Grateful Dead have announced a massive box set chronicling the band’s June 1976 shows, aptly titled June 1976.
The box set, produced by Dead archivist David Lemieux, features 15 CDs comprising five complete concerts. The selected shows include June 10th and 11th at Boston Music Hall, the 14th and 15th at the Beacon Theatre, and the 19th at Passaic, New Jersey’s Capitol Theatre. In addition to the CDs, the box set also features liner notes from author Jesse Jarnow, whose 2016 book Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America, chronicles the influence and infiltration of psychedelics on American society, intertwined with a comprehensive Grateful Dead history lesson.
The announcement from the band on Thursday also included audio of “Friend Of The Devil”, from the Dead’s performance at the Beacon on June 15th. Lemieux described the “Friend Of The Devil” preview as “a beautifully slowed-down, ballad arrangement, which would be the form of the song for the next 20 years.” The song is available to stream exclusively through Rolling Stone.
The Grateful Dead also posted one of Lemieux’s patented “Seaside Chats” to announce the box set. Unfortunately for him, the Dead decided to announce the collection in February so Lemieux got a little chilly.
Grateful Dead – Seaside Chat: David Lemieux on June 1976
[Video: Grateful Dead]
The June 1976 box set encapsulates a triumphant period for the Dead, as they returned from a touring hiatus that began in October 1974. The time off wasn’t the only rejuvenating quality of the break, as the band also took stock of its operation and did away with the ever-cumbersome and costly Wall Of Sound PA system that they lugged around throughout 1974. These venues also represent yet another area where they band scaled back, as they moved from playing sports arenas to intimate theaters. Finally, 1976 saw the return of drummer Mickey Hart after he spent five years away from the band, the result of a mutual decision from both parties. All of those qualities came together to make June 1976 one of the Dead’s strongest months of touring in years.
The Grateful Dead June 1976 box set is available to pre-order through the band’s website, and will be released on March 20th. Each set is individually numbered, and only 12,000 will be made.
[H/T Rolling Stone]