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Published: 2017/06/08
by Larson Sutton

Grateful Dead
Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 5 Boston Music Hall 6/9/76

With all the attention, and rightly so, on the recent releases from the Grateful Dead’s May 1977 tour including an excellent Boston Garden show, Real Gone Music has relatively quietly re-issued Vol. 4/No. 5 of the band’s Road Trips series; a Boston Music Hall appearance from June of ’76. It’s an illuminating companion from Beantown, showing the group dusted off after an extended hiatus, and playing with an obvious enthusiasm and energy; never more than on the floating and flowing “St Stephen” that fades in, then spirals joyously into a swift and sprawling “Eyes of the World” and wildly percussive “Let it Grow.” Transitional it may appear in hindsight, this bridge year, from the “final” days of ’74 and the monstrous Wall of Sound to a leaner, manageable audio system that coincided with the septet introducing newer material to the repertoire, as well. There’s a “Crazy Fingers” that dissolves nicely into a spreadable jam, and a “Samson and Delilah” that foreshadows what would become a staple of the ’77 bounty. Unlike some of the other Road Trips in the catalog, this ‘Betty board’ was a full-show June 6 entry, expanded with a half-dozen numbers from the Boston concert on the 12th, including a rare “Mission in the Rain.” While the music and accompany booklet remain the same, Real Gone has swapped out the original wallet packaging for a standard three-disc jewel case. This would be the final release of the series, and in a way portends the next- Dave’s Picks Vol. 1- which was more like its Dick’s Picks predecessor and, rather symmetrically, begins with a full show from 1977. But, if anything, this last Trip dutifully and thankfully reminds us of a fantastic show in the year before a year of fantastic shows.

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