Today in Grateful Dead history there are many shows that I could if I want choose from. There is the famous Low Library Plaza gig from Columbia, where the band snuck on to the campus to play a protest rally only to realize that they didn't really care about it. A great Winterland show from 1969 was played on this date with a fantastic "Dark Star." They also played a mammoth "Other One" in Paris in '72, a show which is part of the Europe '72 box set. They played gigs in 1970, 1979 (the day before the recent Record Day release), 1986, 1987 and 1991 on this date, but today I'm gonna focus on the show from 1977. Why? Because this is my birth show. Not my birthday show but my actual birth show. I was born in Port Chester in the middle of this show. I like to think it was around the "Row Jimmy," since my name is James, but it was most like around "The Music Never Stopped." Apropo for me who always has to have something in the stereo, according to my wife.
Tie-dye American Beauty Grateful Dead birthday cake, thank you. You know me too well!
I remember when I got my first copy of Deadbase, Number IX. The first thing that I did was riffle through the pages to find out if they played on the day I was born. I got to the show, I put a big star next to the show in red pen. It was always one of the shows that I would inquire about when in a tape trade. Never did I find it. Everyone seemed to have 5/4/77, which is a very fine show, but I always came up empty on my show. One night at a friend apartment in Tribeca, my friend mentioned that he could get me any show I wanted. This was the first date that I threw out at him, and he said come back tomorrow. The next day at work I got a call, "Hey you wanted 5/4/77 right?" NOOO. He found the right show and burned it to disc for me. The second set never came out of the car for the next year.
This isn't the longest "Sugaree" of 1977 but it might be the most intense. Jerry plays these spinning high pitch notes on a continuos repetition, which makes it extreme gratifying. Then there are three Jerry songs in a row, "Friend," "Eyes," and then "Wharf Rat." The "Eyes of the World" is on my charts as one of my favorite versions of the song. Then "Wharf Rat" that precedes it, like on Dick's Picks 3, has that long intro where Jerry goes off playing scales as that band watches on. Until the band drops into "Wharf Rat" as the audience goes nuts. It was mesmerizing for me. Then the "Not Fade" simply crushes it.
One of the great tragedies of my life is the fact that there is no complete Soundboard of this show in circulation. Only the "Promised" to "Ship of Fools" is in circulation. So download the best Aud HERE.
I once told someone at a festival that my parents were at this show. I fancied myself a writer, so I would sometimes practice by making up the occasional story. I told them that I was named James because my mom's water broke during "Row Jimmy." Since my dad didn't like the name Jimmy, I always went by James. Then I told him if it was a song earlier than I would have been named "Jack" for the first "Jack Straw" since 10/20/74. I also included that it would have been much more embarrassing if I was name "Bertha," "Peggy," or "Sugaree."
I: Promised Land, Bertha, Uncle, Peggy-O, Jack Straw, Row Jimmy, Lazy Lightning, Supplication, Deal, Good Lovin', Ship of Fools, Music
II: Might as Well, Estimated, Sugaree, Samson, Friend, Eyes, Wharf Rat, Drums, NFA, Around
E: Uncle John's