Day 307: Eyes Of The World, 11/5/77

Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 34 album cover artwork

We’re just dipping back into the greatest hits as of late. Well, part of that was the methodology used the select songs for the past month. As you may have noticed I opted for one song from each Dick’s Picks release, in order starting on November 1st. I didn’t want to repeat any songs in that span and by this point the pickin’s were getting a bit slim.

Well, slim pickin’s isn’t really an accurate description, more like limited choices depending on what was on the release, what was already picked, and what stood out to me. So we have another version of Eyes Of The World and our second from 1977, but this one is from the fall tour and by that point the vibe had changed from the historic spring tour. By and large, I think I’ve gotten a good sampling of Eyes though – ’73, ’77, ’83, ’91 – at least enough to see how things changed. Now that I think about it I’m surprised that the Branford Eyes hasn’t made the cut yet, but perhaps it’s just too obvious.

In 1977 the Dead played 60 shows. They played Eyes of the World at exactly 20 of those, giving it a .333 hitting percentage. Not bad. I can’t help but think one of the factors that helped make 1977 such a hallowed year is the song selection. Obviously the new Terrapin Station material was key, mainly the title track and Estimated Prophet, but couple those with other heavy hitters like Eyes, a resurgent St. Stephen, and those epic Scarlet > Fires, not to mention the band’s freight train sound and tight playing. But I think the latter sparkled even more because of the vessels chosen.

The pace here is brisk, but not break-neck. Actually, compared to some of the “fast” versions it’s a bit laid back. The notes just cascade out of Jerry’s guitar and fall on your ears like a warm summer rain. How he manages to convey these types of ideas musically is amazing. Phil steps forward in places as well. Around the three minute mark the band settles into the verse groove but it’s a while yet before Jerry starts singing. The big man sounds good, and you can hear the crowd roar as he and Donna duet over the chorus. Keith seemed to be doing a bit of Bobby mimicry at the end of the chorus, or was that just me? The focus quickly goes back to the good stuff – Jerry. His playing is something you can get lost in and Eyes of the World provides a perfect example of how the minutes just melt away. There’s a nice little repeating motif Jerry latches onto for a few measures right around the 9 minute mark. Bobby interjects some filigree flourishes around the 10 minute mark, right before they head back into the verse. After they finish this last chorus listen to Keith, he plays this descending figure that just transitions beautifully to the jam. Phil takes advantage of his opportunity to shine and leads the band for a while now. Jerry trickles back into the picture at the last moment, cuing the segue to the Samson & Delilah that followed.

Complete Setlist 11/5/77

Previous Eyes Of The World DFAY Selections

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2 Comments
  1. Hey lunchbox,
    Great to see you goin strong down the home stretch. I will miss your effort, as I usually either pop in the days song via CD if I own, but more often with spotify at work. Love your takes on the music and surely love someone directing me to a song with a little history and views on the playing that event.
    Thanks as always

  2. again with the bob weir bashing, first of all it was a communal band, all did no blame, BOB wrote many of the songs that turned into the jams the band is known for and spawned a musical category- how many jams out of stella blue are there? none perhaps, from what i’ve read garcia hated writing songs, loved the guitar and would rather sing back up…..on a positve note you seem to respect BRENT’S contribution- HEY STAY POSITIVE

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