Live at the Cow Palace: New Years Eve 1976

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Something about New Year's Eve always brought out the best in the Grateful Dead. Perhaps it was the holiday's celebratory vibe, perhaps the limitless possibility inherent in embarking on a fresh page on the calendar. This three-disc set, recorded at their hometown's most famous arena, combines those elements -- and more -- to great effect, showcasing a performance that blends in equal parts the band's trademark spaciness and often-overlooked pure power. The latter facet is the focus of a first disc that concentrates on the Dead's flair for digging deep into the gritty grooves of songs like Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" and Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" -- covers that ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Something about New Year's Eve always brought out the best in the Grateful Dead. Perhaps it was the holiday's celebratory vibe, perhaps the limitless possibility inherent in embarking on a fresh page on the calendar. This three-disc set, recorded at their hometown's most famous arena, combines those elements -- and more -- to great effect, showcasing a performance that blends in equal parts the band's trademark spaciness and often-overlooked pure power. The latter facet is the focus of a first disc that concentrates on the Dead's flair for digging deep into the gritty grooves of songs like Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" and Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" -- covers that are nicely offset by stinging renditions of originals such as "Bertha" and "Deal." The collection's second disc -- which finds the band segueing into 1977 with passion to spare -- is centered on an almost seamless 40-plus-minute jam steered by Bob Weir. In addition to taking lead vocals on a spry "Good Lovin' " one of the earlier performances of the blue-eyed soul chestnut, he brings an extra dash of funk to a jaunty version of "Samson and Delilah." As was the band's wont, they saved their more open-ended musings for the performance's latter reaches, represented here by a particularly spiky "Drums" interlude and a take on "Morning Dew" that ranks with the most foreboding -- not to mention longest -- of their career. Despite the title of one of the encore tunes offered here, the Dead played this show, as they did all their gigs, like this was anything but "One More Saturday Night."
All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The 41 shows the Grateful Dead played in 1976 constituted a kind of shakedown cruise for the band, which had gone on hiatus from live performing in October 1974 and given only four concerts during 1975. In the spring of 1976, they suddenly reappeared with a film, The Grateful Dead Movie, and a live album, Steal Your Face, and between June 3 and October 15 they toured the U.S. They then woodshedded for four and a half months before re-emerging again in late February 1977, having recorded a new studio album, Terrapin Station. The only interruption in those efforts came with the New Year's Eve show they played at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, chronicled here, their first such seasonal appearance in four years. The three-plus-hour performance thus marks the closing of a relatively brief chapter in the Dead's history. Despite the group's extensive program of releases of vintage live material since its formal disbandment in 1995, the 1976 shows have been nearly ignored, the major exception being Dick's Picks, Vol. 33, taken from two concerts at Oakland Coliseum Stadium in October. Given the tentative nature of this period, it's easy to see why. And there was a specific reason that the New Year's Eve show wasn't released until now; it had been broadcast live on local radio, and thus many Deadheads already had a perfectly good recording in their collections. Nevertheless, Live at the Cow Palace: New Year's Eve 1976 is a welcome addition to the catalog. It has the quality of a summing up of what the Grateful Dead had been about up to this point, with songs drawn from 12 different group and solo albums, plus two songs that had not yet appeared on an LP. One of those is "Good Lovin'," the '60s hit for the Olympics and the Young Rascals, which the Dead had played frequently between 1969 and 1972, but not much since; it would appear on Shakedown Street in 1978. The other is the traditional song "Samson & Delilah" (aka "If I Had My Way"), a song the Dead had begun playing at their first 1976 show and performed nearly every night for the rest of the year; it was the only song to give a precursor to Terrapin Station, but, as a non-original, not much of one. Otherwise, this is a selection of familiar material, much of which dates from the 1969-1971 period, with such additions as "Scarlet Begonias" (from 1974's From the Mars Hotel) and "Help on the Way"/"Slipknot!" from 1975's Blues for Allah. (Observant Deadheads will note that this is one of the rare occasions when this medley does not include "Franklin's Tower.") As Dead performances go, this one might best be described as relaxed. The musicians sound comfortable with each other, not to the point of just going through the motions, but without ever working up to any real excitement, either. The best moments, as is often true of a Grateful Dead concert, are found in the spacy improvisations, particularly in some of the interplay during the 23-minute "Playing in the Band" that concludes the first set and the first disc. This may not be the album a Deadhead would want to use to introduce a neophyte to the band, but it is, as that fan might put it, "the good ol' Grateful Dead", reliable and consistent, in a performance that is more about the end of an old era than the beginning of a new one.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/23/2007
  • Label: Rhino
  • UPC: 081227481629
  • Catalog Number: 74816
  • Sales rank: 21,926

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Promised Land (4:45)
  2. 2 Bertha (7:13)
  3. 3 Mama Tried (3:03)
  4. 4 They Love Each Other (7:12)
  5. 5 Looks Like Rain (7:37)
  6. 6 Deal (6:00)
  7. 7 Playing in the Band (23:12)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Sugar Magnolia (8:48)
  2. 2 Eyes of the World (12:26)
  3. 3 Warf Rat (13:28)
  4. 4 Good Lovin' (5:10)
  5. 5 Samson & Delilah (10:13)
  6. 6 Scarlet Begonias (11:57)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Around and Around (8:01)
  2. 2 Help on the Way (5:11)
  3. 3 Slipknot! (8:50)
  4. 4 Drums (3:03)
  5. 5 Not Fade Away (11:03)
  6. 6 Morning Dew (15:24)
  7. 7 One More Saturday Night (5:47)
  8. 8 Uncle John's Band (8:18)
  9. 9 We Bid You Goodnight (3:30)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Grateful Dead Primary Artist
Mickey Hart Group Member
Jerry Garcia Group Member
Bob Weir Group Member
Donna Jean Godchaux Group Member
Keith Godchaux Group Member
Bill Kreutzmann Group Member
Phil Lesh Group Member
Technical Credits
Chuck Berry Composer
Jerry Garcia Composer
Grateful Dead Arranger
Bob Weir Arranger, Composer
Robert Hunter Composer
James Austin Producer
Betty Cantor-Jackson Engineer
Bob Matthews Engineer
Steve Vance Cover Typeset
Traditional Composer
David Lemieux Producer, Liner Notes, Audio Production
Peter Mcquaid Executive Producer
Robert Gatley Digital Editing
Timothy Truman Cover Art
Jimmy Edwards Executive Producer
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