Grateful Dead

May 1977 Box (Digital)

Digital Download

What's Inside:
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


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 and

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

Listening Party

MAY 1977

"Wharf Rat" 5/11/77
"Mississippi Half-Step" 5/12/77
"Jack-A-Roe" 5/13/77
"Dancing In The Street" 5/15/77
"Terrapin Station" 5/17/77

David Lemieux on What’s Inside May 1977


Show #1
St. Paul Civic Center Arena, St. Paul, MN (5/11/77)

Disc 1
1. Promised Land [4:54]
2. They Love Each Other [7:38]
3. Big River [6:25]
4. Loser [7:39]
5. Looks Like Rain [9:18]
6. Ramble On Rose [7:48]
7. Jack Straw [5:54]
8. Peggy-O [8:43]
9. El Paso [4:44]
10. Deal [5:49]

Disc 2
1. Lazy Lightning> [3:32]
2. Supplication [5:20]
3. Sugaree [13:49]
4. Samson and Delilah [7:08]
5. Brown-Eyed Women [5:28]
6. Estimated Prophet [8:38]

Disc 3
1. Scarlet Begonias> [9:47]
2. Fire On The Mountain> [11:02]
3. Good Lovin' [6:29]
4. Uncle John's Band> [9:11]
5. Space> [5:48]
6. Wharf Rat> [9:51]
7. Around and Around [8:48]
8. Brokedown Palace [5:34]

Show #2
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (5/12/77)

Disc 1
1. Bertha [7:16]
2. Me and My Uncle [3:04]
3. Tennessee Jed [9:32]
4. Cassidy [5:05]
5. Peggy-O [7:52]
6. Jack Straw [5:45]
7. They Love Each Other [7:47]
8. New Minglewood Blues [5:20]

Disc 2
1. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo> [9:54]
2. Dancing In The Street [14:19]
3. Samson and Delilah [7:07]
4. Brown-Eyed Women [5:28]
5. Estimated Prophet [9:25]
6. Sunrise [3:46]

Disc 3
1. Terrapin Station> [10:13]
2. Playing In The Band> [8:36]
3. Drums> [4:06]
4. Not Fade Away> [14:15]
5. Comes A Time> [10:20]
6. Playing In The Band [7:00]
7. Johnny B. Goode [4:18]

Show #3
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (5/13/77)

Disc 1
1. The Music Never Stopped [8:37]
2. Ramble On Rose [7:33]
3. Cassidy [4:46]
4. Brown-Eyed Women [5:35]
5. New Minglewood Blues [5:06]
6. Friend Of The Devil [8:38]
7. El Paso [4:55]
8. Jack-A-Roe [5:56]
9. Looks Like Rain [8:17]
10. Scarlet Begonias> [7:05]
11. Fire On The Mountain [13:19]

Disc 2
1. Samson and Delilah> [7:24]
2. Bertha [6:52]
3. Estimated Prophet> [9:51]
4. Drums> [5:47]
5. The Other One> [16:28]
6. Stella Blue> [11:51]
7. Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad> [8:05]
8. One More Saturday Night [5:21]
9. U.S. Blues [5:57]

Show #4
St. Louis Arena, St. Louis MO (5/15/77)

Disc 1
1. Bertha> [6:34]
2. Good Lovin' [6:07]
3. Row Jimmy [10:51]
4. New Minglewood Blues [5:33]
5. Tennessee Jed [9:35]
6. Lazy Lightning> [3:34]
7. Supplication [4:42]
8. Jack-A-Roe [6:24]
< 9. Passenger [4:31]
10. Brown-Eyed Women [5:16]

Disc 2
1. Dancing In The Street [18:49]
2. Estimated Prophet> [11:32]
3. Eyes Of The World> [12:48]
4. Drums> [3:13]
5. Samson and Delilah [7:28]
6. Ship Of Fools [7:41]

Disc 3
1. St. Stephen> [5:28]
2. Iko Iko> [3:54]
3. Not Fade Away> [9:38]
4. Sugar Magnolia [9:58]
5. Uncle John's Band [9:06]

Show #5
Coliseum, University Of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (5/17/77)

Disc 1
1. New Minglewood Blues [5:46]
2. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo> [10:28]
3. El Paso [4:48]
4. They Love Each Other [7:42]
5. Jack Straw [5:37]
6. Jack-A-Roe [5:59]
7. Looks Like Rain [8:10]
8. Tennessee Jed [8:46]
9. Passenger [3:36]
10. High Time [8:32]
11. Big River [6:39]

Disc 2
1. Sunrise [4:35]
2. Scarlet Begonias> [13:02]
3. Fire On The Mountain [13:14]
4. Samson and Delilah> [6:43]
5. Bertha> [6:16]
6. Good Lovin' [6:02]
7. Brown-Eyed Women [5:34]

Disc 3
1. Estimated Prophet [8:55]
2. Terrapin Station> [11:23]
3. Playing In The Band> [12:20]
4. Drums> [4:49]
5. Wharf Rat> [12:53]
6. Playing In The Band [6:06]
7. Sugar Magnolia [9:15]


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Seth Hollander's picture
Joined: Aug 27 2009
UnkleSam, here's a reason

"why would the powers that be authorize a release if it is 43 years old and has been sitting on a roof or wherever for this long?"

1- How many times have commenters in these threads claimed they were not going to purchase an upcoming purchase because they already have high-qual copies of those shows? Almost every thread has one or more of us, the very-interested-in-new-releases community members, taking this stand. The internet has delivered unto GDM/Rhino both a blessing, the means to efficiently market to and interact with the customer-base, and a curse, the means for that same audience to get widely-available high-qual recordings of many of the Dead's shows.
Newly discovered tapes means these recordings were never torrented, treed, or LiveMusicArchived.
2- Ever decide to not buy a new GDM release because you have high-quals already?.... It isn't very pleasing. Some of us have collected A LOT OF DEAD over the years, tape-trading in the 80's/90's and internet harvesting in the later years... People in that position tend to like new-to-them shows! They're fun!

Personally, my perfect DaP year would be two new-to-me releases and two upgrades-of-shows-I-have releases. So far DiPs , Road Trips, and DaPs have provided me with many more new-to-mes than upgrades (and, as for 5/15/70, a brutal downgrade!), but I do enjoy first listening as much as when I was a young'un!
Your experience may vary...

Joined: Sep 5 2012
Unkle Sam

Unkle Sam: “As far as a sound system, had it for years, some parts over 40 years and there ain't too much better out there, it ain't new, but it kicks butt, I won't discribe it lets just say ‘top of the line’.”
Translation: My equipment is better than yours, so shut up.

Unkle Sam: “I'm not tone deaf so I can hear and what I hear is sub par.”
Translation: My opinion is not subjective. Those who disagree should see an audiologist.

Unkle Sam: “Now the real argument is will you pay for better sounding releases? I doubt it.”
Translation: Y’all just don’t care much about sound quality.

Unkle Sam: “I really have no beef with Norman, he just does what seems to be the norm today, just get it done and collect the cash.”
Translation: Norman is a greedy hack. Of course, I’m fine with that.

Unkle Sam: “Why the beef with ebay sellers? For those of you who think that capitalism ain't all bad, it's a great way to make some cash from yourold worn out cd's and lp's. It's the system that makes these recordings valuable for resale, not the individual.”
Translation: I’ll conveniently ignore the fact that – much like mail order ticket scalpers of days past – unsavory characters are sucking up limited releases before they can be purchased by actual music lovers, and flipping them for 100%-200% markups on eBay.

Of course, this translation is NOT intended as a personal attack - just my own personal, highly subjective and agitated take on Mr. Sam's antagonistic tone. Why can't we all just enjoy the music?

simonrob's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Those were the days...

I remember when almost every release was greeted with almost universal approval. Most notably, Jeffrey Norman was regularly singled out for praise, and quite rightly so I reckon. Lately things have changed which could be due to any number of things. It is possible that the best sounding shows have all been released. It is also possible that Rhino have reduced the budget for each release with the result that Mr. Norman no longer has the time to make them sound "just exactly perfect" It is also possible that some people have set their expectations just too high and when these expectations are not met they become overly critical. I have not had a real problem with any of the releases to date. I will be the first to admit that a few have been less than perfect, but none have been so much below par that I feel the need to complain. I would much rather have the chance to listen to these shows (which have, after all, been deemed fit for release) than be denied that opportunity. I doubt that a poor performance will ever be put up for release by Dave, but there will undoubtedly be a few where the performance is great but the sound quality falls a bit short. I would still be grateful for the chance to hear such shows and would settle for "that is just how it is" rather than blame the engineer for being incompetent - which in the case of Jeffry Norman is clearly not the case. I listen to my music on a pretty good system (including HDCD) which can be a double-edged sword - if the recording is good, it sounds great, if it is not so good, the problems are obvious to hear. Even bearing that in mind, I still haven't heard a GD release where I think "this is crap. They shouldn't have released this". Ultimately, the whole listening experience is very personal and subjective so most opinions have some degree of validity.

Chitown rider's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2012
..personal attack

Unkle sam re-read your original post and tell us how that is not a personal attack on J. Norman, Rhino and "the powers that be" while you were at it why didn't you throw DL under the bus as well for his choices for the releases?
Here is a little info for you. perhaps it will change your "opinion"

•Mastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman, Plangent Processes playback system for maximum sonic accuracy.

PROMachine speed instability in the motion picture and music recording industries is a well-known and often unavoidable phenomenon due to the mechanical nature of analog recording. Two artifacts commonly known as wow and flutter result from mechanical speed inconsistencies and can conspire to ruin a soundtrack. Traditionally, wow and flutter anomalies have been considered unsolvable audio problems without the availability of an alternate, unflawed source.

The correction of wow and flutter is now possible thanks to a few unique technologies including Clarity™ Audio Restoration by Plangent Processes. Clarity is a combination of proprietary DSP (digital signal processing) software and hardware for the playback of 35mm magnetic sound film and audiotape that corrects the anomalies generated by both gross and subtle speed instability.

Using the ultra high frequency bias signal recorded onto magnetic film or audiotape, the Clarity process “re-times” the audio as if it had been recorded on a machine running at a perfect, constant speed. The result is a soundtrack with stability similar to that of a high resolution digital recording. Additional audio restoration processes are also more effective once the track has been stabilized with Clarity. Restoration engineers can more effectively target sonic anomalies like hum and hiss, which become more stable due to the Clarity process.
Plangent’s proprietary signal processing which eliminates wow, flutter and other speed aberrations present on even the finest analog tape recordings, revealing previously unheard clarity and increased image depth and focus.
Record labels, film studios, producers, artists and archivists turn to Jamie Howarth, founder of Plangent Processes, and authorized provider Airshow to restore their back catalog of high-profile works. Satisfied Plangent clients include Grateful Dead Productions, Neil Young, Pete Seeger, Queen, Sony Pictures, Fox Video, and many others.

as far as "who is this guy" Jeffery Norman

If you would like to know more about him you can visit his website at
please spend a little time there and read all about him and what he does and who he has done it for. I think you will find a new appreciation for him, and probably glad that GD productions picked him to work on the music that all of us love.


Chitown rider's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2012
this double post needs to be fixed.

sorry for the double post.

hbob1995's picture
Joined: Jun 26 2007
DP6 Sound

I also agree with Little Ben. While the time period of this release is not my favorite GD era, I think the sound is phenomenal! Considering these tapes are over 40 years old, and they were certainly not stored in any way that would have protected their integrity, I was amazed at the sound quality. Crisp & clear. I think Jeff Norman is a magician with the highest standards and is always trying to give us the best quality based on the tapes he is given to work with. Bravo I say!

unkle sam's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2008
personal attack?

not hardly, just a question, which it seems there is no answer to. How about answering the question? I was not out to attack anyone, just want to know what Mr. Norman's qualifications are, and to assume that I would attack anyone is just that, an assumption. you did't like the tone of my post or you didn't like what I had to say or you think Mr. norman's work is great, that's cool, but try and look at it from another point of view. why would the powers that be authorize a release if it is 43 years old and has been sitting on a roof or wherever for this long? Because we asked for it? Perhaps someone could explain what it is that norman does, ben, you seem to know, enlighten us would you?
This is an OPINION, if you don't like it, that's cool, you have that right, but to assume that some don't know what an engineer does or that we should all just love what we hear because Mr. Norman did it is blind faith.
I'm glad that some think that certain releases sound good, more power to you, I'm not impressed and will not blindly follow some down the path of " it's all good"
I would love to hear what Norman had to do to make these tapes releasable, did he have to scrape dust and cobwebs off of the tapes? or pick them out of a dumpster? if so, why are they deemed worthy of release. If one doesn't think that money is involved in all of these decisions, then I have some high and dry land in the everglades up for sale.

Joined: Jul 9 2007
listening party?

Little Ben Clock I couldn't agree more with your post. Maybe there should be a listening party posted demonstrating how the tapes for Dave's pick #6 sounded when they were returned. That might be interesting and help to stop the personal attacks.

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Sound quality

Well, I innocently asked about the Europe '72 sound quality complaints. I didn't expect quite this level of criticism directed towards Mr Norman.

I think one thing that is worth considering - if you haven't heard the master tapes, you don't know how a recording "should" sound. We don't know what condition tapes are in, what the budgets for projects are and what the bosses ask of the engineer.

More extraordinary was this outburst in an earlier post: "then, we come to Dave's picks 6, what's up with the pitch? why so shallow, no depth, can't hear certain players during the tunes, sometimes they come up, sometimes they disappear, what the hell is going on? "

You realise you're talking about a 43 year old recording, some of which was sitting in a box in someone's roof don't know? What do you propose the engineer do - travel back in time and tell Owsley to change his mix? What's wrong with the pitch? Sometimes you can't hear different players at different times because they play more quietly than other times. I actually think DP Vol. 6 sounds great. A nice, roomy Owsley recording, captured with the minimum of microphones. Pure sound.

Then there's this: "Dare I say it, who is this Jeff Norman guy? where did he come from?...Mr Norman, how about doing a mix right for once, tell the powers that be that you won't do it if it ain't right."

Outrageous. Personal attacks - and don't deny this is a personal attack - have no place in the discussion of sound quality. Try to show some respect to the guy who has prepared some wonderful music for us. If you don't agree with his mixing or mastering choices, fair enough but if you don't even understand what he does, don't hurl insults at him.

katky111's picture
Joined: Oct 23 2011
mere dictum

rusty, I dearly wish I could have exercised your discipline with regard to this entirely superfluous release; alas, like a package of Oreos, if they're on the counter I'll surely eat every last one. However, I am resolved to be economically within the parsimonious confines of my abode on the evening of August 1st...

Mr. Mike, crack is a terrible thing - so, put down the pipe and start playing complete shows; remember, friends don't let friends play Dead compilations...peace/katie

Joined: May 4 2012
Re this set...

I don't have "To Terrapin" but my main Dead listening is via my ipod and whatever 6 CDS make it into my car's CD changer. It'll be a challenge to figure out which 6 out of this set would make it, right now, I have Dave's 6 and 3 or something like that, and like them both pretty well. But then I have my playlists. I like to take the chunks of shows and toss them into playlists. I will admit I don't have any "China Dolls" in my frequent hits. I have "show" playlists too but, if I'm at work for 8 hours, I toss on a playlist and let it roll and like what I hear. I'll check the whole sets out, since I have 2 weeks off *and* an new couch for our sunroom coming and it'll be great to check them out. I presume there'll be some parts that will be sick and I'll toss them onto the "AAASickDead" playlist [AAA so it's on top of the list of playlists...] and jam all day. Sure there's some odd transitions every now and then when "album shuffle" goes from 1977 to 1969 but I can roll with it...

Joined: Feb 13 2013
May or no May

Strange as it may seem, I decided not to buy this new box set after listening to "To Terrapin" recently. The reason why? Hartford 77 is just TOO good. Honestly, I was afraid of not listening to that wonderful release any more (at least for some time) after receiving the 14 CD box. There is another reason as well: The Prophets, Samsons and BEW alone make up two CDs of music. That's more of these songs than I need for everyday use.
However, I'd still love to get another glimpse into that wonderful era of Dead music, so what about a 2 CD compilation of May 77? Have there been any news/rumours yet?
Looking forward to all your reviews!

Joined: Feb 13 2013
May or no May

double post

mattthrelkeld's picture
Joined: Jun 18 2008
Shipping soon

I agree, I have no problem with eBay sellers. I am just ready to see that box land in Atlanta!!

unkle sam's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2008
you my friend need a new sound system

Hi everyone, sure got you all talking about sound quality, which is a good thing. As far as a sound system, had it for years, some parts over 40 years and there ain't too much better out there, it ain't new, but it kicks butt, I won't discribe it lets just say "top of the line".
My beef is really about quality, and I buy these releases due to the fact that I want a better sound that what I all ready have, but it ain't happening and I'm not tone deaf so I can hear and what I hear is sub par.
Now the real arguement is will you pay for better sounding releases? I doubt it. Now that I know that these new Dick's picks on vinylare from the master tape, that's the way to go.
I really have no beef with Norman, he just does what seems to be the norm today, just get it done and collect the cash. Can't blame him I guess, but if I had these masterpieces and was able to upgrade them, they would be the best sounding releases that you could get on the market today. I wouldn't have the job for long, rhino would put a stop to all that studio time.
It's an opinion, some agree and some don't, but I will have my opinion and saying my sound system sucks or that I don't appreciate this music, the best music ever made, is, well insulting, so you have your opinion and I have mine, let's just keep it at that.
You all go ahead, I'm gonna wait on all future releases until I hear it first, then decide to buy or not.
I guess some don't seem to mind that the best music in the world is getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
Why the beef with ebay sellers? For those of you who think that capitalism ain't all bad, it's a great way to make some cash from yourold worn out cd's and lp's. It's the system that makes these recordings valuable for resale, not the individual.

Joined: Jun 11 2009
dave's #7

anyone catch what it will be?

Syracuse78's picture
Joined: Jul 15 2010
I see *one* box on eBay. I

I see *one* box on eBay. I suppose one could focus on the fact that they must be shipping them if someone already got it. That seems like good news!

I do wonder who the folks are who are big enough fans to shell out $300 for a box of five shows, yet uninformed enough to not realize that they aren't even sold out.

mattthrelkeld's picture
Joined: Jun 18 2008

I saw it too, they had up close photos of the front and the back of a still shrink wrapped set that isn't shown on the website. Selling it for a ridiculous price considering that this set is not even sold out here yet. Oh well.

I can't wait to get this set and start the process of going through each individual show! It's a great day to be a deadhead!!!

Dead Ahead's picture
Joined: Jul 20 2007
eBay sellers

How do you know they have it now? Maybe they are just listing it now knowing that they will get it when the rest of us do.

Joined: Jun 4 2007

this sucks why is it that the people that get theirs first is the people who sell on ebay?

Joined: Jun 4 2007

this sucks why is it that the people that get theirs first is the people who sell on ebay?

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007

I was the one that started talking about something else than May 77, but, what the heck, I wanted to bring up the subject, that's all.

The Dead on stage might have looked boring because they didn't jump around like The Who or because their concerts didn't feature special effects like the Floyd (two groups I love as much as the Dead), but I deeply enjoy just watching them play, inspecting the chord shapes Bob uses, the stunning leads Jerry plays, etc. etc. etc.

Now, back to May 1977: I have a hard time passing on every release from the 1966-1978 period.
I am not the greatest fan of 1977 and I don't picture myself listening to it as much as I do with the E72 set, or the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack, or Winterland 1973. Anyway, I got to have this box, 'cause I know otherwise I will regret it someday. After all, I like 1977 recordings (especially if they are done by Betty), "Terrapin Station" is one of my favorite compositions, "Estimated Prophet" is always a treat, I like "Sunrise". Hey! Now I know why I must have this set. C'mon, ship it at once!

Joined: Sep 5 2012
Back to May '77

I'm sensing a bit of overload - "market saturation" - at this point. Maybe too soon for another box, and testing limits with 15K at $140 each... especially given the presumably perpetual availability of downloads. The good news: flippers and gougers will be mightily disappointed.

Looking forward to the next Pick o' Dave...

kevjones's picture
Joined: Apr 28 2009
Sunshine Daydream

This May 1977 has turned into a discussion about everything, but the kitchen sink, but I have to weigh in anyway.

Think I'm gonna pass on the box set, I'd love to have it, but I have enough Dead to last me 2 lifetimes, plus I have really been into high quality audience tapes from the Archive lately. Forgot how much I love a good audience. 6/8/74 being a classic example of how much better Wall of Sound audience tapes sound than their SBD counterparts.

Which leads me to my next topic.

Face it, the Grateful Dead were not the most engaging performers to watch. Actually they are downright boring to watch. That is why I absolutely love the audience spliced in on the GD Movie and Sunshine Daydream. It gives the performance more relevance. Who doesn't love that surreal image of the strange man on the pole behind the Dead during Jack Straw in Sunshine Daydream?

Finally, Europe 72. These mixes are absolutely amazing. I do believe that they used the multi-tracks because the recordings are so alive, and I love hearing Pigpen and Keith playing together.

Would love to get into the vinyl stuff, but I do not have the space or the resources to do so.

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007

"Great to see a youngish GD jamming out in the daylight. Not so great seeing a bunch of completely wacked out nude topless & bottomless hippies frolicking about..... "

I agree, I would like to see more of the band playing, and less shots of the audience dancing, naked, or with clothes on. That's why I love the extra songs featured on "The Grateful Dead Movie": they focus on what happens on stage. Anyway, I understand that the aim of the movie was to portrait what a GD concert was as a whole: band, audience, roadies, etc. etc. The same surely applies to "Sunshine Daydream". The representation of a gathering, music included.

Joined: Dec 31 2008

Do they have to go back to putting the "Caveat Emptor" on the releases? We can't have it both ways-- clamoring for more releases and then ripping on the sound engineers if the releases don't sound pitch perfect. I did not get the entire Europe box, but bought six individual shows and have the old Rocking the Rhein release. To my ears, mostly through a good amp and Sennheiser headphones, these releases sound very good-- I am able to pick out players and, in particular, Pigpen's organ sounds fantastic on the releases I have. There are a few rough patches that I attributed to the original tapes, but overall they sound great. Unlistenable? Some folks need to go back and listen to their old tapes and then they may appreciate these releases more.

The most recent Dave's Pick, I think they sound good, but not great. For comparison, Dick's Picks 4 from the same era sounds better. I attribute this to the less than ideal storage conditions for the tapes over the past 40 years-- attics, garages, whatever.

I think we are blessed as GD fans-- 4 releases per year of full live concerts and a major box set every year. My only wish is that there would be more DVD releases-- one per year from the 1980s in the View From the Vault series would do well.

Joined: Sep 5 2012
More Thoughts on Sound

While we're on the topic, a few pet peeves regarding misuse/abuse of terms in concert and recording reviews:

- "Out of tune" is not synonymous with "hitting bad notes"
- "Off key" is not synonymous with "hitting bad notes"
- "Pitchy" is not synonymous with "hitting bad notes"
- There is little correlation between the quality of Wall of Sound *recordings* and what live audiences experienced. In most cases, WoS soundboards were poorly mixed with painfully compressed vocals. Understandable, given that the majority weren't intended for release.
- "It's all good. Jerry on a bad day was better than most guitarists on a good day." NO! On an off day, Jerry was significantly sloppier (i.e., more "lost") than the average professional guitarist at his/her worst. Chalk it up to self-abuse and boredom.

Whew! Glad to get those off my chest. (For what it's worth these observations have more to do with the Archive than anything posted here.)

Joined: Jun 24 2012
Thoughts on sound

I think sometimes people here talk past each other on sound quality so I thought I'd see if I could inject some clarity. Here are some of the different elements to a good sounding recording that I see folks mentioning (my own terms):

1) Mix - how loud is each musician? The fewer tracks you have, the less you can tweak this. I think this is primarily why people care about the multi-track issue.
2) Balance - how much bass, how much treble, etc. (for all players); too little of one and you lose notes, too much and things sound unnatural.
3) Pitch - changes in how fast the tape plays affect tone (think Alvin and the Chipmunks); people with perfect pitch can detect slight variations apprently. I count myself lucky that I cannot.
4) Zits - tape hiss; skips; scratchy bits. Older tapes have more.
5) Separation - how easy is it to locate each sound spatially when you're listening on headphones/stereo systems? How easy is it to distinguish sounds from different instruments?
6) Other quality factors - do the voices sound tinny? Is the bass muddled? Do you get all the overtones on Phil's bass? Are notes amorphous "blrrrps" or do you hear the sound of a string being struck?

It strikes me that the Spring '90s stuff had balance problems - lower bass frequencies were quiet and sort of muddled - listen to how much louder Phil gets as he plays up the neck. And I felt it had some mix issues - Jerry's voice was often low, sometimes his guitar was, cymbals were very high, Phil was relatively low. However, outside of that, they sound fantastic. Brent's keys, in particular sound amazing to me. They're round and full and they shimmer. Older recordings tend to be flatter, tinnier, scratchier, and hissier, but to my ears a lot of them have superior mix and balance.

I personally think the Europe 72 stuff sounds great all around. I think Rockin' the Rhein was a multi track release, so that would explain the mix differences.

Joined: Nov 3 2010
'80s releases

In response to two groups of people on this thread, the people complaining about sound quality and the people complaining about the dearth of mid to late '80s releases.

I believe I've read and heard several places that aside from the inconsistent performance quality in the mid to late '80s (due in no small part to the ravages of various powdered drugs' effects on men become rich old and famous rather than young, hungry and ambitious), there were not very good recording media in use for sound board recordings. THerefore, a lot of '80s shows will either sound crappy or not be released. Hey, at the time, they weren't always hauling around excellent recording gear with the intent to release these shows, and we're lucky to have what we have. I am amazed that I can have access to the shows that predate my '80 to '88 touring years. Sure, I'd love to see commercial releases of, say, Alpine Valley '88, but if the tapes in the vault aren't the highest quality, well, neither were the performances, and therefore maybe not worthy of the full treatment.

Joined: Nov 3 2010
what order to listen ?

I will listen to them all in chronological order, from start to finish. Depending on what day they arrive, of course, I may not get to listen to them all in one day. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to listen to one show per day over the course of a week or so, with various family members enjoying them in the car or in the living room stereo, or on headphones in my computer at work.

cbs73's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2010
Just speculating...

RE: Sunshine Daydream. I wonder if this isn't some cross-promotion between the movie owner and the GD. Maybe we will see the movie come out on Blu-ray, but not from the Grateful Dead & Rhino. Hopefully the soundtrack would be available as a physical release or download from Would work out well for all parties, I think...

cbs73's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2010


reijo29's picture
Joined: Jun 18 2012
Sunshine Daydream

Yes, I checked out the teaser China Cat video. Great to see a youngish GD jamming out in the daylight. Not so great seeing a bunch of completely wacked out nude topless & bottomless hippies frolicking about.....

rne's picture
Joined: Aug 29 2007

I've just received an e-mail talking about the one-day-only screening of "Sunshine Daydream", restored, with new audio mixes by Jeffrey Norman. I guess this will be released on a CD/DVD set soon, won´t it??

Joined: Jun 4 2007
re: vinyl

I can't bring myself to get the DP vinyl because the flips would kill me. I'm too used to the seamless jams on the cd. I did go with this year's 'Rare Cuts' and last years 'Winterland '71'. They are fantastic quality (art and soundwise) and I would very highly recommend them...

Joined: May 4 2012
Which one of these are you gonna listen to first?

I'm a Dead newcomer (post-Dead mostly, although I did enjoy a single show in 1985...ahh...) and, while I've gotten into it, I'm not sure if there's a special moment that is *the* highlight that's worth targeting for a first spin or if I should just fire them up in order? I have a couple weeks off at the end of June and will spend some time checking them out in detail then but, for now, do any of the people who've got boots of these shows have a priority as it were?

I agree the vinyl conversation is interesting. I miss my vinyl sometimes but have become a creature of convenience.

Joined: Feb 2 2011
Thanks to all for the vinyl tutorial!

Thanks everyone for giving me some insight on vinyl vs digital. When I have the $ it looks like I'll invest in a turntable and a lot of Good Ole Gd Vinyl!

davey concepcion for hall of fame's picture
Joined: Aug 7 2007

Hola -

Nice thread. A few comments from an old man (53). You could buy vinyl bootlegs from used or independent record stores back in the day, but had to know the owner or a clerk really well as the copyright folks were very tough. If caught, an owner could lose all his boot inventory in no time. Interesting that some bands like The Who, Neil Young put out live to foil the bootleggers.

My favorite unofficial boot I bought in 1980 in a store in DC was "Farewell to Winterland". The entire last show. The gatefold LP had a pic of Jerry holding up a glass of champagne. My favorite "official" bootlegs were the two releases on, I think, Sunflower: Vintage Dead and Historic Dead (this one had a great blue-grey cover).

One thing being older gives you is a bit of cash flow. I've bought the four DP vinyl releases and have been very, very, very pleased . . . as I also have with the Dead's Record Store Day vinyl releases. Frankly, even if you have a reasonably good turntable I expect you will note the difference. A great investment for a sonic experiment to see if you like them is the Columbus, Ohio, DP 2. Its only, I think, 3 sides, and that Dark Star>Sugar Mags is simply spectacular. I have all real old equipment I've kept: Denon turntable; Pioneer tuner and pre-amp; and, 2 pairs of AR speakers. Niiiiiice sound.

Now, one last thing, ship that Damn 77 Box . . . GOT IT!

Hugs n kisses,


mk81ting's picture
Joined: Sep 19 2011
Heck yes

Yep. Especially being 6 of them. Thing weighs a lot even shipping would be a pain to pay for. I love it. It's hard to keep up! They have been releasing the Dicks Picks CDs too for the past year. They sound absolutely fantastic, i still have to say to me the vinyl is the way to listen. My boss used to disagree with me until he listened once. He is stuck on the vinyls now too. I get them through the company where we get all of our new stuff for the store. They started at 36 and re-released every CD,they are on 23 now. Just ordered it and they are counting up with the vinyls so its just interesting to see happen. Sorry I ramble, but yea dicks 4 is rad ;)

mk81ting's picture
Joined: Sep 19 2011
Sorry for double post .

Sorry for double post .

Joined: Aug 18 2007

Do you think the vinyl DP 4 is worth $125?

mk81ting's picture
Joined: Sep 19 2011
first 4 DP on vinyl

I have bought the first 4 DP on vinyl and the turntable I bought was about 75 bucks new making it more affordable than 3 of the 4 vinyl releases so far. I think they are well worth it. The packaging is awesome, hand numbered,looks like in sharpie. The sound quality is better than anything I've heard and I don't need to have a $200 turntable to reflect that.. I have the Spring 90 vinyl as well and that's on 180g and sounds just as good if not better than the DP. I saw the import of that 1987 show too. Yikes. I work at a music store in PA so these are a little easier to get but there goes another $80. I can't imagine what DP 29 vinyl will be.
interesting stuff!

Joined: Aug 18 2007

There are other factors which contribute to how vinyl will sounds compared to a digital file. For example I have a very nice turntable and cartridge and the quality of both has a effect of how the vinyl sounds. Now the question of if a person can hear the difference between a high resolution file and a vinyl pressing is subjective but if money is no object and the quality of the vinyl pressing in excellent, I'll take the vinyl any day on my system.

Joined: Feb 2 2011
Vinyl vs. Digital 24/96????

Thanks for enlightening this techno-ignorant person. Seriously.

Let me get this straight: The pricey vinyls are remastered from digital at 24/96 yet the vehicle for listening to this 24/96 resolution -- vinyl -- is not necessarily superior to a cd with 24/96. The relevant factor for superior sound which some describe as 'black and white' vs. 'in living color' is not vinyl or cd but 24/96 resolution?

If I have that right? Can we get cds or downloads with 24/96? Is that feasible both technically and economically?

Do you think if you played vinyl 24/96 and cd/download 24/96 to blindfolded Heads would they tell the difference?

I want the best sound period but do not have a turntable.

Joined: Sep 9 2012
Vinyl remasters

It is true that DP 3 and 4 are being remastered from the original reels. However, they are being DIGITALLY remastered to a higher resolution (24/96 I believe). They no doubt sound superior to the 16/44 cd resolution, but releasing them on vinyl serves no real advantage to a straight digital release (other than to sell limited pricy sets). Sure the vinyl will sound great, but its still a digital remaster. Why not release these masters as straight digital downloads? The main point of vinyl is to reproduce the original analog sound, right?

claney's picture
Joined: Jul 20 2007
Vinyl is from Masters

Hi Unkle Sam,

Only the first two DP vinyl releases were from the CD's. It was explained that, inexplicably, the master reels had gone missing. But the remaining DP's, starting with DP3, are from the original master reels.

Chitown rider's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2012
Norman mixes

I personally feel the mixes that J. Norman has done sound excellent, I especially enjoy the Europe 72' box. and Dave's 1 wow what a listen Bringing tapes that in some cases are 40+ years old back to life and make them sound like they were recorded yesterday has got to be no easy task. Especially some material that was recorded with no intent of ever being released. if you would compare the original E72' release to the box set and still say the box sounds "thin and shitty" ? come on........ you my friend need a new sound system! I really don't understand why you have a beef with J Norman or rhino and bitching that it's all about the money. Lighten up dude if your maxell II 's sound so much better what the hell are you buying these releases for? Relax and be grateful that these snapshots of music are being restored and made available at very reasonable prices for those who truly appreciate the music and understand what it represents.

Joined: Feb 2 2011
Ship 'Em Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please.

Hey . .. Show us some love. . .. Ship May 77 Now. . .. Today. . ... Please.

Joined: Aug 13 2007
Shipping Soon......

I think if it were sold out, it would've already shipped. The Spring 90 box set sold out quicker and arrived almost 2 weeks early. The E72 box set also arrived earlier than expected.

Joined: Mar 18 2010
Shipping soon?

Due June 11, and downloads are available on this date, is it reasonable to guess June 11 is when packages will be arriving (and not shipping)? Maybe it's a case of wishful thinking...

Added to Cart May 1977 Box (Digital)

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