Here Comes Sunshine: Grateful Dead's New 17-Disc Set Unearths 5 Transformative Concerts From Spring '73

Article Contributed by Shore Fire Media | Published on Wednesday, May 3, 2023

In the spring of 1973, the Grateful Dead was universally praised for delivering a consistently spectacular series of performances. The band was dialed in for the season’s final five shows, including back-to-back nights at RFK Stadium, co-headlining with the Allman Brothers Band. Without a doubt, the June 10 finale belongs on the shortlist of must-hear Dead concerts. Clocking in at nearly five hours, the show is one for the ages: an epic musical journey, peaking with a third-set encore that includes Dickey Betts and Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers sitting in with the Dead.

HERE COMES SUNSHINE 1973 is a limited-edition, 17-CD boxed set with five previously unreleased, highly sought-after shows, including: Iowa State Fairgrounds, Des Moines, IA (5/13/73), Campus Stadium, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA (5/20/73), Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA (5/26/73), and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C. (6/9/73) and (6/10/73). The collection is available now for pre-order and will be released on June 30. The set is limited to 10,000 individually numbered copies and is available exclusively from for $189.98. The complete audio will also be available as a digital download exclusively at in Apple Lossless ($99.98) and FLAC 192/24 ($124.98).

This unique box was painstakingly designed by GRAMMY® Award-winning Art Director Masaki Koike and is bursting with vibrant graphics and unexpected treasures. With liner notes provided by Canadian author Ray Robertson, The Owsley Stanley Foundation, and Grateful Dead’s Archivist and legacy manager, David Lemieux. The set features five complete, previously unreleased performances housed in individual, custom-designed folios, each including additional, show-specific notes by Robertson. Additionally, the box contains a custom-dyed Tenugui and an Exclusive Poster featuring an illustration by Mary Ann Mayer. The audio boasts Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction, with mastering by Jeffrey Norman, and was produced for release by David Lemieux.

RFK STADIUM, WASHINGTON, D.C. (6/10/73) will be released separately as a 4-CD set ($39.98) as well as digitally on June 30 and as a limited-edition 8-LP set ($174.98) on July 28 at all regular retail outlets. This show, and the previous night, were originally recorded in exquisite clarity by the Dead’s famed sound visionary, Owsley “Bear” Stanley. Few shows deliver the goods like this. It’s one of the Dead’s most unique, powerful, and inspired performances, from its statement opener, “Morning Dew,” through lengthy workouts on “Bird Song,” “Here Comes Sunshine,” and an otherworldly “Dark Star.”

A previously unreleased performance of “Ramble On Rose” from the RFK 6/10/73 show is available today on all digital download and streaming services. Listen now.

HERE COMES SUNSHINE 1973 covers one of Lemieux’s favorite eras: “In my early tape-trading days, 1985–1987, I only had a few 1973 shows, but my goodness, did I ever love them. There was a fresh, nimble feel that was entirely different from the 1972 Dead sound taking all of the great elements of the Year of Europe and building upon that excellence. The few shows I distinctly remember having in my collection were 2/9/73, 5/26/73, and 6/10/73. Even with hundreds of tapes at my fingertips, I returned to these 1973 shows frequently. That old saying, ‘I listened to that show so often, I wore the tape out?’ It was created because of shows like this.”

Despite the joyous playing, the band was mourning the loss of its co-founder, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who passed away on March 8. 1973. He’d been too sick to perform with the band for several months, playing his final show in June 1972. After Pigpen’s death, the band’s lineup solidified for the next two years with Jerry Garcia, Bobby Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux.

In the liner notes, Ray Robertson writes: “…maybe what makes this year (and ’74 as well) so endlessly compelling most of all is the jazzy direction the band had taken over the last year or so…This was a group of musicians that listened to each other’s playing. The sum is greater than the already pretty great parts because the parts were paying attention to—and frequently being inspired by—the other parts. That’s jazz. And 1973 is the Dead at their jazzy best.”

During the spring, the band road-tested most of the songs they would record that summer for Wake of the Flood – their first studio album in three years – including early live versions of “Mississippi Half-Step Toodeloo,” “Row Jimmy,” “Stella Blue,” “Eyes Of The World,” and, the set’s namesake, “Here Comes Sunshine.” Also tucked into the collection are songs destined for the Dead’s 1974 studio album, From the Mars Hotel – “China Doll,” “Loose Lucy,” and “Wave That Flag,” a precursor to “U.S. Blues.”

The new repertoire slipped neatly into the fluid setlists alongside songs honed on the 1972 European tour (“Jack Straw,” “Tennessee Jed,” “Brown-Eyed Women”), Chuck Berry perennials (“Promised Land,” “Around And Around”), classic country (“Big River,” “The Race Is On”), and incredible jam sequences: “He’s Gone”> “Truckin’”> “The Other One”> “Eyes Of The World.”

In addition to the music, is also introducing a limited-edition merchandise collection in connection with the boxed set.

Season Seven of the band’s official podcast, the GOOD OL' GRATEFUL DEADCAST, debuts today. This season will explore 1973 Dead as they embark on new business adventures and takes an extended look at each of the shows from HERE COMES SUNSHINE 1973. Deadcast is currently collecting stories from concertgoers at