For the later half of their career, the second set of a Grateful Dead concert would always include a “Drums” and “Space” exploratory segment. While the band laid out this formula in earlier shows, some argue that it really wasn’t until January 22nd, 1978 that this concept was established.
Coming out of an extended version of their improvisational vehicle, “The Other One,” the band settled into a full fledged drum section, fueled by the performing of Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. It was Jerry Garcia who then led the band into deep space, pulling the band into psychedelic territory before laying down the melody to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. He would ultimately, and climactically, lead the band into “St. Stephen” from there, bringing the house down with the band’s classic tune.
The framework for “Drums” and “Space” certainly existed before this show, but there was something about Garcia playing the melody from the popular movie that registered with the Deadhead fan base. It was a true nod to the band’s earliest exploratory eras, and something that would stick with them for years to come.
Fortunately, thanks to the DeadLists Project and Archive.org, we can listen back to this classic moment in Grateful Dead history. Enjoy!
Grateful Dead – 1/22/1978 (Full-Show Audio)
[Audio: Grateful Dead]