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Monday, August 15

Here's a great show for your Mon. afternoon. Listen at the office or in the car or wherever : Today's show is from 7-18-76

This is our first foray into the smooth jazzy sound of the 1976 model of the Grateful Dead.  
The Stanley Theater 7-18-76
by:Greg Heffelfinger

This is the first show I've posted from the amazing year of 1976. I'm well-known for my love of 73' but this year comes in a close third behind 77'. I've heard this year as being "Quaalude Dead" or "Cough Syrup Dead" but what you are really hearing is a band coming back from a year off minus a show here or there with a ton of great new material. This year is famous for it's "lazy" St. Stephen's and this one is no different. It's a slower, jazzier version than the "up against the wall, motherfucker" arrangement that is the norm for most of the years it's played. Hunter penned it as a sing-songy couple of versions until the Dead transmogrified it into the powerhouse we know and love. These 76' versions still have the power and intensity it's just a little calmer at the start.

This show isn't about the St. Stephen though it is in the middle of an incredible musical pastiche that includes just about the whole second set. The night before this one was released as a Dick's Pick but this night is the magic for me. Basically, all of June of 76' was an amazing run in Dead history. If you have to pick one song from this highlight reel of a show, it's gotta be the "Stella Blue". Jerry takes it around the block a couple times during his solos and nails the vocals and Keith is just magnificent. It's just, to put it plainly, one of the best renditions of that song, hands down. Mic Drop

The rest of the show is no slouch either. Boasting a "Half-Step" opener and a gorgeous, "Row Jimmy" followed by the staple of 76' the standalone "Scarlet Begonias" with enough fire by itself.  It has a smoking "Loser". The second set is off the charts. The set has three songs, including a sweet "Candyman" before the segue starts with "Lazy Lightning>Supplication". That goes through "Let It Grow" into a spacey jam which lands on "Wharf Rat" which after some more spacey playing and a thirty second drum solo dives into "The Other One" which brings out the Saint. A hot "Not Fade Away" jumps in the middle before returning to Stephen's house to roll out "The Wheel" before closing down with the other side of the bread,"The Other One".  Next up to tear down the house is that amazing "Stella Blue". Seriously, top five of all-time. If "Stella Blue" was a boxer even Ali would have to admit it was the greatest of all-time! Bobby brings us home with a "Sugar Mags" and a fairly standard but excellent version of "Johnny B. Goode" to end the show. It's simply some of the best Grateful Dead around and has turned many a person into a Deadhead for life by being the first tape they ever heard. It's been in circulation awhile and I have no idea why Dick picked the night before but, in all it's glory:

Orpheum Theater
Set One:
Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Row Jimmy
Mama Tried
Scarlet Begonias
Looks Like Rain
Tennessee Jed
New Minglewood Blues
The Music Never Stopped

Set Two:
Might As Well
Samson And Delilah
Lazy Lightnin' >
Supplication  >
Let It Grow  >
Drums  >
Let It Grow >
Jam  >
Wharf Rat >
Space Jam >
Drums >
The Other One >
Saint Stephen  >
Not Fade Away >
Saint Stephen >
The Wheel >
The Other One >
Stella Blue [10:57] !!!amazing
Sugar Magnolia 

Johnny B. Goode
(setlist courtesy of
(show courtesy of

Written by: Greg Heffelfinger

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