Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"I met her accidentally in St. Paul, Minnesota"

Better late than never...

Grateful Dead Steal Your Face batik design

Grateful Dead -- May 11, 1977

Civic Center Arena, St. Paul, Minnesota

1st Set: The Promised Land, They Love Each Other, Big River, Loser,
Looks Like Rain, Ramble On Rose, Jack Straw, Peggy-O, El Paso, Deal,
Lazy Lightnin'
Supplication, Sugaree

Set 2: Samson & Delilah, Brown-Eyed Women, Estimated Prophet,
Scarlet Begonias
Fire On The Mountain Good Lovin',
Uncle John's Band
Space Wharf Rat Around And Around

Encore: Brokedown Palace

What's there to say about a 1977 show? It's great. The review below hits a few finer points. I surely agree that there's nothing here that amazingly stands out but there's also nothing here that's just eh to me. It's all so nice. And how many other times do you get to hear "Well, I met her accidentally in St. Paul, Minnesota" in St. Paul, Minnesota?!

The recording isn't without its flaws but overall it's freakin' sweet.

transcribed from:

The Deadhead's Taping Compendium Volume II, 1975-1985 [guide to Grateful Dead music]The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, Volume II:
An In-Depth Guide To The Music of the
Grateful Dead on Tape, 1975-1985

[out of print]

After upping the ante on this tour with the three previous shows, the Dead settle into a couple weeks' worth of outstanding concerts. This show starts off with a bushel of usual tunes executed almost perfectly. No one stands out particularly, but instead the whole offers a textbook glimpse at the machine-like execution of a '77 first set. Several of the songs that the Dead did particularly well in '77 are represented: "Big River," "Loser," "Looks like Rain," "Peggy-O," and "El Paso," with the proceedings topped by a silky "Lazy Lightnin'" > "Supplication" and another charged "Sugaree." (This song would take a six-show hiatus before reappearing in Atlanta for the start of its four-show peak on 5/19, 5/22, 5/26 and 5/28.) This "Sugaree" doesn't have quite the total command and power as those versions, but it still delivers the goods.

After the verses, Garcia repeatedly loses himself in his cascading runs, which frequently foam into choppy, roaring strumming that threatens to drown the amazed and howling crowd. Check out the jam that starts around the six-minute mark and crests majestically between the seven- and eight-minute marks. As in all the best "Sugaree"s, the band passes through many moods and motifs. At 9:30 or so, Garcia wrings out some very long, direct lines over fast, mandolin-style picking by Weir that provides a lull before the final buildup. Extremely satisfying.

The second set continues a high-caliber but unexceptional standard, with a routine "Samson," "Brown-Eyed Women" (done extremely well this spring), and '77's true warhorse, "Estimated." This trio of typical songs just warms up the fingers for a passably spacey "Scarlet" > "Fire," which clocks in at about twenty-one minutes before the segue to "Good Lovin'." One of the generalizations easily made about '77 "Scarlet" > "Fires" is that those that stood on their own were usually longer, spacier, and more thoughtful than those that took the first train into "Good Lovin'." With a slow, dreamy, and undulating jam that gradually builds to the "Fire" intro, this is actually a better specimen of the trio style than most.

The best part of the second set occurs with "Uncle John's Band," which moves into a pretty Garcia solo guitar segment that flows into "Wharf Rat." This showcase would become common over the remainder of the tour. "Uncle John's Band" has the shade and sensitivity of most '77 versions: each instrument contributes a distinct flavor or accent, while still supporting the overall direction. There is definitely more going on musically, but still with breathing room, compared to earlier versions of the song. This take is perhaps too laid-back, less edgy and driven than some of the encore versions from this year. The real juice is when the close of the song spirals into the solo guitar piece, which at nearly seven minutes is quite developed. It's funny to listen to Garcia play back through time from the era of Frampton Comes Alive and Led Zeppelin's The Song Remains the Same, with his own little guitar god moment. No violin bows or talkboxes here, just a guy makin' up stuff on his axe. Not always genius, but few people had a better lifetime average than Garcia for making stuff up on the spot.

The Dead Hour-derived soundboard segment of the second set makes this easily enjoyable, compared to the fair-to-middlin' audience recording. Despite the consistent quality of the playing throughout the show, its lack of clear standout songs and jams makes it one for the completion-minded rather than the casual '77 collector.


ARCHIVE HEADPHONES5/11/77 @ the Internet Archive:
the Soundboard for Listening Only

Source: shnid=83196 Audio Quality:
Lineage: Soundboard Master Reel DAT FLAC
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
5-11-77 a.k.a. 05-11-77 a.k.a. 5/11/77 a.k.a. 05/11/77 a.k.a. 77-05-11 mp3 download 320 kbps
The Music Never Stopped, 2009 -- Volume 48


henryband said...

Thanks for another nice post!

Hans-Joachim said...

A fine show even with artwork included! Deadheart what more do you need? Greetings from Bavaria again.

TheNWRA said...

Cheers - 77, must be good.

Dan L. said...

I do like this one
Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

have this show on tapes for yrs,good to have on cd,MANY THANKS,
keep the jams coming our way!
the guy from INDY,IN.

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated