Dave's Picks Volume 1
May 25, 1977
Dave's Picks Volume 1 is officially SOLD OUT.
Have no fear, you can join the fun with our next release Volume 2, the complete Grateful Dead performance from the Wall of Sound tour, recorded live on 7/31/74 at Dillon Stadium in Hartford, CT. This was one of the final East Coast appearances by the Grateful Dead for almost two years, and is one of the longest, most exceptionally well-played shows of the entire year. The big jams stand out, of course, including "Weather Report Suite," "Eyes Of The World>China Doll" and "Truckin>several thematic jams," but the smaller songs, like a rare show-opening "Scarlet Begonias," "Mississippi Half-Step," "Big River," "Greatest Story Ever Told," "Uncle John's Band" and countless others are also excellent at this A+ show.
In addition to all the great music, you can look forward to another digipak with trays made of 100% recycled and PCW materials (and of course a booklet featuring a historical essay and photos). Due to popular demand, we'll be using a heavier paper stock for Volume 2 and all the great Dave's Picks releases to come.
Dave's Picks Volume 2 ships this May. Stay tuned for pre-order details.
Learn More About Volume 1 here...
Dave's Picks Archival Series Kicks Off With 5/25/77
Chances are if you’re a Dead Head you’re already well-versed in the glorious spring of 1977. Back a year since their mid-’70s performing hiatus, and fresh from recording their Terrapin Station album in L.A. with producer Keith Olsen, the Dead returned to the road invigorated and excited that spring. There were fantastic new songs (including the “Terrapin Station” suite, “Estimated Prophet” and “Fire on the Mountain”) and their older tunes seemed imbued with new vigor and vitality. Every stop of the tour, which stretched from the third week of April (beginning at the Spectrum in Philadelphia) through the first week in June (back at Winterland in San Francisco), presented some new wrinkle or interesting variation on the repertoire, as songs were moved around, unusual combinations were explored and the septet continue to solidify and mature. Which is a fancy way of saying the band was on fire—y’see, there’s a reason why this is the ninth show from that tour to be released!
The song list from 5/25/77 might not reveal much out of the ordinary (though it’s great selection of tunes), but the playing is definitely extraordinary. The first set contains outstanding versions of favorites such as “Mississippi Half-Step,” “Jack Straw,” “Cassidy” and “Lazy Lightning” > “Supplication.” And the second set is primo-grade ’77 from start to finish. The buoyant “Scarlet Begonias” > “Fire on the Mountain” that kicks things off sets the tone, but then the rest of the set is a deftly played medley starting with “Estimated” and moving into “He’s Gone,” a primal drum workout from Mickey and Bill, a heart-pounding version of “The Other One” that’s split by “Wharf Rat” (the only time those songs were played in that sequence), a joyful “Wheel,” and then a double-dose of Chuck Berry to bring it all back to rock ’n’ roll basics. Talk about a thrill ride!
— Blair Jackson
to see 16 & 17 July 1966 Fillmore Auditorium, SF as a future Dave's Picks release. I also concur with Mr. Badger & Wilfred that March 1977 would be eminently suitable for a box. I have already agreed with others that something from 1967 is long overdue, even though there is little available.
I've been suggesting that March '77 for the next Winterland box (or Feb. 74) And you can include 2-26/27-77 San Bernadino/Santa Barbara as a nice little twofer as well.
If there is to be more 77, what about 18/19/20 March? Some interesting stuff there and a little different from May.
Between all the releases of this month, and all the pristine Betty Boards of much of the rest of this month, there's a heck of a lot out there. And while the playing is uniformly of a high level, I'm not really sure that there is enough of interest to most fans to pay up for 20 first sets from the same month (although I, and 7199 others did that for E72). And while I haven't listened to the other shows in a long time, are there not a bunch of Estimated>Eyes and Scarlet>Fires and other "second set standards" that while being very good, may not be so different as to get a lot of people paying up for EVERY version within a four week span.
A box-set would be great but if several of the shows are missing, it's not really possible.
I think the 26th May show ought to come out and DL2 has implied it will eventually.
I don't know if we need a whole lot more from the month. The 7th, 8th and 9th run is commonly held to be the peak of the month and The Forum show is dearly loved. They're not in the vault and most everyone has them already anyway. Do we really need much more '77 to be released? We've got:
- 30 April (plus a bit of 29 April)
- A chunk of 12 May
- All of 19 May
- All of 21 May
- Nearly all of 22 May
- All of 25 May
- All of 28 May
- All of the 7-8-9 June run
- A couple of tracks here and there from other shows
What else do we need?
One last rant before I drop this- The fact that we are in the era of Box Sets in terms of Releases, it's a shame there exists no box set of the Spring of 77. DL said in one of his Oceanside chats there are 9 shows left from this tour in the Vault. Please raise your hand if you'd buy a 9 show Spring of 77 Box- I wish I had more than 2 hands on my person. On the flip side, I am very grateful we still have releases- and this tour is getting released. With the exception of Europe 72, more is released from this tour than any other. And there will be more, even though at times it seems I exhausted the virtue of patience.
When I hear some of the criticism regarding Dave's 1st release being perhaps a lesser show form May 77, I am reminded of looking at bodybuilding magazines with Mr. Olympia contest photos and how difficult it is to say which bodybuilder is the best of the contestants -- they are all incredibly pumped-up!
I can't tell the difference between any of them.
Having said that, May 77, and 77 in general, is an impossibly great month of Playing by the Grateful Dead. All the shows are 'worthy.' Is Cornell the Schwarzenegger of May 77 and deserving of the Crown?
It is an impossible decision for me to make.
The first of Dave's releases is a worthy one. Period.
Listening to this first of Dave's faves, well, uh, I can tell by the playing that Jerry's 'glutes' are pumped and that justifies this release. . ..
If I had my choice to plunder the vault, I'd go with 5-4 through 5-9 post haste. Of course, a handful if not all of these shows has been said many times over by Mr. Lemieux to be missing from the vault. I for one, hope Cornell is found in a locker or a house boat someday.
If you could choose 3 shows from the Spring of 77 tour out of those remaining, which 3 would you pick? Cornell is probably a unanimous first, then maybe Buffalo- 5/9, the first Fox Show- 5/18 or St. Louis. Baltimore 5/26, maybe 5/7- the Half Step from Boston is one of the highlights of the tour. Or 5/17 from Tuscaloosa, 5/4 from The Palladium. Trying to pick 3 is harder than I thought.