GODS ABOVE, do I love being wrong and fuckaduck, I should be at least inured to it by now, but sometimes my mistakes and misconceptions decide to destroy me with kindness, like when my long-held prejudice against ’76 was cured–a MIRACLE my brothers and sisters!–by this molasses-slow Peggy-O from Chicago’s Auditorium Theater on 6/29/76. Fist off, it’s listed as Mama Tried on the Archive, and second, Garcia’s a little out-of-tune, but SO WHAT, YOU BOW DOWN AND RUB HIS SWOLLEN ANKLES, PEASANT. He’s just killing it and there are eons–milllllllllennia–between beats. It drips over you like Billy’s lotion; it pools to fill every crevice; it is pristine and then, holy shit, it’s Mission in the Rain.

They only played it three times. Or five times, depending on whether you believe this sentence or the one previous. Garcia and Mrs. Donna Jean sing about whores and loss while the band swings behind them, then she duets with Bobby on a gorgeous Looks Like Rain that finds some astounding work from all of them, most of all Billy playing the thunder implicit in the song’s title. It’s transcendent and resplendent and other words, so many other words I can’t be bothered to type right now.

And then they tune up for, like, seven minutes.

This might be the rarest of all birds: a DONNA SHOW. Listen to her wee-hoo-hoo! during the verses of Lazy Lightning, melding her voice with Garcia’s (who was always a Galaxy-Class backup singer) for the “Myyy liiiight-nin’ tooooo!”

I didn’t see how before how hypnotic the Slow Dead could be–it’s not a dirge, it’s hypnosis.

Check this one out, if not for yourself, then for the Turks.

P.S. Great googly-mooglies, you must listen to the Playin’>Space Jam>The Wheel>Playin’ Reprise. One of these days, you’re gonna be dead, so liste to this right now. IGNORE YOUR CHILDREN AND LISTEN TO THIS IMPROVISATIONAL COUNTRY-ROCK PERFORMANCE.