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.

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Offline
Joined: Jul 12 2007
its a little thing but...

first of all I got it right away and another thing I was quite please to find is that while ripping it to Itunes all of the discs had the same name. I can just go to my ipod and have the whole show in running order without having to change a thing or select anything else.

the cds themselves on the stereo system so far sound amazing.

thanks!!!

kottonmouthjeff__'s picture
Offline
Joined: Jan 29 2009
Great Show

It sounds so crisp

Kottonmouthjeff

JeremyP's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 8 2007
Arrived in the UK

One note - the cardboard cover is so tight that the board around disc 3 has already ripped. Roadtrips 2.2 the same - could hardly get the second disc out, and was worried about scratches from the "raw" cardboard cover.

So - can we have some more care over the packaging

And when do we get downloads?

Offline
Joined: Jun 4 2007
Not Fade

Just got this today. Can't stop playing the 15 minute "Not Fade Away" 3/4 way through the show. I have at least 500 hours of GD on CD. Nothing compares to this one song. It's just exactly perfect.

Brick in Oz's picture
Offline
Joined: Oct 9 2008
I, for one, am grateful

Not just for this release, but for having been blessed enough to have been listening to the guys since'69. I didn't see any shows from '73-'77 as I had pulled a T.C. and joined the air force to avoid the draft. I spent most of that time in Australia, and the guys didn't make it down here. Oh well, water under the bridge.

As much as I have loved the AUD and SB tapes over the years, I truly appreciate the release of remastered full shows. I downloaded the Spectrum shows when they were released, ordered "To Terrapin" the day the pre-order was announced, and will continue to buy remastered full shows as they come available. Keep them coming! How about something from '73 and '83?

At any rate, my copy arrived yesterday, and it went straight from the mailbox to the stereo. Smokin' Prophet > Playing > Terrapin, trippy Candyman (thank you Travis Bean), and one of my all-time favorite Jack Straws, God, I wish I'd been there.

Harvested_Wind's picture
Offline
Joined: Mar 22 2008
loving it

good lord, what an ornery lot! name for me one other band of its era who are issuing at least a half-dozen high-quality archival releases every year? i may not love every little twist and turn in the journey (e.g., packaging, show selection, shipping methods, etc.), but i'm awfully grateful to have so many opportunities to explore new facets of the band. apparently i'm in the minority.

as for the hartford show, mine arrived this afternoon. i'm only halfway through the first disc, but so far it's killer. great version of "sugaree." can't wait to hear the rest.

Offline
Joined: Jun 10 2007
Adios

Mine still hasn't arrived. Goodbye..you have lost a lifetime customer!

mato1949's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 6 2007
In Addition!!!

I just saw that "To Terrapin" is available on iTunes for $14.99 for those iPod lovers.

(I'd still rather have the physical disks!"

"When I die bury me deep, put two speakers at my feet, pair of ear phones on my head, and always play The Grateful Dead."

mato1949's picture
Offline
Joined: Jun 6 2007
To Terrapin and beyond

I didn't preorder this release, I waited till today, the official release date, to go to my local record shop and picked it up for $16.99, no shipping charges. Rhino got their cut, the guys got their cut, and the shop took the hit on the lower price. Enough said on that.

Old burned out freaks like myself don't have a lot of spare cash to drop on every release that comes out. I buy the releases that are only available online from dead.net, and get the value of the bonus disks, the rest of the stuff has been scrounged up from online auctions, used record stores, and flea markets. I know that everyone in the distribution chain is doing a job, paying bills, and needs every cent they can get. Most of the fans that contribute to the ongoing circus are in the same boat. We do what we have to do to get the music we love and still respect the band. We love the work that goes into putting out great shows like Hartford, but we need a break too. There use to be much more available, free shows to download from current tours and soundboards loose in the wild. The Grateful Dead packed every venue they played at the height of the taper era and shared SBs in the 80s and 90s, maybe the guys would pack them to the rafters again if they made the magic just a little bit more available, and reasonably priced.

Thanks for reading my rant.

"When I die bury me deep, put two speakers at my feet, pair of ear phones on my head, and always play The Grateful Dead."

Offline
Joined: Jun 10 2007
Next time....

I think I'll just buy the new release at my local record store on the day it comes out for the same price, rather than sitting here empty handed on the day it comes out.

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.