Forty-five years ago tonight, the Grateful Dead began one of the stronger concert runs of their 30-year history with the first of many East Coast performances as part of their 1977 spring tour. A number of the shows on Dead’s spring ’77 run have been selected as official releases by the band, including Cornell University’s Barton Hall on 5/8/77, Connecticut’s Hartford Civic Center on 5/28/77 (released as To Terrapin: Hartford ’77), and more.

The Grateful Dead were back in full force by the time April 1977 rolled around. Following a two-year hiatus from major touring from the end of 1974 through 1976, the band returned with former drummer Mickey Hart and a fresh batch of new material recorded in the winter and early spring months of 1977 which would go on to appear on Terrapin Station when it arrived in late July.

The opening night of the East Coast run at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, PA started out with “The Promised Land” and continued with “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”, “Deal”, “El Paso”, “Tennessee Jed”, a then-new “Estimated Prophet”, “Peggy-O”, and “Playing in the Band”. The second set also featured some strong performances of “Scarlet Begonias” into “Fire on the Mountain”, “It Must Have Been The Roses”, “Dancing in the Street”, “The Wheel”, and another new original, “Terrapin Station”.

Revisit the entire tour-opening performance from Philadelphia on 4/22/77 below.

Grateful Dead – The Spectrum – Philadelphia, PA – 4/22/77

[Audio: Jonathan Aizen]