Thursday, January 22, 2009

Watkins Glen - Summer Jam July '73

Various Artists
Watkins Glen - Summer Jam July '73

A pressing commissioned by some young entrepreneurs (they put pics of themselves as well as the bands on the back cover) who attended and recorded The Grateful Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers at this festival.

The Allmans do "Blue Sky" and "Jessica", The Band do "Raining In My Heart", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and an untitled instrumental, and The Grateful Dead do "Not Fade Away".

Excerpt from "AQUARIUS RISING" by Robert Santelli :
  • It was not a history-making event, in a strict musical sense. Unlike Woodstock, where the lineup consisted of close to thirty acts, Watkins Glen's billing was comprised of only three supergroups. The Allman Brothers, the Band, and the Grateful Dead were established acts (the latter two were Woodstock veterans); all had been on the touring circuit and in the recording studios for at least three years. The groups' fans, perhaps the most dedicated around in 1973, had most likely seen them perform live at least once or twice prior to Watkins Glen. They had come to expect certain things from the mu­sicians. In short, there was no overly excited rush to the stage generated by their mere presence at Watkins Glen.
  • Each of the three groups at Watkins Glen played unusually long sets. The Grateful Dead performed for five hours, the Allman Brothers for four, and the Band for three, including a thirty-minute break due to a thunderstorm. Woodstock had had a continuous change of musical formats and styles. Each time a new act stepped out in front of the massie [massive?] crowd, a revitalization occurred, creating a renewal of faith in the event and in the power of the music. Energy was forced to flow.
  • At Watkins Glen a feeling of monotony and tedium constantly challenged the viewers' interest in the music and the proceed­ings onstage. Long, winding solos were frequent. The heat, the lack of comfort, and the crowded conditions dulled otherwise stirring moments. Many of the 600,000 could barely see the stage, let alone the musicians. And most important, festivalgoers had only one day to soak up the rock-festival aura. Many in attendance were often too busy doing and seeing other things to bother to listen seriously to the music for extended periods of time.
  • Woodstock also had had two sets of lps and a movie to carry on its significance. No such enduring properties came out of Watkins Glen. Although the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band had their own sound people record their sets, the Dead would not give their consent to a Watkins Glen album. Their participation was crucial, since they represented over one third of the music and time performed onstage. CBS shot some footage of the event, but the Dead refused to allow it or any other film to be released commercially. Their unyielding posi­tion on the matter stemmed all the way back to Monterey, when the band had refused to participate in D. A. Pennebaker's film of the event, Monterey Pop. The Dead had always demanded full editorial control of their music and live performances. Whenever they were denied such power, they simply declined to be part of the project.

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