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Dead of the Day: June 14, 1976

Beacon Theater
New York, New York

Deep into summer tour, there are a wealth of shows on this date, but our Dead of the Day comes from the Beacon Theater in 1976. The show opens with the boxy, almost accordion-sounding first chords of Cold Rain and Snow as the boys charge forth. After a Mama Tried, the band comes back with some fabulous playing on Row Jimmy. But what really makes the song are the vocals, Jerry’s soulful lead and Donna’s perfect accompaniment. The strong singing continues on Cassidy, made all the better by Phil’s subtle bass line, which melds together with Jerry’s streaking guitar and Keith’s fills. The rest of the set is very good, though the Playin’ in the Band closer is incredible and surely the standout - along with that Row Jimmy - of the first set. The boys nearly get lost in space on a couple occasions on the Playin’, heading out on an adventurous mission with Jerry at the fore, but each time they make their way back with the help of some outstanding drumming. The Wheel gets the second half going, which is still awesome even with - an apostasy to some - perhaps a little too much Donna. A powerful Samson follows with an outstanding Crazy Fingers coming a few tunes later. As the Crazy Fingers noodles along in high fashion it suddenly drops off into a short drums out of which a weird, but all good, electronica-esque Dancing in the Streets emerges. After that tune is over, Cosmic Charlie comes out to play, the second of six they would play during its 1976 breakout before being put to rest for good. Then the surprise – and the highlight – of the night arrives in a monstrous Help> Slip> Franklin’s. The Help on the Way is silky and smooth, except for Phil’s nasty bombs. And the Slipknot! is complex and layered with a few interesting, productive explorations over its fourteen minutes, again with Phil playing a leading role. Then the Franklin’s Tower rolls out in its exuberant fashion with Jerry a little subdued until he unleashes a few pregnant licks separated by equally robust pauses and then, finally, comes in with vocals and piercing guitar in full form. An Around and Around sees out the set with a ripping U.S. Blues capping the night. 

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