Grateful Dead steven santarpia

Is Cornell 77 Overrated? NOOOOO

The Grateful Dead is arguably one of the most influential bands in the history of rock and roll. Known for their unique improvisational style and loyal fan base, the Dead were a force to be reckoned with during their heyday in the 1970s. Among their many legendary performances, the May 8, 1977 show at Cornell University stands out as one of the band’s finest moments. Recently, I’ve seen so many comments from folks saying Cornell is overrated. That the May 7, 1977 show in Boston and the May 9, 1977 show in Buffalo were better shows than Cornell. I kinda have a hard time understanding this logic. Both of those shows are good shows. I especially love the first set from Buffalo. However, from start to finish, Cornell is just way hotter than both those nights.

First of all, it is important to understand the context in which these shows took place. The Grateful Dead were in the midst of a tour that has since become known as the “Spring 1977” tour. This tour is widely regarded as one of the band’s best, and the shows from this period are highly sought after by fans and collectors. The May 8 show at Cornell is particularly famous because it was recorded and later released as a live album, “Cornell 5/8/77”. This album has become one of the most beloved and celebrated live recordings in rock history.

So, what makes the Cornell show so special? For starters, the band was firing on all cylinders that night. They played with a level of energy and creativity that was unrivaled on the other two nights. The setlist was also exceptional, featuring “Morning Dew,” “St. Stephen,” and “Not Fade Away.” The transitions between songs were seamless, and Jerry was on FIRE. I can’t even come up with a number of how many times I’ve listened to the Not Fade Away and Dancin from Cornell. These are moments that I always return to. Its just an exceptional show. And the sound quality is unmatched.

So I guess thats why I just don’t get it. Every so often I’ll go back and listen to the Boston or the Buffalo shows. And every time I listen to them, I’m left unsatisfied. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion and I have no idea why this bothers me. But to those who are also hearing what i’m hearing. You are not wrong. Cornell is the better show.

I would definitely put Cornell as a top 5 show of the year. Is it the best show of 77? I don’t know about that. There are sooo many great shows from 77. Picking a top 5 from this year should be easy, but its not. I would probably feel more comfortable picking a top 10. However, I’ll stick with a top 5.

My top 5 Grateful Dead shows of 1977 done chronologically.

Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino, CA 2-26-1977

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 5-8-77

Winterland Arean, San Francisco, CA 6-9-77

Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ 9-3-77

Broome County Arena, Binghamton, NY 11-6-1977

By Steven Santarpia

Steven Santarpia is my name. I'm a big fan of both Radiohead and The Grateful Dead. The two best bands i've ever seen live. For the Grateful Dead, I mostly saw New York area shows. My first Grateful Dead show was in 1988. I've done a lot more traveling to Radiohead shows. My first Radiohead show was in 1997.

Favorite musical artists include The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Band, Radiohead, REM, Animal Collective, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, Bjork, and The Grateful Dead.

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