Saturday, April 23, 1977
Springfield Civic Center Arena, Springfield, MA
You don't need a guy like me to tell you that 1977 is the best year of all time. Any nosing around a person does into Grateful Dead bootleg tapes will soon find them face to face with a deadhead telling them that 1977 is *IT*. Remember, 05/08/77 Cornell was probably the first show you ever heard (at least if you were nosing around back in the day). Why? It was one of the first really REALLY good sounding SBDs to get into circulation. And, it is a fantastic show as well.
I personally do not gravitate to 1977 when trying to call out the best year of them all. I will not bother getting into defending myself here where no one is trying to chest bump me on the fact. I might even scare you off mentioning I like 1976 even more.
However, there is no denying that Jerry and the boys were flying in '77. You just can't go wrong if you are looking for tight, energetic, wildly dexterous jams and inspired renditions of GD standards. Plus 1977 marked the debut of many a wonderful song, along with the pairing of Scarlet Begonias with the new Fire On The Mountain. I personally enjoy the shows from the first half of the year more than the second, but given the high caliber of the year overall, this is like saying I like chocolate with almonds more than chocolate with walnuts. It's all the same chocolate, man!
Here we have a stand out show from the Spring. Great copies of this show have stood the test of time very well. There are two masters up on archive.org now. I've opted with the Jerry Moore recording here. You will not be disappointed.
This show has just the third performance of Fire On The Mountain, and it is wonderful. The Dead are locked in to this new groove, and clearly feeding off of the energy of all the new material. Sticky syncopations and that psychedelic shuffle-slip-n-slide prevail. Jerry is dipping deeply into the creative well again and again. Just when you think he's turned a last corner, he hasn't, and you can only smile along for the ride.