Grateful Dead

Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 5

Road Trips Series Ends with Boston ’76

1976 was a pivotal year for the Grateful Dead. After an 18-month hiatus that saw just four Bay Area appearances by the band, but also a phenomenal studio album, Blues for Allah, and a slew of solo projects, the Dead returned to the road at the beginning of June ’76. Mickey Hart was officially back in the fold after a long absence, and the band came back with a batch of new songs and fresh approaches to playing their old ones. It was the summer of America’s much-ballyhooed bicentennial, the country was still going through Watergate withdrawal, and we needed our Grateful Dead back!

During their time away, the Dead radically simplified their stage setup. They put their remarkable (but cumbersome) Wall of Sound P.A. out to pasture, in favor of a more conventional (but still great) system. And, as a treat to their fans, they booked their entire first post-hiatus tour into acoustically solid small theaters, eschewing the large arenas that their snowballing popularity and their massive sound system had forced them into. They hit the road well-rehearsed and refreshed; clearly thrilled to be out there playing Grateful Dead music onstage again. And we were, needless to say, psyched to be seeing them again!

This latest—and last—edition of our Road Trips series (more on that in a moment), ingeniously labeled Vol. 4 No. 5, was drawn from two shows early on what was dubbed by many Heads at the time as the Dead’s “comeback” tour. It contains the truly awe-inspiring complete June 9, 1976 Boston Music Hall show (just the third of the tour, but you’d never guess that), and also a handful of hot tracks from the June 12 show at the same venue. The 6/9 show has long been a personal favorite, so I’m really delighted that it is finally being released! It’s definitely one of the strongest of ’76.

The first set includes stand-out versions of then-new songs such as “Crazy Fingers” and “The Music Never Stopped,” just the third version of “Cassidy,” a neatly jammed “Scarlet Begonias” and a potent “Ship of Fools,” among other gems. The second set opens with a long, circuitous “St. Stephen” (the first in five years!), then goes into a tremendous “Eyes,” followed by “Let It Grow,” which was now independent of the first two parts of “Weather Report Suite.” “Samson and Delilah” and “Lazy Lightning” > “Supplication” were brand-new to the Dead repertoire, while the bevy of rearranged songs included “High Time” and the famous disco-influenced “Dancing in the Street.” The encore was another recent one: “Franklin’s Tower” (which would never be played in that slot again). For a band that hadn’t played together in eons, the Dead sound remarkably self-assured and on-the-ball throughout. The 6/12/76 songs include one of only five versions of “Mission in the Rain” the Dead played, “The Wheel” (a few years old, but new to the stage), the revived “Comes a Time” (last played in ’72) and a “Sugar Mag” sandwich with a great “U.S. Blues” as the meaty filling.

As with all the previous Road Trips releases, this final entry comes with a colorful booklet containing an essay and period photos. And needless to say it has been mastered to HDCD specs by Jeffrey Norman. You can find the complete song list for all three discs, as well as ordering information, by clicking here.

So, what’s all this talk about the end of Road Trips? Well, we figured that four years and 17 releases was a pretty good run for that series, and now it’s time to try something new. Don’t worry, there is definitely going to be another release program dedicated to putting out the best material in the vault. We’ll be revealing details of the new series very soon, so stay tuned!

— Blair Jackson

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Joined: Feb 24 2010
U.K.

Mine arrived in UK yesterday.
Probably doesn't mean that much as I know that my copy of RT 4.4 arrived a full 2 weeks after others in UK posted here, receiving their copy. It would be interesting to know how many staff are working at getting these out.

guit30's picture
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Joined: May 1 2009
A Good Time

This was a good time in Dead History, their sound was fresh, they were coming back from a much needed break, and sounded refreshed.
Jerry was playing the Aluminum Travis Bean which I loved the tone.

They are back to putting the "Caveat Emptor" on CDS , so idiots like myself can't complain about sound quality. Actually, for the most part, this sounds excellent. Just wish they would use Digipacks, or even jewel cases. The cardboard sleeves are cheapest available packaging They don't give you a discount for going green. Personally, I love Digipaks,gives you the good protection, plus I do like the Cardboard look on outside.

Good One Rhino!!

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Joined: Oct 8 2009
Canada Orders for Final Road Trips

Still waiting in Ontario, Canada for my Final Road trips. Anybody in Canada receive theirs yet. If Europe is starting to receive theirs now. We in Canada, should have had them by now. thanks

SPACEBROTHER's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
Bad Discs

I've had my copy for weeks, and the portions that I can listen to sound awesome. My discs, #2 and #3 are defective so up to this point I've been unable to listen to the second set and bonus material. I inquired about getting replacement CDs and will get to enjoy this set eventually, but right now, I'm jonesing to hear St. Steven>Eyes>Let it Grow, High Time, Dancing>Wharf Rat and especially Mission In The Rain and Comes A Time. ...Shucks...

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Joined: Jun 7 2007
Postage (again)

So, I just received my Blu-Ray of the Dead movie (more on that later), even though it was only posted two weeks ago, whereas my Road Trips hasn't shown up. Despite Customer Service telling me they sent it to my current address (of which I had advised them months ago) I bet they've sent it to the old address, meaning it will never show up. I wonder when enough time will have elapsed before I can ask for a replacement to be sent.

Regarding the Blu-Ray, please all of you from outside the US without modified Blu-Ray players, do yourselves a favour and don't buy it from here until you know there are region-free or international versions. I bought it blissfully unaware that it is a US region Blu-Ray and now I can't watch it. Kind of disappointing. I can play the DVD but for some reason my player is locked for Blu-Rays but not DVDs. Perhaps there's a way of getting around it but I can't figure it out.

Anyway, my point is to the site admin - PLEASE note that the Dead movie re-release is a US region Blu-Ray. I'm not so impressed I bought it and can't actually watch it. I'd love to be on here raving about how good it looks but I can't.

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Joined: Jan 13 2010
looking forward to this one arriving in the mail

I happen to love GD76, limp-wristed or not. vegas krissy, is that really your picture? Not your typical Deadhead (40-50 something dude).

disco Dancin's do get a bit repetitive. BUT then they go into Cosmic Charlie or something.

DP33 is Charles Atlas GD76
12/31/76 is one of THE shows for me.

the set lists from that year alone make it a favorite year of mine.

AAAAANNNNNNDDDD......

7/13/76 High Time is like a costco cheesecake, all for your personal consumption, fork included.

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Joined: Jun 7 2007
When can I expect this?

So, as a subscriber to the Road Trips package, when should I expect this to arrive? Still no sign of it. I never got a shipping notice. I'm almost certain it has gone to my old address. Can anyone assist? Please? Seems kind of fair after I got stiffed on the "we're not going to tell you the Grateful Dead Move blu-ray is region locked" matter a week ago...

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Joined: Jun 6 2007
Does anybody know what this means?

When I enquired about the non-arrival of RT V 4.5 I received this reply,

"Your order has been received but is on inventory hold."

This was a pre-order - I paid long ago.

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Joined: Jan 13 2010
little ben clock...

was it sent first class? if not, and if it went to your old address, it might not have been forwarded.

rogo, if you don't have it m\by now, your order went into a black hole. contact the customer service line ASAP.

my advice to you...

good luck.

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Joined: Jun 7 2007
International shipping?

I don't remember what international shipping option I took. Was there a choice or was there just the one? I'm in Australia so whatever option I took is going to take a while. I accept that.

It's just this change of address thing that's got me worried. I told Customer Service two or three times that I had moved. Despite that RT4.4 went to my old address. I tried again before RT4.5 was sent and was told that the address they had was my new address. I think it's pretty clear by now that the disc either hasn't been sent at all or has bounced.

I just used the Order Status option and there's no mention of RT4.5. Not a good sign, although perhaps it doesn't count as a recent order since I ordered it a year (is it a year already?) ago.

Let's just say that if I don't receive my RT4.5 disc or get some kind of response from CS about where it is in the next few weeks, I'll be cancelling my Dave Picks subscription. They can shove their "no refunds" rule. I'll be in touch with my bank demanding the transaction be cancelled or reversed.

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Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 5