11/5/77
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Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/5/77 Community War Memorial Auditorium - Rochester, NY

 

Dick's Picks Volume 33 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 3 review

11/5/77

Dick's Picks Vol. 29 reviewDick's Picks Vol. 15 review

 
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/5/77 Community War Memorial Auditorium - Rochester, NY

The Grateful Dead
Community War Memorial Auditorium - Rochester, NY
11/5/77

Set 1: Minglewood Blues, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo, Looks Like Rain, Dire Wolf, Mama Tried > Big River, Candyman, Jack Straw, Deal

Set 2: Eyes Of The World > Samson & Delilah, It Must Have Been The Roses, Estimated Prophet > He's Gone > Drums > The Other One > Black Peter > Sugar Magnolia, E: One More Saturday Night

Released on Dick's Picks 34. However, this review made prior to its release on inferior sounding recordings.

 

Review
I know we're supposed to be way impressed with this one, but actually the first set didn't particularly stand out for me. Good, yes; solidly played, sure. No real jams, however, and one can't help noticing that the sound quality is not nearly as clear as we're used to hearing from 1977 [something often overlooked in claims of this or that 'great show']; in fact, it's rather muffled. I find I need a pretty distinct performance to take my attention away from compromised sound; these are good, but didn't make me forget any of a dozen other performances I've heard.

**Prejudice admission: I'm not too keen on starting shows with 'Minglewood', and I prefer J. Straws as openers**

Whatever -- let's see if set two doesn't make all that moot. And, in fact, it does; the sound is still a little annoyingly muffled, but how can you not like a solo Phil spot to start the second set? Bobby evidently gives up hope on Phil stopping & simply counts out the start to 'Eyes'; at the end Phil continues playing. I guess he just couldn't stop! It's nice though not exceptional, and Jerry steers out of the end jam into 'Samson'. Here we find that some explosive energy seems to be building in the band. It can't quite find a way out in this song, but clearly there are portents of a potentially exceptional set here.

Typically, Jerry responds to this with a slow ballad -- sweet, but not a standout. Bobby continues flogging his then-newest song next -- 'Estimated' -- and the outro jam gets more than a little moody. SOMETHING seems to be lurking beneath the surface, looking for expression, seeking out roots in the collective psyche. Jerry seems a little uncomfortable with this, and tries to make nice with more sweetness: a smooth 'He's Gone'.

Oh yes, this buys us some time; ten minutes later, we're swaying to the pretty harmonies, all that murky darkness safely behind us. But where's Phil? I don't hear him anywhere. Phil? Are you busy? Because the song is fading out ... into some Drums?! And Phil returns to join them.

Phil seems to have something in mind. You see, the unconscious is a lot like bass: under the readily apparent surface, often not even noticed what with all the other things going on. People sing; guitars play; sometimes there is a light show. But the bass is there: pushing here, pulling back a bit there. Pressure. Volume. A union of physics and art, sometimes adulterated with a pinch of inspiration.

Jerry comes in to play: the familiar triplet emphasis that is recognizably pointing to 'The Other One', though we are clearly not quite in that song. No, we aren't clearly anywhere at this point, but it's taking a considerable amount of activity to get there. Yes, folks, jamming is in progress! Men at work. Hard hats required.

Jerry switches to overdrive. Bobby feints & jabs. Keith echoes & supports. All over a whirl of percussion and tentative throb, until Bobby strums out an 'I AM' that signals arrival.

"Spanish lady comes to me / she lays on me this rose ..."

We have ignition! Or do we? They let the energy key down; the drums carry most of what we hear, while the others are more delicate. Jerry finds some rhythmic figures around which the band unites, but like a river eddy it holds them only for a moment. Soon they find it more expedient to row with the current, and we're soon into the second verse ... and the drummers take us out the other side.

An acceptably absorbing ride, though perhaps not 'epic'. Jerry steers us straight on into 'Black Peter' -- not the favorite of many, but one of mine. The harmonies are sweet, and the outro jam hits the right mood and stretches it well. Things can't always be perfect, but sometimes little moments have their own perfection that can be enough in itself.

We seem to have been through something -- maybe not something big, certainly not anything that could be clearly stated or rationally defined. But there comes a time to head for the door, and Bobby signals us that it has arrived: 'Sugar Magnolia'. Fair enough; we aren't feeling cheated. Those who wish to dance may now do so :-) The band plays with purpose now, sure & clear, rolling through chorus after chorus, building up power. It's high gear time, and the drummers eventually build things up to practically a gallop. Our deeper questions can wait till next time. After all, it's just another Saturday Night, and tomorrow they'll play in Binghampton ;-)
Ramble On Joe

Review of the Grateful Dead's concert performance on 11/5/77, at the Community War Memorial Auditorium - Rochester, NY.
Grateful Dead bootleg reviews of 11/5/77 Community War Memorial Auditorium - Rochester, NY

 

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