Grateful Dead

To Terrapin: Hartford, May 28, 1977

By Blair Jackson

And the whistle is screaming...
...Terrapin

3 Disc Set

Whether or not the fabled spring tour of 1977 was, as many Dead Heads believe, the strongest Grateful Dead tour ever, it was unquestionably a magical time stuffed-to-overflowing with amazing shows. Say the word “Cornell” to any hardcore Head and it means one thing—the 5/8/77 show at Barton Hall on the august school’s campus. But there were numerous other stops on the tour that produced monster shows, as well, from the five-night run at the Palladium in New York, to the incredible Fox Theatre in Atlanta (5/19 was part of the two-show Dick’s Picks #29), to the two Florida shows—Lakeland and Pembroke Pines (Dick’s Picks #29 and Dick’s Picks #1, respectively)—Tuscaloosa, Richmond… the tour was a scorcher from beginning to end.

What was up? Well, by the spring of ’77, the Dead had been back on the road for nearly a year following their famous performing hiatus, so Mickey Hart was thoroughly re-integrated into the band, and the septet was hitting a new stride. There was a handful of great new songs being integrated into the repertoire, including Garcia and Hunter’s complex, epic “Terrapin Station” suite, Weir and John Barlow’s cool, off-kilter reggae tune “Estimated Prophet,” and Phil and Peter Monk’s rollicking “Passenger.” Those songs would form the core of the album that the Dead were recording in the winter of ’77 with producer Keith Olsen down in Los Angeles. Olsen was a sharp guy with good ears (as they say in the biz), and he worked the Dead hard in the studio, forcing them to play perhaps a bit more precisely than they were accustomed to. Now, one can endlessly debate whether the result of Olsen’s approach was ultimately an album that was a tad too precise—a criticism even the band leveled at Terrapin Station—but all the laboring over parts and arrangements in the studio seemed to have an extremely positive impact on how the band played live that spring.

Which brings us to Hartford, Connecticut on the night of May 28, 1977—the final night of this Tour for the Ages, and the source of our latest release, To Terrapin. You’d never know from listening to this show that the band had been on the road for more than a month and 25 previous concerts, because it has that sparkle and intensity the band only had when it was fresh, feelin’ good and in full exploration mode. From the rippin’ “Bertha” > “Good Lovin’” > “Sugaree” trifecta opening, through the spectacular second set sequence comprised of “Playing in the Band,” a brisk and buoyant “Terrapin,” a fantastic one-of-a-kind “Not Fade Away,” “Wharf Rat,” and the “Playing reprise.” Definitely the band at its best!

So, why put this out now? Why the hell not? And what’s with all the questions? Just enjoy it. OK, aside from it being a classic show worthy of release, we thought it might be fun to revisit a concert played in one of the venues The Dead are hitting this spring on their tour—that would be the Hartford Civic (now the XL Center) on 4/26/09… why, that’s the 31-year, 11-month, 2-day anniversary show of this epic ’77 show! Anyway, this three-disc complete show release has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs from the original reel-to-reel tapes by Jeffrey Norman utilizing the usual array of mysterious black boxes and sonic tools unavailable to us mere mortals. Artist Scott McDougal, who’s done such a bang-up job for us on the Road Trips series, has designed a beautiful package, and the always erudite Gary Lambert has contributed a fine essay which is accompanied by glorious photos of the band in Hartford in 1977. And because we know that in these tough economic times everyone could use a bargain, we’re offering To Terrapin at the very low price of $17.98 for all pre-orders placed on dead.net before the April 7th release date. That’s $2 under the suggested retail price. For the complete track listing and ordering info, click here.

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Mugarumpet's picture
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Joined: Apr 15 2009
not sure what to do next

I've sent two email requests to customer service at the beginning of the week and I left a voice mail asking for help but here it is Thursday and I've heard nothing from them. I'm really not sure what to do next. I guess maybe just buy it from Amazon, cut my losses and not order from Dead.net anymore. Not a big deal, just kind of disappointing.

JackstrawfromColorado's picture
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Joined: Jan 2 2009
Dang guys that sucks!

I have heard the customer support is a little shoddy. I'll burn a copy and send to ya :-)

"When the smoke has cleared she said, that's what she said to me. You're gonna want a bed to lay your head and a little sympathy"

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Joined: Apr 13 2009
I pre-ordered, too

back on February 24th. Still no confirmation that it shipped. Although my card was charged on April 3rd. Which--if it hasn't shipped--is very uncool.

Mugarumpet's picture
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Joined: Apr 15 2009
Nothin' left to do but...

I guess there's nothin' left to do but smile smile smile ... and keep on trying to get in touch with customer support. Reading all the positive comments about the Hartford show but not being able to actually listen to it seems somewhat masochistic.

JackstrawfromColorado's picture
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Joined: Jan 2 2009
Yeah you should have got a confirmation email

I guess I have been lucky not to have any issues with the dead.net store. I just have issues getting my concert tickets!

"When the smoke has cleared she said, that's what she said to me. You're gonna want a bed to lay your head and a little sympathy"

Mugarumpet's picture
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Joined: Apr 15 2009
Waiting for Hartford

I pre-ordered back in February but I haven't received a ship confirmation and can't seem to get in contact with customer support.

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Joined: Sep 10 2008
dull

Faultless playing, superb sound, deadly dull. It's just totally soulless to me, think I'll stick with pre hiatus stuff from now. They just lost that edge after they returned.

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Joined: Jan 1 2009
bestbuy

I truly dislike bestbuy but today got an ink cart there and as I was walking to the register there was Terrapin,14.98 picked up that badboy and cant stop listening.

wilfredtjones's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
I'm embarrassed

I ordered mine on amazon.com (for cheaper), and I did get a confimation email. However, I ordered RT v2n2 on dead.net since it wasn't available on amazon (at all), and I did receive a confimation. For those still waiting, all good things in all good time I guess (very easy for me to say, I know as I hold my copy of To Terrapin). I hope it's not blasphemous that I ordered via amazon.com, but I hadn't known it was available there for cheaper until I read this thread!

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Joined: Sep 18 2007
Canyon Critter

Did you get an email confirming that it shipped? Did other people?

Jeff VanderVeen
"May the 4 winds blow you safely home."

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