There was nothing the Grateful Dead couldn’t make more complicated.
Also: this picture confuses me. Those aren’t stage lights in the upper righthand corner: they’re film lights. Rock and roll lighting hangs from a truss; it certainly doesn’t go in front of the band with gels gaffer-taped over the bulbs.
And since we know that the Dead’s road crew would never do more work than required (and sometimes not even that), then we must infer that this show was captured on film.
It is here, Enthusiasts that I can either be honest or simply delete the whole post; for both our sakes, I choose honesty: this photo is from 7/12/76 at the Orpheum in San Francisco, which we do in fact know was filmed. You can watch the soundcheck, courtesy of the legendary and mysterious Voodoonola:
Now, here’s where I turn into a complete slapdick: I had a whole theory about how the photo was not from 7/12, but instead from a different night in the run, which means another night was recorded and that there was a pro-shot film from ’76 being kept from us. My thesis relied heavily on the fact that Mrs. Donna Jean is wearing a different blouse in the photo than in the soundcheck video.
And then I remembered that people change their clothes.
Sorry to have wasted your time.