Photographer Lee Rodgers shares his rare images of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, from the front row at Boston Gardens for the epic 5.7.77 show.
Listen to 5.7.77:
See more from 5.7.77 here!
I embarked upon my career as a serious professional photographer in early 1977, after investing in some quality equipment.
Soon after that, the Grateful Dead started their spring tour of the Northeast, and after seeing two shows on April 23, and May 5th, I somehow found myself with front row seats to the Boston Garden show on May 7th. After a small amount of debate I decided to bring my camera, along with a zoom lens.
In most instances I would make a conscious effort to bring my camera with me almost everywhere. But going to a concert with my camera was not something I did very often. Of the 70 GD concerts I attended, I probably only took photos at 5 or 6. Most of the time I felt that having to be worrying about my camera during the show outweighed the benefits. And at most shows my seats were not that close to the stage. I never liked to try to sneak onto the floor, and often enjoyed shows from behind the stage, especially mid second set for the drums – space.
But I am really glad to have captured the images on May 7th , during one of the top performances in what many Deadheads (myself included) consider the best, certainly among the best, tour ever. I especially like the one of Jerry alone, with a big smile on his face, as he bursts into power chord mode during Mississippi Half Step, which is an all time great version.