Hi all, I'm afraid that I might be blaspheming here, but I have to say that for once, I was actually disappointed in the most recent Dave's Picks 12 show from Colgate University from November 1977. 1977 has to be my favorite year ever, so I was listening for the usual magic, but it just didn't seem to be there in most of the cuts. The liner notes from Dick Latvala have him claiming this as "the highest series of 1977." And he talks about "a real fine transition" into "Eyes of the World" which it certainly was. But "Eyes" itself is an excessively up-tempo version that loses much of it's lyrical subtlety as everyone tries hard to keep up.
Then I listened to the last few tunes from Dick's Picks 10 from December 30, 1977, at Winterland in San Francisco and was blown away by the contrast. There's an exquisite Eyes at a tempo that let's all of Jerry's nuanced guitar and vocals shine, bleeding into a Saint Stephen where he totally shreds the guitar leads, playing with that sense of surety and fun that characterized many of his best live renditions. To my mind, there was no comparison -- the Winterland versions were head and shoulders better. Which made me remember the March 1977 series of Winterland shows that wasn't considered part of the "tour" that year, which did include so many classic shows elsewhere in the country. The band had a history of trying out new material closer to home for those of us who were fortunate to be able to attend, and those March shows were incredible. I'd hold a couple of them up against the more well known May and June shows in terms of song selection, band energy, and that intangible sense of clarity, joy, and magic in the playing.
So, just curious if I'm totally off base here and whether others of you had a similar Bay Area experience. All in the context of realizing that the worst Dead show was better than the best day fishing.