Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #60501  by DooDahDan
 Thu May 07, 2009 8:26 am
So it's May again, a time when I load the iPod with nothing but May '77. What a joyous month. There are so many great shows (and not a clunker in the bunch) that I always have a hard time picking what I would consider the best. So, share with us your views/picks. :D

I have included Latvala's views on 1977 for your information:


1) 2/26 &2/27- The first 2 shows of the year, and together would make
a much better and way more fulfilling listening experience than Ithaca.

2)3/18->20/77- Winterland (although none stands alone completely, together
a 3-4 cd release seems an obvious choice.)

3) I have to pass on the Palladium,NYC shows, since I have never heard
them. They need to be baked and dbx decoded and we haven't got to a
whole slew of tapes in similar condition.

4) Both the night before and the night after (5/7 & 5/9) would
be more pleasing as releases.

5) I haven't heard the Chicago shows, but I have heard from friends that
something happened at one of them anyway.

6) The shows on 5/15, 5/17, 5/18 and 5/21 are each deserving notation,
and although they don't match up with 5/22, they are each more
satisfying than 5/8.

7) From what I hear from others (and what I saw myself, i.e., 5/28), the
final 3 shows from this amazing month of performances are each worthy of
many listenings.

8) Unfortunately, the 6/4 show in Los Angeles is missing from the vault
and from anyone's tape collection, as far as I know. Otherwise I would
toss this one in the pile of special shows.

9) The run of 3 at Winterland on 6/7->9, has some exceptional playing,
but not within a songle night, so this should probably be a compilation
of the 3 shows, with most of the emphasis on the first 2 nights.

10) Englishtown (9/3) needs no mention!

11) October is another of those months where there seems to be a
disproportionate number of excellent performances. The downside is that
the quality of the recordings leaves something to be desired. In the
first tour during this month, the standouts are 10/11, 10/12, 10/14 and
10/16. I think all three at the end of the month are qualifiers (10/28,
10/29 and 10/30).

12) Each of the next 5 nights rips Ithaca. But the 11/4->6 shows are
difficult to choose between. If I had to pick one of the three, I would
have to go with 11/6, although Rob Bertrando's choice of 11/4 is pretty
hard to pass up.

13) I think that many have overlooked the last 2 shows of the year,
since 12/29 was so startling. Neither approaches the completeness of
12/29, but I remember some fine playing during the 2nd set jams from
both nights.

So maybe this doesn't total 20 shows, but it gives a pretty clear idea of
where I place 5/8/77 amongst the meat from this year. I don't feel it's
necessary to point out what is specifically lacking on the 5/8 show, since
this would only further distance it from the shows listed above.
 #60503  by Highballin'
 Thu May 07, 2009 9:02 am
5-9-77 Buffalo--Excellent show!!
 #60517  by bodiddley
 Thu May 07, 2009 11:22 am
Well , I disagree strongly with the first statement about Cornell. Certainley not the best but I think it gets dissed for all the wrong reasons. Mainly it being too uncool to like a show that some newbie Head could possibly love.

That being said, I have really been on a big 5-4-77 kick the last couple of weeks. Great Scar/Fire with one of my all time fav transitions. Then you get a Terrific "Terrapin" and a "Playin'" stuffed with a gorgeous "Comes A Time". favorite "Brokedown Palace" ever.

5-7-77 ...Top 5 Wharf Rat IMO, the Peggy-O's, the Bertha's wel hell, we can go on aboutt '77 all day and not just May.

3-18-77, One of my favorite Sugaree's ever.
3-20-77, A stand alone Scarlet that a true face melter...simply fucking amazing!

To Be Continued...
 #60518  by Highballin'
 Thu May 07, 2009 11:33 am
The Buffalo 5/9 is solid from start to finish. The Help/Slip/Frank is one of my favorites. The Ship of Fools and Comes a Time(both crooners, that need the perfect touch) are perfect.
The Brown Eyed Women is poppin'.
The Soundboard is great, and you can hear the perfect amount of natural reverb bouncing from the Aud. I like that in a Boot. Gives it a nice dated feel. Me and my buddies, listened to it the day before the Dead show,watching them tear down the Aud. It was weird, hearing that Echo sound coming from the stereo, and seeing those very echoing walls being torn down.
 #60521  by bodiddley
 Thu May 07, 2009 11:50 am
That reverb is in most of the shows from that time period. It's the way they mixed it.
 #60525  by mttourpro
 Thu May 07, 2009 12:09 pm
7) From what I hear from others (and what I saw myself, i.e., 5/28), the
final 3 shows from this amazing month of performances are each worthy of
many listenings.

No doubt---5/25 and 26 are both excellent shows as is 5/28.


5/25 Half Step opener, Other One>WharfRat>OtherOne>Wheel
nice Scarlet>Fire too

5/26 Samson--whole show is energetic and the recording os CLEAN

5/28 Sugaree is incredible--maybe 20 minutes

Estimated Prophet
Playin' In The Band
Terrapin Station
Not Fade Away
Wharf Rat
Playin' In The Band
it doesn't get much better than that.

The main reason 5/8 gets all the attention is because everybody had it and it was well recorded. Great Show, but way overrated for sure.
 #60542  by Crazy 9.5 Fingers
 Fri May 08, 2009 5:59 am
I still say that two of Jerry's finest trips are the solo on NFA and the solo on Dancin' both from Barton Hall.

The point in NFA where you hear Jerry switch on the overdrive pedal to me is a great moment in his guitar playing career. Basically he says, "I am going to put my foot on the gas pedal, drive this shit, and take this shit out for a while." I love that. The Dancin' jam needs no more commentary but I will anyway. I have transcribed a bunch of it and it really demonstrates Jerry's storytelling. Taking a line, developing it, ramping it up and taking it seamlessly to another theme. Again, love that shit.

Buffalo is a great show, IMO a hard to beat show.

have a great Friday all!
 #60544  by Maybeck09
 Fri May 08, 2009 6:19 am
Clearly 1977 stands as a high point for the band. And the Spring Tour is great almost every night. Each has a bit of its own magic. I too love Cornell because I had a hot tape of it for years. But I gotta give a thumbs up to my hometown Richmond Mosque show 5-25. It does have plenty of reverb, which I like. Gives it a spacial feel. The opening 1/2 step, etc are just dead-on! And the Peggy-O may be his best ever. No crackling in the voice, no Donna too loud, no outta tune playing. Timing, singing, jamming, band cohesion-its all there. Enjoy this show-its a good one. Best? Well that's up to you. That path is for your steps alone.....
 #60588  by XxRouninxX
 Fri May 08, 2009 4:29 pm
caspersvapors wrote:i think 5/22 is consummate (dicks picks 3)
dude the sugaree solo is out of this world, and the help->slip-> frank (especially the help) are all insane..

For my own .02 I gotta add 05-05.. Some dude traded me a good cd copy of that at vibes 07 for some kind, and I played it over and over on the way home..

The way I see it is smack dab in the middle of all this lit up fire ass may 77 dead there this chill smooth mellow 05-05 show, oh man the st stephen is just sooo smooth and flowy, overall one of my fav shows (unless i'm in the mood for the insanity) ... sbeok.shnf

show highlights (for me) are the (alternatively) tight music never stopped, the nearly perfect peggy-0, and the smooth flowy st. stephen->sugar magnolia (really the whole show is good :)
 #60592  by Mandoborg
 Sat May 09, 2009 5:59 am
For the life of me, i can never understand why Springfield 4.23.77 is always over-looked inconversations regarding 1977. Personal Preferance is a beautiful thing and everyones ears are thankfully differant.

 #60595  by tigerstrat
 Sat May 09, 2009 8:32 am
I still don't quite see what all the fuss is over. I like May, but for post-hiatus GD, give me May of '80, '81, '82 or JGB in May '83... etc. '77 is very good, but the endless heaps of praise it receives truly baffles me. Too bad they had to cancel summer tour, maybe that's what would have really wowed me.
 #60638  by strumminsix
 Mon May 11, 2009 5:48 am
tigerstrat wrote:I still don't quite see what all the fuss is over.
Tom - I really like May of 77 because there is a unique clarity and the clear and present interplay between Bobby and Jerry that is not as consistently clear in other spans of time.
 #60642  by bodiddley
 Mon May 11, 2009 10:29 am
I think JDarks said it best when he mentioned once Brent joined the band there simply wasn't enough room for Bob to make himself heard as well. I think that's pretty much on the money. Keith was doing some beautiful stuff in May '77 but I really think by late '77, early '78 the drugs took over and the playing/interplay overall wasn't as intricate (Keith turned into a zombie...yes it's true!). "Eyes' is a good example of that. There are only a precious few post-77 "Eyes" I even bother listening to like 3-13-82 (awesome) and mostly those around the 1990 slow jazzy versions. Although I did hear one from 9-29-93 the other night I enjoyed very much.
 #60643  by astroman99
 Mon May 11, 2009 10:34 am
I think it is overrated(May-77), but great playing from the whole band, great interplay as strummer stated... however I would disagree about Brent being overpowering, yes later on Brent & Jerry would go off together, but really even thru 1982 I think Brent was pretty restrained, and Jerry's guitar was so in front thru 1981 love it!, Favorite year post is 1982 :wink: