Grateful Dead

May 1977 Box (Digital)

sku: GRA9900100

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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Katapultable's picture
Joined: Oct 30 2012
Where do they find them?

Where does GD Productions find the artists who create the artwork for their releases? I don't think I've seen a single bad album cover since Go To Nassau. Every artist is able to give the releases a personal touch and this is probably one of the coolest boxes I've seen. Ever. In any genre.

The very thought that a new box set is released every year is exciting, but it always comes as a surprise to find out what the contents will be for this year (especially when design etc. of the box is all done). I didn't see a 1977 box set coming, especially not a May '77 box. I hadn't expected another '77 until at least Dave's Picks 11 or 12. This set will make the number of complete shows from 1977 fourteen, with ten earlier releases being dedicated to this year. With only a handful of songs from two different shows being released and considering the reputation of the tour, this set has the words ''WORTH IT'' written all over it. It includes most of the songs from the first half of '77 that I like: ''Minglewood Blues,'' ''Scarlet Begonias'' > ''Fire On The Mountain,'' ''Mississippi Half-Step'' and ''Dancin' In The Streets'' but only one version each of ''Row Jimmy,'' ''Eyes Of The World,'' and ''The Music Never Stopped''. Nevertheless, this should be at least as good as Winterland 1977: The Complete Recordings.

Time to throw away some inferior mp3-files with I hadn't gotten around to listening anyway. The announcement regarding Dave's Picks Vol. 7 shouldn't be too far away either. It's gonna be a show from the mid to late eighties. It just has to be. Then again, a good '78 show wouldn't be bad either.

And let us please not complain about what should and what should not be in this box set. This group of shows seems perfect, bridging the gap between Vol. 1 of the Download Series and Dick's Picks 29. Probably not my choice for a box set, but I'm not complaining.

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Europe 72 sold out in four days....

....and many of us aged by more than the same number of years ;-)

Joined: Mar 18 2010

When ordering with a debit card, a hold for the purchase price is put on the account for three days. This hold is then removed until the box ships in June, and the funds are withdrawn. Spring of 90 sold out in about a month, Europe 72 sold out in four days.

Joined: Aug 15 2008

This box set is gonna be awesome--ordered mine within an hour of receiving the email. Alabama show is a top 5 of the year!

Joined: Jun 5 2007
Bonus tracks ...

I wish they had included the missing tracks from DP 3 on this release but am very Grateful for this new box set :)

Joined: Feb 2 2011
How fast did Sprig 1990 sell out???, and E72????

Does anyone recall how fast the Spring 1990 box set sold out? Or E72???

gd1294's picture
Joined: Nov 11 2007
Nice work on a great year

It looks like a great box set but I am still trying to get all of Europe 72 cd by cb by hook or by crook. Thank god they decided to break up the Europe box set and thank you for that. As for the price its worth it if you got the cash. I feel the down loaded music should be cheaper and you should be able to get individual shows. What they should do is release all the Grateful Dead studio albums and live shows on there web site as downloads like the used to. I would like it if they released all of the studio albums in DVD 5.1 surround again. I had the chance to purchase working mans and american beauty years ago but passed. Shame on me. For all those who purchased the 77 enjoy and thanks for the latest dave picks primal dead is my fav.

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011

I think a fundraiser for the tapes is the dumbest idea Ive ever heard.

@claney. Sorry for missing your sarcasm.

cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
Palladium Shows

The April 30 77 show was released as Download Series Number 1. It includes some bonus tracks from April 29.

Joined: Mar 8 2009

I emailed Dave about the idea of compiling a list a few months ago. Here was his response:

"Thanks for the note. I wish we had teams of interns (or an intern!) who could do things like this, but we don't. We tend not to focus too much on the shows we can't release, but rather the shows we can, so it'd seem like a lot of effort that we'd have to expend for something that doesn't really do much. But, perhaps someday we'll compile a list."

I figured it'd be worth not having to slog through so many emails, but considering how frequently it's been known that Cornell isn't in the vault and the number of people who still clamor for it, perhaps it would be an effort in futility.

Looking forward to this box though. Got mine ordered! I've only ever listened to St. Louis and Tuscaloosa (and the 5/12 on the bonus disc from Winterland 77) but everything else is new to me. I haven't listened to the StL show much so that'll be like new too!

dstache's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2007
relix article

Thanks for the Relix link! I've always wondered why they can't just post a list of what is in the vault. It's always nice when someone gives a little information, but it's always in snippets, you have to search far and wide to piece it together, and even then you know it is incomplete. So it seems David is saying that the entire January '78 tour of California and the one off in Eugene is missing, though reading his statement you would think the entire month is missing and we know that is not true as the taper's section/jam of the week has included 1/30 and/or 1/31. Anyways, it is a great month and tour(s).

I think David is playing fast and loose with the word "phenomenal" in describing the first leg of the spring '78 tour. 4/16 is certainly a top notch show but quite a few of the others (4/6, 4/7, 4/15) are Good shows at best.

There was no mention of the 5 '77 Palladium shows, most of which circulate only on AUD. I'd certainly be interested in these but haven't listened to these shows in a long time and haven't graded them. The fact that Dick never apparently allowed the tapes to sneak out of the vault has me wondering if perhaps he was unimpressed.

taphedfrek's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2009
no problem

I read that post while waiting to pick up my son at school, and had a good laugh! If you new me you would understand, money is not a big deal to me, even if it is helping goats. No offense taken.

Anna rRxia's picture
Joined: Dec 25 2009

for doubting you, guy (the goat people?!?)

taphedfrek's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2009
not a kidnapper

Let me assure everyone that I am not one of the goat people. if i had any master tapes i would return them free of charge to their rightful home in the vault. i would hope for a complimentary copy if they were released!

Joined: Sep 5 2012
Anna - No

Anna -

No - You completely misread my post. I was simply advising taphedfrek that the individual mentioned in the hyperlinked story matches the description of the Betty Boards guy featured in the New Yorker article (a retired teacher with goats etc.). I have no reason to believe taphedfrek IS that person. Just made a couple of minor edits to mitigate the confusion.

Anna rRxia's picture
Joined: Dec 25 2009
@Star Dark

Are you saying that Taphedfrek is one of the people hostaging Betty Boards to help goats? That the guy is actually on this thread advocating for a paycheck from the Dead for their own music? Like people who buy from Rhino to later resell on E-Bay, I find the whole motivation to make money off the Dead very strange. What did they ever do to you? Keep ticket prices reasonable even after they became wildly popular?

C'mon. A band this generous (at least while Jerry was still alive) deserves NOT to pay to get it's own music back. On the other hand, deadheads of like mind can do whatever they want to. Like give to the Rex Foundation or help starving children.

frankparry's picture
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Hidden tracks

You know, I wouldn't discount the possibility of a few hidden tracks along the lines of those on DP29 - disc 3 of 5/15/77 looks a little short for instance!

guit30's picture
Joined: May 1 2009

Bums me out, I'm on Disability, can't afford this. My Favorite year. The samples are sweet, What's going on with Bobby, is his Shoulder ok?

dstache's picture
Joined: Sep 10 2007
I won't post my usual gripes

I won't post my usual gripes about the cost (hooray!). I've been requesting for years that 5/12, a Great show, be released in its entirety. For years all we had was an AUD that required one to be in a generous mood to even consider it listenable. Then the Winterland '77 box gave us most of the second set. Thank you Rhino for finally giving us the whole show. As for the other shows, 5/17 has long been a favorite and 5/13 is at least very good. I graded 5/11 as below par, but another listen on an A+ recording will probably change my opinion. I don't have a grade for 5/15. Looking forward to this very much. Thanks again!

Joined: Jun 7 2007
Great Box Set

Thank you David and everyone involved, not to mention the band. Can't wait to get this one. Hope it arrives soon.

Next up, or sometime soon, how about Fall of 73? I think there are a few shows that go under the radar from that period. Quite notable is San Diego, 11/14/73, just a few days before the great Pauly Pavilion release from 11/17/73.

Love what you folks are doing.

Thank you,


Joined: Sep 5 2012
The Hostaged Betty Boards

Hi Taphedfrek -

This guy matches the New Yorker's description of the Betty Board "owner:"

Of course, his batch doesn't likely contain Cornell '77. Nevertheless, I suppose you could make a donation.

One Man's picture
Joined: May 17 2011
Money for Tapes

No, man. Do NOT pay for those tapes. They are being held for ransom and we already have listenable copies. And it would be unconscionable to give money to someone hoarding that little slice of history. They suck. Give your money to a worthy cause, not an evil one.

Joined: Sep 9 2012
Mastering techniques of new releases

Just curious if anyone knows how these new releases are being mastered. Here is a blurb from Jeffrey Norman from the site regarding the remastering ofDP 3 and 4 for the limited vinyl releases

"“I was excited to get the chance to remaster the early Dick’s Picks’ releases for vinyl…they were originally mastered for CD in 1995-96, and I was looking forward to hearing the 1/4″ source tapes once again, 17 years later. What I didn’t expect was the dramatic improvement the new mastering gives to these classic releases. The original CD resolution is 44.1KHz/16bit (as is any released CD), while the mastering I am now doing for the vinyl releases is 96KHz/24bit. I’m now using a state-of-the-art analogues to digital converter (Pacific Microsonics Model 2)….and I’ve probably gotten better at doing this over the years! I used the original CDs as a guide for the new mastering, but when listening to the CDs I feel like I’m listening in black and white, while the new mastering feels like I’m listening in color. It’s very exciting!"

Sounds kind of limiting for the vinyl, which should be all analog. But it makes me think these will be offered in high resolution digital in the future, since the digital transfers are there and sound so much more "colorful" Any one have insight as to how the May 77 box is being mastered, and if it's the same methodology as for the DP vinyl remasters, why not offer up the higher res transfers for download? and why not 24/192?

taphedfrek's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2009
Music in time share

sorry, triple post

taphedfrek's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2009
Music in time share

I like the idea of money for tapes. Why is there a discussion? Do not call the cops, give the kidnappers their money and get the babies back! They get what they want, we get what we want and nobody gets hurt.

taphedfrek's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2009
fundraiser for tapes

I think this is a great idea! What is to discuss? They get what they want and we get what we want.'s picture
Joined: Nov 3 2007
Buying back tapes

Doctor Who fans have been trying to do this for years with missing episodes and the overall efforts haven't worked all that well for buying back missing episodes. Also, those tapes, when even stored properly, will show wear. If the master reels are stored in less than ideal conditions, it's possible that the masters will be worse than what currently circulates.

drshakedown's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2010
Hey Bambini

I will do with my money what I family makes many charitable donations of time and money, SEVA being one of my favorites if you must know. I am not talking about a charitable donation my friend, I am talking about an investment in a love and passion of mine and many others, quit playing big brother with my suggestion, if you dont like it, make an anonymous donation somewhere and go on. I simply like the idea of bringing stuff to its rightful home, and sometimes people (right or wrong) want money for its return. Another off example would be the rules of basketball......a bunch of Kansas Jayhawk fans paid BIG money to house them in Lawrence, Kansas. I feel the reels belong in the vault, and I am ready to donate, if your not, fare thee well. Peace

P.S. Remember your comment below as well bambini... "Not to nitpik I bought this in a second but I would rather have the five nights at the Palladium if they are available."

Were you very happy and let down all at once???

segan63's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2010
Full set downloads

II imagine that they mean that each set will be one file(i.e. 1st set of 5/12/77 St. Paul will be one file). Therefore you can expect to download about 10 files. This is fine, unless you like to listen on an iPod or something. In my case, I bought the actual set, so I am looking forward to it.

Joined: Jan 3 2011


Anna rRxia's picture
Joined: Dec 25 2009
Who would have Dead master reels?

That somehow wasn't intimately connected with the Dead? I think there must be a ton of strange stories out there. Very mundane ones too, like the storage locker bill that never got paid...

drshakedown's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2010
that may be true

I say let the fundraising begin. Like I said on ............. you can set it up so contributors would get something in return if wanted, otherwise you can send anonymously. For instance, $50 gets you a download of files when reel is re-covered, $100 gets you cd pack...........and so on. I am not saying what I am proposing is they way it should be....... I am starting the conversation. My buddy recently died, and we used that site to raise money for his family, and it worked great. The Garcia movie was another example, I gave $50 bucks and when nothing panned out, my money was returned, no problems. Anyway, I started this conversation because I believe in negotiating with terrorists. Peace

Joined: Jan 3 2011
money for tapes

If you pay for any tapes, any possible returns will stop. I sure there is enough in the vault to keep people happy. paying someone a lot of cash will set the bar too high for any possible returns as well as increase prices.

hbob1995's picture
Joined: Jun 26 2007

The download price is $99.98 for all 111 songs. This is the only way it is being offered.

gratefaldean's picture
Joined: Jun 22 2007
Did I mention?

I got 15% off on this order?

Not trying to gloat, just pointing out the upgrade in customer service. My 15% off code dropped into my lap because my DaP 4 shipped a few days too late -- I didn't even know it was late until I got the email with the code.

At the time I was both pleased and a little disappointed in my timing -- I'd just purchased the 2013 DaP subscription and would have loved to get the extra off. But I decided to save it for the next big release, and yeehah! It worked!

No way that this would have happened during the E72 debacle. Good job, guys!

frunobulax's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
I agree

If kickstarter can raise $3 million in a few days to fund a Veronica Mars movie, surely we can find enough deadheads to contribute a few bucks to raise $1 million to buy back the Cornell master.

drshakedown's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2010
Missing reels

I understand Dave not wanting to put up cash out of principal, BUT...............we (fans) would. I also believe Rhino should be ready as well. Its money. If money gets the vault completed for generations to come....I am personally on board. I dont quite frankly care if the holders of these grails are taking a ransom approach, I will negotiate. I have given years and tons of cash to this beautiful world, why would I stop now. Love to all. Bring our reels home boys.

claney's picture
Joined: Jul 20 2007

When they say the downloads will only be for the full set, I assume they mean the entire box set. Seems like a bummer really - it would be nice if each individual show were up for a separate download (I'm getting the box set anyway, but it's just the principle, heh). Am I reading that wrong?

Joined: Jun 7 2007

...not thrilling like Dave's Picks 6, but very nice. There will surely be some beautiful music on here, even if these shows don't represent what most people think of as the best of the tour, except maybe for the 17th.

Anyway, if these really are going to be released as FLAC downloads, really ought to put that up for pre-order as well right now. There's no way the download price can reasonably be the same as the physical set but I suppose doesn't want to list that yet so as not to encourage people "just" to get the downloads. Regardless, please put up the downloads for pre-order. It's only fair. The reality is, I probably won't buy the physical set and may have lost interest by the time the downloads are available. If they come up soon, though, and for a sensible, I'll happily order.

Ditto for Spring '90 actually, the blurb for which was carefully worded so (I assume) to allow for later downloads. I really want to buy this stuff but I'm gradually running out of space. I'm delighted that FLACs will be available. A really positive development. I think it would be fair if they're listed the same time as the physical set though!!! Please??

claney's picture
Joined: Jul 20 2007
Missing Reels - Call Seal Team Six!

@44 Moose: Thanks for the link to the DL interview. I didn't realize that DL and crew apparently have some idea (indirectly) who has the reels "in their closet." Dave.... call Seal Team Six.

@Wilfred: I admire your optimism! I agree, there is hope (in fact I firmly believe the early May reels will eventually find their way home - see my Seal Team Six idea above). I was really addressing the people who complain that Cornell isn't being released, as if Dave is just keeping it locked up out of some kind of spite. There was a comment from a guy under the Relix article, the guy says "I don't know why Dave says they don't have May 9 - that Betty Board has been around for years." Maybe I'm just getting crotchety, but dumbassery is wearing me down.

@Mustin321: Thanks man, glad you like the stats. When I said I was sad that MAMU only appears once in this box set, I was being very, VERY sarcastic :-)

drshakedown's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2010
1st Pt. Dave article in Relix

Last year the 5/8/77 show was selected for addition to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. Shortly after this announcement, we interviewed Dead archivist David Lemeiux. In this portion of the conversation which has yet to appear online, Lemieux confirms that the band has never released 5/8/77 because a master copy does not exist in the Dead archives. He goes on discuss the matter while also affirming the vitality of the group’s May 1977 run as a whole.

For more on archival Dead shows over the years, check out our recent relix 40 list.

In terms of 5/8/77, do you know where the source tape resides?

I do not know specifically but I have heard from many people that they know where it is and they know who has it and that’s fine. We’ve certainly made a note that we’d love to have it back as we would with any master Grateful Dead tape that we don’t have in the vault. But there’s really nothing we can do about it. We’re not going to pay for our own tape. That’s one thing I don’t think we’d ever do is to pay to buy them back and I don’t think they’ve been offered to the band in a long, long time. They know where we are, we’re easy to find and I think it has been made clear that we would love to have them back. Some people would just rather have the tapes in their closet than in the vault, but that’s fine. It is what it is. Again, there’s nothing we can do, we don’t lose sleep over it, but it is as it is.

In terms of that collection of tapes, how many are there that the archive does not possess?

It’s in the dozens, during the period from 1976-1978. I get a lot of emails from people suggesting shows for release and it kills me because I agree with what these people are suggesting, but we just don’t have the tapes. So for example, a lot of people will ask for the July 1978 Red Rocks shows [7/7 and 7/8] and I agree. I think there are great concerts, great sounding shows, we just don’t have them. We have the August 78 Red Rocks [8/30 and 8/31], but not the July shows. Other examples: April 6th through April 16th a ten day run of about 8 shows in April of 1978, a phenomenal run of shows and we don’t have any of them and they do exist. Those tapes are part of this batch that we’re talking about.

Another example would be January of 1978, also we don’t have any of those. We don’t have Eugene. We get asked for the MacArthur Court show, January 22nd in 78 [from Eugene, OR], we don’t have that. We don’t have the Pacific Northwest Tour, the fall of 1977, which is a couple of shows in Portland and a couple of shows in Seattle, very good shows, we don’t have those. We don’t Binghamton November 6th of 1977, great show, phenomenal, again, another one of these shows that we get requested a lot and then of course, May 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th of 1977, we don’t have. Great shows that obviously include the May 8th 77 Cornell show.

June of 1976 is a terrific tour, we are missing most of it. We’ve got a couple of shows. We just released one from Boston on June 9th of 76, but the Beacon shows, the middle nights in Boston, the second and third shows, we don’t have any of that. There are gaps but you know, such is life. Luckily we do have a lot of stuff, plenty of stuff to work with and the hope is there that some day we will get them back, but if it doesn’t happen that’s okay too.

drshakedown's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2010

Cant wait for May77 box to hit my speakers. On another note, I know nothing about where the master for Cornell 77 is, but if that cat wants a million, I say deadheads and the vault start a Go Fund Me project and raise it. They could easily set it up where you could get the release if you pledged a certain amount, and the vault could start the thing off by dropping in that 100k. I would imagine some wealthy heads and maybe even band members would push this thing up near a nice #. Peace

Joined: Aug 6 2009
Joined: Jun 16 2009
More '77

I am just (very slightly) a little disappointed with this release; there have been so many 1977 sets put out over the past few years that I was hoping for something a little more off the beaten path. Perhaps a Fall Tour 1983 box, or a Summer Tour '79? How about spring or summer 1973? Oh well, I am still excited (can't go wrong with Spring '77). I have been on a major Brent bender for the past year, so getting back into the '77/Keith era will be fun.

I absolutely love the gear the boys used during this '77 tour. Keith's Moog synthesizer adds such a cool groove to tunes like Estimated (see 5/11) and Lazy Lightnin'>Supplication. Jerry's new-found love for the Mutron III really shines through in his experimental playing (thwack-thwack-woooooooow). Bobby's rig is also supreme; his guitar tone never sounded better, with the exception of perhaps '72. The Cowboy Fancy Ibanez and Mesa Boogie amp just sound so punchy, clean, and unique. I love when he adds little percussive 'clicks' to his playing. All in all, this tour is when the Dead's sound really matured, and the band as a whole never functioned better as a unit. Timing, tempo, and coordination were incredibly precise—every note landed perfectly or had a purpose. Billy and Mickey play like they have been hypnotizing each other again. Phil was in the Phil Zone. Keith is at the top of his game. Even Donna brings me to tears with her backing vocals on songs like Comes a Time and Wharf Rat. Just great versions of all my Dead favorites. Can't wait till this arrives in the mail.

tree1270's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007

Yes 44moose, thanks for the article! Interesting read!

Joined: Jun 4 2007
cool article

Thanks for the Relix article 44moose. I read that the vault offered $100K for the reels, but the person wants $1MLN!!

mustin321's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2011
Listening Party

I am not a Donna hater by any means...I even miss her screams on PITB sometimes. She is really on during Wharf Rat and Mississippi Half-step from the listening party. The balance in the mix is absolutely perfect too. Can't wait for the rest!

mato1949's picture
Joined: Jun 6 2007
Scraping my money together

I'm going to try real hard, cash is tight, maybe I'll stop eating!

rdevil's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2007
next time, a heads up please

Just a request here, but is there some way could give us a heads up about the timing of next year's box? Like many others who have posted here I've recently bought Summer concert tickets and will have a tough time getting $150 together right away. I figured this year's box would be released or announced around Jerry's birthday like last year and thought I had time to put a little money away.
So next year, could post some kind of pre-announcement a couple months in advance? Something like "box set announcement coming in May (or whenever). That would be helpful to a lot of us.

rdevil's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2007

First of all, this box set should be great. In addition to 14 discs of great music and complete shows, this box is relatively affordable at $10 per disc. That's a big plus; the music is what it's all about--no need to up the price with additional trinkets or coffee table books.
There's been a ton of posts here already asking for the Barton Hall show even though Dave has said it's not a candidate for release right now because they don't have the master. I just wanted to mention the Boston show on May 7, 1977. To me, it's right there with the 8th and 9th. If these shows are recovered and released someday I really, really hope it's all three released together. The Half Step from the 7th is terrific and the Wharf Rat is absolutely perfect, arguably the best version ever.

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