If you were there, surely this date is stamped in you brain as a life-altering event? It forever changed my life, as I am sure it changed the other 599,999 others who gathered for the largest one-day concert crowd ever recorded. On that hot and muggy day we gathered 600,000 strong for our generation’s “Woodstock.” I was way too young in 1969 to make it to Woodstock’s 3 day show, and after hearing all summer long what was planned for July 28th, 1973, I marked that day on my to-do list, made a sign that simply said Watkins Glen, and being more than 250 miles away, yet 5 miles from my house, I through my thumb out and less than 15 minutes later was in a VW mini bus with another guy who was driving, and two very attractive females, headed to what was promise3d to be the concert of a lifetime. I was not disappointed, even after hiking 4 miles uphill to the concert area. Tales of a warm-up sound check had the crowd buzzing, as did the plethora of psychedelics that were dealt in plain view on the last road leading into the concert grounds. At midnight, at least 50 people on each side of the road hollered, mesc, acid, reds, etc., etc., etc and after scoring a few hits of blotter and a hit of what was described as blue mescaline, this freshly graduated 18 year old waded into the concert area checking out where I thought would be a great viewing area for the next day’s show. Tripped all night and into the morning, The Dead took the stage for their 4.5 hour show promptly at noon. A break, then The Band, and finally what I had made the trip for, my first ever Allman Brothers Band concert. Dickey was in great form, and for some reason I remember him wearing a light blue long sleeved shirt. THE LARGEST ONE DAY CONCERT CROWD EVER, WITH 600,000 enjoying The Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers Band. If you were there, please share? It was a life changing event in my life, so much so that I have the concert poster, aptly named The Summer Jam, tattooed on my back. 39 years ago my friends! I remember most of it like it was yesterday, and will never ever forget that hot day in July of 1973 when all was wonderful in our world!!!
IF YOU WERE THERE, PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORY??
This show is perfect for the next volume of “ALLMAN BROTHERS BRAND” which is the ABB’s version of Dicks Picks. I am sure the entire show is available as a soundboard. I have it as an audience and this show is amazing. What are they waiting for? Release Watkins Glen soundboard in its entirety!!
The event it self transcended the music while the musical lineup was at the time a dream line up(btw the band was an addition in place of Leon Russell). My friends and I came over from Ithaca 29 mi(some of them had come up from Binghamton to join us) arriving on Thursday night @ the Glen in the rain, we were just glad to finally pitch our tents and settle in. We woke up not knowing exactly where the show was to be, a state many found themselves in. We then proceeded to the actually concert field that was off the race track by a few hundred yards. Strange scene that Friday, by noon on Friday maybe 100,000 people were starting to mark their concert spots. The field itself had pyramids of boxes of bottle water four one gallon jugs to a box for anyone to take while the 500 or maybe more portable Toilets, which looked adequate at that time.
Friday was the day the ice was to be used up if you had it and much alcohol flowed freely . As I went to the bummer tent(that’s what they called it) to visit some friends from the medical school at cornel who had volunteered to be there, the band opened up to my surprise with” baby don’t do it” and the crowd roared and became alive. A very unexpected surprise at the time. After my visit at to the tent(btw I was nursing a sports injury and was trying to be careful not to do much partying early on) so details and memories of this part of the day are better than Saturdays. The band stopped and with no notice or announcements, the crowd roared again as Garcia walked from one side of the stage to meet Gregg Allman in the middle to embrace each other. I knew something was up then. I meandered closer to the stage something that would only possible on Friday and then it took some effort. As I got close maybe 50 yards The brothers Broke out with One Way Out!!!! then Liz reed. and then a new song Ramblin Man, Man ,Only three songs but it was an exciting half hour or so.
I returned to our now little fort of boxes of water surrounding where our group of 14 people would hold up for the next 30 hrs) The dead came on for their sound check later and played an extended set of maybe a hr or so.
Now we were ready for the real show and excitement was running high.We stayed put in our fort of water boxes.
Saturday was hot, Africa hot.. the crowd was now enormous and I could see steams of people still coming from afar. Helicopters were flying in out and planes were circling the area but were not allowed by the state police to fly over the crowd.. To give an idea of how many people were there, it would now take 20 minutes to walk 75 yds to those now inundated toilets. This is where I start to get a little foggy because I was drinking water that had lsd in it and before I was told, I may have drank a lot(scary because I wasn’t sure how high I was going to get) This is where friends play a big part and I budded up with one and My best friends younger sister. We watched out for each other after making a pact. I walked with her to the portable toilets just to help with her bearings. As I became somewhat of a space man as the legs and arms were a huge sea. I was experienced tripper but this was tough because of the faces kept coming out of no where. Thank god for the greatfull dead — I mean it, They have been accused of playing it safe at the Glen and I had seen them before and new 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…
The heat and sun were stifling and this fair skinned Irish kid got fried. The Band came onto threatened skies of a thunder storms while in the middle of their set a parachutist and his group broke through the sky barricade and dove over the crowd. One died attempting to Join up with the others for some kind of flare show. His flare blew up on his belt, killing him as he sailed into the trees past the stage. But most people did not realize the seriousness of his situation until much later.
The band Played a short set due to the rains that came down during their fourth song( I was staring to sober up this point) Now fried and really wet.
The brothers came on with Graham shouting number one number one- meaning the largest rock concert ever and if you have that on tape you have the Glen show. The brothers played a short first set(that’s how I remember it) 5 songs they were pressed for time. But dickey did his usual humor for the openinng of Blue sky(saying are you wet enough?)
Around Midnight and after being in the same spot since friday afternoon I surendered. Our group agreed to move back to our campsite we had not been to since friday Morning. I heard the brothers second set as we moved away(I stopped for Ramblin Man and later could hear some of the jam(johnny b Good) from afar, but it was time to rest..
A great event that was peaceful(something that I’m proud to have been a part of) We took on some stragglers and gave food and some friendly comfort. I don”t think I could have handled saturday afternoon if the vibes were bad.
Hey Stephen, Yeah, this was my first ABB show in a way! Although my older brothers used to drag me down to the park in Atlanta, for some free shows w/Duane I was only about 11 or 12 then! When I was 16 we headed up to Watkins Glen for this show, and what an experience, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you! I kinda been lookin for someone to rap with about it, for let’s say 30 years now!! LOL. Anyway, what a blast, huh? *****, where do I begin, I probably could talk for 2 weeks about this event, but I’m not going to spemd a whole lot of time, until I find out if your interested! Damn, I’d love to get a hold of a copy of this show? I’m kind of new at the trading game, and I just got my first computer about 2 months ago! I’m learning fast though and now know how to burn CD’s, so I have about 15 shows in my Library. Mainly Grateful Dead, and Phil & Friends, cause I hang out over at the Philzone a lot! Well, I will certainly e-mail you a list of what I have, if your willing to trade! I got to Watkins Glen on a Wedsnday, and I guarentee you I was the very last person to leave that show!! That’s a long story in itself, but me and my cousin’s friend were stranded in his broken down station wagon right there in the town for a day and a half!! Yep, right there across the street from some factory that was on strike, and we had to wait for this guy’s parent’s to send a tow-truck from North Jersey to tow us back!! What a trip!(literally)!! Like I said, I was only 16 and foolish, but this character I was with had a sucrets tin box that was full of blotter LSD, and he kept feeding me, a 1/4 hit, then a 1/2 hit, then another 1/4 hit, and so on, and so on. (You get the picture, right?) I was young and didn’t know better, but needless to say, by the time the tow-truck got there, I was pretty sky-high!! Then 7-8 hrs, of being towed back to Jersey, tilted up in the air with this light spinning around; over, and over, and over! ( You get the picture ,right?) Like I said;”what a trip!”….. Well, that was one story of my Watkins Glen experience! Hope to hear from you, and I’ll try to check back here in a day or two at the most, O.K.? Talk at ya later……..Stryker
Was there. The Dead’s soundcheck the night before was fabulous and their set the next day was decent (I have this Master Reel>DAT>My DAT and any copy of this show probably came through me). ABB show also a lot of fun and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
If anyone has this show (I have the Bros Jam w/Dead) on CDR or DAT I would like to track it down. Thanks.
The Allmans’ Watkins Glen Set is vastly underrated. I believe Butch Trucks mentioned somewhere that he didn’t think this was one of their better gigs. However, the opinion
of a band member of his own performance can be far from objective
Wow — 28 years to the day later, this remains my favorite all-time concert experience. Everyone, from the concert goers to the locals to the police, was so friendly — I remember there were jugs of spring water that they were giving away,
This was the first Brothers show I ever went to and what an experience it was. Never saw so many people in my life (well in fact there never WERE so many people in one place ever before). The soundcheck was pure magic, particularly the Dead