When the Grateful Dead were “on,” they were an unstoppable force of music. The band hit something of a stride in the mid-1970s, picking up the pieces after losing founding member Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan and finding new chemistry with Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux. While the “Donna years” are controversial to some, it’s undeniable that this version of the band really found their heart and soul in the 1976–1977 era.
On this day in 1976, the Dead hit the Boston Music Hall for an all-around smoking hot performance. The band opened with “Might As Well”, before jumping into the Merle Haggard classic “Mama Tried”. Tunes like “Cassidy”, “Scarlet Begonias,” “It Must Have Been The Roses”, and more highlight this great set, which closed out with tunes like “Brown Eyed Women” and “Promised Land”.
Set two brought more of the heat, with a great “St. Stephen” to get things started. The band segued straight into a funky “Dancin’ In The Streets”, and kept the music pumping with a segue into “The Music Never Stopped”. After a cool down “Ship of Fools”, the Dead got to rocking with “Samson & Delilah”, and kept rolling with a great “Sugaree”. From there the band launched into the classic “Sugar Magnolia”, but brought out “Eyes Of The World” instead of the traditional “Sunshine Daydream” ending. They would go from “Sugar Magnolia” to “Eyes of the World” to “Stella Blue” before bringing the set home with “Daydream”. An encore of “Johnny B. Goode” sent fans home packing with a smile.
Tune in below to a recording of the full performance, and enjoy.
Grateful Dead – Boston Music Hall – Boston, MA – 6/11/76
[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]
Setlist: Grateful Dead | Boston Music Hall | Boston, MA | 6/11/1976
Set 1: Might As Well, Mama Tried, Tennessee Jed, Cassidy, Candyman, Big River, Scarlet Begonias > Looks Like Rain, It Must Have Been The Roses, Lazy Lightnin’, Supplication, Brown-Eyed Women, Promised Land
Set 2: St. Stephen > Dancin’ In The Streets > The Music Never Stopped, Ship Of Fools, Samson And Delilah, Sugaree, Sugar Magnolia, Eyes Of The World, Stella Blue, Sunshine Daydream
Encore: Johnny B. Goode