Grateful Dead - Cornell 5/8/77 album review

Aka the Holy Grail of Dead shows

Cover art for Grateful Dead - Cornell 5/8/77 album

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When the Dead hit the sweet spot, there was no doubt they could contemplate transcendental bliss. This legendary show from Barton Hall, Ithaca, New York is exhibit A. Covering a broad sweep of classics, from New Minglewood Blues to the then unreleased Terrapin Station track Estimated Prophet, it was one of those nights when Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and chums pushed all the right rootsy buttons.

Highlights include the Kingfish cuts Lazy Lightning/Supplication and the best Jack Straw outside of Europe ’72. Mercifully minus any drum and space toilet breaks, this three-CD, 20-song set sounds crisp and vivid, with mercurial Garcia moments patched throughout. Warhorse numbers Not Fade Away and Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried provide an R&B injection, and the roof lifts off when Weir rolls into cowboy mode for El Paso.

Donna Jean Godchaux’s contribution was often questioned but she’s Donna on the spot for a sparkling Dancing In The Street. There’s no Dark Star here butSt. Stephen is cosmic enough.

With Martin Scorsese’s SOFTWAREmark” gingersoftwareuiphraseguid=“83782fee-54f5-4528-a736-4dac2a6c2730” id=“bc503c28-1886-401c-a900-d8e4f8e7f01d”>Long Strange Trip on the horizon, this archive is worth cracking open.

Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.