1978 is often a year of complete mystery to newbies. Everyone says 1977 is THE YEAR (I won't weigh in on that now), and many disregard '78 as a declining year for Jerry Garcia. While it is true that drugs were taking a toll in 1978, and the band was not knocking it out of the park every night, there is plenty to love here.
Perhaps because of the Midwest location, tapes from these shows had always been really hard to find. Chicago wasn't exactly one of the Dead taper Meccas easily found on the coasts. As my tape collection grew, setting my sights on the likes of May 17th, 1978 was nothing short of seeking a holy grail like Watkins Glen (more on that later). First I stumbled upon unknown gen cassettes where things were C+ quality along with having tape speed problems. Still, things were good enough to sit awe struck at the amazing Half Step>Franklin's Tower (first Half Step>Frank ever played), the Dancin', and the unbelievable Space out of Drums that floats into Terrapin (maybe the best space of the year, in my mind).