May 1977 Box (Digital)
• 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
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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Hi Friends and DeadHeads,
This music sounds great, I loved 77 a whole lot, between 72 and 77 ,it would be hard to say which year I actually liked best, My favorite release has been for the last few years, "To Terrapin", from May,77. It was released in 09. I still listen to it a lot. I love the 3rd disc that has Estimated Prophet , Terrapin Station, and PITB. This Terrapin doesn't sound right, It is off rhythm or something. Something is off, now it seems to be coming together.The one on "To Terrapin" is perfect. It is a hard song. I went to Englishtown in 9/77 another great show in 77 and also DP 10 on DEc 29 is a great show. Englishtown is DP 15, great recording. I see there are about 2500 left, last month there 3500 left. I am on disability and just can't afford this, I wish it would sell out.
I saw someone really appreciating that song earlier in this thread. I always thought (after Brent died) that it was a hollow promise. Those pictures of him singing to his daughter are heartbreaking. She must feel so cheated. He was deep down a self destructive path and made promises he couldn't keep.
THere are definitely songs I enjoyed live at grateful dead and now furthur shows which I don't appreciate as much on the recordings, even of the same shows.
Sugar Magnolia has been consistently awful since 1971, or maybe 72. It should never have been a hard rocker. Bob was always at his worst when he tried to be a normal rock and roller.
I understand the respect due to Chuck Berry, but gosh, I do press skip if I am familiar with the versions already.
My wife and I see all the Broomfield, Ogden, and Red ROcks shows, and one night, we had both worked that day, and spent the evening arranging the kids, and found ourselves parked far away and hiking up to Red Rocks, we could tell we were missing the first song, and when we got to our seats, we were relieved to find out they were politely getting either One More Saturday Night out of the way, or maybe it was sugar mag, I forget.
WHen Jerry was alive, I always tuned out my seat mates for the ballads. Stella Blue, all those slow ones some of you don't care for. Looks Like Rain as well would grab my attention too. I didn't appreciate Looks Like Rain until my friend Jeff started busking with it in Northampton Mass one summer, then put it on his own cassettes that he sold. He taught me to appreciate that song through his own interpretations of it.
Anyway, some songs are skipworthy in the cd or mp3 player, others are pee-break songs live. Depends a little on my mood, or how invested in the performance the band is.
Segan - Just saw the video. Mr. Weir looked and sounded spectacular - quite sharp and animated. The "time off" (assuming this was taped recently) was apparently well worth it!
I just hit the 5/13 Other One, and I felt the need to post. As others have said, I think this sounds amazing. I find myself closing my eyes when I listen so that I can "see" where the sound is coming from. Just mind blowing. It may be the best sounding release since the Grateful Dead Movie Soundtrack.
Also, this is the first time I've really been psyched about the packaging. Beautiful stuff.
You've really upped your game again this year on all fronts.
One thing that would be nice for the next time you offer downloads (beyond the tag issue that people have already flagged), could you indicate whether the HDCD info is in the FLAC file? I think it's possible to have an HDCD flac (or Apple lossless), but it's also possible to create one without the HDCD info in it.
Just received and noticed the box top & bottom are not so straight and flat. So it kind of slants as you set it on the shelf. Anyone else have this issue? (For all that money would be nice if it was closer to perfect)
Yes, 4/24/78 would certainly be welcome. I just saw that Rhino posted a new video on Youtube. It is a clip from the recent Weir Here Over There where Weir and Steve Parish reminisce about the Spring '77 Tour. This lends credence to the idea that they will hold off announcing Dave's Picks 7 until they can sell some more May '77 box sets...
Re 4/24/78 as a candidate for DP7: In the interest of full disclosure, wishful thinking (and a somewhat educated guess) factored into the Guinness calculation! I do know that this show was canned for release several years back, but never quite made it. Can't imagine why - it's a barnburner for sure. Would've been earth-shaking if they'd punched out a better Werewolves...
Are two songs that you are only gonna hear during Pigpen's ear. If you dont like them, I dont care...but there is a pretty short window of which those songs were played. I personally think those are Pigpen's best songs...knowing that Hunter wrote the lyrics for Mr. Charlie only helps the cause. If no agrees with me that they are his best (original), you have to admit they are about as cool as could be.
No problem , Riggsjr - pitched up here in Manchester on Friday , so hopefully you will get it soon,
Morton Duncan, thanks for your quick reply, just have to play the waiting game a little longer!
Yes , Riggsjr - delivered by Royal Mail , so VAT and 8 pounds handling charge.
And yes, you're absolutely right, I ordered it right away instead of waiting until the last couple of thousands and a lower number ... ;-)
The 1990 box set wasn't charged with Swedish sales taxes and Custom service charges and many other other albums and box sets have slipped through as well. This one didn't. I had to pay about 50 dollars extra, 35 dollars in Swedish sales taxes and 15 dollars in Custom service charges.
My Fillmore West box which I got through eBay, arrived last week to no extra charges. :-)
For those in the Uk who have received their box sets can anyone tell me if they are being delivered by Royal Mail. Just a guess looking at the charges being applied.
I'm halfway into my third runthrough of Europe '72 (only interrupted by Spring '77), and I find my finger itching for the Skip button every time Pigpen launches into 'Mr. Charlie' or
'Chinatown Shuffle', which he did in every first set on the tour, or near enough.
I enjoy Pig's workouts and raps on the longer tunes, but the two mentioned were executed exactly the same way every time. Strangely enough, 'Big Boss Man' and 'Hurts Me Too' don't bother me nearly as much.
Someone in this thread mentioned skipping 'Loser'??? No way! I try to take in as many versions as I can find, I just love the way Jerry makes his guitar weep and moan in the solo, and never mind that it wasn't always as long or inspired as one could wish for. Each to his own taste, I guess.
If Keith is positioned Stage Left then he should be mixed to the Right since that is where he would be located relative to the audience (and the board). However, from this April 1977 photo, it appears he wasn't always to the audience's right.
I tend to skip "Terrapin Station". It's too lurching and halting to keep my foot tapping. I thought that I had finally "got" it when I heard a version from 4-11-87, but I just haven't been turned on by the song since. To me, "Terrapin" is only barely listenable when they played it perfectly and at a reasonable tempo. When they let the tempo drag (as they did too often the last 17 years on many a song), "Terrapin" becomes almost unbearable to me.
Anyway--this box set is incredibly gorgeous, both visually and aurally! What a great time to be a Deadhead!
p.s. My hope for DaP7 is something from 1967 or 1968. And I don't mind thoughtful compilations . . .
As you face the stage, Keith was always on the right hand side. But isn't this actually known as "stage left" as stage directions are notated from the eyes of the musicians? So if Keith is in the left channel of the recording, that would be correct. I think.
A couple of things I've noticed are UJB from the St. Louis show really struck me as really tight, they rock it up enough so it doesn't sort of drop the tranny the way it does a lot of the time so it has a great power to it.
In all of these shows, Donna is really on. She's great and all that but some of the '72-74 stuff she seems to be straining. She sounds so great on these tracks that it made me think maybe there was a balance issue that got fixed here for this tour, better stage volume so she could hear herself or something. There's a Dead Gear book at the library I want to check out again but I haven't had the 'woah' reactions I've had in some of the PITB versions I've heard.
While on the subject of balance, I'm liking how the keys sit in the mix too. Keith does a lot of nice playing here that shines in these recordings.
I do hope your intuitions are correct, segan; a '78 show in the class of DP 25's - or, dare I wish - 5/14...anyway, then we can move on to the 80s, allowing me to begin purchasing a la carte while imposing some degree of fiscal sanity to my procurement habits (of course all bets are off with that Fall '73 box (pleasepleaseplease pleasepurtypuhleeeze))...peace/katie
Well, the wait is finally over ...#8793 turned up here in New Brighton.
All 5 shows loaded onto my Creative music player...going to be a fun week at work.
Only downside was £26.60 customs charges to pay...no matter, I love this band and I just have to fuel the addiction.
Can someone help me.
what side of the stage was Godchaux's piano. When I listen on to the box set he is clearly on the left, is this correct or is the CD mastered with the channel's swapped?
Is it 4/24/78 for the next Dave's Picks. That wouldn't suck, but it would get the 80's fans in another uproar...
Wouldn't it be a great pick, Lil Ben?!! Fingers crossed... sometimes my Guinness-fueled calculations are a bit off...
...then I'm turning scarlet in anticipation...
Bolo's clues are clear. I digested them with a Guinness. My calculations indicate - with 73.8% certainty - that the first three tunes of DP7's first set will consist of Promised Land, Ramble on Rose, and Me & My Uncle (in that order). I'm sorry to say there's only a 6.7% chance of this show being from '80 or '88. Maybe DP8... :o)
If they are indeed pulling from shows featured from last years 30 Days of Dead, I'm hoping for 4/5/88 Hartford as my first choice.
Yeah! maybe new DP is from early 80's and maybe has a Heaven Help The Fool! I think bolo may be a legitimate insider. He broke my balls when I made an ignorant comment about the current dead artists/artwork. So I think he may be legit.
Perhaps one from the Radio City Music Hall run (10/22-31/80)? That was a slice of Heaven!
AHA. No Sugaree... fun show... 70's or 80's... I'm guessing the first three tunes are Promised Land, Ramble on Rose, and Me & My Uncle. Amazing what one can extrapolate from such scant evidence! :o)
If I were to divulge the show selected for DP7, I'd have to flee to Hong Kong like that NSA whistleblower. And I would never deny Mr. Lemieux the joy of holding one of his delightful seaside chats to make the big announcement.
I'll just say it's a fun show, not from the sixties or nineties. And no Sugaree.
I am enjoying this discussion very much. It certainly is eye-opening. Some folks would skip songs that I would NEVER even think to skip, like the cowboy songs like Big River, or Around & Around. It is the ballads that are always among my least favorite tunes. You need Bobby's songs to keep the tempo upbeat. Given his druthers, Jerry would get lost in his ballads. Bobby would always kick start things and get Jerry rockin'. But this forum has shown me how diverse we are in our love of the band. Something for every taste.
Speaking of Big River and Weir's other "cowboy songs:" I love 'em! They typically gave Jerry a chance to stretch his fingers with some of his best first-set solos. Listening to the sparkling 12/28/79 Mexicali Blues as I type.
Bolo - Still waiting on more DP7 hints..!
Wow, I think I like almost every version of Big River I've ever heard. Probably also true for FOTM. Two things I'll say about this discussion:
1) Sometimes hearing a song live changes your perspective on it. I used to find Stella Blue pretty slow and boring, but I remember seeing them do it at Cornell in around 1980 or so, and it made me appreciate it much, much more.
2) I defy anyone, anywhere, to say they skip Ripple! lol
Good discussion that is amazingly devoid of personal attacks!
Looking forward to reconnecting with "Wolf" tonight at Tanglewood for the Jerry celebration.
Skips: for me, Around and Around, Day Job, Victim, and Big River (until recently - Spring '77 box changed that for me)
Safely here (8299) but £26.60 in taxes too - still, I got away with the Europe '72 box.
Shame that it now goes away until Christmas but another thing to look forward to.
forever is a long time. long enough to remember his name was sam, haha.
Hey Palmereldrich:Say It , Say it, Say it!!!!!!!!!
Bobby is the greatest!
This Weir love-fest is startng to make me a little queasy. I thought I was one of the few who truly appreciated Weir. It was like being in on a secret. Now everyone here is on the bandwagon. Even his Wikipedia page is pretty right on. Kinda takes some of the fun out of it ;) But, more key than Jerry or Phil? Let's take a step back, take a few deep breaths. The greatest "rhythm guitarist" ever? Certainly. But lets not go overboard.
Bob's rhythm is not a conventional one and is what makes the Gd so unique. You have a powerhouse bass and lead both complementing each other and,yet, like a tug of war, pulling in different directions at other times.
How does a rhythm compete with this?
Bob is kind of weaving his rhythm around Jerry and Phil, much more so Jerry. rather like a ball bouncing off of different, opposing walls. Perhaps like a Remora fish trailing in the slip stream.
If that's not grand sounding enough. . .. and at the risk of having tomatoes thrown at me. . .. Bob's rhythm is kind of like 'light refraction,' a bending rhythm around Jerry's improvisational lead, yet still the same 'beam.'
Bob may be the hidden key to the GD's uniqueness more so than Jerry or Phil. OK, OK, let's not put to fine a point on it.
All this discussion about Sugaree has prompted me to post my license plate as my avatar.
Guess you can figure out where I stand!
Man that must be tough: loving Scarlet but not Fire!! Kind of like your right brain being at odds with your left. No criticism here, to each their own, just offering my condolences!
The above version of said song brought me one of my most profound Dead listening experiences; Jerry is, in my view, of course, just soaring higher and higher with each lead break; by the end the bottom of my jaw had just about separated from my head and there may even have been drool involved.
Just my Two Cents.
What an amazing salvo of confessions! I love us. Finally, some real-life sentiments. I would also say that I will hear any version of any song once, even LLR. Then I get more picky and that one always gets skipped, except sometimes the E72 pedal steel versions. But Stella Blue? Never. As for synths, I risked life and limb setting up an antenna on top of my 10-story dorm so I could record that 3/1/80 Jerry show off the airwaves, so I was kind of obligated to love it. Then it ended up on Garcia Live Vol. 1, and every note (of the first show) was long ago burned into my memory banks. So I still feel kind of obliged to like it, even with those ridiculous synth keys. I got used to them somehow. The GD MIDI stuff, not so much. I appreciate their willingness to continue the long experiment, but that little detour was a dead end, and good riddance to it except for some prime Space moments.
On page 30 of the notes, Blair Jackson refers to something he calls a "Childe ballad". I know "childe" sounds appropriately Old (or Olde) English, but he means "Child ballad". In five volumes published between 1882-1898 Francis James Child compiled texts to 305 traditional English and Scottish ballads, that have ever since been known as the Child ballads. But I do think Blair's notes are great.
i usually skip "fire on the mountain"...it ruins the the best song the dead ever wrote (scarlet)
there, i feel better now
that said i am loving the 5/77 box
particularly bob's guitar and keith's keys up high in the mix, and even donna is right on the money
other skippers are row jimmy & sugaree, but only after the first pass thru. i dont really own any 80's stuff, but it goes without saying that the abominable "cc rider/walkin blues/red rooster" quickly causes the XM channel to change, plus any brent song
LLR appears to be a popular skipper, but for me, the post 74 versions with donna harmonizing are some of the best vocal performances the band ever did
As Allman said, audience participation "never translates very well to recorded music". Well, almost never. Quicksilver's "Happy trails" is a notable exception to this. The band and audience were really working together that night. At the other end of the scale, we have all surely cringed when the singers shouts "Sing this with me!", points the mic at the audience and is greeted with an embarrasing silence. This translates particularly badly to recorded music as the audience, if recorded at all, are at such a low level compared to the band that they might as well not be there. It is also possible that the band were playing to an empty hall!
Wow - The audience chanting "Know my love..." as the band exited always gave (and still gives) me goosebumps. My favorite: Alpine '89. Absolutely transcendental.
My skip song is always Not Fade Away with the audience participation mostly from the 80’s. Audience participation is one those “had to be there” situations. Never translates very well to recorded music.
I know a lot of people don't like the Mutron III or the MIDI rack, but I have grown to love it. The synth keys (played by Ozzie Ahlers) from GarciaLive Vol. 1 sound great to me, but then, I love early synth music. The synth on "Feel Like a Stranger" is probably my favorite, and Keith does some cool work on "Lazy I will say that nothing ruined a good Ramble on Rose like Jerry switching off the Mutron (which I like quite a lot for that tune) and turning on the MIDI trumpet. Godawful.
I will say that nothing ruined a good Ramble on Rose like Jerry switching off the Mutron (which I like quite a lot for that tune) and turning on the MIDI trumpet. Godawful.