Grateful Dead June 1976 – 5 show, 15-CD box set arrives March 20

Grateful Dead revisit June 1976 with an exclusive, limited edition 15-CD box set featuring five previously unreleased concerts recorded during the band’s '76 Comeback Tour scheduled for release on March 20.
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Dead June 76 cover

LOS ANGELES – The Grateful Dead announced that it would take an extended break from touring in 1974 when playing large venues with the fabled Wall of Sound PA system had become a physical and financial burden. Two long years later, the drought finally ended when the Dead returned to the road to continue its long, strange trip. The Wall of Sound and stadiums were out. Rented equipment and theaters were in. Mickey Hart was back and the repertoire was dramatically different.

The upcoming 15-CD boxed set JUNE 1976 will revisit this dynamic chapter in the Dead’s history with five previously unreleased shows from that hotly anticipated tour: Boston Music Hall, Boston MA (6/10/76 and 6/11/76); Beacon Theatre, New York, NY (6/14/76 and 6/15/76); and Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (6/19/76).

The featured recordings were sourced from the master two-track tapes made by Betty Cantor-Jackson, the band’s legendary live recording engineer for many years. They have been mastered in HDCD by Jeffrey Norman for extraordinary sound quality, with restoration and speed correction by Plangent Processes.

The set is available to pre-order now exclusively from Dead.net for $149.98 and will ship to arrive on March 20. Production is limited to 12,000 individually numbered copies. Audio from the set will also be available exclusively from Dead.net as a digital download in Apple Lossless ($99.99) and FLAC 192/24 ($119.99).

“At the height of my tape trading days in the late 1980s, arriving in my mailbox one day was a package containing cassettes of four of the five shows in this box (the four shows from Boston and New York). I’d never heard anything like these recordings,” says David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set’s producer. “The performances were magnificent, A+ Dead throughout, and the recordings were impeccable, crystal clear with a clarity to each instrument and vocal that was unlike any other tapes in my collection. These were like the best live albums I’d ever heard, played by the best band I know, during one of the Dead’s many live performance peaks. When the master tapes were returned to the vault in 2017, we immediately set to work with plans to release some of these shows from June 1976 in a substantial way, and this new boxed set is as substantial as we could do. Hearing these recordings mastered by Jeffrey is a whole new experience, newly discovered nuances to the sound, mix, and performances revealed on every song. We could not be happier with how it turned out and hope you’ll come along for the ride for one of the greatest boxed sets the Grateful Dead have ever released.”

The Dead had come to the Northeast regularly since 1967, reliably showing up every few months to perform their latest music and be their latest selves. But that streak ended in 1974 when the band retreated from the road during an extended touring hiatus. Meanwhile, they used the time to record and release Blues For Allah and throw themselves into a host of side projects, but live shows were scarce except for a few hit-and-run gigs on the West Coast.

But as America celebrated its bicentennial in the spring of 1976, a ray of hope arrived in the form of an announcement in the Dead Heads newsletter that read in part: “Vacationing is too exhausting to continue…meaning the Grateful Dead has decided to get back into touring.”

After warming up with a pair of shows in Portland, Oregon, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart opened their East Coast run in Boston on June 9.

Along with staples like “Sugaree,” “Tennessee Jed,” and “One More Saturday Night,” there was plenty of new music for fans to digest during this tour. In fact, more than a dozen songs were new to the band’s repertoire in its current form, including tracks like “The Wheel,” “Lazy Lightning”/“Supplication,” “Cassidy” (aside from one 1974 performance) and “They Love Each Other” in its new arrangement. Notably, this was also the only tour where the band played the Garcia/Hunter composition “Mission In The Rain.”

Others tracks like “Crazy Fingers,” “The Music Never Stopped” and the “Help On The Way”/“Slipknot!”/“Franklin’s Tower” suite from Blues For Allah were all less than a year old at the time. “Samson and Delilah” and the disco-version of “Dancing In The Street” – played at every show featured in this set – were taking shape nicely a year before they would appear on Terrapin Station. A couple of throwbacks to the Dead’s psychedelic primal era, “St. Stephen” and “Cosmic Charlie” also made a return.

The band and its repertoire were evolving rapidly during this time as Jesse Jarnow explains in the liner notes for JUNE 1976. “There were patterns to come, and, with the right kind of eyes, one can see them start to emerge in 1976 and draw themselves in the spaces between the band’s songs. But there are also so many freak one-time set list occurrences that 1976 might be remembered as one of the most truly anarchic years in Grateful Dead history, as the band was figuring out a new way to be.”

JUNE 1976

15-CD Track Listing

Boston Music Hall (6/10/76)

Set One

“Promised Land”

“Sugaree”

“Cassidy”

“They Love Each Other”

“The Music Never Stopped”

“Brown-Eyed Women”

“Lazy Lightning”>

“Supplication”

“Row Jimmy”

“Big River”

“Mission In The Rain”

“Looks Like Rain”

“Might As Well”

Set Two

“Samson and Delilah”

“Help On The Way”>

“Slipknot!”>

“Franklin’s Tower”

“Let It Grow”

“Friend Of The Devil”

“Playing In The Band”>

“Dancing In The Street”>

“U.S. Blues”

Boston Music Hall (6/11/76)

Set One

“Might As Well”

“Mama Tried”

“Tennessee Jed”

“Cassidy”

“Candyman”

“Big River”

“Scarlet Begonias”

“Looks Like Rain”

“It Must Have Been The Roses”

“Lazy Lightning”>

“Supplication”

“Brown-Eyed Women”

“Promised Land”

Set Two

“St. Stephen”>

“Dancing In The Street”>

“The Music Never Stopped”

“Ship Of Fools”

“Samson and Delilah”

“Sugaree”

“Sugar Magnolia”>

“Eyes Of The World”>

“Stella Blue”

“Sunshine Daydream”

“Johnny B. Goode”

Beacon Theatre, NY, NY (6/14/76)

Set One

“Cold Rain and Snow”

“Mama Tried”

“Row Jimmy”

“Cassidy”

“Brown-Eyed Women”

“Big River”

“Might As Well”

“Lazy Lightning”>

“Supplication”

“Tennessee Jed”

“Playing In The Band”

Set Two

“The Wheel”

“Samson and Delilah”

“High Time”

“The Music Never Stopped”

“Crazy Fingers”

“Dancing In The Street”>

“Cosmic Charlie”

“Help On The Way”>

“Slipknot!”>

“Franklin’s Tower”>

“Around and Around”

“U.S. Blues”

Beacon Theatre, NY, NY (6/15/76)

Set One

“Promised Land”

“Sugaree”

“Cassidy”

“Candyman”

“The Music Never Stopped”

“It Must Have Been The Roses”

“Looks Like Rain”

“Tennessee Jed”

“Let It Grow”>

“Might As Well”

Set Two

“St. Stephen”>

“Not Fade Away”>

“Stella Blue”

“Samson and Delilah”

“Friend Of The Devil”

“Dancing In The Street”>

“The Wheel”>

“Sugar Magnolia”

“Scarlet Begonias”>

“Sunshine Daydream”

“Johnny B. Goode”

Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ (6/19/76)

Set One

“Help On The Way”>

“Slipknot”!>

“Franklin’s Tower”>

“The Music Never Stopped”

“Brown-Eyed Women”

“Cassidy”

“They Love Each Other”

“Looks Like Rain”

“Tennessee Jed”

“Playing In The Band”

Set Two

“Might As Well”

“Samson and Delilah”

“High Time”

“Let It Grow”

“Dancing In The Street”>

“Cosmic Charlie”

“Around and Around”>

“Goin’ Down The Road Feeling Bad”>

“One More Saturday Night”

“Not Fade Away”