"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Compass Always Points To Terrapin

Today in Grateful Dead history we go back to the famed year 1977. Although this is the third show of 1977, it's the first one that exhibits the tightness that makes this year so famous. This was the first night of a three night run at Winterland. They played 10 gigs at Winterland in 1977; three in March, three in June and four in December. The three June shows are an official box set and pieces of the two of the December shows are part of Dick's Picks 10. Yet of all these shows, this was the first one of any of them that I got as a teenager. I only seeked out this show because it had the first "Fire on the Mountain" and the only time that they used the coda "Terrapin," the "At the Sliding" instrumental, which is titled "Alhambra." Download the soundboard of this night HERE and HERE.
The first set soothes like a thin piece of butter on warm piece of toast. The rare extended solo over the verse of "Mississippi Half Step," the vibrant "Cassidy," and the delicate "Peggy-O," all set up the first ever "Scarlet/Fire." There is much less "Scarlet" than there is "Fire" in this first combo, but the new vehicle is their chance to explore. The band is full speed ahead on the melody even though Garcia is no where close to being set on the lyrics but "More that it gives the more it will take." Clearly jazzed the band excel as they build and build the "Scarlet" rift that ends this set.
The second sets starts with a crashing "Samson" and sparkling "Good Lovin'," before getting to the nitty gritty in a dark beautiful "Estimated." Although this is just the tip of the iceberg for this song, it does start the band's exploration of this time signature. The "Terrapin" is more formed than the previous two. As it seems like they are more comfortable with the tune. As the jam crashes to a halt there is some indecision with the band as what to do next. They have obviously enjoyed the tune and want to stay with the groove which props Garcia into the "Alhambra" jam with Phil in tow. Jerry is not at all prepared for the "At the Sliding" lyrics so it's just a jam before the drummers take lead. The band cuts loose on the "Not Fade." Listen at the 10:38 mark, where Garcia makes a sound with his guitar like a balloon letting all it's air out. The crowd goes nuts as the band starts to make the ascension to the conclusion verse. As the lyric chant fades they pick up the often paired "St Stephen" before closing with "Around and Around." The night cap is "Uncle John's," which was the most common encore of 1977 along with "US Blues" and "One More Saturday Night," all being preformed ten times there. 
I: Promised, Half Step, All Over Now, Sugaree, Minglewood, Peggy-O, Cassidy, Scarlet, Fire
II: Samson, BE Woman, Good Lovin', Ship, Estimated, Terrapin, Alhambra, Drums, NFA, St Stephen, Around E: Uncle John's

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