In the days of dialup modem, we had DNC: dead net central. DNC was the virtual meeting place where folks across the country expressed their views on topics neatly organized into threads administered by the folks at GD headquarters. I remember arguments over who was hording the reels of the Great American Music Hall ‘72 run that Dick Latvala might have leaked to a certain someone. I remember great discussions about the music, and not to mention, the generous seeds and vines that were sent out by kind folks every day! What stands out most though is the debate over 1976 and 1977. You were either in one camp or the other. I tried to stay neutral by claiming to be a disciple of New Year’s ‘76; because it was the only show played in both ’76 and ‘77.
Neutrality only goes so far because the one opinion some of us in ZD hold is that the ’76 Saint Stephens are priceless. We would probably argue that the Saint Stephen played at Cornell '77 doesn’t hold up to one like Boston Music Hall June 9, 1976. This issue came under focus at a ZD rehearsal before the Dec. 18, 2021 show at Blueprint; should we break it up like Cornell or try something different?
Now, June 9, 1976 marked the first time Saint Stephen had been played since October 31, 1971. Listen to the crowd roar as the band hits the first notes of the introduction at Boston Music Hall. Click here to listen. Despite the crowd's explosion, the band does not break that laid back feel; even when they come out of the bridge (at 4:05 “Did he doubt or did he try”). Trust me, there is something about the energy felt at that section of the song which makes you want to go faster. What we liked about Boston Music Hall ’76, though, was the extended jam that really loosened up. It does not take on the feel of most Saint Stephens. It is free like a Bird Song and at about 9:16 Phil takes the jam into B minor which is a first. The most exciting part of the song for me though is the absence of all sound at 11:34. Those three seconds of silence created some sacred space.
We gave it a try at Blueprint on December 18, 2021. Our sacred space was created at 7:53. Click here to listen.