Jerry Garcia - vocals, guitars; Bob Weir - vocals, guitars; Phil Lesh - vocals, bass; Bill Kreutzmann - drums; Mickey Hart - drums; Keith Godchaux- keyboards; Donna Jean Godchaux - backing vocals
This legendary Dead show is the last of six shows staged over seven nights at San Francisco's prestigious Orpheum Theater, in July, 1976, and was recorded for broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour. It was the first time the Dead had launched a tour in nearly two years, and these shows were designed to take advantage of the hoopla that coincided with America's Bicentennial.
The Dead had "retired" after their 1974 tour, due to an over ambitious two-year tour that featured the group's infamous Wall of Sound PA system. That monster setup consisted of 89 300-watt solid-state and three 350-watt vacuum-tube amplifiers generating a total of 26,400 watts RMS of audio power that could carry the band's sound a full quarter of a mile. But it turned out to be a 75-ton nightmare whereby the band had to have two complete systems, each traveling leap-frog to every other show with 21 crew members. It nearly bankrupted the Dead. So, this run of shows was a welcomed return, and presented the band in a more manageable normal stage/sound set-up.
Many of the fans that attended this concert had seen a series of shows in the same venue just two months earlier by the Jerry Garcia Band, so when the Dead pulled in, the audience was primed and ready. There is healthy mix of newer songs from that time, including "Supplication" and "Lazy Lightnin'"; older Dead staples ("Wharf Rat," "St. Stephen"); and select solo material (Garcia's "The Wheel," is a particular highlight). The group delivers a rockin' version of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode," which wows the crowd and brings the show to a climax.
This performance, like the others from this six-show run, has long been among the most swapped tapes among Deadheads. We hope you'll sit back (or stand up and dance) and enjoy this great show.