To Terrapin: Hartford, May 28, 1977
By Blair Jackson
And the whistle is screaming...
3 Disc Set
Whether or not the fabled spring tour of 1977 was, as many Dead Heads believe, the strongest Grateful Dead tour ever, it was unquestionably a magical time stuffed-to-overflowing with amazing shows. Say the word “Cornell” to any hardcore Head and it means one thing—the 5/8/77 show at Barton Hall on the august school’s campus. But there were numerous other stops on the tour that produced monster shows, as well, from the five-night run at the Palladium in New York, to the incredible Fox Theatre in Atlanta (5/19 was part of the two-show Dick’s Picks #29), to the two Florida shows—Lakeland and Pembroke Pines (Dick’s Picks #29 and Dick’s Picks #1, respectively)—Tuscaloosa, Richmond… the tour was a scorcher from beginning to end.
What was up? Well, by the spring of ’77, the Dead had been back on the road for nearly a year following their famous performing hiatus, so Mickey Hart was thoroughly re-integrated into the band, and the septet was hitting a new stride. There was a handful of great new songs being integrated into the repertoire, including Garcia and Hunter’s complex, epic “Terrapin Station” suite, Weir and John Barlow’s cool, off-kilter reggae tune “Estimated Prophet,” and Phil and Peter Monk’s rollicking “Passenger.” Those songs would form the core of the album that the Dead were recording in the winter of ’77 with producer Keith Olsen down in Los Angeles. Olsen was a sharp guy with good ears (as they say in the biz), and he worked the Dead hard in the studio, forcing them to play perhaps a bit more precisely than they were accustomed to. Now, one can endlessly debate whether the result of Olsen’s approach was ultimately an album that was a tad too precise—a criticism even the band leveled at Terrapin Station—but all the laboring over parts and arrangements in the studio seemed to have an extremely positive impact on how the band played live that spring.
Which brings us to Hartford, Connecticut on the night of May 28, 1977—the final night of this Tour for the Ages, and the source of our latest release, To Terrapin. You’d never know from listening to this show that the band had been on the road for more than a month and 25 previous concerts, because it has that sparkle and intensity the band only had when it was fresh, feelin’ good and in full exploration mode. From the rippin’ “Bertha” > “Good Lovin’” > “Sugaree” trifecta opening, through the spectacular second set sequence comprised of “Playing in the Band,” a brisk and buoyant “Terrapin,” a fantastic one-of-a-kind “Not Fade Away,” “Wharf Rat,” and the “Playing reprise.” Definitely the band at its best!
So, why put this out now? Why the hell not? And what’s with all the questions? Just enjoy it. OK, aside from it being a classic show worthy of release, we thought it might be fun to revisit a concert played in one of the venues The Dead are hitting this spring on their tour—that would be the Hartford Civic (now the XL Center) on 4/26/09… why, that’s the 31-year, 11-month, 2-day anniversary show of this epic ’77 show! Anyway, this three-disc complete show release has been lovingly mastered to HDCD specs from the original reel-to-reel tapes by Jeffrey Norman utilizing the usual array of mysterious black boxes and sonic tools unavailable to us mere mortals. Artist Scott McDougal, who’s done such a bang-up job for us on the Road Trips series, has designed a beautiful package, and the always erudite Gary Lambert has contributed a fine essay which is accompanied by glorious photos of the band in Hartford in 1977. And because we know that in these tough economic times everyone could use a bargain, we’re offering To Terrapin at the very low price of $17.98 for all pre-orders placed on dead.net before the April 7th release date. That’s $2 under the suggested retail price. For the complete track listing and ordering info, click here.
I gotta say, I really never complain and I have always read these posts just thinking that you're a bunch of whiners.... BUT, after buying things from Dead.net for years, I finally had my first order problem... And I have never experienced such poor customer service in my life.
I ordered Terrapin back in early March and decided to top it up with a couple from the Pick's series. Somewhere between then and now the store ran out of Picks #31 (too bad, looks awesome), and they decided to just remove it from my order without telling me. Then without explanation they just decided to double my shipping charge from the $11 that I agreed to, to $21.
When I saw this error on my order history I decided to write in through the site (3 times by the way with no response). With no response, I called in a complaint. The attendant said someone would call back. They never did.
So I finally decided to call back and cancel the order, but then they said it was too late and that my visa was charged. I could, however, send the merchandise back if I covered the shipping. To Canada and back would be about $40... for nothing... Absurd. After some arguing a supervisor said they'd refund $10 shipping to my visa. Never did.
And, of course, since I pre-ordered, I got extra punishment because if I had just waited I could have bought it on Amazon for less money, less hastle, and I would have had it a week ago instead of sometime next month.
Btw. Isn't it weird that when you're on hold at Dead.net the on hold music isn't Grateful??
i got my terrapin 77 today, and while getting my orders from the store have been painfully slow (i still haven't received my $170 worth of pure jerry although my card was charged 3 weeks ago! customer serivce is clearly a misnomer at the store- my emails have also gone unanswered.... ), getting the terrapin discs today was a happy moment! totally enjoying the music- i forgot what a full show could do for the soul!
the packaging is nifty, the text is focused on the band and legible, the discs come out of the packaging without tearing anything- then the music sounds so incredably beautiful! sugaree is blaring at this very moment and oh how i love sugaree!!! shake it up,baby! i am going to have a hersey bar and glass of wine to celebrate! whatever will i do with myself when all 8 volumes of pure jerry arrive!??!!
just a few more songs, jeff, and candyman will greet me- soulful jerry- he's reaching out to me with sugaree! a girl couldn't ask for better- i gotta go sway to the music--
have a grateful day!
thanks for the update, glad they arrived, and yeah, I admit I really love this one too. Jerry is in lovely form.
Ok, FINALLY got mine today, and they're well worth the wait. Whoever posted that this was a dull show is crazy. Does it have the fire of Carousel '68? Of course not. The pace of the show kind of reminds me of JGB shows from '77: laid back, but oh so sweet. If you think this show lacks "soul," check out Jerry's vocals on "Candyman."
"May the 4 winds blow you safely home."
I'm looking forward to getting them if they show. At least I'm content with hearing the show last night on sirius...I'll just be patiently awaiting my Hartford '77
Will you come with me? Once in awhile you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right!
Terrapin….the only game in town
© Ice Nine Publishing/Candymans Music
And lets not forget two ignored emails to customer (dis)service. Maybe I can wear my Boston Green SYF shirt NEXT St Patricks Day. Maybe.
Pre ordered 3-9-09, billed 4-13-09, notified not yet, recieved someday I hope.
Liquid Blue got me a summers worth of shirts and hats within a week of placing my order, and Sunshine Daydream filled my cupboards with mugs in 5 days. Amazon looks better and better. But the bonus disc with 2-68 was pretty cool.
anyone know what the current pop up displayed by clicking the saturn is? looks familiar but I can't place it.
When I got home last night there was a voice mail from Grateful Dead Customer Service. Finally. They said my order of Hartford '77 will be shipping out today (4/17). Jeez ... I pre-ordered on February 24. Well, better late than never. Although, next time I think I will go a different route in terms of ordering new Dead releases.
I'm looking forward to hearing the Hartford show. I've got Pembroke Pines, FL and Richmond from the spring '77 tour and they are two of my all time favorite shows.