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Dead of the Day: May 17, 1977

Memorial Coliseum, University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama

There is a phenomenal 1972 show on this date, but our Dead of the Day takes us to the even better evening at the University of Alabama back in 1977. The first set here is a gem with each and every tune offering up something that will delight. Give it a listen and find your favorite parts. For us, it is the lovely harmonies and smoking riffs on Looks Like Rain and the fiery picking on Big River, but there is so much sparkling music to enjoy, including the set-ending, marathon Scarlet> Fire. A high energy Samson opens up the second set, crackling with energy and expectation. The intensity continues as the boys take it into a Bertha with a dozen anymores before a classic ’77, though attenuated, Good Lovin’. But the real heart of the set is still around the corner with an arcing, willful Estimated, followed by an essential, majestic Terrapin and then a rocking and exploratory Playin’. The band is firing on all cylinders as they then emerge out of a short Space into a haunting Wharf Rat before coming back for a little more Playin’. With the crowd going nuts, the band returns for another rocker with a Sugar Mags encore.

While these days it would seem that we always knew that each and every show of May ’77 was epic. But, before file sharing on the internet and the numerous Vault releases from the band, there was not too much in circulation beyond the Cornell show and the two-night run at the Fox. But with time and technology, we have come to realize just how special the 1977 spring tour was. And, this night in Tuscaloosa is one of those shows that has entered into the pantheon now that the internet has made the recording more accessible.

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