Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals; Bob Weir - guitar, vocals; Phil Lesh - bass, vocals; Keith Godchaux - keyboards; Donna Godchaux - vocals; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Mickey Hart - drums
1976 was a transitional year for the Grateful Dead. They had reformed after retiring from the road in October of 1974, drummer Mickey Hart had returned to the fold after a five-year absence, and the group was beginning the second major phase of their touring career. The new material developed for their Blues for Allah album the previous year, in addition to new material recorded for Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir's side projects, infused the band with new energy and plenty of fresh material in which to explore and redefine itself.
This Day on the Green concert was presented by Bill Graham and features both the Dead and The Who and provides excellent examples of the Dead at this time, struggling to create a less complex sound that would inevitably disappoint many older Deadheads. However, this new accessibility would eventually open the doors to a much larger audience.
Sunday's Dead sets are a completely different affair that Saturday's, with only two songs repeated from the previous day. This day's show leaned heavily on their more rocking material and could be considered a study in surprising song transitions and juxtapositions.
With the morning set under their belts, they return for their afternoon set ready for exploration. After warming back up with the rockers "Samson and Delilah" followed by "Brown Eyed Women," they launch into another expanded sequence of songs, book-ended by their primary jam vehicle at that time, "Playing In The Band." This entire sequence, which lasts almost an hour, has the band consciously exploring a new type of space. The improvisations and the overall sound of the band relies less on dense explosive energy and instead goes in a direction of airy thoughtful improvisation with a sweet relaxed groove to it. In the middle of this expansive "Playing In The Band," both "The Wheel" and "Stella Blue" surface. This lengthy set closing sequence was never again repeated.
The band returns for an encore of "Johnny B. Goode," before relinquishing the stage to The Who.