EYES OF THE WORLD
The 9-3-77 version is my all- time favorite song. I have to specify the date ‘cuz this is one those Grateful Dead songs that has evolved over the years. The early 70s featured an extended “heavy on the Phil” jam at the end of the song, the late 70s featured an extended jam at the beginning of the song, while the later years featured long “melting pot” jams between verses and a jazzier flavor. For me, ’77 was the sweet spot. I’ve found some good versions of this song over the years and I’m gonna use this page to sort ‘em out and try to determine a ranking, which may change from time to time. I’ll add new versions to this page periodically and try to update the ranking. As with most Dead songs, Jerry’s solo work is usually the primary factor in determining my favorite versions, which works out great ‘cuz some of Jerry’s finest work can be found in this song. (titles are links)
As I said in the intro, my all-time favorite song, bar none. I had this song on a bootleg vinyl LP many years ago (which, IMO, was mixed better than this recording uploaded from the Dick’s Picks release). I never get tired of listening to it. Love Jerry’s guitar work on this one.
A close second to the Englishtown version. The intro is the strongest part of this version.
Not as elaborate with the intro as Englishtown and Fox in Atlanta, but this version belongs just behind both. Jerry shines brightest in his last solo in this one. The man never runs out of new things to say with his guitar.
This version is a good example of what I meant by “melting pot” jams in my introduction. Jerry’s guitar work is great but not as dominant as in earlier versions… everyone contributes. According to the comments this was the show opener. Just to experience “Eyes” as an opener makes me wish I was there. I read somewhere it was Hornsby’s idea. A good one at that.
Smokin’ pace. Did I mention I love the way they were playing this song in ’77?
Jerry seems to be doing kind of a “stream of consciousness” thing with his solos so maybe not as coherently smooth as some of the other versions, but the trade-off is a nice series of some pretty slick creations. Still unmistakably Jerry, though.