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Saturday, March 1, 2008

1975 June 17 - Winterland Arena

Grateful Dead - June 17, 1975 Winterland Arena
Tuesday, June 17, 1975
Winterland Arena - San Francisco, CA
Audience Recording

The Grateful Dead stopped touring in October 1974. The spectacular "retirement" was captured every so nicely on film in The Grateful Dead Movie. There then came a period of about 18 months where the band was not on the road at all. Garcia did continue to perform live with his solo projects throughout this time, but the world of Grateful Dead fans collectively bit their nails wondering if the band would ever come back to town. The Dead recorded Blues For Allah during this hiatus, and from time to time popped up and did a performance wherein new material was allowed to test its legs. If you don’t have it already, you owe it to yourself to buy One From The Vault. That release, featuring the performance from 08/13/75, is perfect from end to end.

Another must have from 1975 would be this audience tape, recorded by Rob Bertrando, on 06/17/75. Just knowing that it was recorded by Betrando (already famous for his 8/6/71 effort), about 30 feet from the Winterland stage is enough to make your ears prickle with anticipation. The tape does not disappoint.

The hypnotic debut of Crazy Fingers opens the set. It silences the crowd as they absorb the new song. Liltingly lovely, it may not be the barn burner that the crowd seemed amped for during Bill Graham’s introductions, but it fills the room with a delicious warmth that cradles everyone into waiting arms.

Jerry Garcia 1975After a few rust-shedding set one standards, we get the debut of Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin’s Tower. The Help is completely instrumental, and allows for very dedicated listening. It flows into Slipknot, which churns like a witch’s cauldron of mysterious ingredients. Then Franklin’s Tower appears and is delivered at a slightly slower tempo than it would use historically moving forward. The tempo is absolutely perfect. This version will put a smile on the face of a dead man. The entire song comes together so nicely, it caps the first set off perfectly.

Set two is a masterpiece. It will leave you slack jawed and wide-eyed. During King Solomon’s Marbles (Stronger Than Dirt, Milking The Turkey – whatever you want to call it) it gets to the point where it’s like the band is showing off the fact that they haven’t lost one single step while being on a break. It’s a carnival kaleidoscope of interweaving whirlpools, whitecap waves of light flashing along with the heavy syncopated rhythms. For a tune that was played only a handful of times live, this version packs the energy of several years worth of performances never played down to one amazing rendition. Repeated listening of this set are unavoidable.

As if getting an amazing show recorded so well that it typically gets the nod over the SBD wasn't enough, this tape also contains many wonderful passages of taper talk, from folks arguing about seats, to checking batteries and tape time remaining. This is an archive document of the highest order.


  1. Who the heck was Bob Fried anyway?

    And, as if your blog wasn't A+ enough already, thanks for including all these pictures *from the actual show*! From now on, I doubt I'll be able to Jer and Keith go off during this Slipknot without seeing Phil's silly grinning mug in my mind.

  2. Bob Fried was an artist who made many a psychedelic rock poster back in the 60's. He passed in 1975. The show raised money for his family.

    And thanks for the A+. Very nice of you to say.

  3. Great writeup, I really love all of Bertrando's auds. I can actually stand aud's because of some bands I listen to where all that is out there is aud/or the best sounding shows are aud (a few: Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top - tho there are some badass soundboards for Zep). The Crazy Fingers on this show is sublime, as the rest. Nice photography too. Makes me wish they did more '75 shows.

  4. Great writeup of a great show. I was there!

  5. Amazing Show! kinda gives me the feel of Jerry's solo recordings especially during the instrumentals. That's whats up to the dude who was there, that's some serious face stealing he experienced.

  6. Love these reviews - though, don't skip the slow and perfect Peggy-O (it is far more than a rust-shedding first set standard).

  7. on this day, i was born...


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