”

Boz Scaggs finally leaves the stage, and the others come back on – Garcia, Betts, Williams, Leavell, Jaimoe & Kreutzmann. In this final set, it seems like Betts is determined to make up for the lengthy Scaggs blues excursions by giving the audience at least some abbreviated classic Allmans jams to finish the night.
Betts starts an instrumental version of You Don’t Love Me (Willie Cobbs, 1960, but originally Bo Diddley’s 1955 ‘She’s Fine, She’s Mine’) Garcia would know this song well, since he’d covered it with the Dead himself back in ‘66.
Everyone takes turns with a short solo in this jaunty tune: Betts, Leavell, Garcia, Betts (a long solo of several verses), Garcia, Leavell, then back to Betts, who brings it to a graceful conclusion with his usual solo-guitar spot. (Another example from Winterland three months earlier is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPscO1NV1Kc )
Without a pause, Betts segues into a sweet instrumental We Bid You Goodnight, and the band picks it up right away. (This must have been planned.) Sometimes mislabeled ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken,’ it’s a surprise to hear Betts playing this hymn from the Dead’s repertoire. It's his little tribute to the Dead, played in a more traditional, sentimental “Southern gospel” style than the Dead’s version. Garcia takes an emotional solo, adapting his usual melody lines to the new setting; then after Leavell’s solo spot, Betts gently brings the tune to a swelling, satisfying close.
But they’re not done yet – Betts immediately starts up Mountain Jam, the band soon heading along with him. Garcia sounds stiff and out of sync with Betts at first, but soon enough picks up the lead, gets into the rhythm and plays some dual lines with Betts. The backbeat heats up with Garcia’s percussive strums; Leavell has his solo turn; then Garcia, much more on form now, takes a stinging extended lead. Betts follows with a chirpy solo, engaging in some nice interplay and harmonies with the bright-eyed Garcia as they trade lines. They even attempt an intricate harmonized line, old Allmans-style (Garcia seems to delight in finding Duane-like moments with Betts). Garcia continues in the lead, hinting at the theme and sharing some bent notes with Betts in a fine solo. With two drummers and bouncy bass playing, this is quite a toe-tapping jam. The music gets quieter and the jam winds down to a stop; during the applause Betts brings back the Mountain Jam theme for a delicate final reprise with Garcia. But it’s close to 4 am, the band’s tired and getting sloppy, and there’s no extended closing section tonight, just a quick, hurried finale.  
Betts thanks the audience and names the bandmembers. “We’ve had a great time, good night.”

Overall, this jam session is a mixed bag with many ups and downs. On the up side, Betts is more assertive and in charge than in his previous jams with Garcia. On the down side, the show is weighed down by the dead hand of Boz Scaggs – perhaps a fine performer in his own shows, but awful on vocals here. (It’s easier to appreciate Pigpen’s skills when you compare him with some of the more hysterical white blues shouters.) The set takes a noticeable turn towards old familiar R&B boogies, but the monotonous blues numbers, absent from previous Dead/Allmans jams, don’t play to their strengths. Most of the jamming takes the standard form of one solo after another, everyone taking turns. For all the show’s length and fame, there aren’t that many great Garcia & Betts guitar moments together, though they have high points sprinkled here and there when they stretch out in improvisations: part of Whipping Post, part of Bo Diddley, and so on. Compared with other Mountain Jams, this may be one of the weakest – it’s short and rushed, and Garcia doesn’t mesh quite as well with Betts in this one – but it’s still a joyful and spirited Mountain Jam. The lovely Bid You Goodnight instrumental is the highlight of the set for me.

The next night, January 1, the Allman Brothers played another show at the Cow Palace – a shorter, more subdued affair, but with even more guests for the closing blues jams: Elvin Bishop, John Lee Hooker, Steve Miller, Buddy Miles, and Charlie Daniels:


The Dead and the Allmans did not play together again. The Dead went on hiatus in late '74; by the time they returned in mid-'76, the Allmans were in disarray and were breaking up.
The major split came in 1976, when Gregg testified in a trial against road manager Scooter Herring, and Herring was sentenced to a prison term for supplying drugs to the band. Jerry Garcia called Gregg a snitch, but Garcia was not alone: the other Allmans were horrified, and the band broke up, deciding they’d never play with Gregg again. “There is no way we can work with Gregg Allman again. Ever,” said Betts.

Though the Allmans reunited just a few years later, the times weren’t right for more shows with the Dead. Betts remained an admirer of Garcia, but the other bandmembers weren’t as keen on the Dead; and Gregg wasn’t happy that “Garcia called me a narc.” Also, the touring scene had changed and promoters weren’t anxious to recreate Watkins Glen. The days of ’73 were gone.
When Betts finally sat in with Phil & Friends in the 2000s, he sighed, “We used to do that all the time… I didn’t get a chance to play with those guys for a long time.” (178)

There was one final attempt in the ‘80s to bring the two bands together – a joint concert was scheduled at the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, 11/27/81.
According to one site: “The Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead, and the Outlaws were ready to rock the Tangerine Bowl on Thanksgiving Weekend 1981. The Allman Brothers just finished their show in Birmingham, Alabama on the 25th and the Grateful Dead had just finished up a European Tour and both were heading to Orlando to hook up with Florida natives the Outlaws. Concert flyers were issued along with T-shirts but ticket sales were so poor that the show was eventually cancelled.” (179)

One paper reported the bad news:
Nine years ago, the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead teamed up for the Watkins Glen Summer Jam in upstate New York and drew 600,000 fans – the largest crowd in rock history. But a show with those same two groups, scheduled for November 27th at the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida, was canceled ten days before the event with fewer than 10,000 of the 60,000 available tickets sold. The reason? The Rolling Stones and their late-October dates at the Tangerine Bowl.
According to a spokesman for the Allmans and the Dead, the Stones apparently had scooped so much of the available money out of the market that concertgoers just couldn't afford the $12.50 price tag for the concert, and rather than risk an embarrassingly small turnout, the promoters decided to cancel the show. At press time, there were no plans to reschedule the concert.” (180)

Coincidentally, both bands were also on Arista Records in the early '80s. The Allmans were unhappy with Clive Davis's attempts to modernize their sound for the '80s and get a pop hit, and considered their Arista albums a disgrace. Trucks later said, "Clive Davis destroyed any hope that we had that we could make the thing work again… We compromised and tried to write hit songs and wound up with the two worst records we ever did. They were a huge embarrassment." Gregg was also embarrassed: “Arista tried to throw us into doing something that we weren’t. The whole music scene of the ‘80s just wasn’t conducive to our music at all.” (181)

Though the Dead had mixed results with outside producers in their own quest for a hit album, they were more independent and were able to keep a somewhat hands-off relationship with Davis & Arista. It probably helped that they didn't bother making an album for most of the '80s, and got a hit single when they finally did make one. In any case, they were more comfortable with their reputation as ‘60s dinosaurs, derided by the press as hippie relics with a scorned (but somehow still growing) “deadhead” audience. 



Q: Who is the most exciting person that you've ever jammed with?
DA: I'd rather jam with my own band than anybody alive! I've got the best players there are. But I'd like to jam with anyone who likes to play, and anybody who likes to can come around to our set anytime. Now, Jerry Garcia - there's one I love to play with.
Q: Have you played with the Dead?
DA: I played with them in a boxing arena in Atlanta once. Boy, there was a stink in that place! It was great, though. It was fun! We also [joined them] on their set at the Fillmore one night. And Peter Green’s real good – we jam with him down in New Orleans sometimes. Three guitars playing together is a great sound. It’s like horns: you can do your lines, then two cats can do a line, one cat can just howl, and all three cats can howl! It’s really fun. (182)


“I always loved Jerry Garcia; he influenced me but I didn’t try to copy him. I knew him pretty well and learned a lot from him.” (183)

“I’ve actually had to try not to be influenced by Jerry Garcia, ‘cause I love his playing so much. I’ve really tried not to let my peers influence me. When I was playing clubs, we played a lot of Cream stuff, and I learned Clapton’s solos note for note. But there’s a thin line between admiring your peers and letting them influence you, which gets real dangerous. That’s when you have to go back and listen to Django and Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and Leadbelly.” (184)

Along with the blues guitar players they admired, both Betts and Garcia were Django Reinhardt fans – Betts composed ‘Jessica’ as a tribute to Django and often mentioned him in passing as an inspiration: “I listen to a lot of Django Reinhardt.” (185) “When Duane and I really started to play together all of the time, it was like Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt, because we played together and complemented each other as best we could.” (186)
Meanwhile Garcia was on record in ’67 as buying up all the Django records he could find: “I've been listening to a lot of Django Reinhardt. Mostly for the guitar, but I've learned as much from the violin player in terms of those really lovely, graceful ideas.” (187)

A strong early influence on Betts’ playing was country music and fiddle players – “[Duane and I] got ideas from both jazz horn players like Miles Davis and John Coltrane and fiddle lines from western swing music. I listened to a lot of country and string [bluegrass] music growing up.” (188) As he said, “Jerry Garcia was influenced by all that stuff as well.” (189)
He mentioned one connection with Garcia’s style when talking about the Allmans’ use of harmonizing guitars: “Western swing bands from the ’30s have always used the twin harmony guitars. A lot of the songs that we did were strongly influenced from that. And that’s probably what I offered Duane…was that influence, like when we did things like ‘Blue Sky,’ which is one of the last things Duane played on. He’s playing that kind of Western swing. You know, Jerry Garcia is into that kind of playing too.” (190)

“I also like the Dead’s philosophy, which is very similar to ours. We sound very different, because we’re from different roots. They’re from a folk music, jug band, and country thing. We’re from an urban blues/jazz bag. We don’t wait for it to happen; we make it happen. But we’ve always had a similar fan base and philosophy – keeping music honest and fun and trying to make it a transcendental experience for the audience.” (191)

Betts recalled backstage jam sessions with the Dead “sitting on the stairs at the Fillmore East, Watkins Glen, in trailers, and just about all over the place. We played quite a few shows together back then in the ‘70s.” Watkins Glen stood out for him as “such an amazing experience.”
Q: What was your relationship like with members of the Dead back in the early seventies?
Betts: Bill Kreutzmann and I chatted a lot when we used to do shows together. Jerry and I of course talked more than I did with the other guys, I guess because we’re both guitar players. Hell, all we talked about was guitars… Bob, I always felt was a friend of mine, but Bob don’t talk all that much… (laughs)
Q: You and Jerry must’ve had quite an influence on each other.
Betts: You know he would kind of laugh at me... Even though we were just about the same age, they got started playing about eight years before we did. So, hell, I was studying those guys, what they were doin’, before I ever made a record. So even though we were the same age, I was kind of tippin’ my hat to Jerry all the time and he’d get a kick out of that. [He’d say,] “You know, you guys caught up.” (laughs) We’d talk about our different - the way we went about playin’ the guitar and things like that a lot. I can't remember ever seeing Jerry and talkin’ with him that he didn’t have a guitar in his hands. When I think of talking to Jerry backstage, it was always while he was playin’, then he’d stop for a minute and talk, then he’d start playin’, talk - you know, that’s just the way he was. That’s the way I remember him anyway. (192)  

After Garcia died, when Betts played Blue Sky with the Allmans and his own band Great Southern, he added a Franklin’s Tower intro:
Betts also referred to Garcia in a song he played with Great Southern, “Having a Good Time” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hDOuSQKwlk
“Jerry Garcia was a good ol’ friend, a guitar player and next of kin, when he was around you could depend on having a good ol’ time.”


“The Grateful Dead? Well, I never really thought so much of them.” (193)

Gregg wrote about the Dead in his book:
“I knew that Bill [Graham] had something to do with the Grateful Dead, and I thought that if he was managing the Dead, then we could show him what a real band was like.
Before we played with the Grateful Dead for the first time, I had heard all the hype, but I didn't really have an opinion of them. If somebody had asked what I thought of them, I would have said, "I think that their music ain't got no groove to it at all," and it didn't. But they played the music that they played while the crowd did this thing that we eventually called "the Grateful Dead waltz," which consisted of dancing around, twirling, and jerking a whole lot. I didn't understand it at all, and I was the same age as them. I kept looking for something, but I just didn't get it.
"What do you think of these guys?" I asked my brother. He didn't hesitate.
"This is shit. You see them jugs that they're passing out?" he said, referring to the cases of Gatorade that they would electrify backstage and then pass out to the crowd. And then I knew what he was talking about. One tiny sip of that shit and it would be raining fire, man, so no wonder everybody was grooving on that music – anything would sound good like that.
Not that the Grateful Dead had a trick passing out a bunch of crazy pills so that people would like their music – that's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying that that was part of their whole culture, part of their whole deal. I don't know their story, and I don't know any one of them well enough to ask them, "What's the deal with this?" but I really don't give a fuck that much. I just know that there's the Grateful Dead, and they have their place. They're pretty good people, I liked them all right. Garcia called me a narc at one point, so I never really gave two shits for him, but him and my brother got along because they were guitar players. Mostly I just ignored them.” (194)


“When I first heard the Grateful Dead I thought, ‘What do these cats really want to do?’ Then we played a gig with them and after we finished I had nowhere to go, so I got the conga drum and sat down on the stage behind the curtains and I just played along with the Dead, and someone from their crew saw me and said, ‘Let him out on stage,’ and I went out there and got miked up. The minute I started playing with them it made a lot of sense. I had to be inside that music to understand it.” (195)


Q: You toured with the Grateful Dead. Thoughts about their live performances?

Butch: Pretty much when we played with them, it bored me stiff. They would just mill around on stage, and half the time tried songs they didn’t know. They would fall apart in the middle, quit playing and stand there and just look at the audience. But still, they’d draw these massive crowds! I asked [promoter] Bill Graham once, “What is it?” He said, “Butch, it’s not about the band, it’s about the crowd. They go because they know all of their friends are going to be there. They will find their group, look up at the stage once and say ‘Yeah, there’s the band,’ and that’s the last time they ever look.” And I said to Bill, “Well, yeah, that kind of makes sense.” The Dead is just the place where the party happens. And they are the beneficiaries of that. I guess that’s what we did for three or four years, too. I was drunk pretty much that whole time and don’t remember much. But somehow we just kept packing them in. (196)


Q: The Allman Brothers have started two genres of music; Southern Rock and Jam Band. How proud are you of this? There are not many bands who can play a song for an hour.

Butch: There are all kinds of bands who can play a song for an hour. The problem is that most of them are just doing an hour of noodling. I am most proud that we took a blues based form of rock and blues – with a touch of country – I think we lost what the Allman Brothers were all about when we got too country. Now we have really made an effort to go back and focus on the jazz. When we started the band Jaimoe brought in Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Roland Kirk. None of us had ever spent much time listening to these guys. We would all get stoned out of our gourds and put on one of their albums and it just blew us away. We were all good enough where we could comprehend what they were doing and we could get a basic approach to what they were doing.

We made a conscious decision to stop listening to our peers during the first two or three albums. We did not listen to any rock music at all. The only thing we listened to was old blues like Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and jazz. We didn’t want to have any influence from our peers. We ended up doing a lot of shows with Roland Kirk. His acceptance and Elvin Jones’ acceptance of us really pushed us forward. Elvin showed up at one of our shows and it scared me to death. Elvin was blown away by what we were doing. That fed our confidence and made us think that we really did know what we were doing. We were able to experiment and do a whole lot more than your basic I/IV/V rock n’ roll band. I am most proud of adding an element of sophisticated jazz to the canon that was not there before us.

There were bands that jammed, like the Grateful Dead. Their jams were very country and bluegrass based. Once and a while they would really lock in and find a groove. It was very few and far between but they would do it. The later years of the band it almost never happened. It is my opinion that there were only three guys in the band who could really play and that was Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann. The nights it was really good were when the three of them really clicked and the other guys just stayed out of the way. Toward the end, the other guys took on a stronger position as Jerry got further out of it. They would play for hours and they would just noodle and go nowhere.

I saw them in Tampa before Jerry died. They had sixty-thousand people in the stadium. Some of these kids came hundreds of miles and paid hundreds of dollars to listen to these guys. They were standing up there acting like they didn’t give two flying fucks about anything. They would start a song and it would fall apart and they would just quit. If I was a kid in the audience then I would have gotten pissed. When Mickey Hart started that drum thing that he does then that did it; I had to leave. He started pounding on all that crap and I grabbed my wife and said, "We’re leaving." I was getting really angry. If I had been one of those kids that spent my hard earned money and all of my time to come see these guys – they obviously were not putting any effort into what they were doing and they were just going through the motions – I would have jumped up on stage and kicked their butts. These guys are going to walk out that night with a couple of million dollars. They won’t even try to put some effort into it? It just pissed me off.

There are a lot of Dead followers and there are a lot of noodlers around that give the whole Jam Band scene a bad name. I read an article recently where a guy said that we played "Blue Sky" for forty-five minutes. He said that it must have been a major bathroom break. I got to thinking if this guy measures the quality of music by how long it is then he must not know what is good. I can’t think of anything by Beethoven that would be under three minutes. It takes time to develop a song and go somewhere with it.

Q: The Allman Brothers’ long songs always seem to have songs within songs.

Butch: We will do "Mountain Jam" and it will last for an hour but there are different movements and time changes throughout the song. We will actually stick a song in there sometimes. With this band, we never noodle; the song always goes somewhere. We will take a solo and start it out and build it and take it to a peak and get the hell out and go somewhere else. Even on our worst night it is interesting. (197)


Red Dog Campbell, Allmans roadie: “We loved playing with the Dead, starting with the Fillmore shows. Duane loved sitting in with them – like, ‘We’re gonna play all night!’” (198)

Bob Weir: “We always loved playing with the Allman Brothers. We developed a close relationship with Duane that unfortunately never had the time to blossom because he was gone so soon. Over the years, I got closer with Dickey as well and have always enjoyed playing with him.” (199)

Trucks: “Jerry and Duane were friends. They really got along well and respected each other, and we all did. The Dead were definitely an influence on us – not huge but definitely in there.” (200)

Weir: “They were definitely more blues-oriented and we were more eclectic, with a jug band background and also some country, and we were also listening to a lot of modern classical music – just grabbing stuff from any and all idioms. But they used the same approach – improvising fairly heavily... It was clear to me from the first time we played together that we were kindred spirits… We felt like we were becoming a hot band and the Allmans definitely were real hot – they were tight, together, and they improvised very well together.” (201)

Steve Parish: “From the time we started running into each other at the Fillmore East, we had a kindred spirit with the Allman Brothers and their crew – and a big part of it was that they were the only other group we came across where we saw a similar relationship and dynamic between the crew and the band members. We were very similar in the sense that we all hung out as equals. Most others we came across, there was a clear line and there was no doubt that the crew were employees.” (202)

Duane insisted that “we’re all equal in this band,” and the musicians and crew in the Allmans were all a brotherhood. They regarded themselves as a family: roadie Kim Payne said, “We felt like we were part of the band. It was truly indeed more of a brotherhood than any kind of employee/employer relationship. Everyone was equal.” (203)
According to Gregg, “It was…my brother’s idea to have the crew on the back of the [live album] cover… He really had a lot of respect for the people that make the shows possible, and set up the equipment just perfect every night. The crew always played a special role in our band and we were quite the tight family.” (204)
Duane would also bring the crew to meetings with management. Roadie Red Dog Campbell recalled, “When Duane was alive, if [manager] Phil Walden called a meeting, he wouldn’t just get Duane and [the] musicians, he would also get the roadies… Phil would ask, ‘Do I have to meet with the roadies?’ Duane would answer, ‘You called for a band meeting, and this is the band.’” (205)
People outside the band, though, could see the crew as a surly, threatening lot with too much power; one road manager thought they were “pretty demanding…and controlling access to everyone.” Dick Wooley (the record-label executive who got in a fight with some of the roadies at RFK ’73) complained, “Leaderless and demoralized, the band was influenced mostly by the road crew that surrounded them… The road crew was a cluster-fuck of drugged-out hangers-on that seemingly kept their job by keeping the ABB supplied with drugs and high most of the time. It was crazy and out of control.” (206)

In one telling incident, road manager Twiggs Lyndon killed a club owner in 1970 for not paying the band, but in his trial he was found not guilty due to temporary insanity: “The judge concluded that life on the road with these guys was enough to make anyone insane.” (207) One turning-point in the trial came when Berry Oakley took the stand, nodding off and barely able to speak, testifying that he’d taken LSD “lots more than a hundred times.” The incensed district attorney not only “accused Berry of being under the influence of drugs,” but protested that “during his testimony he had repeatedly pulled pills from his pocket and taken them.” (208)
Lyndon was freed after a short stay in a mental hospital.

Naturally, when the Allman crew met their kindred spirits in the Dead caravan, hijinks resulted. As Betts said, “We partied a LOT! (laughs) You had to watch your drinks around the Dead because you know they were the Merry Pranksters.” (209)
Allmans roadie Kim Payne said, “Anytime you were around Owsley Stanley, you were in danger of being dosed, but I don’t think we were that time [at RFK ‘73]. After our first few encounters with them, we were careful. We kept our hands over our beer cans, never left food or drinks unattended, or consumed anything we hadn’t opened. If you didn’t take these precautions, you were likely to be dosed, which I was not fond of and I really think is a cruel thing to do – remember we were looking at driving 600 miles after most gigs.” (210)
Weir explained, “That would have been a common practice in those days. Some of the folks with our crew, especially Bear, were evangelical about LSD and had no compunction about dosing people. All I can say is, I had to deal with that too. I stopped taking LSD willingly in 1966 because as far as I was concerned, I had seen enough. I still got dosed numerous times, because a lot of those evangelicals did not think I had seen enough – that anyone possibly could see enough.” (211)
(Steve Parish uttered a careful denial: “That was definitely something that people had to deal with around us, but I think by that time [‘73] we were pretty careful with the bands we worked with, and there wasn’t much of that kind of thing going on.” (212) Nonetheless, the Allmans crew had to be careful at just about every show they played with the Dead!)

Each member of the Allmans had their own opinions of the Dead. The guitarists had the most positive feelings of respect – Duane said right out, “I love the Dead;” “I love to play with Jerry Garcia.” His actions also spoke for him, as he met up with them repeatedly, and he held Garcia on almost the same pedestal as Clapton. Oakley had long been a Dead fan, and was happy to hop on stage with them.
Betts also loved and admired Garcia: it seems like Garcia was an older brother and he a student, learning from him and discussing guitar playing. He also appreciated the Dead’s approach to their fans: “I like the Dead’s philosophy, which is very similar to ours… We’re from different roots…but we’ve always had a similar fan base and philosophy.” But Betts also hinted that as a band, the Dead might not match the Allmans: “We don’t wait for it to happen; we make it happen.” He also felt that Phil was “much more efficient” with Phil & Friends than the Dead had been.

Gregg just didn’t like the Dead. He felt the Dead had “no groove,” they were over-hyped, and the Allmans were “a real band.” But before dismissing him because he “didn’t get it,” it’s worth remembering that Gregg did play in a Dark Star and Lovelight, so he had direct first-hand experience to draw from.
Nonetheless, the Fillmore East episode in his book can’t be trusted. For one, he fails to mention that he played with them! I doubt there was any recognizable ‘twirling and jerking’ waltz that Dead fans were doing in 1970, distinct from other bands; he picked up that impression in later years. It’s hard to believe that Duane ever said “this is shit” about the Dead’s music, so it seems Gregg was misrepresenting him. And while the Dead were already notorious for dosing the crowd, Gregg lazily assumed that was the only way anyone would like their music (a common assumption among Dead detractors).

Nonetheless, Gregg did cover Garcia’s song Black Muddy River on his last album, Southern Cross:
The song was suggested to him by producer Don Was. You’d think Gregg wouldn’t welcome a Dead song, and Gregg’s bandleader said he was “initially unsure… I don’t know if that writing style was his bag in general. But he warmed up to the tune, and in the end he thought, ‘Man, I kinda love that song.’” (213)

Butch Trucks also came to dislike the Dead, but I think later experiences tended to color his opinions. He said the Dead had been an influence on the Allmans, but made the revealing comment, “They never seemed to like us - and they had been gods to us at one time.” He admitted that while sitting out on 12/31/73, he enjoyed “listening to Jerry and the guys back when they were still really playing.”
Twenty years later he saw the Dead in Tampa in April 1995, leaving in disgust: “they obviously were not putting any effort into what they were doing and they were just going through the motions.” By then Garcia was “out of it” and the Dead were in decline, so his observations were harsh: “they would just noodle and go nowhere…they would start a song and it would fall apart and they would just quit.”
Looking back to the early ‘70s, he also said, “They bored me stiff.” Since he did actually play with them in several shows, his opinion isn’t unmerited. But his criticisms seem off-base in that period: “They would just mill around on stage, and half the time tried songs they didn’t know. They would fall apart in the middle, quit playing and stand there and just look at the audience.” Safe to say, that didn’t happen in a single ‘70s show that I know of – the Dead were a lot more professional than he says.
But the Dead did approach their shows very differently from the Allmans: they were looser, more casual on-stage; there were long tunings and breaks; and patience was required. It’s possible that Trucks might have interpreted a Dead “space” episode between songs as the music falling apart, rather than a planned musical transition – Dead jams tended to go into another song, rather than ending dramatically Allmans-style.
Jaimoe said he was initially baffled by the Dead’s music, but once he played with them, “it made a lot of sense. I had to be inside that music to understand it.” Trucks, it seems, stayed on the outside of their music. One of his issues was, as he said, “one of the problems I have with so many of these jam bands. They get up and noodle around and wait for something to happen. Those people that pay money to come see you don’t give a damn if you don’t feel like getting off that night. You’ve got to give it everything you have.” (214) The Dead had a very different philosophy!
Like Gregg, he also leaned on another person’s supposed criticism, in this case Bill Graham’s: “it’s not about the band, it’s about the crowd.” Since Graham was known to be a huge Dead fan, this is not much support. Graham probably said something like that, but not criticizing the Dead, just observing the obvious fact that Dead crowds were “the place where the party happens,” regardless of what happened onstage. (To be fair, Trucks admitted that the Allmans in the ‘70s also played drunken, mailed-in shows to massive crowds.)
Trucks felt that the only real players in the Dead were Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann: “the nights it was really good were when the three of them really clicked and the other guys just stayed out of the way.” He recognized accurately that in the later years, “the other guys took on a stronger position” as Garcia withdrew. The jams were also not to his taste – once in a while the Dead would “lock in and find a groove,” but not very often, and even less in later years. Of course his standard of comparison was the Allmans’ more focused jams: “we never noodle; the song always goes somewhere.” So a wandering, spacy Dead jam would lose him (a 20-minute Playing in the Band only has a few minutes of groove, a Dark Star even less)!
He was also not fond of their “country and bluegrass-based” jams – perhaps an odd thing to say, since ‘Ramblin’ Man’ was the Allmans’ biggest hit in 1973 and their shows had plenty of Betts’ country tunes; but then Trucks also complained that the Allmans were “too country.” Not liking the Dead, he didn’t notice the jazz elements in the Dead’s jams, while boasting that the Allmans brought sophisticated jazz to rock music. (But the Dead had picked up on Miles and Coltrane as much as any rock band.) Claiming that the Dead “just noodle and go nowhere,” he was proud of the “different movements and time changes” and peaks that kept the Allmans’ long jams interesting.
Compared to Gregg’s utter indifference to the Dead, Butch’s criticisms are more musically based, and there are shreds of truth in what he says, particularly in his accusation of the 1995 show. Plenty of listeners have said similar things about the Dead. But, musical taste aside, I feel he exaggerated his case and only saw the Dead on the surface, overlooking what they were actually doing in their music.


What about the perspective from the other side? The Dead didn’t talk very much about the Allmans (at least not that I’ve found yet), but seemed to be unanimously appreciative.
Garcia said, “I really enjoy playing with those guys, they’re fun to play with. They’re good.” And Weir agreed: “We always loved playing with the Allman Brothers.” Kreutzmann also said, “I love the Allman Brothers,” and considered Jaimoe “one of the greatest drummers ever,” but thought that between the two bands “there’s no similarity other than having two drummers.” (Pigpen’s thoughts aren’t known, but it’s hard to imagine he didn’t appreciate Gregg’s work at least, the two having much in common.)
For Weir, in spite of the Allmans’ heavy blues orientation, “It was clear to me from the first time we played together that we were kindred spirits… They used the same approach – improvising fairly heavily…they were tight, together, and they improvised very well together.”

Garcia’s most extensive comments on the Allmans came in a 1974 interview, when he was asked “how the Allman Brothers have been influenced by the English interpretation of…the black R&B of America.”
Garcia replied, “I think Duane always sounded as though he listened to Clapton, he had a certain amount of Clapton turns which is sort of unique, and [in turn] Clapton…spent a lot of time listening to blues guys, BB King certainly, Freddie King and Albert King… The southern players are influenced by all kinds of different music, they’re influenced by country blues and by R&B and by modern rock & roll and English music, just like everybody – I mean, America’s getting to be very homogeneous compared to their influences…”
Q: “And the Allman Brothers have certainly been influenced by the Grateful Dead...”
Garcia: “Yeah, to a certain extent – I mean, insofar as their setup is basically the same as what ours was a few years ago, the thing of having two drummers and two guitars, and bass and organ… Their original form was the same as our form… [They’re the] only other band that’s really using two drummers to any degree, and in a sense they sort of took up from where we left off on that level, went in their own direction with it, which has been groovy as far as I’m concerned. We’ve gone somewhere else musically, and been trying out different things.” (215)

From Garcia’s perspective, the Allmans were “like a younger, Southern version of us in some ways musically.” He said in 1973, “It’s kind of like playing with us the way we were five years ago. Musically and set-up wise, they’re kind of similar to the way we used to be.” Perhaps based on what Betts told him, Garcia thought that “we really inspired them and they’ve patterned a lot of their trip after us.” (Actually the Dead weren’t quite as important an influence on the Allmans as all that, more on Betts personally). Happy in the role of elder mentor, when Garcia met with Betts he would laugh, “You guys caught up!”

Lesh talked a bit about the Allmans in a 2000 interview –
Q: “There has always seemed to be a simpatico feeling between the Dead and the Allmans, two bands that approached similar ideas from very different perspectives.”
Lesh: “Exactly. As musicians, those guys have always had that same kind of open mind and willingness to go for the brass ring even at the risk of falling flat on their faces, which is very endearing to me. And it doesn’t surprise me that they could come up with the idea in Georgia while we were doing so in California. There are times when things are in the air.” (216)  

But in 2002, Lesh admitted, “I actually don’t hear a musical connection between the two bands, though there is obviously a historical connection.” By then, Phil had Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring as members of his own band, had played at times with Derek Trucks (“one of my favorite players, welcome on my stage at any time”), and occasionally had Dickey Betts sit in as well, so there were deep threads between Phil & Friends and the later incarnations of the Allman Brothers.
But Lesh’s approach was different: in his band, “what we do isn’t really Southern rock, and I generally push Jimmy and Warren to play things they don’t really know, to step outside themselves and avoid playing harmony lines.” Phil said, “I want everyone to play outside himself… I try to get them to play off of one another – not so much trading fours or licks, but playing simultaneously and letting one another’s ideas inform what they are doing. That’s actually what I want the whole band to do.” (217)

Derek Trucks noticed Phil’s different style: “He wanted a fresh approach. There also was a whole mindset that there really wasn’t soloing much of the time. It was kind of like a Dixieland thing where everyone is interjecting at all times. That was a different way of playing for me.” (218)

Jimmy Herring observed that Phil wanted a “group conversation”: “Phil really worked on getting us to play together. His thing was not having solos.” In Phil’s group, “he doesn't want you to get tied up in your own space. He wants a "conversation," he doesn't want some guy's blistering solo… Phil wants everybody playing at the same time. He doesn't want you to fall into the conventional rhythm/lead role and that's hard, man.” Herring found the ‘psychedelic Dixieland’ style tricky: “Warren and I were both coming from a school where when it was your turn you stepped up to play and that was how it worked. Then, when we started playing with Phil he didn’t want any solos, per se...  He would put it like we were a school of fish or flock of birds…” (219)  

Warren Haynes experienced the contrast between the Allmans and post-Dead bands “on the inside”: “You see the differences and the similarities in how they approached their improvisations. It was quite different, but really effective. Dickey Betts told me he thought the big difference was the Grateful Dead waited for it to happen, the Allman Brothers forced it to happen.” (220)
Haynes was asked, “As someone who has played extensively with both the Dead and the Allman Brothers, how do they compare?”
“Playing with the Dead is all about relaxing and letting the music flow and come through you and not being in a hurry to force it to go somewhere, trusting that…the magic will happen; and they’ve always been about waiting for that magic to happen and capturing it when it does happen… That sort of philosophy [is] very different from the Allman Brothers philosophy, which is, “Let’s make the magic happen right now.” But I love both approaches to improvisation and one’s kind of East Coast, and one’s kind of West Coast, but they’re both beautiful and being on the inside of both of them is a beautiful experience.” (221)

Dick Latvala loved the Allman Brothers, seeing many of their shows during the ‘90s. “I’m an Allman freak,” he said. His son recalled, “The Allman Brothers were always a huge thing that he enjoyed, especially later toward the last six years.” (222)
Latvala praised the Allmans in a 1997 interview:
“The Allmans and the Dead to me are the only bands that ever said it the way I wanted to hear it. And they’re still doing it. They’ve been my favorite band since ’92, when I first got wind of the regrouping and went to see them and was just blown away. They were – and are – the hottest band on the planet. Certainly hotter than the Dead was at that point.”
Paul: “Around that time, I stopped going to Dead shows…”
Latvala: “Oh, you didn’t miss anything. They were bad.” (223)


1.       Duane interview with Dave Herman, WABC-FM, New York, 12/9/70 – Randy Poe, Skydog, p.135 – audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsNacqZEceU (at 30m.)
2.      Cameron Crowe, “The Grateful Dead Flee Big Business,” Circus, Oct. ’73 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/11/summer-1973-new-label-new-albums.html
3.      The source was Ann Sandlin (author of A Never-Ending Groove), who researched Duane's comings & goings in '68: http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=viewthread&tid=51920 (10/29/06 post)
4.      Cameron Crowe, “The Allman Brothers Story,” Rolling Stone 12/6/73 - http://www.theuncool.com/journalism/rs149-the-allman-bros/
4a.  Galadrielle Allman, Please Be With Me, p.264 (This book also says that Santana was one of Duane's inspirations when forming the band; but Santana's first album wasn't released until August '69, and I'm not sure where or whether Duane heard him earlier.)
6.      Alan Paul, One Way Out, p.23
7.      One Way Out, p.43
9.      Gregg Allman, My Cross to Bear, p.151
10.  One Way Out, p.60
11.   One Way Out, p.60
12.  My Cross to Bear, p.150
13.  My Cross to Bear, p.150
14.  One Way Out, p.61
15.   One Way Out, p.60
16.  My Cross to Bear, p.151
17.   Skydog, p.182
18.  Laurel Dann interview with Duane Allman, Creem, Dec. ‘71 - http://www.duaneallman.info/duaneslastinterview.htm
19.  Skydog, p.101 – from a 1970 WPLO interview with Ed Shane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X9lzoSffqU
20. My Cross to Bear, p.150
22. https://www.duaneallman.info/bigbrother.htm (Andy Aledort, “Big Brother,” Guitar World, April 2007)
23. Cameron Crowe, “Allman Brothers,” San Diego Door 8/9/73 - https://voices.revealdigital.com/cgi-bin/independentvoices?a=d&d=IBDGHJI19730809.1.11
24. One Way Out, p.15-19
25.  One Way Out, p.44
26. One Way Out, p.45
27.  One Way Out, p.44-45
29. http://alanpaul.net/2017/05/an-interview-with-bill-kreutzmann/ (This interview is also in Alan Paul’s e-book Reckoning: Conversations with the Grateful Dead.)
30. https://www.duaneallman.info/bigbrother.htm (Andy Aledort, “Big Brother,” Guitar World, April 2007)
31.  One Way Out, p.96
33. My Cross to Bear, p.123
34. One Way Out, p.37
35.  One Way Out, p.38
36. Skydog, p.198
37.  One Way Out, p.36
38. One Way Out, p.24
39. My Cross to Bear, p.131
40. My Cross to Bear, p.134
41.  One Way Out p.36-37
42. Skydog, p.119-120
43. Bill Graham Presents, p.306
44. Glatt, Live at the Fillmore, p.260
45.  Bill Graham Presents, p.307
46. Skydog, p.174 - see note 1.
46a. Please Be With Me, p.215
48. Kirk West interview in the Deadhead’s Taping Addendum, p.311. (The Allmans would have played six sets, so presumably three weren't taped.)
50. Eddie Claridge interview in the Deadhead’s Taping Addendum, p.318-319
53.  Lesh, Searching for the Sound, p.175
54.  Lesh, p.169
55.  Bill Graham Presents, p.307
56.  Lesh, p.175
58. Bill Graham Presents, p.307
59.  Glatt, Live at the Fillmore, p.269
60. One Way Out, p.213
62. Glatt, Live at the Fillmore, p.270
63. Bill Graham Presents, p.307
64. Bill Graham Presents, p.307
65.  Bill Graham Presents, p.308
66. Lesh, p.177
67.  Lesh, p.177
68. Skydog, p.188
69. One Way Out p.116-117
70. My Cross To Bear, p.141
71.   Skydog, p.134 – see also One Way Out p.117
72.  Grover Lewis, “Hitting the Note with the Allman Brothers Band,” Rolling Stone 11/25/71 - http://www.duaneallman.info/hittingthenote.htm
73.  One Way Out, p.117
75.  Glatt, p.354-355 – see also Skydog p.188, One Way Out p.134, Bill Graham Presents p.308
76.  Skydog, p.190
77.  One Way Out, p.134
78. My Cross to Bear, p.184
79.  My Cross to Bear, p.141 – see also One Way Out p.117
80.https://www.duaneallman.info/bigbrother.htm (Andy Aledort, “Big Brother,” Guitar World, April 2007)
82. Duane interview, Creem 12/71 - http://www.duaneallman.info/duaneslastinterview.htm
86. My Cross To Bear, p.114 
86a. Please Be With Me, p.300
87. Lesh, p.175
89. Skydog, p.136
90. Skydog, p.198
92. 1970 WPLO interview with Ed Shane - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X9lzoSffqU
95.  “In Your Ear” record-review column by Rockin’ Raoul, The Rag, 7/26/71 - https://voices.revealdigital.com/cgi-bin/independentvoices?a=d&d=BFIGCEE19710726.1.15
96. My Cross to Bear, p.203
97.  One Way Out, p.169-70
98. Skydog, p.219
99. Kirk West, Deadhead’s Taping Addendum, p.312
100.         One Way Out, p.220
101.          Ernestine Guglielmo’s syndicated “Youth Beat” column, multiple papers, starting 9/25/72
102.         Record World 10/14/72
103.         Record World 11/4/72
104.         Variety, unknown date.
105.          One Way Out, p.219-20
106.         Eric Garber, “The super-spectacular rock show waiting blues,” Houston Chronicle 11/19/72
107.          “Happening on the Green: Ontario speedway sets rock concert,” Pomona Progress-Bulletin 5/8/73
108.         “Refunds given for concert,” Billboard 6/9/73
109.         “Time limits cancel OMS rock concert,” Pomona Progress-Bulletin 5/22/73
110.          Gordon Fletcher, “Grateful Dead, Allman Bros. Take to the Great Outdoors,” Rolling Stone 7/19/73 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/11/june-9-10-1973-rfk-stadium-washington-dc.html
111.            Tom Zito/Megan Rosenfeld, “Days and Nights in the Stadium,” Washington Post 6/11/73
112.           One Way Out, p.223
114.           One Way Out, p.212
115.           One Way Out, p.216
116.           One Way Out, p.213
117.           One Way Out, p.214
118.          One Way Out, p.214
119.           One Way Out, p.216
120.         Bernie Bildman review, Deadbase XI, p.276
121.           Jackson/Gans, This Is All A Dream We Dreamed, p.211
122.          Joel Siegel, “Watkins Glen Jam Tops Woodstock,” Rolling Stone 8/30/73 -  http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/11/july-27-28-1973-watkins-glen-ny.html
123.          Dream, p.210-211
124.          One Way Out, p.219
125.          Cameron Crowe, “The Grateful Dead Flee Big Business,” Circus, Oct. ‘73 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/11/summer-1973-new-label-new-albums.html
126.          Kreutzmann, Deal, p.186
127.          One Way Out, p.220
128.         Dream, p.213
129.          “Hilly Field Was Transformed Into City of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Hartford Courant 7/25/93 -  https://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-1993-07-25-0000005810-story.html
130.         Troy, Captain Trips, p.163
131.           Hartford Courant 7/25/93
132.          One Way Out, p.221
133.          One Way Out, p.221-2 / 133a. Tom Zito, “Aftermath Amid the Mud and Debris”
134.          One Way Out, p.222
135.          One Way Out, p.223
136.          Dream, p.211
137.          Joel Siegel, “Watkins Glen Jam Tops Woodstock,” Rolling Stone 8/30/73
138.         One Way Out, p.222
139.          Lesh p.213-214 – see also Bill Graham Presents, p.357, for Graham’s account.
140.         Deal, p.187
141.           Dream, p.212
142.          One Way Out, p.223
143.          One Way Out, p.223
144.          Deal, p.186
145.          “Rock Fans Jam Festival,” SF Examiner 7/29/73 (page 1 title was “Woodstock Jr. Is Even Bigger”)
146.          Joel Siegel, “Watkins Glen Jam Tops Woodstock,” Rolling Stone 8/30/73
147.          Timothy Carlson, “Woodstock to Watkins Glen,” Harvard Crimson 7/31/73 - http://www.gratefulseconds.com/2017/04/summer-jam.html
148.         Dream, p.213
149.          Tom Zito, “Aftermath Amid the Mud and Debris” -  http://www.gratefulseconds.com/2017/04/summer-jam.html
150.          Joel Siegel, “Watkins Glen Jam Tops Woodstock,” Rolling Stone 8/30/73
151.           McNally, Long Strange Trip, p.458
152.          Deal, p.187
153.          Hartford Courant 7/25/93
154.          Dream, p.213
155.           One Way Out, p.223 / 155a. Tom Zito, “Watkins Glen Festival Draws Record Crowd”
157.           One Way Out, p.223
158.          My Cross to Bear, p.221
159.          Lesh, p.214
160.         http://www.jambase.com/article/butch-trucks-shares-thoughts-grateful-dead-watkins-glen-1973 (quotes from Forbes interview, April 2016)
162.          One Way Out, p.224
163.          Mikal Gilmore, Night Beat, p.154
164.          Cameron Crowe, “Allman Brothers,” San Diego Door 8/9/73 - https://voices.revealdigital.com/cgi-bin/independentvoices?a=d&d=IBDGHJI19730809.1.11 
165.          Cameron Crowe, “The Grateful Dead Flee Big Business,” Circus, Oct. ‘73 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2012/11/summer-1973-new-label-new-albums.html
166.          Cameron Crowe, “Brothers and Sisters Album Ambles On In,” Circular 8/6/73 - http://www.theuncool.com/journalism/the-allman-brothers-circular-magazine/
169.          Kirk West, Deadhead’s Taping Addendum, p.311-312
170.          Joel Selvin, “What Southern Boys Can Do With Rock,” SF Examiner 2/14/71
171.           Philip Elwood, “Driving Blues Into Your Soul,” SF Examiner 10/9/71
172.          Philip Elwood, “Allmans May Be Best Rock in the U.S.,” SF Examiner 9/26/73
173.          My Cross to Bear, p.243
174.          Kenny Wardell interview 6/8/74 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTAHRpJieFk
177.           Jackson, Goin’ Down the Road, p.34
181.          One Way Out, p.254/261
182.         Duane Allman – Good Times Interview from 1971, by Ellen Mandel (reprinted in Guitar World 11/91) - http://www.duaneallman.info/duanearticles.htm -- (Peter Green had jammed with the Allmans at the Warehouse in New Orleans on 11/7/70 - http://www.blackstrat.net/Allman-Audubon/Allman-Audubon.htm )
184.         One Way Out, p.122
186.         https://www.duaneallman.info/bigbrother.htm (Andy Aledort, “Big Brother,” Guitar World, April 2007)
187.          Ralph Gleason, “The Sound of a New Generation,” Datebook 4/9/67 - http://deadsources.blogspot.com/2013/09/1967-garcia-django.html
188.         One Way Out, p.68
190.         http://jasobrecht.com/duane-allman-1981-dickey-betts-interview/ (A good discussion of Betts’ influences and how he played with Duane is in One Way Out, p.68.)
191.           One Way Out, p.122-3
193.          One Way Out, p.122
194.          My Cross to Bear, p.147
195.          One Way Out, p.122
197.          http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=XForum&file=viewthread&tid=51228 (from Classic Rock interview by Jeb Wright, 9/2006) – Note: this is just an excerpt on a Dead/Allmans thread – the original interview was at http://www.classicrockrevisited.com/Interviews06/butchtrucks.htm (dead link) -- One discussion about Butch’s comments is here:
198.         One Way Out, p.219
199.          One Way Out, p.219
200.        One Way Out, p.122
201.         One Way Out, p.123
202.        One Way Out, p.128
203.        One Way Out p.126-127
204.        One Way Out, p.125-126
205.         Skydog, p.120
206.        One Way Out, p.217
207.         One Way Out, p.142
208.        One Way Out, p.141-142
210.         One Way Out, p.213
211.           One Way Out, p.213
212.          One Way Out, p.213
215.          Kenny Wardell interview, 6/8/74: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTAHRpJieFk
216.          Alan Paul, Reckoning: Conversations with the Grateful Dead - https://www.amazon.com/Reckoning-Conversations-Grateful-Kindle-Single-ebook/dp/B010EDXYZK
217.          Alan Paul, Reckoning (This collection also includes an interview with Herring & Haynes on playing with Phil.)
222.         Rich Latvala interview, Deadhead’s Taping Addendum, p.343
223.         http://alanpaul.net/2012/06/an-interview-with-dick-latvala-dicks-picks-and-more/ (Latvala interview is also in Reckoning e-book)

Special thanks to Alan Paul for his work; for much of this account, I found myself following in his footsteps.



Although I didn’t write about the next-generation Allmans & post-Dead bands that have mingled in recent decades, it’s worth including a few words from Oteil Burbridge, who as the bass player in both the Allman Brothers and Dead & Company, has an inside perspective on the differences between the two groups. He’s been asked about it a number of times – here are some of his comments from recent interviews:

“I think they are more alike than they are different. The Dead tends more to the avant-garde side, a little more freewheeling, with a wide breadth of different scopes of music. But they definitely have some similarities. For me, the Allmans are a little more yang, and the Dead a little more yin. I tend to use more stuff from jazz and classical in the Dead than I did in the Allmans. The Allmans had heavier grooves, almost always, and that’s more of a yang approach to things than the Dead.” (224)

“With the Dead’s music, there’s just a wider range, and the Allman Brothers have a pretty frigging wide range of stuff they do. But there’s more long-form pieces in the Dead catalog. Solo sections will go through a lot more chord changes. They’ll go through the full form of the song. The Allman Brothers, there’s not nearly as much of that. But I think the [bass] roles are essentially the same.” (225)

“There’s a real New Orleans approach to a lot of the jams [in the Dead] where everyone is soloing all the time but not fully. Sometimes it’s meant for the whole band to do it and sometimes it’s supposed to be more supportive of the soloist, but there’s always an awareness of rhythmic and harmonic counterpoint and everything is about melody.” (226)

“The Dead will play quietly longer than any band I know that does arenas. My background with jazz, bluegrass and any other acoustic music is what I tap into for that... It's so much louder with the Allman Brothers! It's a much more "yang" band. It was all about a deep, deep groove which, obviously, I love. They would never play something so subdued as "Birdsong" or "Dark Star" for so long. Our slowest song with the Allman Brothers Band was probably "Desdemona" and it was still so loud!” (227)

“In general there is more freedom [in the Dead] because Phil's approach is so completely exploratory. The beginning of the Grateful Dead was jamming at acid tests, where there were no expectations about how to play—or even to play at all. That level of zero expectations allows for a complete universe of choices with no fear at all for what someone else is going to think of it. They were exploring together and that has carried over all these years through all their projects.
A lot more was set in stone [with] a band like the Allman Brothers. And you always had the tension that Gregg just does not like long jams. There is none of that in the Dead.”
“Bill is really more like Jaimoe. He's very limber and funky. There's way more jazz, avant-garde jazz and even modern classical influence in the Dead than in the Allman Brothers. It wouldn't fly too long in the Allman Brothers to go Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler out. I actually think Butch and Jaimoe would be fine with that, but Gregg was pretty much gonna shut that down. There's a much wider scope built into the Dead.” (228)

“One of the major and most obvious differences between the two is that the Grateful Dead will play quiet for a lot longer. Also the Grateful Dead has a lot more diversity in song forms. They tend to be longer in some cases and when you take a solo you have to play through the entire form which is more difficult than playing a simple 2 or 3 chord jam. While the Grateful Dead certainly have plenty of 2 and 3 chord jam solo sections, you get these [ballads] where you are going to be playing through a lot more chord changes… That being said, the ABB came from a really hard-driving, hard-grooving blues and R&B background that was filled with deep voodoo. We also had the country and bluegrass side that tapped into American folk roots. We also got into some really deep grooves and also explored the jazzier side of open-ended jams. That’s where I think the ABB and the Grateful Dead meet is in the longer jam explorations.” (229)

229.         https://www.reddit.com/r/gratefuldead/comments/6nazu4/hi_guys_oteil_here_ready_to_answer_your_questions/ (Oteil’s interviews also include a number of interesting observations on Phil’s bass style, not pertinent to this post but worth reading.)


  1. This is what I should have posted years ago. I'm sorry it took so long to finish!

    1. " It’s possible that Trucks might have interpreted a Dead “space” episode between songs as the music falling apart, rather than a planned musical transition – Dead jams tended to go into another song, rather than ending dramatically Allmans-style."

      He could have been thinking of things like "Beer Barrel Polka," "Funiculi" or whatever, where they in fact would start playing a song they didn't really know and then just kind of tail off after a minute or so...more just goofing around between songs than really playing a song, but it fits the description...

    2. Well, maybe... But in the few Dead shows he saw, how many of those little tuning ditties did they play? Hardly any, I think.
      Personally, I think his criticism that the Dead would fall apart & quit playing in half their songs can't be taken literally; it's more that he was irritated by their lackadaisical attitude onstage. It's also possible that sitting through the 4/7/95 Tampa show wiped out any good memory he ever had of the Dead.

      Also, it's not like Butch had a special animus against the Dead in particular; he also accused other "jam bands" of just being aimless noodlers. In a lot of his comments there's professional pride about the Allman Brothers being better than the rest. And it's worth remembering that he tended not to like other rock bands much in general.

      A couple more quotes from him on his listening preferences, for context:
      "People like the Stones and this garbage. I’m sorry,I never did like the Stones... I like to listen to musicians. I’m not much of a vocal guy. I like instrumental stuff. I grew up on classical music, so Beethoven, Mozart, especially the impressionists Ravel and Debussy. If I’m listening to music, it’s usually going to be classical or early Miles, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock or some of the fusion bands, like Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra."

      “My taste in music is very limited. It includes 'Trane, Miles, the Yardbird, Herbie and many others from the field of Jazz. Mozart, Beethoven, Richard Strauss, Debussy and Ravel and numerous other composers of orchestral music. I simply do not listen to those who would be considered my peers.”

  2. Wow.....just wow! The level of detail you get to in your articles is nothing short of amazing. I read this through and started to dig out some of the shows to listen to again. Thanks once more for such a detailed and interesting analysis.

  3. We have waited almost 10 years for your updated, revised, and considerably expanded post. Worth it, thank you!
    I have waited even longer to hear the "harsh, tinny audience tape" of the Gaelic Park show. Are files available for the two etree listed sources? Somewhere on the Transitive Axis board you link? Or anywhere? Does anyone have the patience to educate a tech challenged Bronx Deadhead?

    1. I would recommend signing up on the Transitive Axis board. Not only do you get a download link for the Gaelic Park show, you get a Dead discussion forum to browse, too.

    2. Oh, and if you have trouble signing up on Transitive Axis, let me know; rather than sending automatic confirmation emails, I think the admins set up accounts manually.

    3. Thanks, yes, I signed up right away and I'm waiting on my account confirmation link.

    4. Can you give me the username & email you submitted there so I can let the admins know? (Email confirmations aren't working there.) You can write me via my blogger profile.

  4. As always, thank you!

  5. A fantastic piece, well worth waiting for!

    The unknown backing vocalist you're hearing on Feb. 11, 1970's 'Lovelight' is likely Peter Green. I recall him doing something roughly similar in the New Orleans 'Lovelight' only a few days previous.

    Jerry and Bob certainly had 'Mountain Jam' on their minds quite few times throughout 1970, and for some reason most frequently in Port Chester-- check out the tuning intro and again in the middle jam for June 24th's NFA, and later in the Nov. run at the Capitol Theater it pops up again distinctly in the NFA->GDTRFB medleys.

    1. Yes, Mountain Jam was teased in various NFAs in 1970...it seemed to fit easily into the NFA jam. (Frequently Garcia's playing in a similar mode and sounds just about to break into a Mountain Jam.) Of course the Dead would have known the Allmans were also playing it; but at that point, most of their audience wouldn't.

      One listener reports a much later Mountain Jam tease from Garcia - in the 12/12/80 China>Rider, last minute of the transition jam:

  6. Love it, at a quick glance. Will dissect it further in the next few days. Quick comment, I was in correspondence with Bear some years ago, and he categorically denied ever dosing anybody......

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy1p2w54sic Butch Trucks bags Mickey...

    1. Thanks for the link! That's from Jake Feinberg's interview with Butch. They both agree that Mickey can't play, but it's interesting that Butch says Bill & Mickey were careful to work around each other, while he & Jaimoe just played whatever they wanted to.

  8. This isn't Dead-related, but I couldn't resist including it here: a newspaper review of the Hour Glass when they opened for Jefferson Airplane at the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara, October 7, 1967.
    El Gaucho (the student newspaper at UCSB) ran a lengthy review of the Airplane's show, including the openers, the Hour Glass and Spirit.
    "The first set was played by the Hourglass, a very tight Southern California group. The Hourglass is in some ways a curious group; their vocal arrangements have a very rhythm-and-bluesy type of sound (their lead singer sounds quite a bit like Jerry Butler) while their instrumental technique is straight San Francisco. They are quite versatile - at first it was my impression that their vocals were stronger than their instrumentals, but a fantastic version of '[Mister] You're a Better Man Than I' convinced me that they are also capable of music in experimental modes similar to those of the Yardbirds."
    (Jim Bettinger, "Airplane Flies High," El Gaucho 10/10/67, p.5)

  9. There was one final Dead - Allman Brothers show, albeit in 2008, when the two bands played a concert in support of Obama at Penn State. Warren Haynes was in both bands and played the whole show. Allmans opened and the Dead played one long set with a double encore. Besides Haynes, no Allman Bros joined with the Dead

    1. Ah, the 10/13/08 show. I didn't carry the story into recent years, but this show might have made a fitting final chapter. However, I couldn't find any account of any interaction between the two bands at this event!
      Here's an interesting article on the show:

  10. By the way, Google has announced that they're shutting down Google+, which is pertinent to these blogs because this spring, all comments from Google+ users are going to be deleted. This was quite a few commenters over the years, so there will be some gaping holes in the comment threads here, and no telling how much information will be lost.
    It's also a reminder that Blogger itself won't last forever...someday all these pages will be whisked away like dead leaves, and all this work will vanish. These blogs are like sand mandalas, really, an ephemeral art... So save pages while you can.

    1. LIA - this site is such a great resource, I often visit it to check something. If it's OK with you, I'm going to go through everything and do 'save as a single page' for each entry (with the comments open). I THINK that would preserve everything and the links still seem to work. Hopefully, that would keep everything and I'd happily make any/all available to everyone in the event that gaps start appearing in the 'live site'.

    2. Oh yeah, anyone can save anything they like here. I notice you're using a Google+ profile, so I suppose all your comments will vanish!

    3. i'll going back to wayback machine and see if i can capture all my comments too

    4. Good grief, you too?
      I may be misunderstanding how this process will work, but I wonder what will happen to your blog, if you were posting with a Google+ account.

    5. I may be being ignorant here and missing something, but wouldn't 'Save Page Now' in the archive.org wayback machine for each post do the job? I'm still not happy the way loads of comments got anonymysed a year or two back so don't want to see any further loss of info.

    6. Oh yes, that works; I think that's the method the others were referring to.

      At any rate, after more research, I think I was mistaken and over-alarmed about comments here disappearing...Google's initial announcement was rather unclear. It's only the G+ comments, like on the Grateful Seconds site, that have all vanished (his site is now comment-free, I believe). All comments here are regular blogger comments and should be safe. My current understanding is that the comments will remain, but the users with G+ accounts will appear as "unknown" and will have to create new profiles.

  11. LIA, This isn't a chapter. You have written a book. Thank you

  12. During the Atlanta soundcheck in 1995 (sometimes dated 3/26, sometimes 3/28), the Dead are rehearsing Schoolgirl and it reminds Jerry of One Way Out: "Could do that one too," he says, and starts singing the verse - "There's a man down there, could be your man, I don't know!" (It sounds like he's remembering the way Gregg Allman sang it, rather than a Sonny Boy Williamson version - Sonny Boy sang, "I see a man downstairs," which Gregg changed to "Cause there's a man down there.")
    But after the Schoolgirl rehearsal, Jerry admits, "I don't remember any of the verses to that."
    "'There's a man down there?'" Bobby asks.
    "Yeah, I don't remember the verses."
    "I don't either, but we could get that easy enough, we could do a medley of them."
    "Those kind of tunes, yeah - whatever they are, long-meter with the weird bars inserted..."
    Phil interjects, "Yeah, if we could string them together right in that same groove, that would be pretty strange - after he goes home with the schoolgirl, he discovers he's got a man down there!"
    But instead of pursuing that idea, Jerry goes on a little blues-oldie streak of Neighbor Neighbor, Hi-Heeled Sneakers, and Big Boy Pete...none of which would be played in a show.

  13. Great article. Have you thought of writing a post on the Dead and The Band?

    1. Not really. I don't have much to say about the Band & the Dead, so it would be a short post; maybe someone else would do a better job writing on that topic.

  14. With both the Dead and the Allmans being Coltrane lovers, it may not be surprising that the Allmans' home rehearsal of My Favorite Things (from the Gatlinburg tapes) sounds just like the Dead's Clementine:

  15. In another example of band cross-pollination, Bruce Hornsby guested with the Allman Brothers in Crested Butte, Colorado on 2/23/91, playing a couple of songs with them. (He didn't play with the Dead that month.) The show was filmed for a VH1 special:
    https://youtu.be/6jI-rUtXxaM?t=1810 - Southbound
    https://youtu.be/6jI-rUtXxaM?t=4470 - One Way Out
    Hornsby would later play with the Allmans (and a host of other guests) at the Beacon on 3/21/09.
    A week later in the same Beacon run, 3/28/09, Weir & Lesh would sit in with the Allmans for Sugaree, I Know You Rider, and Franklin's Tower. Some videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6zC9vC7BzM (Sugaree - AUD, cut)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ih72mb8UxFM (Rider, SBD)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnsCrhtctLQ (Franklin's - AUD, cut)
    Weir & Lesh sat in (separately) at plenty of other latter-day Allmans shows as well, but I haven't made a list.

  16. Watch "Duane Allman - Song of the South" on Amazon prime right now, at 26:50. Paul Hornsby says the Hour Glass opened for the Grateful Dead right after they opened for the Doors in May/June 1967. That confirms that Duane Allman heard the Dead back then.

    1. ...but what show?

    2. Unclear. The Dead's shows in 1967 aren't fully documented. A few years back, this June 16, 1967 show at The Hullabaloo in LA was uncovered: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/11/june-16-1967-hullabaloo-los-angeles-ca.html. The blog post talks about how the Dead played a lot of underground shows that year that weren't documented, at least as far as we can find now. But the Hullabaloo is also where the Hour Glass first opened for The Doors (or possibly played a late night set after, I'm not sure) on either May 30 or June 8, 1967. So it's possible that the Hour Glass played on one of the Hullabaloo stages when the Dead played a week or two later on June 16, or maybe there was another unknown show by the Dead in LA around the same time. Either way, it jibes with the recollection of Paul Hornsby that they opened for the Dead in LA around June 1967.

      Another interesting point. In the Amazon prime documentary I mentioned, Paul Hornsby said that the Dead was booed by the crowd the night that the Hour Glass was there. The blog post I linked says, in the text and comments, that the Hullabaloo in June 1967 would have had a teen pop audience that was not the Dead's fanbase, that Phil's bass was stolen at some point during the night of the June 16 show, and that the show was sort of wedged in between a private show in San Fran and the Monterrey Pop festival, which they had to rush off to afterwards. So that also jibes with the notion that this was the same night, where the Dead didn't have a great show or great reception from the crowd.

    3. Good sleuthing! Barring an unknown Dead show in LA sometime in late June '67 (which is possible), the Hullabaloo show on June 16 is the best candidate.

      The sources for the Hour Glass opening for the Doors are listed here:
      It's noted that the Doors' appearance was "last-minute, unadvertised" (which is why the date is uncertain), and one Hour Glass member recalls, "We played the Hullabaloo Club on Sunset in West Hollywood a few times; in fact, the first gig we played was at the Hullabaloo shortly after we arrived in California. The club had a regular show that ended about midnight, but several nights a week there'd be an after-hours show. Bill [McEuen] had gotten us on the after-hours gig... The night we played, the Doors were also on the after-hours show and went on after our band..."

      This would explain why the Hour Glass aren't mentioned in the radio ad for the Dead's show (only the Hullabaloo "house bands" the Yellow Payges and Power are named). There was a regular 1-4 am after-hours set where bands could play unannounced and unadvertised.
      So my guess is that Hornsby was slightly misremembering, and the brand-new & unknown Hour Glass played the after-hours set following the Dead's show rather than opening for them.

  17. I read the original entry several years ago and this update when it was first posted in January and again yesterday. Amazed and very pleasantly exhausted when I was done each time.

    I guess the following could go under "near misses". On the last full weekend of July 1992, both the ABB and the JGB were doing shows in the Bay Area and Sacramento. On 7/24/92 (Fri), the JGB played Cal Expo and the ABB played Shoreline (I have no memory of going to either of these and my ticket stubs are elsewhere). On 7/25/92 (Sat) the ABB played Cal Expo, which a friend and I were definitely at (no JGB show that day). On 7/26/92 (Sun), the JGB played Shoreline and the ABB played Concord Pavilion. I was at the JGB show with another friend, and after it was over we decided to drive up to Concord (Shoreline was a relatively early start - mid to late afternoon iirc). We were able to score good tickets at Concord and pretty sure we arrived before the show started. No guest Jerry, but we were pretty happy with our little attempt at a creation of this pseudo double bill. This weekend seemed to have potential for a hookup - perhaps close, but definitely no cigar. I seem to recall that at some point around this era, TPTB in both the Dead and Allman's camp didn't think it was a great idea for Jerry and Gregg to be hanging out, but who knows (this was just a week before Jerry's second meltdown).

    Massive thanks from Santa Cruz for your efforts!

  18. The Mountain Jam from Watkins Glen has been released on the Allmans' new Trouble No More box set:

    It's been remixed from the multitracks and is a much better-sounding mix than the circulating SBD copy.
    However, the 22-minute performance was also edited down to 12 minutes, including most of the second (and better) half of the jam. A baffling and unfortunate decision.

  19. The Allmans' Mountain Jam from 3/13/70 was released on their new "Fillmore West '71" set. During it, they play Hey Bo Diddley for a stretch; I would guess they played this at other times too.
    So it probably wasn't a coincidence that when some of the Allmans sat in during the Dead's 7/16/72 show, Hey Bo Diddley popped up again. Then it reappeared in the 12/31/73 Allmans show with Garcia. I'd guess Garcia knew the Allmans played this song, which the Dead also did a few other times in '72 - other than You Don't Love Me, it was just about the only song that both bands played.

  20. Bruce Hornsby was playing with The Grateful Dead when he invited Warren Haynes and his wife Stefani Scamardo to a New York City show, which was a huge thrill for Haynes’ wife who is a big Deadhead and a satellite radio Sirius XM on-air personality for its Jam On station.

    Warren Haynes: "I actually had the opportunity to meet Jerry a couple times, but I was too shy and polite. I thought I’d meet him next time, but of course there wasn’t a next time.

    I met Bob Weir that night, and was going to try to meet Jerry Garcia, but it just didn’t seem like the right timing, and I thought I would meet him the next time."
    source: THE TELEGRAPH, “From one legend to another”
    By Jill Moon, Published 12:00 am CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014, ST. LOUIS

  21. Fantastic essay...practically a doctoral thesis in its breadth and depth. I will have to read it through another couple times to digest it! Butch Trucks could be a bit uncharitable in his opinions on just about anything so I don't know if he's speaking truly from the heart in his criticisms of The Dead. Likewise, Gregg was likely still bitter over the 'narc' comment. Beyond that, both bands were phenomenal, both groundbreaking, and their names are both etched in the firmament. I like to believe that both bands had places where their styles harmonized. Tough (impossible) for me to choose one over the other. Grateful for the brotherhood (and sisterhood) that they boyh cultivated. Thanks again for a fine essay with such exhaustive research. rjj

  22. Here is a passage from Eugene O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey Into Night' that for me resonates with the trancendent qualities of the music if The Dead and ABB:
    'I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it and for a moment I lost myself—actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred night! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, or Life itself!'
    '...Like a saints vision of beatitude.'
    In their finest moments, both bands reach these types of spiritual places and bring open-hearted listeners along. -rjj

    1. And they did it in very different ways.
      Butch & Gregg were cranky in their remarks on the Dead, for various reasons, but you can't really blame them for not liking the band. The end of the post has a number of comments from other people who played with both bands (or the post-Dead bands) with more insight into the similarities and differences.