Deadheads will rejoice with a heartfelt “wow” over the release of “Dave's Picks Vol. 1 — The Mosque, Richmond, Va., 5/25/77,” Grateful Dead's new limited edition archival series of two-track concert recordings.
The new series — named for the group's official archivist David Lemieux, who has produced dozens of releases from the Dead's vault — comes just in time to pick up where the popular “Road Trips” series just ended after 17 releases. Lemieux, who succeeded Dick Latvala in 1999 as overseer of the Dead's recorded treasures, said in a Rhino news release that “Dave's Picks” will combine the best elements of the old Dick's Picks series — featuring complete shows whenever possible — with the “Road Trips” tradition of offering rare photos, extensive liner notes about the concert and HDCD sound quality engineered by Jeffery Norman.
“Dave's Picks Vol. 1” contains the Dead's complete May 25, 1977 show from The Mosque in Richmond. The lineup that spring included, of course, the nucleus of Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Phil Lesh (bass) and Bill Kreutzmann (drums), with Mickey Hart back on the other drum kit after a five-year hiatus, Keith Godchaux on keyboards and Donna Jean Godchaux on backing vocals.
This show finds the Dead tighter, more disciplined and more confident than ever in live performance. Included here is the epic, free-form jam sequence of “Estimated Prophet”> “He's Gone”> “Drums”> “Wharf Rat”> “The Other One”> “The Wheel,” along with such crowd-pleasers as “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo,” “Jack Straw,” “Scarlet Begonias,” “Fire On the Mountain” and a rollicking, one-two-punch Chuck Berry-penned finale consisting of “Around and Around” and “Johnny B. Goode,” all sprawling across three CDs.
The “Dave's Picks” packages will be released quarterly and annual subscriptions are available for $95.50. For more information, go to dead.net.
— Gene Triplett