Garcia said “We were great for seconds on end.” I was lucky to see Jerry play for about 1,000,000 seconds exactly. Thanks for your 1,000,000 views here . Dave Davis wrote this blog for 500 posts and 5 years from 2015 to 2019. Contact me at twitter @gratefulseconds

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hartford May 28: To Terrapin, Best Show of 1977?

Wish I could stream the whole show on Soundcloud, but you can find it below.

After the Grateful Dead played Brown Eyed Woman on May 28, 1977, it was only a few months until the Hartford Civic Center roof caved in.

Sugaree might be the best ever.  Only time the Dead ever played Bertha>Good Lovin>Sugaree. First time I saw the Dead open up Estimated as it flowed into Playin' in the Band (only time Dead ever did that). To Terrapin Official release. Went to the show with the fastest kid at Andover Emile Zen (right Ed and Andy?). We had a great time hitchhiking down, having to sleep next to the freeway after the show and getting back to Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon.  I doubt I did homework that Sunday.  The end of four Saturday nights in six weeks. Would have to wait until Englishtown for my next show.  Excellent review by Hartford's own J. Greg Robertson. RIP J. Greg, quite a story of your own
You can download this show from Amazon for $14 if you don't have it. Or even better buy a CD at for $19.99.  Support your boys :) 

Second set jam is included in the famous top-31 jam segments of the Grateful Dead Projects
Estimated Prophet>Playin'>Terrapin>drums>Not Fade Away>Wharf Rat>Playin>Saturday Night
I love listen to this.  Gary Lambert wrote some great notes to the CD (see below). The last night of the Spring tour was played "tighter , and with more apparent concentration" according to Hartford's Robertson. I'm glad I wasn't the only one that called it "California>Playing in the Band".

Liner Notes:

Imagine for a moment that you've been asked to pinpoint, to the day, the absolute creative zenith of the Grateful Dead's career. Could there be a more maddening challenge? There could never be anything approaching consensus on such a question, especially among an audience as large, diverse and opinionated as the Dead Heads. No two people have the same criteria. Everyone's got a favorite era, keyboard player, favorite Garcia guitar, favorite you-name-it. The band had many career peaks and valleys over the years--how could anyone choose? Well, just for the hell of it, let's say that your life depended on it… that you absolutely had to name the peak moment in Grateful Dead history.

One could do a lot worse than to impulsively blurt out: "May 28th, 1977!"

Why May 28th? That was the date that the Grateful Dead came to Hartford, Connecticut to play the final show--the very performance, fortuitously enough, preserved for the ages on this recording--of a marathon Spring Tour that many informed observers consider the single greatest sustained burst of creativity in the band's long performing career. One thing that makes this particular show all the more extraordinary is that it came at the end of such an exhausting and wide-ranging trek--26 shows in 37 days--yet it betrays not a trace of physical or artistic fatigue. This recording reveals the Dead playing with unparalleled energy, wit, passion and power--a band at the very top of its game, even by the high standard of a tour that was characterized by a thrilling consistency of excellence.

The beginning of 1977 found the Grateful Dead at a major career crossroads. The band's ambitious attempt at total autonomy earlier in the decade had taken a toll, both psychically and fiscally. Efforts were being made to pare back to the bare essentials, and to get back in earnest to the primary mission of making music. To that end, the Dead had taken a nearly two-year vacation from touring, mothballed the magnificent but insanely expensive "Wall of Sound" P.A. system and folded their Grateful Dead/Round Records company, an inspirational template for many artist-owned indie labels (though it would eventually relaunch and flourish as the source of the Dead's archival releases). They found a home for their recorded work at Arista, a new label started by former Columbia Records head Clive Davis, and began developing material for a studio album, which they would record in the early months of the year before heading out on Spring Tour. Jerry Garcia would do some additional multitasking during this period, racing to complete the concert documentary The Grateful Dead Movie, which he co-directed and which would have its premiere in New York City just four days after the tour ended. During breaks in the film editing sessions, Garcia would grab his guitar and labor over a major composition he and Robert Hunter were developing for the new record, which would eventually supply the album's title: Terrapin Station.

The Dead, at Davis' urging, had agreed to put their Arista debut in the hands of a producer from outside the band's tight circle of creative and technical allies--the first time they had done so since an exasperated Dave Hassinger fled the studio in the early stages of the Anthem of the Sun sessions in 1967, driven away by the Dead's anarchic, wildly experimental indulgences. Chosen to helm the project was Keith Olsen, a newly hot commodity by virtue of his role as co-producer of Fleetwood Mac's eponymous, career-redefining 1975 album. Olsen's creative choices for the Dead--which included lounge-jazzish saxophones, a full choir and ornate orchestral arrangement by longtime Elton John associate Paul Buckmaster--would become the subject of more than a little controversy, not just among fans and critics but within the band itself. However, once the Dead took the songs written for Terrapin Station out on the road there was no denying their power as live performance pieces. This was especially true of the album's two most musically ambitious works, which would instantly become beloved staples of the Grateful Dead repertoire and remain so for the rest of the band's touring life. The first of these was "Estimated Prophet," Bob Weir and John Barlow's portrait of a particularly California breed of delusional would-be visionary, which managed to be at once uplifting and disturbing thanks to the incantatory lyric and to Weir's ingenious musical setting, a sinuous Reggae-flavored groove knocked beautifully off-kilter by a 7/4 time signature. The second major new piece, which took up the entire second side of the LP, was utterly unlike anything the Dead had attempted before: the epic, allegorical "Terrapin Station" suite--as felicitous a marriage of music and storytelling as was ever accomplished by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter in a the course of their long and fruitful collaboration. While "Terrapin," in its studio incarnation, struck many listeners as a little too… well… tasteful, it became a whole other kind of beast when let loose in front of a live audience, driven by power guitar hooks, thunderous percussion and bone-rattling bass licks.

As the new album would not be released for another couple of months (and since live show recordings didn't get circulated with anywhere near the speed that they do today, in this age of MP3 files delivered to your desktop before the band gets back to the hotel), these new pieces were still unknown to most of the Dead Heads attending shows on this Spring Tour, and their impact upon those unsuspecting ears was immediate and profound. Unlike many of the Dead's earlier works, which started their performance histories as bare sketches and were developed by trial and error into full-bodied songs on the road, the Terrapin material had been nurtured in private, during an intensive rehearsal process as the band prepared to make the album. As a result, the new tunes were first apprehended by live audiences as surprisingly mature works, and they would get even better with time. As compositionally intricate as anything in the Dead's book, these songs would also quickly take their place among the band's most satisfying points of departure for collective improvisation.

By the time the tour reached its triumphant finale in Hartford on May 28th, it was readily apparent that the new songs--including, in addition to "Terrapin" and "Estimated Prophet," the Phil Lesh/Peter Monk rocker "Passenger" and Bob Weir's red-hot reinvention of the Rev. Gary Davis gospel-blues classic "Samson and Delilah"--could proudly take their places with such longstanding pillars of the Dead cannon as "Bertha," "Sugaree," "Jack Straw," "Candyman," "Playing in the Band," "One More Saturday Night" and other standbys heard on this recording.

On this spring night in New England the Grateful Dead, as fully and faithfully as they ever did in their long and glorious history, heeded the clarion call in Robert Hunter's lyric to "Terrapin":

"Inspiration, move me brightly."

--Gary Lambert

Well before the near 20-minute version of "Sugaree" included here is over, any thoughts of hype surrounding the Grateful Dead archive camp around this release has dissipated. The sense of direction and collective eye for detail that the band displays on the track permeates the whole of To Terrapin - Hartford '77.
Weaving in and out of the alternate vocal and instrumental improvisation sections on "Sugaree," one of guitarist/vocalist Jerry Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter's most famous collaborations, illustrates how the Dead were at the absolute peak of their powers in the mid-to late 1970s. Rhythm guitarist Bob Weir never contributed more to the navigation of the group when jamming, and while keyboardist Keith Godchaux and spouse Donna Jean on vocals were to leave the group within a year, their subtle contributions add considerably to the sound of the core group: the piano is as bright as the harmonies.

Naturally, as always, Garcia's contribution is the benchmark of the level of Grateful Dead performance. His engagement is obvious in his vocal on the opener "Bertha," but no less so than when he solos in his inimitably relaxed manner on "Good Lovin.'" He takes notes at angles as he approaches and departs. And in contrast to his gallant but frail presence in the group's later years, he sounds the essence of strength, albeit a vulnerable one, in the slow-motion ballet that is "Row Jimmy."

The stars were all aligned in favor of the Dead at this point in their career, if only precariously. The self-imposed hiatus of two years prior had allowed them to streamline their approach and attitude, to devote their collective energy to their music rather than those pursuits indirectly related to it such as the (in)famous "wall of sound" system. As with the operation of their own record label, that natural outgrowth of devotion of impeccable audience audio had drained their resources financially and otherwise, as was eventually the case with The Grateful Dead Movie (at the time of this May 1977 concert days away from premiere).

But the group had reassimilated drummer Mickey Hart into the band, so that his partnership with founding percussionist Bill Kreutzmann was a tremendous asset on powerhouse rockers like "New Minglewood Blues." More significantly, the Dead had a clutch of new material to intersperse with the likes of "Wharf Rat" and "Playing In The Band," self-created standards since the beginning of the decade. Bassist Phil Lesh's "Passenger" is an aggressive rocker that plays off sharply with "Candyman" from American Beauty (Warner Bros., 1970) and "Brown Eyed Woman" from Europe '72 (Warner Bros., 1972). Weir's collaboration with his own wordsmith John Barlow was also peaking with the likes of "Estimated Prophet." The character depiction in the words is as vivid as the unusual time signature that offered such fodder for improvisation; here it's the first extended departure into deep space.

A reworking of the traditional "Samson and Delilah," spearheaded by Weir as his prominence grew on the frontline (prior to his predilection to oversing), matched the highs-spirits injected into the proceedings via Chuck Berry's "The Promised Land." In a live setting, "Terrapin Station," the centerpiece the studio album the group had been laboring over prior to this marathon tour of 26 shows, always came off superior to the recorded version. Without strings but complete with drum interlude excised from the take preserved on the album, Garcia's regal chord changes, navigated so gracefully by the whole group, gave life to Hunter's slightly precious lyrics and kept the story in its proper perspective.

It's a further tribute to the Dead's clarity of group mind at this time that a total of just less than thirteen minutes suffices to tell this tale. The discipline necessary in the studio informs the band's immersion in spontaneity, thereby preventing purposeless jams or miscues within any more structured pieces like "Tennessee Jed."

Jeffrey Norman ensures the clarity of Betty Cantor-Jackson's soundboard recording remains preserved and the entire May 28th performance is collected on three CDs packaged in eye-catching graphics that function almost like good animation: the more you look at it the more you see. Reading Gary Lambert's effusive liner notes could provoke some skepticism about what's to be heard within, but that disappears whenever (or wherever) you start listening.

There simply is no denying the fact that as the Grateful Dead neared the end of each of its seasonal sojourns, it routinely had a tendency to give tepid performances that killed time more than anything else. Even in its heyday, when the group bestowed everything it had to its fans, it typically was quite weary when it was wrapping up an extended series of shows. In 1977, however, something different was afoot. On April 22, the Grateful Dead had settled into the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Five weeks later, on May 28, after winding its way along the eastern seaboard and also visiting portions of the Midwest and the Deep South, the band descended upon the Hartford Civic Center for the tour-ending concert memorialized on To Terrapin: Hartford ’77. Miraculously, the ensemble sounded as energized as ever, too.

Save for the perfunctory rendition of U.S. Blues that brought the Hartford concert to its conclusion, the rest of the material featured on To Terrapin: Hartford ’77 is indisputably first-rate, even amongst the other terrific concerts that the Grateful Dead delivered throughout the spring of 1977. For the most part, the songs sung by Bob Weir injected a jolt of energy into the proceedings, as he rummaged through the hard-edged rock songs in his repertoire. Covers of The Olympics’ Good Lovin’ and Chuck Berry’s Promised Land were blazing blasts of pure, unadulterated joy, while Samson and Delilah was fueled as much by Jerry Garcia’s assertive guitar playing as it was by Weir’s exuberant vocals. Even the tricky time signatures of Estimated Prophet and Playing in the Band were navigated not just skillfully but also forcefully by the collective.

Not surprisingly, considering how often they played these same roles, Garcia’s laid-back presence provided the perfect counterpoint to Weir’s exhilarating enthusiasm. Taking the lead, Garcia stretched songs like Brown-Eyed Women, Row Jimmy, and Tennessee Jed to their limit. Threading his silvery guitar solos through the interlocking ebb and flow of the rhythmic cadences, he underscored and accented the emotional centers of the compositions. Beginning with American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead, Garcia had begun to refine his vocal approach. Around the time of Europe ’72 through the Grateful Dead’s spring tour in 1977, he increasingly found the sense of maturity that he had been seeking to embrace. Throughout To Terrapin: Hartford ’77, he delivers the lyrics as if his very life depended upon getting them just right.

If any song could have been considered a bellwether for the Grateful Dead during its spring sojourn in 1977, it was Sugaree. The rendition featured on Terrapin: Hartford ’77 surely ranks among the finest versions that the outfit ever managed to perform. Although it runs roughly 19 minutes in length, the tune never seems to meander. It lingers in places for a while, as the band fully explores its surroundings, but it never overstays its welcome. During this era of the Grateful Dead’s history, Garcia, in particular, was completely connected to Sugaree, and he habitually made a finite number of note sequences and chord patterns feel as vast and open as the cosmos. There was a genuine ache to his guitar solos, but as Sugaree progressed, he shrugged off his gentle sorrow and transformed the composition into a tumultuous firestorm of fury.

Quite frequently, the Grateful Dead’s creative flair frequently would wax and wane over the course of a performance. To Terrapin: Hartford ’77, however, bears proof that occasionally the band remained remarkably consistent for an entire show. Neither peaks nor valleys were present during the concert; instead, on song after song, the Grateful Dead remained focused on and committed to the task at hand. There are numerous entries from 1977 in the outfit’s ever-expanding series of archival releases. To Terrapin: Hartford ’77 not only outflanks them all, but it also just might speak to the unconverted. starstarstarstarstar

Read more: Grateful Dead - To Terrapin: Hartford '77 (Album Review)

Billboard issue dated this day May 28, 1977

Monday, May 22, 2017

Bill Graham Presents: A Benefit for Nuclear Disarmament on May 22, 1981


This was 36 years ago today.  Hi 1981.
I just checked so this was my first concert at the Warfield (The Dead and the Jam in 1982 were next). This was actually the first time I saw the Grateful Dead perform in San Francisco proper, although the billing says:

Jerry Garcia
Bob Weir
Mickey Hart
& Friends

I paid a cool $8.50 and got to see the Dead play a second Buddy Holly tune "Oh Boy", which is a very easy song to play on the guitar that I could still pick out today (the Dave Davis Trio opened often with Baby, You're So Square, which Elvis and The Beatles both covered).

 I was hoping for The Other One after the unexpected drums out of Ripple but Oh Boy was just fine by me.

My Original Bent Copy

Other Political Poster from 1981 from a telephone Pool in Berkeley recruiting Deadheads

Deep Elem Blues
The Race Is On
Friend Of The Devil
To Lay Me Down
Monkey And The Engineer
Oh Babe It Ain't No Lie
On The Road Again
Bird Song > Ripple > Drums > Oh Boy

Corry wrote the definitive piece on this  but I figured it was fair game to write about it since it was my first Dead benefit show ever. Plus I add the tunes.

Look how similar to my December 31, 1980 acoustic set at the Oakland New Year's show I saw:

Dire Wolf   (not played 5-22-81)
On The Road Again
To Lay Me Down
Monkey And The Engineer
Jack-A-Roe  (not played 5-22-81)
I've Been All Around This World (not played 5-22-81)
The Race Is On
Bird Song > Ripple 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

35 Years Ago on May 21, 22, 23 1982: Weekend at the Greek

Happy 25 35th anniversity to the three marvelous shows at Berkeley's Greek on May 21-22-23 in 1982.  These were my second set of three Greek shows following the return in 1981 and there are three very nice Charlie Miller soundboards (Charlie FLACs   MP3s).  This follows my 2015 global Greek piece on the Mecca

Greeks always started 7PM Friday, 5PM Saturday and 3PM Sunday so you would always get a different mood settting over the Golden Gate, depending on your location and the night of the weekend. At the Greek, you would typically get about 60 different songs and amazing playing of what the Dead were doing at the time.   While Deadbase barely lists any of these shows in the top-20 of the year, I say BS, the Greek is where you wanted to see shows in the early and mid-1980s, no hands down.  The feeling, the atmosphere, the view, the fans, the walk from my house, the Sunday afternoon 3pm Shakedown, it had it all.

Make sure to check out the Playin>Uncle John's>Remarkable Jam on Friday. But, just explore it all. I will always love the Greek the most

My super 8 footage was accepted into the new Grateful Dead documentary, but I couldn't find the original super 8. Drat! But you can see Cormac and Rick Sullivan here and maybe yourself and they ended up using two different one second segments

Jim McDonnell jim

to Annieme
Hi David,
I hope that this finds you well and I apologize for the long silence regarding the forthcoming Grateful Dead documentary project.  We are finally in the home stretch and we will hopefully be using a small portion of your footage in this project.   We would be very interested in obtaining your original Super 8 film elements for a new HD scan transfer for our usage.   Per our original conversations, we will be licensing at the rate of $25/second for footage and additionally we will supply you with a new HD transfer of your footage on a drive when we return your film(s) to you.   I've looped in Annie Salsich from the production who can give you all the shipping information in regards to sending your film elements.   I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Best wishes,
I'm sad I lose my originals

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Six Takes From The Last Boston Run September, 1991

Here's a little ditty from the boys courtesy of the Stucco Dat Project of perhaps the best run of shows in the past decade of the band (ok, maybe MSG, right before this is equally stellar). After 1991, the band was never as great again.  So per my Reddit friend, this should read Last Great Boston Run.

I stopped going to see the Dead in 1987 right before I moved from Berkeley to West LA. True.
I only saw 2 shows in 1987 reaching the 79 show mark (80 was a one-off in 1994 in LA along with Kirko who you see above with me from Frost 5-2-87 and Bradford 12-16-94). And my last show in Boston proper was November 14, 1978 at the Music Hall.  itunes files or flacs, just choose  By the way, I fixed the Boston Globe articles at the bottom.

And it wasn't until after Jerry's death in 1995, and my reconnecting with the advent of amazing board tapes that I discovered the last golden era from about Warlocks in 1989 through 1991. But nothing from this era quite gets me like the shows from September 1991. Now a few years back, my buddy Arnie told me that he and Liza get invited to the Boston Garden in September 1991 by our college buddy Katie to get backstage passes to the Dead. WTF. How did I stray so far, and what's this about.

Turns out that Cameron Sears was pals with Katie from high school in Maine and he was the source of this gratitude.  Someday I will tell you all about my lunch with Cameron and Peter McQuaid near the old Stone location on Broadway around 2004, but that's for another day. Back to Arnie's story. Arnie said the Dead played Dark Star and then wound up into I Need A Miracle which disappointed him (I guess expecting Dark Star>St Stephen>The Eleven etc). So I went back and found Arnie's show which turned out to be that amazing show where Bruce Hornsby played this incredible Pacobell classical  piece out of space after Dark Star that just rocked my world. I even put this in like my third blog post two years and 200 blog posts ago . So for your listening pleasure are six segments from this run

9/20/91 Help On The Way [4:04] > Slipknot! [6:04] > Fire On The Mountain [12:20]
9/21/91 Uncle John's Band > Saint Of Circumstance > Eyes Of The World
9/22/91  He's Gone > Nobody's Fault But Mine > Spoonful >
9/24/91  after Dark Star Space > Foolish Heart > I Need A Miracle > Standing On The Moon 
9/25/91  That Would Be Something > Playing> China Doll > Throwing Stones > Not Fade Away
9/26/91   Dark Star [16:04] > Saint Of Circumstance > Eyes Of The World > Drums > Space > The Other One > Dark Star [6:40] ; Attics Of My Life > Good Lovin'
Encore Brokedown Palace > And We Bid You Good Night

Night 5 and 6 :
Night 5 is whatever songs the copyright folks allow me to stream