Notwithstanding reunions by surviving members, the Dead have been dead since 1995, when a heart attack killed guitarist Jerry Garcia. But the product keeps on coming, thanks to the group’s penchant for recording nearly everything they ever performed. In fact, if you lined up a copy of every posthumous Dead release end to end, they would stretch all the way from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury to Morrison, Colorado.
OK, I exaggerate slightly. But speaking of Morrison, a 1978 concert at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre there is the centerpiece of the band’s latest release, a 12-CD boxed set (limited to 15,000 copies but also available for download) that preserves five shows from July of that year. Fortunately for those of us who love the Dead but realize we already own more music than we’ll be able to hear in our own time left on earth, the group’s label is also offering a three-CD set that contains only the July 8 Red Rocks show. It is reportedly the best of the bunch—and arguably among the Dead’s best live shows ever.
Recordings of the concert have circulated among collectors but it has never before been officially released. (Three of the shows in the 12-CD set have until now not even been available as bootlegs.) The tracks come from the band’s master soundboard recording and have been newly mixed and mastered, so the audio is excellent.