On the 28th March 1981 I had been out late for a few drinkies and, arriving home late to find the house in silence, the munchies had set in. I turned on the grill, and then the tv. In those days BBC 2 was still quite cutting edge. You would find excellent culture programmes on this channel late at night covering a broad range of often challenging subjects. As the tube flickered into life in these early minutes of a new day I was stunned to find, live from The Rockpalast in Germany, ……………..The Grateful Dead. What? Where did this come from? How did this pass me by? (To this day I don’t think it was actually listed. The programme just seemed to appear. Maybe I’m wrong. Who has a Radio Times from 30 years ago?)
Anyway, off went the grill and I sat on the floor, gawping in wonder, till about 3.00am.
Jerry was a consummate musician and a virtuoso on his instrument. Here, from the Rockpalast tv broadcast that night, is a favourite version of one of my fave songs, “Shakedown Street” . This song often got into a groove that just drove the band on. There are some great versions around and maybe later I’ll post another from during the 80’s which I think should be used for music education in the classroom. Perfect ensemble playing.
One of the qualities we all loved about the great man was the lyrical flavour of his inventive solos. No-one else quite had it for us. Just as you will recognise certain musicians on their instruments as being unmistakably them, for instance, Miles Davis (trumpet), Jaco Pastorius (bass) , a Jerry solo is undeniably Jerry. It has his stamp.
Towards the end of his career the Jerry Garcia Band that sprung from extra-curricular activities was one of the best incarnations of that venture, in my opinion. It spawned a great album and some great music. Here, another superb lyrical solo from JG as he gets into a little reggae mood.
Hope you enjoyed them. Next time we’ll go right back to the beginning and perhaps some acoustic Jerry.