Grateful Dead

Dick's Picks Vol. 29: Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA,

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The musical renaissance that the Grateful Dead experienced after their year-and-a-half touring hiatus may well have peaked during the spring and summer of 1977. Proof, you ask? Submitted for your approval: Dick's Picks, Vol. 29 (2003) -- a six-disc collection featuring the primary components of two sequential performances on May 19th at the Fox Theater in Atlanta and May 21st at the Lakeland Civic Center, respectively. There are also a few choice nuggets supplementing the core shows, but more about that in a moment. When the group resumed its live treks throughout the States, Mickey Hart (percussion) was reclaimed as a full-time member, firmly reestablishing the extended drum solos that would otherwise augment a majority of the band's future live sets. Of equal importance is the group's ever expanding repertoire, with a healthy sampling of material from the Terrapin Station (1977) long-player, which was yet to be released. Evidence of the Grateful Dead's irony-laden "misfit power" surfaces as the combo's inspiration on the older, more familiar "Playing in the Band," as well as the recently resurrected "St. Stephen." The same can be said of the new and fresh reggae lilt of "Estimated Prophet," Phil Lesh's hard-driving rocker "Passenger," and the Robert Hunter (lyrics)/Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals) title suite. Each show is replete with primal examples of what made the post-retirement mid-'70s era so special. Immediately evident is the flawless sound quality of the quarter-century old tapes. Originally documented by Betty Cantor-Jackson, these shows are among a cache of vault reels known to Deadheads as "Betty Boards." This name refers to Cantor-Jackson's standing as a key component in the Grateful Dead's live sound crew. Her penchant for stunningly accurate and virtually noise-free sound desk/mixing board open-reel recordings is legend among tapers and traders alike. Dick's Picks, Vol. 29 is as fine an example of her work as exists in this series of archival releases. With regard to those supplementary sides -- well, let's not spoil anyone's trip. Simply realize that, as with all things Grateful Dead-related, astute listeners will always get more than they bargain for.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 6:13
2 16:20
3 5:03
4 8:33
5 8:58
6 11:20
7 3:59
8 8:38
9
13:47
10
7:59
11
8:38
12
10:09
13
11:43
14
11:07
15
11:46
16
5:27
17
7:24
18
7:49
19
10:33
20
7:22
21
3:51
22
8:09
23
5:21
24
6:59
25
6:12
26
9:41
27
5:38
28
11:28
29
4:15
30
11:44
31
12:53
32
7:45
33
5:32
34
11:27
35
15:35
36
4:09
37
11:39
38
11:52
39
4:36
40
11:15
41
1:45
42
5:01
blue highlight denotes track pick