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
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.
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.
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?
...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, dead.net 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 dead.net 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??
@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 :-)
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.
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
Looks like downloads will be $99.98
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.
Yes 44moose, thanks for the article! Interesting read!
Thanks for the Relix article 44moose. I read that the vault offered $100K for the reels, but the person wants $1MLN!!
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!
I'm going to try real hard, cash is tight, maybe I'll stop eating!
Just a request here, but is there some way Dead.net 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 Dead.net 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.
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.
The May Box and June Box and other Dicks picks have given us a ton of great stuff from 1977.
Who knows when we will see the rest. Should rhino just pay up to get the reels?
Check this out from Dave via
Not sure who has the missing Betty reels, if they're all in one person's possession or not. Hopefully one day they're returned, for the love of the fans. It seems likely part of Cornell is in the Vault (maybe one of five reels?) and this is how the Dancin' was released. There are more than a few missing shows recorded by Betty. Red Rocks 78, Fall of 77. In the caveat emptor of Dick's Picks 34, it states one reel of 11/5/77 is missing, though this issue was worked around. The hope is the love of the fans wins out. Regardless, there's so much great music that is in the Vault, like this sweet May of 77 extravaganza. For those keeping track, here's five more huge wins for the home team.
I believe a dub was submitted in place of the MIA master, but not 100% on that. I suppose it would have had to have been.
Check em out in 2011 :) :) :)
that's a good ?
Do we know who has the Barton Hall masters? Curious.
My information is that the tapes for DP 30 Academy of Music release are not in the vault. It was produced from a Rob Eaton remaster of the master reels. We have hope.
P.S. Not to mention the reminder by mustin321 that a tune from 5/8/77 has been officially released. Check out the New Yorker article, that's my source.
The money in your account will have a hold on it for 3-5 days. After that, it will be released and you'll be charged when it ships.
@Deadegad – The transaction is already showing up on my account, so it looks like you will be charged right away…it seems that in the past, you weren’t charged until it ships…
@PatagonianFox- There are a lot of repeats, say compared to Spring of 90 (which I still think is one of the best releases that has ever been put out…ever) but think of how many repeats were in the Europe 72 box. Now, think about how many gems are in there and how many great jams are in there and…well, just enjoy, you know you love it already.
@claney – thanks for the stats…However, Im not sure why you are sad that Me and My Uncle only shows up once out of the 5…it is the GD’s most played song and there are plenty of other versions out there. Speaking of which, I really like the one from DaP 6, Jerry is attacking the song right from the getgo.
Also, what evgraham said. Without Bear starting all of this with his “sonic journals” we would not be blessed with such great music in amazing quality. They played a lot a great shows but DL is the one picking, be glad there are plenty to choose from.
P.S. 5/8/77 is not in the vault (but for some reason, Dancing in the Streets from 5/8/77 is on the bonus tracks from Terrapin Station)
This box is worth it just for St Louis alone. Dancin' is incredible and the whole second set is off the charts. St Stephen > Iko > NFA > Sugar Mag > Sunshine Daydream and UJB encore is some of the best music from this tour including 5/8... I had an audience tape of this that I just wore out. Great to have this show emerge from the vault.
Oh, I think I might be the only one here to dislike this arrangement of Dancing in the Street but I just couldn't help bringing it up...Other than that, I think I'll love each and every song here :)
has me movin' around my classroom with a smile.
Best. Band. Ever.
you're gonna get some repetition with 6 consecutive shows.
If they did totally different songs every night, I'm sure someone wouldn't have liked that. "I haven't heard BEW in years".
yummy (a la Ace Ventura).
claney, thanks for the stats.
also, you made me laugh with your "May 5 - 9 aren't in the vault" rant.
People will complain about anything. ANYthing. What a sense of entitlement.
Anyone complaining about this box - or any other really - is just nuts. GD fans are the luckiest group of fans anywhere IMHO.
And I don't know why so many people don't seem to understand: BARTON HALL (5/8) IS NOT IN THE VAULT!!! IT IS NOT THERE TO BE RELEASED!!!
Just be happy.
How can you call the boxed set "May 1977" and not include Cornell Barton Hall Mother's Day. What happend to the value proposition for the fans?
How can you call the boxed set "May 1977" and not include Cornell Barton Hall Mother's Day. What happend to the value proposition for the fans?
is anyone else a bit put off by the fact that all 5 shows are so repetitive? you'd think the powers that be could find a 5 show run with more variety. the palladium shows would have been a better choice IMO.
By my count, these five shows saw the Dead play 52 different songs (counting Drums and Space). The usual '77 suspects were repeated five times (Estimated, BEW, Samson). I was surprised at some that weren't repeated more - like The Music Never Stopped, played only once. Me and My Uncle only played once, how sad. Also kind of cool that all three Chuck Berry covers are played, but only once each (Promised, Around, JBG).
Anyway, here is the list - songs are listed in the order the appear first in the setlists. Song titles followed by the number of times played. Enjoy:
Promised Land – 1
TLEO – 3
Big River – 2
Loser – 1
LLR – 3
Ramble – 2
Jack Straw – 2
Peggy-O – 2
El Paso – 3
Deal – 1
LL-Supplication – 2
Sugaree – 1
Samson and D – 5
BEW – 5
Estimated – 5
Scar-Fire – 3
Good Lovin – 2
UJB – 2
Space – 1
Wharf Rat – 2
Around – 1
Brokedown – 1
Bertha – 4
MAMU – 1 (!)
T-Jed – 3
Cassidy – 2
Minglewood – 4
Miss Half Step – 2
Dancin – 2
Sunrise – 2
Terrapin – 2
PITB – 2
Drums – 4
NFA – 2
Comes a Time – 1
JBG – 1
TMNS – 1 (!)
FOTD – 1
Jack-A-Roe – 3
Other One – 1
Stella Blue – 1
GDTRFB – 1
OMSN – 1
US Blues – 1
Row Jimmy – 1
Passenger – 2
Eyes – 1
Ship of Fools – 1
St. Stephen – 1
Iko-Iko – 1
Sugar Mag – 2
High Time – 1
1. Has anyone preordered w/Debit Card???
2 .If yes are your funds being held now or will you be charged when it ships?
Top news and purchase made. If the missus asks, it was only 50 quid...
Shame we couldnt have had an unreleased show with HOTW/S/FT from the tour. It's my favourite piece of music (by anyone, not just the Dead) and the versions from Buffalo (on a boot I've got) and Dicks 3 (Florida pines?) are stunning. Garcia's playing on those 2 Franklin's Towers were inspired so it would have been good to here other examples.
A minor gripe of course. Keep 'em coming...
Would really be nice to have a bonus disc added to this new box set. My still awesome Winterland 77 box now has a superfluous bonus disc. C'mon David make it happen, we deserve it. If anything it'll definitely increase the pre-orders. This set "May" sell out at some point, but it'll probably take a few months. The Winterland June 77 box is still (thankfully) available years later.
think I'll pass on this one, but you all go ahead, I agree with a lot that has been said ie other dates to include in this box, keep the first and the last, add three others in place of the others and then you would have a great box, not an ok box with 2 great shows. This is just rhino's way of making big cash on so-so shows, "let's include them with these great shows, that way we make max dollars off of the vault." Besides, it will be available forever via download so what's the big deal again? by the way, love DP's 6, best release in a long time.
I sure hope these are not like the road trip cases so the CDs don't get scratched up
Maybe the new header for this website should be: 5/5/77 through 5/9/77 is not in the M2#$%@#! Vault!!!!!!
Or when people register for Dead.net they could receive an automatic email that says, "Oh by the way, 5/5/77 through 5/9/77 is NOT IN THE @#$%!!@#@ Vault!!~!!!
PS - 5/5/77 through 5/9/77 is not in the Vault.
I sure hope these are not like the road trip cases so the CDs don't get scratched up
You'll Get Nothing and Like It (Ted Knight-Caddyshack)
Were these shows all captured using the same calibrated equipment or the same remote truck ?
Personally I'd like a bonus disc of the Philadelphia SPECTRUM's EarthDay '77 show
Promised Land >
Looks Like Rain
Playin' in the Band
Scarlet Begonias >
Fire on the Mountain
Samson and Delilah
It Must Have Been the Roses
Dancin' in the Streets >
Mojo > (1st time played)
Dancin' in the Streets >
- encore -
I can't wait to finish listening to my Furthur Tour and burning those disc
so I can pull out all of my 77 cassettes, and CD's for a new wall display next to the Jerry Shrine
along with Dick's Pick's "Englishtown's Raceway Park" Labor Day show 1977.
That was a first show for many tristate DeadHeads and was a FM broadcast all over NYC and NJ and PA.
What a great recruiting tool, Free Dead.
I would like to have seen additional shows included in this box-NH, Boston, Buffalo but I'm not really complaining.
I love the slow, groovy '77 versions much more than the later-day speeded out versions. Jerry sounds a little (maybe a lot) like he's channeling Mark Knopfler in his playing on those '77 jacks, especially in the opening riffs!
I would rather have the Winterland set if I had to choose one, but this looks pretty sharp as fine archival product. I love my 3 CDRs from St. Paul, and I have always wanted to hear Tuscaloosa. I had the St. Louis show in great aud for years. I will buy all these via FLAC download. However, no Morning Dew, no Help-Slip and no Franklin's Tower. When I reach for some Spring '77, first choice will likely always be 4/23, 5/7, 5/8, 5/9 and the June Winterland shows.
THIS LOOKS LIKE A GOOD BOX SET BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE MADE IT AN AWESOME BOX SET.
THESE SHOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THIS BOX SET:
05-05-1977 NEW HAVEN, CT
05-07-1977 BUFFALO, NY
05-08-1977 ITHACA, NY
O5-09-1977 BUFFALO, NY
ALONG WITH THESE SHOWS THAT ARE ALREADY INCLUDED IN THE BOX SET:
05-11-1977 ST. PAUL, MN
05-12-1977 CHICAGO, IL
05-13-1977 CHICAGO, IL
05-15-1977 ST. LOUIS, MO.
05-17-1977 TUSCALOOSA, AL.
NOW THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AN AWESOME BOX SET, IF YOUR GOING TO DO SOMETHING, DO IT RIGHT OR DON'T DO IT AT ALL. THEN FOR A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FOR US, YOU PUT OUT THE PALLADIUM, NEW YORK, NY 5 SHOW BOX SET FROM 04-29-1977 TO 05-04-1977 (MONDAY 05-02-1977 WAS AN OFF DAY).
When you mentioned Jack-a-roe, I checked and yes, it's the one from Fallout from the Phil zone. Indeed the all time version, as far as I know. So we (probably) all have it, but nice to hear it in context!
Yes, these shows have been "around" for a while now, but they are too good not to have in enhanced pristine sound quality & with informative essays to read about the shows (which I think is one of the very underrated things about official Dead releases like this. I love reading about what made a particular performance special, and many of these are just that.)
If I really had my druthers I'd prefer a box set from the Fall tour of '77 (let's say 10/28 thru 11/4, just for fun), but I aint gonna quibble about these excellent May shows. In particular I'm really excited about 5/13 which contains one of the all-time greatest SCARLET>FIRES ever, and that's saying a lot. That whole show is very under-appreciated, and 5/17 is no slouch either (all-time JACKAROE and a beautiful TERRAPIN.
But who am I kidding? When it comes to releases like this I'm like Zellwegger in "Jerry Maguire" ("You had me at 1977 ;-)
still some goodies avail in May for future release-assuming they have tapes. The box looks good-prob. no extras like spring, "90 though lower price is good