Can we agree May of ‘77 was arguably the best month of the grateful dead

  1. I think we can agree that it's arguably the best month, even if we can't agree that it is the best month. Many months are definitely arguably the best months!

  2. Like any of these "best" conversations, it depends on taste. I like jamming and the dead's one-drummer sound better, so for me it's probably June 74, or September 72, or November 73. The bands jamming in 77 never really went anywhere by comparison with what they were doing in the early 70s. But the band sure was tight in 77, and the shows were undeniably energetic. If that's your thing, then sure I guess May 77 is the king.

  3. Good point, what’s funny though is my favorite sound is 73 and 74, Just haven’t listened to it all to declare a month, but I know what i’m doing for the next couple weeks

  4. The voice of reason. Indeed. You like it ragged? 69. You like it country? 70, like it jammy ? 72/73/74. But if you like it polished yet energetic, « perfect » as one could say, then 77 it is

  5. November 73 is awesome. I also really love how Bobby is panned hard left on the soundboards for the whole month. I’m a big fan of his guitar playing and that month is incredible and the mix makes it great

  6. (My first shows 74) Incredibly 6-23 & 6-24-74 Miami and 5-22-77 Hollywood are etched in stone as some of the greatest music ever!

  7. Yea me too. Way more experimental and edgy in the early 70s with crackle of newness, and more listening happening with just Billy at the kit. 77 is really consistent with a great sound and sparkle.

  8. Post is a half hour old and there’s at least a dozen different months mentioned already. Make a long story short, no we can not.

  9. There’s a Here Comes Sunshine -> China -> Rider from 2/17/73 that I can’t ever get enough of. Recorded it on tape back in the 90s during some late night college radio dead show and it took me until a few years ago to finally figure out which show it was from. I think Here Comes the China Rider was only played once as well, which did make it easier to find when I found the Archive.

  10. I’m a big fan of late 80s shows; but 77 is top notch in my opinion in so many ways. Their sound system had vastly improved, Donna’s vocals were on point, Mickey was back, Jerry’s getting unreal tones out of the Travis Bean TB500, Keith was still lucid and was playing great, and Bobby wasn’t really playing slide yet

  11. You're right. 89 was a big year, and summer tour was great. Lots of people like 89. Large repertoire, Jerry was healthy, Brent was rocking, lots of deadheads showing up on tour to big venues. Good things were happening. But for pure Grateful Dead prime shows and jams that crackle, 89 does not even come close, for me. I like 89, don't get me wrong but it's not prime stuff for me. But hey that's my deadhead experience.

  12. I just found the Alpine Valley July 89 show on DVD at a bookstore. Gonna give her a watch on my day off.

  13. Feb-march 69, Feb 70, and April 71 also all rank highly; and the experience of listening from 69-71 is really special. I can't think of a band who changed so much in such a sort time.

  14. Arguably, yes. Not a slam dunk by any means. 1989 was special. 71-74 was amazingly great. Spring 90 was wonderful. But May 1977 certainly fits in.

  15. I agree that we can argue about this. Over dinner or camping, or on the internet. This is an agreeable argument.

  16. May of ‘77 was definitely a great month for the Grateful Dead. They were on point in 1977. My favorite time period for Grateful Dead music is August of ‘68. They still had a real blues sound and they could really jam too. I love the songs that the Dead played in ‘68, especially Dark Star, St. Stephen > The Eleven > Death Don’t Have No Mercy, and The Other One. Those are my favorite songs from the Grateful Dead and I love the feel the band had then.

  17. Well I can't agree on that and here's why ... May of 77 was one of many months in Grateful Dead history that had the month pretty full of shows and had them on a full on tear musically. The reason months like these belong in this list are because they're consistently hot and you're getting pretty much the same energy show per show and it just comes down to setlist preference, but yes that includes those 3-5 shows on the month that are extra special where the versions have personalities ... off the top of my head here's a few others that are imho as great as May 77.

  18. "The Dead played with the same level of artistry for almost their entire 30yr career. It was just packaged differently but the energy you hear in those 77 shows is there in a 71 show or 87, 82, 79 etc. They're still talking and having a new conversation every night, every second a one of a kind creation ..."

  19. I love and recognize 77 was a peak and wonderfully focused , I think the thing we forget is sound wise they were some not all of horrible sounding sheds and field houses …. Opinions? There are so many wonderful things done again and again never mind the year just not tours of excellence overall , hello spring 89 somewhat

  20. May of 77 is great and tight and I do love it. Just sounds like not many musical chances were taken. I think it's the two drummer thing. I mean one of my favorite Jams ever ala Truckin 5-19-74 could not happen in 77. They are two different monsters. Both beautiful in their own ways. So...May/June 74 gets my vote. Or is it Sept-Nov 72. Or Fall 73. Or Spring 90. Everyone has their own preference. And they are ALL right. :)

  21. In many of the books, people claim that the Dead were benefitting from working with Keith Olsen in the studio on Terrapin Station album at this time, that it really made them tight as a unit.

  22. IMO 1972 was the shit - Europe 72 has it all the classics that we would enjoy for the next 20+ years plus all of the the early stuff that they would soon retire. Pig and Keith playing together you really couldn’t ask for more……….although The 74 shows with the wall of sound are also freaking incredible (just a disclaimer my first show was in 78)

  23. I did the run of Europe 72 shows earlier in the year and this is where I landed on it too. Such a great era that sees the band in transition (whether they knew it or not, that tour is essentially the end of The Grateful Dead as it started) with one foot still in psychedelia/bar blues and whatever was coming next.

  24. A little shocked how little Pig Pen is discussed here. April 1971. I think 1971 is the best year in music history, including the peak of the Dead.

  25. Can we agree that calling out an era/year/month/tune as The Best is pretty much a subjective personal thing and who cares, anyway?

  26. So many great stretches. May 77 is a great choice. I love 78 too. It's like 77's evil twin, a little rougher around the edges and seems like the band was taking more chances (and probably more coke) compared to the more polished and safe playing of 77.

  27. It's definitely up there. April/May of 72 rate highly as well. Personally, I adore any month from 1971. So many new tunes are introduced and there is something about the tone of Jerry's guitar that I absolutely love.

  28. I’ll defer to the group, but I think May 77 is definitely a great opening to introduce curious friends and family members to what the Dead were all about.

  29. Arguably, yes. However I would say months in 90, 91, 92, 89, 88, 87, and maybe a month in 85 would compare a month in 74, 72 and 69. I am late era biased because my family was there but I think there have many many strong months in the dead’s history

  30. Our universe is 13.7 billion years old and you managed to be alive when every Grateful Dead month is available from a device you hold in your hand and hi-fi speakers that reproduce amazing quality sound. Dig what you dig.

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