July 12, 1976: The Dead’s Soundcheck at the Orpheum Theatre

by Peter Wendel
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The Dead in ’76

Here’s pro-shot color footage of The Grateful Dead’s sweet soundcheck at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre on July 12, 1976 – exactly 40 years ago today.

The video (below) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the rejuvenated band – just five weeks after returning from their much-needed touring hiatus (which spanned much of 1975 through the spring of ’76). It’s a laid-back scene with Jerry and Donna sporting dark shades, and one of the roadies running around onstage checking the equipment (no doubt to get everything just exactly perfect).

JerryStealYourFace SongMango.comIt’s obvious from the footage that The Dead are honing their skills and polishing their transitions on the way to possibly the best-played year (1977) of their three-decade touring run. You get a good look at Jerry working his white super-slick Travis Bean guitar.

The boys (and girl) seem able to catch fire very quickly – almost effortlessly – from a complete standstill. It’s fantastic to see the band in such good form. Enjoy!

July 12, 1976
Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, CA

Dancin’ In The Streets (00:01), They Love Each Other (12:07), The Music Never Stopped (x2) (18:30), Stella Blue (x7) (27:26), Let It Grow jam (48:32), Eyes Of The World (50:15)

A very special thanks to voodoonola for posting this video on YouTube.

Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at PWendel@SongMango.com.