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37 Years Ago: Remembering May 8, 1977

by Rob Slater on May 08, 2014

On this day 37 years ago, a herd of Grateful Dead fans filed into Barton Hall in what would be the best $7.50 they'd ever spend (yes, tickets were that cheap back then).

(Read: What's Become of the Betty Boards?)

A lot of Dead fans will tell you (and you can read it for yourself here) that this was either one of the first shows they attended or one of the first shows played for them. I happen to fall into the latter of those, as I learned the ways of Jerry and Co. through a recording sent to me while in college.

Whether you were there or listened to it later, 5/8/77 is certainly a very familiar date in the minds of all music fans. Take a listen to the full show below.


Set I:

New Minglewood Blues
El Paso
They Love Each Other
Jack Straw
Lazy Lightnin'
Brown Eyed Women
Mama Tried
Row Jimmy
Dancin' in the Streets

Set II:
Scarlet Begonias
Fire on the Mountain
Estimated Prophet
St. Stephen
Not Fade Away
St. Stephen
Morning Dew


One More Saturday Night



I got on the bus in ‘68 and saw several shows in South Florida before ‘77. Didn’t go to Barton but I did go to The Sportatorium at the end of May ‘77, which many claim to be the Barton killer where the guys actually played their best show ever!!!

By Mato - 05/08/14

The next days show was even better. What a run!

By Mike Stout - 05/08/14

Great Minglewood, Great Dancin, Great scalet/Fire, Great Dew…
That said, this is the MOST OVERRATED Grateful Dead show ever hyped…(imho)
I just never understood the “Cornell is the best show ever” mentality…

By Rob Ezzo - 05/08/14

Fuck, this writing is so corny, cheesy and cookie cutter

By Bill - 05/08/14

Agree with Rob.  This is a really great show, but not the absolute greatest.  Not top 5, certainly, but could be a top 10.

By DKS - 05/08/14

Wow - it’s funny when you start talking shows, why try to be connoisseurs of what show is “the best” or “better than”. You are missing the point. Jerry threw Phil down the stairs because it was the “worst show we ever played” only to put it on a live album later that year. My favorite show has changed 7 or 8 times in 30 years. From Dade ‘73 to Greek ‘86, (jammin jammin) to Saratoga ‘89, to yes Cornell ‘77. If you can’t “ride the wave” on Scarlet/Fire from that show to another time and forgotten space - you have missed the boat. (or Ship wink.

By Mattsyr - 05/08/14

wouldn’t “greatest ever,” be one that was attended in person? I didn’t get to see my first show until Feb. 5, 1978…parts of every show I ever saw rank as the “greatest…” It isn’t necessarilly the music that makes for the memories…It is who I was with, and so forth and so on…

By TByington - 05/08/14

Yup, definitely overrated—I was at the show, Cornell was up the road from SUNY-Binghamton where I was a student. Fantastic show, especially after some clunkers I went to 1976. But my ears vastly preferred any number of earlier shows I attended, 1972-74.

By Todd E - 05/08/14

It’s a great “Dead for Dummies” kind of intro I to the Grateful Dead me thinks…

By your mom - 05/08/14

I’m more of an 80’s / 90’s
GD fan. But my first show was 1978 with Keith & Donna on board.
Willie Nelson & The New Riders opened. Epic fun

By Mike B from: NJ - 05/08/14

Widely traded for its sound quality as much as for its substance.

By bob - 05/08/14

Set 2 is epic.  I may be jaded because it was most likely my first tape, and I know every jam note for note, but how can a show be overrated when it is on the tip of every head’s tongue when asked what their favorite/tape show or one of their favorites is?  The best ever - who cares - it takes away the banality of everyday existence each and every time I listen to it.  Happy Ocho de Mayo all!

By DJRESQ - 05/08/14

I have been to many Dead shows and was at this one. Greatest show I saw.

By Beaumaris - 05/08/14

This show never happened…lol…for real Bobby admits it on “Weir Here” on his tri studios site…

By james mcgurl - 05/09/14

thank you RELIX for posting this.  I had a tape of this in the early 90’s but it got lifted.  So glad to hear it again. it sounds oh so good; it got me through the day at work.

By wildman60 - 05/09/14

I’ve been seeing the Dead since 68 in San Francisco… All the shows were the greatest of all time. Different reasons for different people. You all need to get over yourselves.

By Tim - 05/09/14

Great show. Who cares about the rest.  If you had to pick one show, stranded on desert island? Barton wouldn’t be the worst choice fo sure, true word brahhhh

By Eddie - 05/09/14

Worst show ever!!

Its a killer show from top to bottom.  Not a down moment throughout.  Topped off with a 17 minute NFA, and a massive Dew.  Great night—wish I was there.

By Tom deadbass36 - 05/09/14

‘tis just another show along the road that I didn’t get to. On my fucking birthday too- 5/8/57….twenty years old? Take me back….

By Tim - 05/10/14

awesome listen

By scott k - 06/03/14


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