May 1977 Box
• Five Complete Shows
• 5/11/77 St. Paul Civic Center Arena, St. Paul, MN
• 5/12/77 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
• 5/13/77 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
• 5/15/77 St. Louis Arena, St. Louis MO
• 5/17/77 University Of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
•14 Discs, 111 tracks
•Mastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman, Plangent Processes playback system for maximum sonic accuracy
•Artwork by Grammy Award-winning graphic artist Masaki Koike
•Period Photos by James R Anderson
•Historical Essay by Steve Silberman
•Individual show liner notes
Individually Numbered, Limited Edition of 15,000
MAGICAL, MYTHICAL MAY 1977!
If you're a Dead Head, chances are you've spent many an hour expounding upon the distinction of May 8, 1977, Cornell University, Barton Hall. Well, at the risk of preaching to the choir, we'd like to reintroduce you to a series of shows that matches said greatness from that same gloriously fertile season. While Barton Hall is well known, the astounding tour that surrounded it has occasionally flown under the radar due to the uneven quality of tapes in circulation. May 1977 is set to change all of that with a boxed set that zeroes in on this high-water mark in the Grateful Dead's long strange trip.
For a band resurrecting itself after a 20-month hiatus, there was a great frenzy of expectancy that surrounded the Spring of 1977. We anticipate a grand reoccurrence of this fervor with the release of May 1977, a 14-disc boxed set featuring five complete shows from consecutive stops on that magical tour. Mastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman at Mockingbird Mastering, the "psychoacoustic phenomena" as Jerry once put it, of St. Paul Civic Center Arena, St. Paul, MN (5/11) Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (5/12, 5/13), St. Louis Arena, St. Louis MO (5/15) and Coliseum at the University Of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (5/17) can now finally be appreciated. Each of these shows finds the Dead delivering punchier, more focused sets, tightening up the framework; each night turning out first-ever renditions ("Passenger,""Iko Iko,""Jack-A-Roe"), unloading potent new pairings ("Scarlet Begonias">"Fire On The Mountain", "Estimated Prophet">"Eyes Of The World"), classic covers ("Dancing In The Street") and soon-to-be staples ("Estimated Prophet," "Samson and Delilah"), and ultimately rising up to paradise.
And now for the nitty-gritty...
Due June 11, May 1977 is limited to 15,000 individually numbered copies. Presented in a psychedelic box that boasts an intricate die-cut design created by Grammy®-winning graphic artist Masaki Koike, the set also includes a book filled with stories about each show, as well as an in-depth essay by Dead historian Steve Silberman, who delves deep into the history behind the tour and the band’s return from its extended hiatus.
Once these 15,000 boxes are gone, May 1977 and its shows will never be available again on CD. However, the 111 tracks will be made available on release date as FLAC and Apple lossless full-set-only downloads for $99.98.
Like its predecessors Europe '72: The Complete Recordings and Spring 1990, we expect May 1977 to sell out. Your best bet is to pre-order it now, then sit back, relax, and enjoy all the exclusive content we'll be rolling out over the next few weeks right here and on Facebook.com/GratefulDead and Youtube.com/gratefuldead.
May 1977 Show By Show
Take a closer look inside of our numbered, limited-edition boxed set May 1977 with listening parties, videos, artwork and more from each featured show.
5/11/77 St. Paul Civic Center Arena, St. Paul, MN
5/12/77 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
5/13/77 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL
5/15/77 St. Louis Arena, St. Louis MO
5/17/77 University Of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
"Wharf Rat" 5/11/77
"Mississippi Half-Step" 5/12/77
"Dancing In The Street" 5/15/77
"Terrapin Station" 5/17/77
David Lemieux on What’s Inside May 1977
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I have always been a big fan of what Bob does and to what he brings to the band. He is vastly underrated as a guitarist. He adds just what the band needs to bring out the best in the tunes and he plays off of Jerry very nicely. I am also a huge fan of the songs he has written and his cowboy tunes always ramp up the show. Watch him on any dvd and you can see what a good time he has but also how very serious is he about playing his parts. The Dead always were a great example of synergy, the sum of the parts is way more then just adding up the individual talents.
I am not boasting about this, because I don't care if someone doesn't like a particular song, but I never skip any songs. I am completist and I usually try to listen to the complete show. That being said, if I ever skipped a song, it would most likely be a Chuck Berry tune.
With Bob's playing, when I first started to listen to the Grateful Dead, it was really hard for me to tell what Bobby was doing. His playing is amazingly subtle and completely unique to any other guitar player. I agree with what others posted on here about him fitting in with Phil & Jerry. More often I hear people praising Phil or Jerry but Bobby, I think, is a greatly underrated guitar player. I think David Crosby described him as being the 2nd lead guitar player in the band. I think that is pretty spot on because he rarely seems to play a "conventional" rhythm part. I am a guitar player and sometimes, while watching a show, Ill try to copy what he is doing and Im always surprised at how odd his style is but also how perfect it'll fit in with the rest of the song and how it fits in the middle of what Jerry & Phil are doing (and whomever's keys part)
Loving May 77 box 14466!
A Help/Slipknot would have been nice if it was played on one of these 5 shows. Would definitely trade that for Row Jimmy. That is my skip song, it has a nice laid back reggae feel but always goes on for ever and ever and ever....
I love & respect Bob's coloring in on rhythm guitar but he crosses the line on the 90 box set with all that midi stuff. (in some shows more than others. The Nassau show is loaded with him on midi but the Copps show he lays off it except for Space-which is where it works). Jerry uses the midi somewhat tastefully. That midi effect can cause some awful schlocky, processed, imitation keyboard synth sounds. At times it really ruins it for me, they already had Brent behind the keys so there was no need for Bobby to add those sounds. I am sorry but if you see Furthur today you notice how Bobby plays rather pure straight through a tube amp. All that late 80's early 90's experimenting with cheesy gurgling midi effects was (at least in hindsight) a mistake.
Obviously we will all have our faves and our not-so-faves. I myself have always loved Sugaree. Jerry cranks on this tune and I always love it! I am not a big fan of LLR and I definitely do not care for Stella Blue or Morning Dew. I am really loving the Estimated Profits & Passengers in this box. New tunes at the time. I myself would never skip any tune. Maybe I am crazy like that, but I just feel if I am listening to a complete show, I should listen to the complete show. But that's just me. To each his own. That's what makes this Dead world go around. I will probably not to listen to anything but this box set for several more weeks. Then I will definitely be starting to salivate for the next DaP. Can we never get enough "new" stuff? Addicted I remain.
Everyone has to admit there are skip songs. Why would you suffer through listening to your least favorite song when you know there is a kicking number, maybe your favorite, right around the bend? For me, Looks Like Rain is usually a skipper, but then a good one comes along like on the UCLA 73 show. This is going to be blasphemy and I can already hear the moans and insults heading my way, but I rarely ever listen to Stella Blue. I have heard good ones, but I pretty much do not like that song and skip it almost every time. The melody just does not grab me and it makes me want to go to sleep. I like Sugaree fine though-- especially 1984-85 versions.
Re: Bob Weir. The guy is fantastic and I have really appreciated him more and more in the post-GD era. I had friends in the 80s and 90s who hated Bob-- perhaps it was the Daisy Duke shorts and Izods, but they could not stand him. I liked that a Jerry ballad (Stella Blue maybe) was frequently followed by a rockin' Bob tune to get us up again.
I will never forget a show with my buddy at the Boston Garden when his desire for food outweighed his desire to listen to a version of Althea. Vendors were walking around soliciting food and right in the middle of the song he yelled out “Hey Pizza”! We proceeded to pay the vendor down the aisle and change was returned. Before the end of the song, a pretzel vendor walked by and he yelled “Hey Pretzel”! So much for hearing Althea that night. If Bobby was with us he would have given him another “Shut the #%!% up”!
We all can't like every song to the same degree. Some songs we never want to here and some that we certainly want more than others. With some my friends there were always the "bathroom" songs.
I've always liked sugaree. Look Like Rain too, some great Barrow lyrics and I love Jerry on this tune.But, we shouldn't be afraid to or have apologize for not liking a song. As long as there's no hate behind it, all critique is welcome.
Now, I've always been a big Bobby fan. He's one of my favorite singers - inside the Dead world or out. And I dare you to find better rhythm guitarist anywhere. I hate to just call him just a rhythm guitarist he much more than that. He does a lot lead work, too. The whole WRS Prelude is all Bobby. Check out Bobby's solo acoustic demo for WRS on the Wake of the Flood expanded version. Just great.
And the Spring 77 Box is just awesome
It's arrived in the North East of England......but not in my home until I've paid £26.60 (including £8 handling fee) qnd collected it tomorrow morning from the local Royal Mail depot.
Buying the Dead and doing your bit for the Country....got to love it!
It's a testament to the band's range, diversity, and longevity that we have so many things to disagree about(!) To wit: I happen to LOVE Victim or the Crime, Throwing Stones, West L.A. Fadeaway, and a few more tunes others find as cringe-worthy as I find Sugaree. On the other hand, farked-up Playin' in the Bands really bother me - even when the long stretches are fine. Go figure!
Re Skip Songs: "Around and Around" (along with the maligned Sugaree) has my vote.
Re Dancin': Garcia's extended DITS solos were often terrific. I've learned to embrace the disco.
You asked about any good jamming Dancin's. I was at 11/9/79 in Buffalo, and it was a *fantastic* show. The energy that night stood out to me more so than probably any other show I saw. This was released on the first Road Trips (great call TPTB!), and I highly recommend it. The DITS has got this very cool electronic sounding jam in it and just rocks, all the way into Franklin's Tower. What a way to open the second set! Check it out.
i loved listening to black throated wind until i got the E72 complete, but hearing 22 of em in a couple weeks time when i first received the set caused me to occasionally consider skipping them when they come up, but i never tire of playing it on gtr
Star Dark, I agree with Patagonian - your comment about Sugaree was NOT "troll-like" - Though I too love Sugarees, your comment was totally valid and welcome. A "troll-like" comment is when someone goes beyond criticizing something like a song and turns it into an ad-hominem attack (e.g., "people who like Sugaree are mindless dupes."
One Man, I totally see your point about LLR, but they've grown on me. And I gotta say, my highlight for 5/11 set 1 is the LLR. On good headphones the interplay and nuance is out of this world. And it always strikes me that Jerry LOVED playing that tune - some of his best guitar work...
Okay, my number one "skip song"? Black Throated Wind. Yes, that's right, a good song, often some great playing, but I can't listen to the way Bobby (over)sings it... it's so out of his range that he sounds like he's going to pass out. But who knows, maybe it will grow on my the way LLR did...
I'm always surprised when folks on the forum are offended by criticism. Although I love Blair Jackson's ability to provide deep context, I used to tire of his relentless cheerleading, especially because part of his job was to sell product. I'd rather discuss, compare and contrast. I am a lover of Sugaree in all its forms. For me, the skip button was made for one song. Written in the letters of its name: LLR. But it's all right, Grateful Dead, 'cause I love you. That's not going to change.
but please don't be afraid to speak your mind star dark. anyone who tells you not to express opinions they disagree with can suck it.
for far too many people these boards are just a forum for them to demonstrate how far they can stick their head up jerry's ass. we get it. you love the grateful dead more than the average bear. thanks for sharing. it shouldn't matter if a statement is positive or negative. all opinions are welcome.
Totally agree with you, star dark. Before the 2013 subscription (my first) I made three song lists: "please please please", "always welcome" and "no more". "Sugaree" topped one of these lists... However, getting deeper into the realm of the Dead, I noticed that very often the unwelcome choices are presented in awesome and mind-blowing versions.
Fridays are my short work day and I arrive home to see a box sitting by the door! Time to change clothes and start listening.
I, too, find the sound of Spring '90 plenty fine.
Re Mr. Weir, it's been said he functioned as an indispensable/essential buffer between Jerry & Phil. Couldn't agree more - and he may have been the only guy on planet earth suited for it. Must've helped immensely to have developed his technique while playing with those two radically different musicians. It's fascinating to hear how that technique translates to solo acoustic work - TMNS being a wonderful example.
PS - Nice little story in the Rock and Roll section on the 77 Tour and Box in this week's Rolling Stone - and a nice 4 star review of the Box as well.
My plan has been to listen to the Box in sequence with the rest of the spring 77 tour. I've just completed the second set of the second night in Chicago, 5/13. I've reached the conclusion that the Drums>Jerry Solo>Other One>Stella is Dead ROCKNROLL at its finest. I mean, there aint nuthin jazzy, funky, Bakersfield country about it . . . just GOOD TIME ROCK N ROLL!
Any word on the next Dave Picks release . . . isn't it due for release in August?
Hugs n kisses to all,
I thought Bobby's guitar was really prominent in the Spring 90 Box and that was one of my favorite things about it...(?)
Love the box- no complaints, here. I'm really enjoying hearing Keith's playing on this set. He's always been my favorite Dead keyboardist, by far, but I've generally ignored the post-hiatus stuff. Usually, I can barely hear him on late 70's shows, anyways. But the combination here of great shows, great sound, and good headphones is pretty awesome. Keith would be my favorite Dead keyboardist based on this set alone, even if we didn't have his glorious 71-75 period.
I'm not sure what to think about the long "Dancin'" jams. Usually they are among the longest jams of any 77 show, and therefore, should be a highlight, right? I don't think I've ever heard or read anyone praising an "epic" Dancin' jam. I'm not sayin' I don't like them. Jamming is jamming. They just take some getting used to. They are pretty spacey and I can't imagine anyone dancing to them(?).
I agree Weir is underrated, but probably mostly by non-Deadheads. I suspect most self-described Deadheads appreciate him just fine.
I have a hard time hearing Bobby's guitar in the Spring 1990 Box. Not sure if it is me or the way Healy set the board?
Hi there, Dr. Shakedown!
Well, how's this for a conundrum: had you followed your own counsel ("go be a critic somewhere else") and not posted your negative comment, I might have invested more consideration in it!
In any case, this is a forum. Not every post can (or should) be rainbows and lollipops. I just happened to notice that quite a few Dead-related posts, ad blurbs, etc. assume we all dig Sugaree. Some of us don't. It was a flip comment - nothing to be offended by.
As a make-good, here's a little ray of sunshine: I firmly believe Bobby's contributions to the band's sound (both within and beyond May '77) were immeasurable. Folks love to bash the guy, but if only they could hear the music without his incredibly innovative rhythmic interjections (*and* he played much more "lead" than many realize). It could be argued that he added just as much value as Garcia. A close listen to the new box (and beyond) should validate. Just plain freakin' awesome.
If you have to open a statement with an apology.... Why not just not make the statement, go with your instincts and be quiet, skip the track, and go be a critic somewhere else.
Only one Sugaree on the '77 box set. Star Dark, u must be happy w/ that?
Got a message from my wife this morning .... The box was dropped onto my porch this morning.
Nothing to pay ! Just starting to rip them now.
Apologies for the following shameless troll-type comment: Please, please stop with the Sugarees! Silly lyrics, insipid melody, and maddeningly repetitive "jamming." I may be the only Head in existence who finds the song a terminally boring momentum killer, but there ya go. That said, a decent-sounding '83 would be mighty nice... as would a hot '78 or '84...
I've been stung for £26.60 (including £8.00 "Handling Charge").
My Dave's Picks 7 prediction
Grateful Dead Live at Olympic Center on 1983-10-17
The Sugaree from that show opened 30 Days of the Dead last November 1.
We shall see soon... :)
The Sri Lankan and Indian cricket teams arrived in Caerdydd today along with the discs, and no additional charges. The packaging is superb. Hope others waiting in the UK receive their boxes soon.
i don't think they will announce it until there are fewer than 1000 copies of 'may 1977' left, or the second week in july, whichever comes first.
Lovin the May 77 Box Set. The Alabama show is definitely my favorite.
Not to change the subject, but I was just checking through old Dave's Pick's announcements and Dave's Picks 3 was announced on June 19th of 2012. Therefore, I would imagine that an announcement for Dave's Picks 7 is imminent.
Any thoughts on the next release? I'm going with early 80's.
Whoa, Bobby had issues all the way back in '77 with people talking during the quiet numbers. Note: "Shut up!" just prior to Sunrise in Show #2 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (5/12/77). Reminds me of his famous "Shut the f--- up!" at Sweetwater Music Hall this past year.
Customer service should be able to resolve this, but if you have difficulties lemme know.
......I also had a scratched CD out of the box ,but I played it on multiple players and it doesn't skip so I'm fine with it. My only issue with "Betty Boards" are that,yes,sometimes the vocals don't come in on some songs or some sound "hollow" or echo.But otherwise the box set sounds fantastic. Those missing vocals on 5/12 are also not there on the Winterland Bonus disc and a couple of songs on the Winterland box(Bertha).Jeffrey Norman does do a great job remastering these decades old recordings. People who complain about E72 have to remember, in the CD liner notes they tell you different venues have better sound than other venues i.e. Amsterdam,Rotterdam,Frankfurt, the venues built for symphonies have great sound as opposed to say Newcastle,Aarhus(great show!!) etc.... Anyway, day off today, gonna tackle the St. Louis show! :) Also TPTB, you can announce Dave's Picks 7 anytime now....spoiled,spoiled aren't we!!!! :))) Take care folks, Happy Listening!!!
Mine hasn't arrived in the uk yet. Very frustrating, though ivebeen playing various view from the vault shows which are very good. 1977 deservedly gets the kudos, but is 1987 vastly under represented in the release history? The lack of 77 box however has enabled me to keep up to date with ironing hoovering and gardening thereby earning brownie points from the missus.
Alas, this is possibly the most boring entry on here. Apologies!
Someone in the UK got theirs this morning by post without extra charges (reported on Eurotraders)
Thanks cosmicbadger... I will stop checking the DHL site now and sit back and wait for Royal Mail to leave a card to collect.
The last entry on the DHL Tracking record is the arrival of my package at the DHL Global Mail Facility in Des Plaines IL on 8 June. It arrived here in France yesterday by mail posted from Germany on 17 June.
The last entry on the DHL Tracking record is the arrival of my package at the DHL Global Mail Facility in Des Plaines IL on 8 June. It arrived here in France yesterday by mail posted from Germany on 17 June.
There is even a note on the packaging somewhere acknowledging the distortion on 5/12
I am not usually one to complain, BUT my discs came scratched out of the package and now 2 discs so far are defective. This seems to happen more when discs are packaged with rough paper sleeves or cardboard....luckily I trust dead.net to make this right. And the sound and performances on these discs are outta sight!
the vocals are muffled on one song, but the problem is quickly fixed. i don't think its a manufacturing issue. the sound guy probably just fell asleep on the job.
so well said; its almost as if you worked for the company.
Is it me or does the first set of 5/12/77 Chicago suffer from some serious tape saturation and resulting distortion? I find it particularly noticeable on the vocals and heard it with ear buds, over ear headphones and on my full system, which includes an HDCD cd player. Things get better by set 2, but the Bertha, TLEO, 1/2 Step and Dancing all seem to max out in places, and it gets a little painful to listen to. The rest of these shows sound great. Overall, this is one of the best box sets released to date.
Yes how I do enjoy this '77 Box.
I've listened to all the 5 show 2X each except 05-15, this one's got me.
It hasn't left my CD player. Oh yeah !
Anyone that doesn't own, Road Trips Vol. 1 No. 2 should head over to
And grab-it while there's stock in the store, this too is top notch 77 Dead !
- Two full CD's, lovingly compiled and painstakingly mastered (in HDCD) by Jeffrey Norman
- A 16-page booklet boasting scads of great photos and a very cool historical essay by erudite scribe Steve Silberman
1. Let It Grow (10:17)
2. Sugaree (17:41)
3. The Music Never Stopped (8:59)
4. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodleoo (11:53)
5. El Paso (4:52)
6. Help On the Way (5:48)
7. Slipknot! (4:02)
8. Franklin's Tower (14:59)
1. Playing In the Band (17:12)
2. Drums (3:09)
3. The Other One (8:24)
4. Good Lovin' (5:53)
5. Terrapin Station (11;29)
6. Black Peter (13:17)
7. Around and Around (9:08)
8. Brokedown Palace (5:51)
9. Playing In the Band reprise (5:23)
Listened to the Alabama show today. Very impressed by the quality of the recording. I'm amazed how the material from 77 still sounds so fresh after playing that year to high heaven. I can't wait to get into the rest of the set. Please keep these box sets coming.
The packaging of the box is fantastic. It's beautiful and functional. Definitely your best, and it should be a model for subsequent issues. I may be in the minority here, but the large boxes (Spring 1990 and Europe 1972) while attractive, are not nearly as functional. And oh yeah -- the music is great too!!!!
Outpost - you can track the package here (http://webtrack.dhlglobalmail.com) using the shipping reference in your email. The first result will likely be another package that was delivered a few months back, but there will be a list on the page and your box set will be in that list.
I am not sure if it ever updates after it is set to leave the States though. I think it will depend on whether or not the packages are passed on the Royal Mail or delivered by DHL. I have been able to track items straight through to delivery in the past though.
Maybe someone else in Europe that had their package delivered might give it a shot and let us all know if the tracking says their box set was delivered.
Hi Rattydog .... how are you tracking your package ?
I've been unable to get info, and when I emailed Dead.net they said I was unable to track, so I'm jus t waiting until something turns up. It seems a shame they haven;t sussed out a way to send a package from the USA to the UK, without all the hassle we get.