Buy “Grateful Dead – Cornell 5/8/77 (3CD) – Music” Online
"I listen to the tape and it sounds amazing and I say ‘I don’t remember that, I didn’t play that!’" Jerry Garcia. "I can always tell when a recording is mine. It has tonalities. My sound is beefy. My recordings are very stereo, very open, with a lot of air in them. You feel like you’re standing in the middle of the music. My feeling is everyone wants to play in the band. " Betty Cantor-Jackson. This show has been called "the greatest Dead show ever", to "yeah, it’s okay", to "way overrated". And then there’s the conspiratorial plot that this show never really happened–that each song was taken from another show–and that the whole thing was a mind control experiment by the government. Hmmm. No matter where you stand on this show, I still think there’s some great music here. Latvala for example, went from, early on, calling it one of the band’s best shows, to later saying he’s heard better. Too each his own. The Library of Congress had this gig added into the National Recording Registry because it was "deemed so important to the history and culture of the United States. " Whew. One of a string of shows the band played in May ’77 (the latest box set also includes shows surrounding this gig), the band had it together (for the Dead) during this period and played some good/great shows. Personally I can’t see how any particular show could be called "the greatest", especially when you’re talking about the Dead. As we all know the band could be firing on all cylinders and then suddenly lose the thread that held everything together. Sometimes they found it again, sometimes not. But the band had it together at Cornell. A song by song review is pretty useless. But there’s some good stuff here including "Loser", "Deal", "Brown Eyed Woman", and "Lazy Lightning"/"Supplication" from the first set. The second set has things like "Scarlet Begonias" into "Fire On The Mountain", "St. Stephen", "Morning Dew", and "One More Saturday Night". You may agree or disagree, but these sound good to my ears. If you like this show you’ll have your own favorites. And the just released box set of shows surrounding Cornell each have some great Dead performances that back up the idea that the band had it together. So if you don’t have this show from other sources, this is something worth checking out. This show has been "around" for years as a bootleg, and in pretty decent sound. This cleaned up version has the advantage of having been originally recorded by Betty Cantor-Jackson ("Betty Boards"), and sounds open with some good space between the instruments and vocals. The 22 page booklet has the usual info on the show with an informative and interesting essay by Nicholas Meriwether, track list/recording information, and a two page spread photo of the band. The packaging is the four panel foldout cardboard package (that has more "trippy" photos of the band) we’ve all seen before, but this has some imagination to it, echoing the box set graphics. The discs are easier to get out of their slots this time because of the unique packaging that’s also pretty cool looking. One of the band’s greatest shows or overrated? I lean toward one good show in a string of good shows (May 7th is a good show to my ears) from this May ’77 run of concerts. If you can scratch up the coin, and you like this show, the box set has other goodies you’ll like. But as a stand alone show, this is a good example of where the band was musically at this point. And the best tunes here will take you to that special place only the Dead can deliver. Check it out!
Cornell 5/8/77 was recorded live directly from the soundboards by Betty Cantor-Jackson. After several years the master tapes were seemingly lost for good, but that all changed at the end of 2016. The lost tapes, or lost “Betty boards” as they are commonly known, finally made their way back home to the Grateful Dead vault, making it possible to officially bring the world this legendary show just in time for its 40th Anniversary. The complete live show has been Plangentized by Plangent Processes and remastered by GRAMMY ® award winning sound engineer, Jeffrey Norman.
Cornell 5/8/77 (3CD) Review
For ages, Cornell ’77 has been heralded by many as the greatest Grateful Dead show of all time. it? Personally, I think there are too many classic Dead shows to pinpoint any single performance as the "greatest", but there was certainly magic in the air on this particular night. That being said, Cornell strikes a nearly perfect balance that oughta appease both diehards and newcomers alike,. ..with that criteria, it might very well be on the short list of "greatest ever". I had an incomplete 6th-gen (if that, lol) cassette of this show I’ve since long worn out, so I’m delighted to finally get a crispy version of it. "Greatest" or not, it’s a no-brainer to have in your collection! -Read Reviews-
This show has been one of my favorites for decades. I’ve heard this in soundboard recordings, audience recordings, matrixes that try to capture the best of aud and sbd, and this new release blows them all out of the water with its clarity and presence. I have often recommended this show to friends and acquaintances that expressed an interest in the Dead but never saw them live. It’s a testament to the mythic status of this show that it was enshrined in the Library of Congress before it was actually a formal release. And yes, the tinfoil hat crowd do make a somewhat convincing (tongue in cheek) argument that the show never actually happened and was a covert mind control experiment (go look it up 🙂 This live album, beyond any other live Dead album, will show you the light and illustrate what the Dead could do on the best of all "good show" nights. I am very grateful (ha!) that the Betty Boards were returned to the vault and this amazing recording was made available. Strongly recommended.