Grateful Dead

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 before the April 7th release date. That’s $2 under the suggested retail price. For the complete track listing and ordering info, click here.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
cosmicbadger's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
too much fun

What with RT2.2 and Pure Jerry I had forgotten about preordering this one till I just got an email saying it had been sent. Un embaras de richesses!

Joined: Jul 9 2007
Mystery Bonus Disc with the new Roadtrips

Although not advertised, there was a bonus disc with the new Roadtrips '68 discs. The shows are from the Northwest tour the weeks prior to 2/14 (although there is no Clementine on them -- what were they thinking?). If there is a mystery bonus disc with this Hartford set, I will be upset because I would have ordered it. Oh well, at least I am thankful for what I have.

duplojohn's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2007

For decades DEADHEADS have been on the cutting edge of music technology.

And here I still need to order a CD??

I recently set up for less then a thousand bucks a state of the art multimedia theatre and now to add these tracks I need to plug in a CD? WTF

enlightend rogue's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
My cousin just called me

My cousin just called me and said isn't it great that the GOGD has just released a whole show for $14.99 ! I said no it was $17.99 I preordered it thru GDM and now Amazon has it for $14.99 ? Why am I buying any product from this site? There is no bonus disc involved and I get ripped for an extra $3 because i'm a devoted fan and buy everything music wise this site has to offer. The powers that be should take a good look in the mirror and do something about their own personal affront on their community.

Thanx for the screwing !!

JackstrawfromColorado's picture
Joined: Jan 2 2009
Plus on The View

Earlier this week when Phil and Bobby were on, they handed out a copy of this album to everyone in the audience. I would bet at least 3/4 of that audience had no clue who the Dead even are and they get the album free. I order these discs just to simply support the cause so I guess I should feel good about it??

"When the smoke has cleared she said, that's what she said to me. You're gonna want a bed to lay your head and a little sympathy"

Joined: Jul 9 2007
Why no bonus disc?

I will certainly buy this, but I am not doing so from whatever now passes for GDM. Why pay for the extra shipping and handling costs without a bonus disc or some other inducement than a $2 break on the cost? The package will be selling at Best Buy for about the price you can get it here. The bonus disc is the perfect inducement to get me to order right from the source. BRING BACK THE BONUS DISC.

OK, that being said, this is an extraordinary show and despite a great matrix being circulated of it last month (one of the best I have heard from the '77 era), a remastered HDCD SBD version is certainly worth buying. Bring it on.

Joined: Jun 23 2007

This is my last pre-order through -- Amazon wins every time in these situations. They have responsive customer service, an awesome track record, and cheaper/faster shipping (free if you spend $25). So, like I said, barring some extrememly special circumstances, this is my last pre-order through on commercially available items.

rdevil's picture
Joined: Nov 2 2007
amazon or

I'm ready to preorder. Is there any advantage to ordering here over Amazon?

Just want to take this opportunity to say again how spectacular these three resent releases are, especially when you consider the three releases together. We get one show each from the 60s, 70s and 80s, the 'emerging' Dead with Pigpen, a show from probably their best post-hiatis tour and acoustic Jerry...this really is something for everyone. Even those who prefer best of packages get the bonus disc from the latest Road Trips.
Thanks to those who made these choices and keep the complete shows coming!

Joined: Jul 29 2008
Good job with the new releases...

...glad to see the Offspring of Jer have managed to get things straightened out.

Like others here I will buy most anything officially released, even if it's something I already have through "other sources" and even if Rhino & Co have a slight rep regarding quality issues both in sound quality and manufacturing. I figure my purchase helps support the cause, that's why I went ahead and preordered the Hartford '77 set along with the new RT and PJ issues. And getting the 10% discount for preordering through is pretty nice...

...of course, if I'd waited until today I would have seen the email I just got from Amazon, and I would have known to preorder the Hartford set from there and gotten a **25%** discount?

Now how does that happen? Members of the family here, buying straight from the store here, can't even get the same deal that we would if we bought from the big-ass corporation? Buy from, 10% off. Buy from Amazon, 25% off. My money's tight, too, those hundred dollar show tickets hit kinda hard.

That kinda sucks, honestly. Bet amazon's shipping is cheaper too. Damn, just can't win.

*The white zone is for loading and unloading only*

Joined: Jun 7 2007
14 February 1968?

Well the cover image of the now-disappeared Road Trips image was based on the concert poster for the 14 Feb show -

Some posters on have identified this as the release but I wonder if they were relying on the cover art to determine the show. It also seems odd that a Road Trips release would comprise an entire show. Perhaps the release is an excuse to release the tidbits that David L apparently discovered recently - the Viola Lee Blues and Dark Star encore from around the end of Jan/start of Feb 68. I forget where I read about that...


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.