This is the first Grateful Dead show in New York City since the year beforehand at the Beacon, which was the first run in four years. The Beacon run features one of my favorite "Help/Slip/Franks," and the band picks up right were they left off with a soaring version of the the trio. A little extra mustard and salt is sprinkled on the "Slipknot," adding some depth and attitude to the opener. Before "Franklin's" comes steaming in. They give some flexibility to by opening up space for a delightful Phil solo, as the "Fore winds roll us gently home." At the end of the song the band takes a cigarette break and the audience goes into a frenzy of song request calls. The funny one that you can make out is "Alligator," which was preformed for the final time six years to the day. The first set is punctuated with a gorgeous "Loser" and rambunctious "Music Never Stopped." The "Loser" is spectacular, and is the perfect example of how a song from six years can sound revitalized and reach new highs.
The band opens the second set with a crunching "Samson," before letting loose on a sublime "Sugaree." This is another song that was starting to flourish in 1977, where the band was not afraid to push the song past the 10-12 minute mark. Really exploring the songs every realm. Bobby quickly picks up the end of the song and speeds through "El Paso." A lucky fan calling from the gallery gets his wish, when they play "Brown Eyed Woman" seconds after he calls for it. Next the band builds on opening the set up, when they rock out an "Estimated Prophet." As the juices start flowing the band quietly sneaks into "Scarlet," which gets wrapped up in "Fire" jam, before being paired for the first time with "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad." It's the only time the two songs were paired together, but a familiar "Not Fade a Away" jam comes out of "Going Down the Road" before being bailed on for the drummers. Jerry's slide rolls the band into "The Wheel." This slowly comes to a stop as Jerry slides into "Wharf Rat" and the crowd very enthusiastic approves. Garcia really throws his heart into it as he sings the sad ballad. "She's been true to me" lyric fades as the band kicks it into gear for the set closer of "Around and Around." The marvelous encore of "Uncle John's" leaves the audience dancing on through the night.
I: Help, Slip, Franks, Minglewood, Jed, Cassidy, TLEO, Big River, Loser, Music
II: Samson, Sugaree, El Paso, BE Woman, Estimated, Scarlet, GDTRFB, NFA Jam, Drums, Wheel, Wharf Rat, Around E: Uncle John's