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Dead of the Day: June 9, 1977

Winterland Arena
San Francisco, California
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There are some great shows on this date, especially in the seventies, but there is no doubt about the Dead of the Day: June 9, 1977 at Winterland. Jerry’s plaintive guitar, the backing of Bobby and the drummers, and some consistent bombs from Phil does not just make the opening Mississippi Half-Step special, but it foretells an outrageous night. Jack Straw continues the virtuosity with the entire band coming together to deliver an exceptional version, causing the audience to howl with delight. A song later, we get a short Cassidy, which is full of pure loveliness, as is the Deal a bit further on that has some soaring jams in the interstices of the tune. Then a building, reflective Looks Like Rain pours forth that has two different, terribly mournful jams that the boys let work themselves out rather than just rushing through. But if the first set is wonderful, then the second is just otherworldly. It begins with a fiery Samson and Delilah. While some technical difficulties with the vocal monitors look like they might derail things a bit, the band gets the better of it with a fine Funiculi Funicula. Once everything is back up and running, they head off on an incredible Help> Slip> Franklin’s. The Help on the Way is outstanding, but the Slipknot! is just pure jamming essence with a bit of a dark twinge to it. Then the Franklin’s tops even that, blistering off, circling back around, and then, right when you thought they were done with the tune, going off again for another sensational frolic. The Estimated that comes after is not nearly as long, but has some stellar moments as Jerry noodles around with his guitar, playing those ethereal wah-wah chords to such amazing effect. And then, suddenly, a slight break in the music and a single note by Jerry signals the beginning of a face-melting Stephen> NFA> Drums> Stephen. At the end of the Drums, you can hear the faintest hint of Stephen coming back around before the rest of the boys come in perfectly to finish off the tune. And, though the second Stephen rips by in under a minute, the next gem arrives right on top of it, a scintillating Terrapin. By the time the band has played through that epic tale, Bobby makes for a joyous release in a rocking Sugar Mags. From the beginning of Help on the Way to the last notes of Sugar Magnolia an hour and ten minutes later, the Dead do not let up, pouring their very souls into the music and squeezing every last drop out of each song and mastering each one. It is one of the finest stretches of ’77 and, really, their entire thirty-year run.

The Dead released this show and the rsst of the legendary three-night run at Winterland as Winterland June 1977.

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