Interesting article in the New York Times by Ben Ratliff – about the best Grateful Dead show ever. Some great quotes from Phil & Mickey – neither of whom can remember(!), Dead archivist David Lemieux, and mix goddess Betty Cantor-Jackson (who prefers a 1970 show from San Rafael!) He also shares about the origins of the Betty Boards, their place in history.
Specifically, he focuses on 5/8/1977 Barton Hall – Cornell University – a show that seems to be the hands down favorite of favorites. I remember the first tape I got of that show – thanks to The Orange Guy! It blew my mind, and did not leave my VW Campers cassette deck for a very long time… that is until a coworker at Sony Pictures said, “You like Barton Hall? You need to hear Boston Gardens the night before and Buffalo the nigth after!” (Thanks Ron!). He spun me those – 1995, right before Jerry was about to cross that Black Muddy River.
I think 5/7/77 – Boston Gardens became my favorite of this amazing 3 night run. It only left the cassette deck of my bus to get inserted into my Walkman (I did work at Sony at the time, so I had a brand new Sports Walkman!) OK, I did listen to other things, was really getting into the Allman Brothers and was really discovering Phish too. Lots was going on for me in 1995, so these tapes made a deep anchor into my personal emotional life.
The last Grateful Dead shows were in 1995…. my last six times with Jerry were the Las Vegas weekend (May 19, 20, 21, 1995 at the Sam Boyd Silverbowl) shortly followed by the last 3 Shorelines in June. I remember playing the 5/7/77 and 5/8/77 second sets for people and blowing minds, and everyone wanted copies.
In the NY Times article, Ben Ratliff defines 5 levels of “dissecting the Dead” – from listening to studio albums, talking periods, years, shows, and song performance. Well I will add another level – absolute best musical moment ever… and it is not the really famous mid Dark Star Jerry riff from Live/Dead…
It is the Morning Dew from Vegas 5/20/1995. Yes folks, here, in public, I will say the best Dead moment ever was at a 1995 show. Of course, it si always subjective, and I could write a book about what happened for me during that Dew, but better you listen to it…. alas, I could not find it on Archive or eTree to provide a link! So seek it out the old fashioned way – in a friends colllection – and trade for it. Honestly listen to that Morning Dew, give it your full attention. Let me know if it doesn’t have everything you ever loved about Jerry and the boys right there in that jam. I get goosebumps just thinking about it…
Meanwhile, lots of sources for the greatest 3 show run evah! Here are some links to free downloads:
- Grateful Dead 5/7/77 – Boston Garden – Boston, MA **Betty Board
- Grateful Dead 5-8-77 SBD+AUD Matrix Mix
This is awesome. this cat took the Holy Grail Betty Board Barton mix, and then remixed it with a good audience tape, and crated a full surround sound matrix with it. Betty said her goal was to put you “in” the music, so this takes it one more step.
- Grateful Dead 5/9/77 – War Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY **Betty Board
- Curious about the Cornell Barton Hall show, but not a downloading type? Here is a version you can listen to as a stream from The Internet Archive: 5-8-77 Cornell streaming from Archive.org