Somewhat surprisingly this is only the second Peggy-O I’ve picked here. The last one was from 1980, but for me some of the very best Peggy-Os were played in 1977. It’s only natural then, in my mind to move to that hallowed year for the next one.
A quick look through the Setlist Program reveals that Peggy-O had a pretty long and distinguished career. I so often associate this song with 1977 that I forget about its earlier performances, which include a couple in 1973, a handful in 1974 and 1976, and even one in 1975. But the meat of Peggy-Os run was from about 1977 through 1981. It didn’t seem to get as much play annually after that, but it was still a constant in the repertoire.
1977 gets a lot of plaudits from a lot of people. For the most part I agree that 1977 was a very good year for the Grateful Dead. There are some instances where I would have preferred a bit more setlist variety, something closer to the previous year. Who wouldn’t have wanted to hear Crazy Fingers in 1977? Or get a few more Help/Slip/Franks squeezed in there? But some songs greatly benefited from the well-oiled Grateful Dead machine in that year and for my money Peggy-O is one of those songs. As with any song, you can find great versions of pretty much anything in every year/era, but I think as far as consistently great versions Peggy-O and 1977 go together like peas and carrots.
Complete Setlist 9/3/77
Previous Peggy-O DFAY Selections
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