THe GrATe­FUl DeAD

UNCUT - - Archive - JOHN MUL­VEY

Cor­nell 5/8/77 rHiNo 9/10 A canon­i­cal live tape fi­nally goes le­git, on three CDs “With Cor­nell fi­nally com­ing out on Cd and vinyl,” read a wry tweet from dead ar­chiv­ist david Lemieux last month, “I’m re­ally go­ing to miss be­ing asked ‘When are you go­ing to re­lease Cor­nell?’” In the band’s com­plex and ex­pan­sive cam­paign to move live shows out of the boot­leg hin­ter­lands and into an of­fi­cial canon, Cor­nell 5/8/77 is a crit­i­cal mo­ment. If the dead­head hive­mind ever comes any­where near con­sen­sus, it is that this New york state show might just be the band’s best. Ini­tially, it’s hard to see why, as the first set shapes up a bit slicker and funkier than usual (the band re­cently tight­ened up by Fleet­wood Mac pro­ducer Keith Olsen), en­joy­able but not ex­cep­tional. The fire­works re­ally start in set two, with a 26-minute stretch in­cor­po­rat­ing “Scar­let Be­go­nias” and, freshly ar­rived in the set, “Fire On The Moun­tain”: Gar­cia’s so­los are a kind of ec­static needle­point; among in­spired sup­port work, Keith God­chaux’s Latin-tinged pi­ano har­monies stand out. “Morn­ing dew”, mean­while, is at its most lyri­cal and soul­ful. Ex­ploratory but not in­tim­ida­tory, re­ver­ber­ant with good times, you can un­der­stand the

Cor­nell hype: a fine en­try point into the daunt­ing world of Live dead.

ex­tras: None.

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