‘Grateful Dead Day’ Celebrated At Cornell On Anniversary Of ’77 Concert
There have been very few bands that have even come close to matching the level of success and recognition that the Grateful Dead have received for their work on the road. They came to define what it means to be a ‘jam band,’ or a band that improvises their discography night after night, show after show, making no two concerts alike. On Monday, they are being commemorated at Cornell University for what many believe was their greatest live show of all time: May 8, 1977, at the Ivy League school’s Barton Hall.
Ringing in the celebration, Cornell’s clock tower will chime out several Grateful Dead songs starting at 6 p.m. After Tompkin’s County legislator Dan Klein officially proclaims the day “Grateful Dead Day,” songs including “Ripple,” “Touch of Grey” and “Uncle John’s Band” will played on the chimes. The show will be open to the public.
The Grateful Dead’s show in ’77 cost $6.50 for Cornell students and $7.50 for non-students.
Over the course of their three decade career, the band played approximately 2,300, or about one show every five days. The band had a large following – known affectionately as Deadheads – who would, and still do, travel across the country catching shows.
To celebrate the Barton Hall show, a high quality recording of the set has hit stores, online and in person. The celebration at Cornell will include a private listening party of the re-mastered tapes. The album includes all 20 songs from the set list – the longest song, “Dancing in the Street” lasts nearly 17 minutes.
Cornell ’77 a new book by Peter Conners came out last month and tells “the tale of the Grateful Dead’s fabled show.” The book is published by Cornell University Press.
While the show in ’77 was rocked by a heavy snowstorm, the outdoor celebration Monday will be met with somewhat more favorable weather – it will be in the mid 40s in Ithaca.
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