Grateful Dead

July 1978: The Complete Recordings

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The Grateful Dead's big splashy release for the first half of 2016, July 1978: The Complete Recordings is sourced from Betty Cantor-Jackson's original soundboard tapes of the band's five shows in July 1978. The highlight of the set is the July 8, 1978 show at Red Rocks -- the second time they ever played the venue, with the first being the night before -- and since that roaring show is available separately, it could be argued that this 12-disc box is simply for the dedicated. Red Rocks 7/8/78 functions as a fine gateway for this tremendously entertaining run of shows, each with a slightly different vibe than the other. The first show, given at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, finds the Dead playing a ragged, abbreviated set at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic; they're a little unsteady but pick up energy as the show concludes with two Chuck Berry covers. Next up is a winding, occasionally muscular July 3 show at St. Paul Civic Center and a spirited July 5 gig at Omaha Civic Auditorium that points the way to the nonstop good times of the two Red Rocks concerts. During this stretch in 1978, the Dead were highly charged and relentlessly rhythmic, bringing a full-on party from city to city. They may not have specialized in space here, nor did they stretch their chops much: this is just potent rock & roll, which is enough to make July 1978: The Complete Recordings a valuable entry to the Dead's voluminous canon.

Track Listing - Disc 8

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Grateful Dead 07:26 Amazon
Grateful Dead 03:38 Amazon
Grateful Dead 10:18 Amazon
Grateful Dead 08:10 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 12

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Grateful Dead 10:54 Amazon
Grateful Dead 05:13 Amazon
Grateful Dead 06:44 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick