Grateful Dead Debuts ‘Terrapin Station’ & ‘Estimated Prophet’ On This Date In 1977

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The first show the Grateful Dead played in 1977 took place 44 years ago today at Swing Auditorium in San Bernardino, California. Right from the start, the band offered the newly composed “Terrapin Station,” which would soon take up the entire second side of its namesake LP released later in July. The show at the Swing not only saw the live debut of “Terrapin,” but another staple of the band’s future setlists, “Estimated Prophet,” was played for the first time as well.

The show opening and subsequently very rare first set “Terrapin Station” was followed by “New Minglewood Blues” and “They Love Each Other,” before guitarist Bob Weir led the group featuring guitarist Jerry Garcia, bassist Phil Lesh, keyboardist Keith Godchaux, vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart in the band’s first performance of his “Estimated Prophet.” Also recorded as the lead track for the Terrapin Station album, “Estimated” went on to be the Dead’s most played song of 1977. Both “Terrapin” and “Estimated” would be performed live by the legendary group more than 300 times.

The second set of the tour opener was highlighted by a middle section featuring “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower,” and a well-jammed pairing of “Eyes Of The World” > “Dancin’ In The Streets.” Give a listen to the complete Betty Cantor-Jackson “Betty Board” soundboard recording of the show that took place 44 years ago today below:

Setlist

Grateful Dead at Swing Auditorium

Set 1
  • Terrapin Station  
  • Minglewood Blues  
  • They Love Each Other  
  • Estimated Prophet  
  • Sugaree  
  • Mama Tried  
  • Deal  
  • Playing in the Band  
  • The Wheel  
Set 2
  • Samson and Delilah  
  • Tennessee Jed
  • The Music Never Stopped
  • Help on the Way  
  • Slipknot!  
  • Franklin's Tower
  • Promised Land  
  • Eyes of the World
  • Dancing in the Street  
  • Around and Around  
Encore
  • U.S. Blues

JamBase celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of the Dead’s album Terrapin Station with the Inspiration: Celebrating 40 Years Of Terrapin Station video series published in 2017. Follow this link to read much more about the history of “Estimated Prophet” as well as live performance of the song from the 2017 High Sierra Music Festival Terrapin Station 40th Anniversary Playshop featuring a band made up of guitarists Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz and Stu Allen, bassist Murph Murphy, keyboardist Jordan Feinstein and drummer Ezra Lipp.

The Inspiration series culminated with the various parts of the “Terrapin Medley” suite recorded by Railroad Earth, moe., Stanley Jordan, Strangefolk, Moonalice, The Mountain Goats, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, Jake Peavy, Holly Bowling, Poor Man’s Whiskey, Grahame Lesh & Kirby Lee Hammel, Eric DiBerardino and others. All of the Inspiration: Celebrating 40 Years Of Terrapin Station videos can be viewed here along with a deep dive into the history the multi-part “Terrapin Medley.” Watch the collaborative performance of the Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter epic below:

[Updated from the original article published February 26, 2016.]

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