Grateful Dead to Release May 1977 Box Set

by
Share This:

Grateful Dead’s May 1977: Get Shown the Light 11-CD boxed set

The Grateful Dead played more than 2,000 concerts, but none continues to spark interest and provoke discussion quite like the band’s performance at Cornell University’s Barton Hall on May 8, 1977. It is one of the most collected, traded and debated concerts by any band ever, has topped numerous fan polls through the years, and was a favorite of the group’s longtime archivist Dick Latvala, who stated, “Enough can’t be said about this superb show.”

Even Uncle Sam got into the act in 2011 when the recording was “deemed so important to the history and culture of the United States” that a copy was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the show, Dead.net will release May 1977: Get Shown the Light, a new 11-disc boxed set that features the commercial debut of the Cornell University show (5/8/77), along with three other previously unreleased concerts: Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT (5/5/77), Boston Garden, Boston, MA (5/7/77), and Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY (5/9/77).

The recordings come from the so-called Betty Boards, soundboard tapes made by Betty Cantor-Jackson, who was the Dead’s live recording engineer for many years. Jeffrey Norman has mastered the recordings in HDCD. The transfers from the master tapes were produced by Plangent Processes.

The Dead in 1977 (l to r): Donna Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart

“These four concerts have been the holy grail of wish-list releases both externally and internally for a long, long time,” says David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set’s producer,” in a press release. “During the 18-plus years I’ve worked with the Grateful Dead, no concert has garnered as much attention and as many requests for release as Cornell, with the New Haven, Boston and Buffalo shows following very closely behind. For those who didn’t know the history of these master tapes and about their absence from the band’s vault, and for those who have, like us, lamented this hole in the collection, we join with you in celebrating what might be, minute-for-minute, song-for-song, the most high quality Grateful Dead release ever produced.”

The set is available now for pre-order and will be shipped to arrive on May 5, the anniversary of the first show in the collection. Production of the set is limited to 15,000 individually numbered copies and available exclusively from Dead.net for $139.98. The set will also be available as a digital download in Apple Lossless ($99.98) and FLAC 192/24 ($124.98) exclusively at dead.net beginning on May 5.

Grateful Dead’s Cornell 5/8/77 3-CD set

On the same day, Rhino will release the Barton Hall concert separately in multiple formats. Cornell 5/8/77 will be available as a three-CD set ($29.98), a limited edition five-LP set ($119.98, limited to 7,700 copies), as well as digital download and streaming.

Related: Long Strange Trip, the new 4-hour Dead documentary, has been screening at festivals

May 1977: Get Shown the Light comes in an ornate box crafted by graphic artist Masaki Koike. The set includes an in-depth essay by noted Dead scholar Nicholas G. Meriwether, who explores the memories and mysteries that surround this run of shows. The set also comes with Cornell ’77: The Music, The Myth and the Legend of the Grateful Dead’s Concert at Barton Hall (Cornell Press), a new book by Peter Conners dedicated to the Cornell show. The book will also be available for purchase separately.

Jerry Garcia, Donna Jean Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir had just completed Terrapin Station, the band’s ninth studio album, when they hit the road for a spring tour leading up to the album’s release in late July. This new set serves as a prequel of sorts to the May 1977 boxed set from 2013, which featured the next five shows from that tour.

The set lists played at the four shows included in this set—especially Barton Hall—offer up sweeping retrospectives of the band’s career, touching on the early psychedelic days (“Morning Dew” and “St. Stephen”), and the rootsy early-’70s (“Uncle John’s Band” and “Tennessee Jed”) up to and including previewing songs from the group’s then-unreleased album Terrapin Station (“Estimated Prophet” and “Samson and Delilah.”)

Listen to “Scarlet Begonias/Fire on the Mountain” from the Cornell show (note: this mix is not from the forthcoming Rhino set)

Since some of her tapes began circulating in the 1980s, Cantor-Jackson’s live recordings of the band have become the gold standard by which others are measured. After decades in limbo, more than 350 reels of her recordings are now part of the Grateful Dead’s musical vault. The July 1978 set released last year represented the first official release of the Bettys, with more to come after May 1977: Get Shown the Light.

Related: Grateful Dead to reissue entire album catalog

In the set’s liner notes, Meriwether captures how the Cornell show pulls together many of the disparate strands of the Grateful Dead phenomenon and the Deadhead experience, from the music and experience of the show to its recording and dissemination. “The story of Cornell ’77 is more than just a tale of another great Dead show, another enduring example of what [Dick] Latvala called ‘primal Dead’: It is the stuff of history and legend, myth and mystery, and how those all played out to finally produce this long-awaited, much anticipated release, forty years after the last notes of ‘One More Saturday Night’ rang out in the drafty, cavernous confines of Barton Hall that night.” 

May 1977: Get Shown the LightTrack Listing

Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum
New Haven, CT (5/5/77)

Disc One
Promised Land
Sugaree
Mama Tried
El Paso
Tennessee Jed
Looks Like Rain
Deal
Lazy Lightning>
Supplication
Peggy-O
The Music Never Stopped

Disc Two
Bertha
Estimated Prophet
Scarlet Begonias>
Fire On The Mountain>
Good Lovin’
St. Stephen>
Sugar Magnolia
Johnny B. Goode

Boston Garden
Boston, MA (5/7/77)

Disc Three
Bertha
Cassidy
Deal
Jack Straw
Peggy-O
New Minglewood Blues
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo>
Big River
Tennessee Jed
The Music Never Stopped

Garcia, Hart, Lesh and Kreutzmann in May 1977

Disc Four
Terrapin Station
Samson and Delilah
Friend Of The Devil
Estimated Prophet

Disc Five
Eyes Of The World>
Drums>
The Wheel>
Wharf Rat>
Around and Around
U.S. Blues

Barton Hall (Cornell University)
Ithaca, NY (5/8/77)

Disc Six
New Minglewood Blues
Loser
El Paso
They Love Each Other
Jack Straw
Deal
Lazy Lightning>
Supplication
Brown-Eyed Women
Mama Tried
Row Jimmy

Disc Seven
Dancing In The Street
Scarlet Begonias>
Fire On The Mountain
Estimated Prophet

Disc Eight
St. Stephen>
Not Fade Away>
St. Stephen>
Morning Dew
One More Saturday Night

The Dead in May 1977

Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
Buffalo, NY (5/9/77)

Disc Nine
Help On The Way>
Slipknot>
Franklin’s Tower
Cassidy
Brown-Eyed Women
Mexicali Blues
Tennessee Jed
Big River
Peggy-O
Sunrise
The Music Never Stopped

Disc Ten
Bertha>
Good Lovin’
Ship Of Fools

Disc Eleven
Estimated Prophet>
The Other One>
Drums>
Not Fade Away>
Comes A Time>
Sugar Magnolia
Uncle John’s Band

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for Best Classic Bands‘ Newsletter; form is on every page.

Best Classic Bands Staff

Best Classic Bands Staff

The BCB team brings you the latest Breaking News plus Contests, On This Day rock history stories, retro-Charts and more.
Best Classic Bands Staff
Share This:

1 Comment so far

Jump into a conversation
  1. Guy Smiley
    #1 Guy Smiley 17 February, 2017, 22:25

    I don’t normally buy pricey, large box sets like this– especially since so much GD music can be had for free — but this was THE run of shows to have.

    Couldn’t resist having these shows fully cleaned up, sparkling presentation. Looking forward to the book that comes with it too!

    Reply this comment

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.