Listen To The Grateful Dead’s Most Famous Performance, Cornell ’77, On Its 40th Anniversary

first_img40 years ago today, on May 8th, 1977, the Grateful Dead‘s Spring Tour rolled onto Cornell University‘s Ithaca, NY campus for a performance at the university’s field house, Barton Hall. As the years have passed, 5/8/77 has become the near-consensus pick for “greatest Grateful Dead concert ever”–particularly high praise considering that the band played thousands of them before Jerry Garcia‘s death in 1995.Why Is 5/8/77 Considered The Grateful Dead’s Best Performance?Much of the show’s notoriety can be attributed to the quality audio recordings taken that evening in Ithaca, first by audience taper Jerry Moore (who actively circulated tapes of the show) and later via sound engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson‘s soundboard recording, which was recovered in the 80’s from a storage unit auction. Because of the widespread access to these high quality recordings, the show became a well-known go-to show among Deadheads in the know. And then, of course, there’s the incredible quality of the performance itself, which featured all-time great renditions of “Scarlett>Fire,” and “Morning Dew,” a breathtaking “St. Stephen” > “Not Fade Away” > “St. Stephen” segment, and so much more.In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Bob Weir spoke about the mythical status the 5/8/77 has attained among fans. “For me it was just another tour. I remember feeling like we were hot back when were doing it. But, for instance, that Cornell show that that people talk about, I can’t remember that specifically. It didn’t stand out for me on that tour. The whole tour was like that for me. I think that show became notable because there was a particularly good audience tape made of it. And that got around. I think it was the quality of the recording was good and the guy’s location was excellent. And whoever it was that made that recording made every attempt to get it out there so that people could hear it.”According to Weir, “[Our label] was freaking about the phenomenon of tapers showing up at our shows. They were insisting that we put an end to this. And we just didn’t want to do that. We didn’t feel comfortable doing that, so we didn’t. [Laughs] And through simple benign neglect we get credit for inventing viral marketing.”You can listen to full audio of the show below, consisting of Betty’s Boards (remastered by Rob Eaton) spliced with audience recordings from taper Steve Maizner on archive.org, as we’ve been listening to it for the last decade plus.Last Friday, May 5th, the band released an official re-mastered version of the show, Cornell 5/8/77, as a 5-LP (vinyl),  3-CD special remastered release of sound engineer Betty Cantor-Jackson‘s soundboard recordings from the storied performance. You can listen to the newly remastered audio below via Spotify:Finally, below you can watch a new mini-documentary that interviews several attendees of the Grateful Dead’s famed 5/8/77 Cornell show about the memorable experience, as shown at this year’s annual Grateful Dead Meet-up At The Moves on 4/20. SETLIST: Grateful Dead | Barton Hall; Cornell University | Ithaca, NY | 5/8/77Set 1: New Minglewood Blues, Loser, El Paso, They Love Each Other, Jack Straw, Deal, Lazy Lightning > Supplication, Brown Eyed Women, Mama Tried, Row Jimmy, Dancing In The StreetsSet 2: Scarlet Begonias > Fire On The Mountain, Estimated Prophet, St. Stephen > Not Fade Away > St. Stephen > Morning DewE: One More Saturday Night,SETLIST: Grateful Dead | Barton Hall; Cornell University | Ithaca, NY | 5/8/77last_img

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