To Terrapin: Hartford, May 28, 1977
by Blair Jackson
And the whistle is screaming...
3 Disc Set
Whether or not the fabled spring tour of 1977 was, as many Dead Heads believe, the strongest Grateful Dead tour ever, it was unquestionably a magical time stuffed-to-overflowing with amazing shows. Say the word “Cornell” to any hardcore Head and it means one thing—the 5/8/77 show at Barton Hall on the august school’s campus. But there were numerous other stops on the tour that produced monster shows, as well, from the five-night run at the Palladium in New York, to the incredible Fox Theatre in Atlanta (5/19 was part of the two-show Dick’s Picks #29), to the two Florida shows—Lakeland and Pembroke Pines (Dick’s Picks #29 and Dick’s Picks #1, respectively)—Tuscaloosa, Richmond… the tour was a scorcher from beginning to end.
What was up? Well, by the spring of ’77, the Dead had been back on the road for nearly a year following their famous performing hiatus, so Mickey Hart was thoroughly re-integrated into the band, and the septet was hitting a new stride. There was a handful of great new songs being integrated into the repertoire, including Garcia and Hunter’s complex, epic “Terrapin Station” suite, Weir and John Barlow’s cool, off-kilter reggae tune “Estimated Prophet,” and Phil and Peter Monk’s rollicking “Passenger.” Those songs would form the core of the album that the Dead were recording in the winter of ’77 with producer Keith Olsen down in Los Angeles. Olsen was a sharp guy with good ears (as they say in the biz), and he worked the Dead hard in the studio, forcing them to play perhaps a bit more precisely than they were accustomed to. Now, one can endlessly debate whether the result of Olsen’s approach was ultimately an album that was a tad too precise—a criticism even the band leveled at Terrapin Station—but all the laboring over parts and arrangements in the studio seemed to have an extremely positive impact on how the band played live that spring.
Which brings us to Hartford, Connecticut on the night of May 28, 1977—the final night of this Tour for the Ages, and the source of our latest release, To Terrapin. You’d never know from listening to this show that the band had been on the road for more than a month and 25 previous concerts, because it has that sparkle and intensity the band only had when it was fresh, feelin’ good and in full exploration mode. From the rippin’ “Bertha” > “Good Lovin’” > “Sugaree” trifecta opening, through the spectacular second set sequence comprised of “Playing in the Band,” a brisk and buoyant “Terrapin,” a fantastic one-of-a-kind “Not Fade Away,” “Wharf Rat,” and the “Playing reprise.” Definitely the band at its best!
So, why put this out now? Why the hell not? And what’s with all the questions? Just enjoy it. OK, aside from it being a classic show worthy of release, we thought it might be fun to revisit a concert played in one of the venues The Dead are hitting this spring on their tour—that would be the Hartford Civic (now the XL Center) on 4/26/09… why, that’s the 31-year, 11-month, 2-day anniversary show of this epic ’77 show! Anyway, this three-disc complete show release has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs from the original reel-to-reel tapes by Jeffrey Norman utilizing the usual array of mysterious black boxes and sonic tools unavailable to us mere mortals. Artist Scott McDougal, who’s done such a bang-up job for us on the Road Trips series, has designed a beautiful package, and the always erudite Gary Lambert has contributed a fine essay which is accompanied by glorious photos of the band in Hartford in 1977. And because we know that in these tough economic times everyone could use a bargain, we’re offering To Terrapin at the very low price of $17.98 for all pre-orders placed on dead.net before the April 7th release date. That’s $2 under the suggested retail price. For the complete track listing and ordering info, click here.
A new Pure Jerry release, and a new Pure Jerry section here...excellent news!
I am just a little bit disappointed that "PJ-8" wasn't a "Paul is dead" clue after all. Ah well, back to spinning my Beatles vinyl backwards on the turntable...anybody know how to do that with a CD?
The RT appears to be a Carousel Ballroom release. I can't read any more than "Car-" but it certainly looks very 1968. I wonder what it will be - I guess highlights from the late March or late May/early June run, assuming that they're keeping the RT multi-show approach going.
Check out the dead.net store. There's now a Pure Jerry section. It also includes a Pure Jerry 8 / RTV2N2 bundle. I can't make out what the RTV2N2 is the but Pure Jerry appears to be the 1986 show mike mentioned.
Well done! First place to mike.
mike dunn, I reckon you've hit the proverbial nail. The second number plate doesn't pertain to the first - it's announcing two releases!!
Although it would a first for a Pure Jerry release to be announced on dead.net right?
check this out & let me know what it means: the original pixs of the cars seems to be from Harer, Ethiopia..... http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/55/Two_old_Fiat_cars_in_Harer_Ethiopia.jpg&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Two_old_Fiat_cars_in_Harer_Ethiopia.jpg&usg....... I knew they are Fiats......Gypsy Cowgirl
Mr. Pid knew the license plate RTV2N2......PJ-8 ?????
This might be Pure Jerry Series Volume 8.....Word is that it is a solo Jerry/Kahn acoustic performance from 1986. We shall see.
Giving away really good tickets?
"When the smoke has cleared she said, that's what she said to me. You're gonna want a bed to lay your head and a little sympathy"
I had a quick look at the show lists from 1990-95 and nothing resembles PJ8.
Is it a highway or area code or something?
Nice work on the Road Trips Volume 2-Number 2! It seems so obvious in hindsight--why didn't I figure it out too? Anyway, we need to get the "PJ8" thing figured out now.
On the RT reference. I can only surmise that the other plate is an old clue that Paul is dead.