Archive for the ‘June 1977’ Tag

Grateful Dead – Winterland: June 7-8-9, 1977   Leave a comment

Um, well now. The three-night run at Winterland in June ’77 as a ten-disc set does a perfect job illustrating that releasing the Hartford show was pretty much a wank. Some jabber about the individual shows:

June 7

A very solid night, the First Set has a couple of my least favorite tracks (Funiculi Funicula, El Paso), along with an interesting (for me) high point: El Paso on this night is so good, I actually wouldn’t mind hearing it again. The Second Set open, Scarlet Begonias, has an odd sort of tug-of-war/not quite sorted out transition into Fire On The Mountain, leading into another non-favorite, Good Lovin’. At least it’s not annoying enough to have me hitting the Track Forward button.

Of the 70+ times Estimated Prophet and He’s Gone wind up in the same show, they’re almost always sequenced like they are tonight (and like tonight, usually followed by Drums). On this night, the keyboard space doesn’t really change during the transition from Estimated Prophet, making for He’s Gone with a way different head.

Coming out of Drums, Samson And Delilah has the band sounding a little tired. There is not much stretching out on the end of Terrapin Station, going straight into Morning Dew (fourth and final time ever for a Terrapin > Dew), and it’s like a second wind. Garcia’s solo builds, and with a crash, the show is back to firing on all cylinders.

June 8

The Boys take it up a couple of notches. The only Song Mike Doesn’t Like entry (Lazy Lightning > Supplication) is in the first set. It is indeed a great version, where finally, I get it. Now I’m going to be that much more of a bastard about other performances. Donna’s performance of Sunrise is nice, and fits well in the set. The only mark on an otherwise flawless first set is a somewhat rushed Mexicali Blues.

The rest of the show is pretty damn perfect. I could always do without a Good Lovin’ (this time, paired with the Second Set opener, Bertha). Like Mexicali, this performance is easy enough to ignore. The bulk of the Second Set is a monster: Estimated Prophet > Eyes Of The World > Drums > The Other One > Wharf Rat > Not Fade Away > Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad > Johnny B. Goode. As Estimated Prophet morphs into Eyes Of The World, it sounds more like a cross-fade than the band working its magic. A minor quibble, given the great performances.

The good times of Eyes gives way to a raging Drums, dropping into The Other One brilliantly. Shimmering chaos becomes Wharf Rat. Not quite the ultra-slow, dirge-like take usually presented, there’s way less pity and a lot more empathy in Jerry’s delivery. Definitely a Wharf Rat performance of note.

The move into Not Fade Away is a train wreck. However, The band locks in so tight, so fast, it takes only a minute of the Iko-style delivery to know this is going to be a raging take. A wiff or two of I Know You Rider in the jam, a smooth shift in gears, and you are Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad. The Boys do not let up on the closing Johnny B. Goode.

Instead of the typical Uncle John’s Band encore, we are treated to one of only a handful of appearances in ’77 for Brokedown Palace. Not only is it the best of the ’77 bunch, it could place pretty high on a best ever list.

June 9

Um…wow. What an absolutely great show from start to finish. While there are a number of highlights in this show, the standout has to be the Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower early in the second set.

I’m not going on at length about this show, because there just isn’t any need. Simply, this is one of the best shows of the year, and definitely places high on a Best Ever list.

Bonus Disc (May 12)

The bonus disc is another dip into May ’77 (Chicago, on the 12th), with this snip being way more enjoyable than the Hartford show.

The disc starts off with the end of the First Set, a great Mississippi Half-Step, the only problem being at the beginning of the track, a technical problem with Jerry’s vocals. Half-Step moves into a pretty jammin’ Dancing In The Street.

The rest of the disc is made up of the second half of the second set. Terrapin Station ends on a dime, with The Boys dropping straight into a Playing In The Band sandwich (Drums > Not Fade Away > Comes A Time).

Comes A Time is an under performed, excellent song. First showing up in October 1971, it only comes up in rotation 66 times (for the last time in October 1994). Oddly, half of the performances are found during three years: 1971-72, and 1985. So, when NFA slows into Comes A Time, we get a great read of the fourth of only five performances for 1977.

(and so…)

In the booklet, David Lemieux talks about the high quality of these performance, “the first night is a Top 15, the second is a Top 10, and the third is a Top Three.” Parts of that are a bit optimistic. The first two nights are probably Top 15, with the third night being Top 10. There are just too many contenders (many unreleased) for the best of ’77. It was just one of those years…


Posted 2009/12/03 by MG Nagy in Uncategorized

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