The Grateful Dead played more than 2,300 concerts during their three-decade career, but many Deadheads think one gig towers above the rest: The May 8, 1977 show at Cornell University’s Barton Hall. To celebrate that performance’s ruby anniversary this spring, Rhino Entertainment is officially releasing it for the first time, both a la carte and in a box set titled May 1977: Get Shown the Light that also contains the band’s shows from May 5, 7, and 9, 1977.
Among the Cornell show’s numerous highlights is the Dead’s frenetic, 16-plus-minute reading of the Martha and the Vandellas’ classic “Dancing in the Street,” which closed out the concert’s first set. EW is excited to premiere the remastered version of the song below.
“‘Dancing in the Street,’ in its new, disco-fied arrangement, finds its peak at Cornell, ending the first set with one of the greatest single performances of any song from the peakiest of peak years, 1977,” Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux said in a statement.[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/314946789?secret_token=s-1jVZu" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
The Cornell concert is so revered among Deadheads that the Library of Congress added tapes of the show to its National Recording Registry in 2012. To coincide with the gig’s anniversary, Cornell University Press will publish a deep dive about it, Cornell ’77: The Music, the Myth, and the Magnificence of the Grateful Dead’s Concert at Barton Hall, in April.
The archival May 1977 releases arrive at a particularly busy time for Deadheads. Long Strange Trip, the lengthy documentary about the band executive-produced by Martin Scorsese, drops via Amazon Prime Video later this spring. And Dead & Company, the group comprised of former Grateful Dead members and John Mayer, hit the road for another summer tour beginning May 27 in Las Vegas.