Grousing The Aisles VI: Jerry Garcia

The more things change, the more they stay the same. When I got my first CD burner some years ago, this show was the cleanest sounding JGB concert I could find…and eight years later this is still the case. Both the acoustic and electric sets are well played, and because I’m trained to accept Jerry flub Run For The Roses, it’s weird to hear this perfect version. This review is certainly more in-depth and comprehensive for those of you looking for more than a quick take on the show.

1982 wasn’t exactly a landmark year for the Dead. But the band had its moments, and this here show could be the best one of the year, despite the venue. I personally can’t think of a worse arena to see a show than the Hartford Civic Center. Every time I visited that place and its steep aisles, I felt I was gonna take a tumble and land on my ass, yet bands always seemed to rise to the occasion at this shithole. It is, therefore, fitting that Phil Lesh busted out his Earthquake Space in Hartford during the second set. And Sugar Magnolia > Playin’ Reprise > Sunshine Daydream is one helluva way to end an already scorching second set.

You can’t compare the band from that 1982 show to the band that played this show from 1973. The early ’70s saw the Dead at its peak, weaving psychedelic jams with tight progressions that left audience members freaked out in the best possible usage of that phrase. This show has just recently circulated, and the sound is nothing short of unbelievable. Yet as good as the sound is, the playing is even better: The first set features perfect versions of the songs you love to sing along with, and the second set kicks out the jams. It’s also obvious Mickey Hart was not missed, as Bill Kreutzmann rolls with the changes like none other.

The Grateful Dead returned to form for awhile in 1989 following a mediocre decade. Banned from the Hampton Coliseum, the band got around the locals by billing the shows as “Formerly The Warlocks.” These two shows were among the best the band ever played, featuring numerous bustouts and tasty jams. One of the biggest moments in GD history happens when the band plays its first Dark Star in five years, which results in about as thunderous applause as I’ve ever heard. Listening to that on CD gives me the chills, but it is a revelation to actually see the smiles on the band member’s faces. The quality on this DVD is awesome (the picture above is an actual screen capture), and you should invite some friends over, imbibe a bit, and let the Dark Star pour its light into ashes on you.

Here are YouTube links if you just want to see the Dark Star, just bear in mind the video quality on this DVD is MUCH better:



There was no such thing as an off-night in the world of Jerry Garcia. Regardless of the fact that the Dead played upwards of 125 shows in 1971, the man still put together bands like a neighborhood kid putting together a pickup basketball team. This soundboard features one of the first collaborations between Garcia, Kahn, and Merl Saunders, a trio that would play a number of shows together over the next four years. Check out the instrumental version of John Lennon’s Imagine, which was actually a new song when this show was played.

So there you have it…What are your favorite Jerry shows? Sound off.

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  1. my fav. Jerry Band experience would also be my first. As a few of us ole deadheads entered the fabled Philadelphia Spectrum we didn’t know what to expect. A friendly wook in the parking lot informed us we were indeed in for a treat this chilly november evening, and we were not disappointed.

    one heck of a way to celebrate a 23rd Birthday, surrounded by smiling friends of old and newfound strangers all sharing in the wonderful vibe Jerry exuded with us on a nitely basis.

    Here’s the setlist. I think I’m still dancing to that midnite moonlight….

    11-16-1993 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
    Set 1 (57 minutes)
    I Second That Emotion
    Stop That Train
    Mission In The Rain
    Run For The Roses
    Ain’t No Bread In The Breadbox
    My Sisters And Brothers
    Everybody Needs Somebody To Love

    Set 2 (68 minutes)
    The Way You Do The Things You Do
    The Maker
    Money Honey
    Wonderful World
    Don’t Let Go
    That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)
    E: Midnight Moonlight

  2. Great job Scotty Bizzle. Can’t wait to pull some of these down tonight.

    Side note: I was talking with a friend of mine yesterday who had just spoken with Melvin Seals and Melvin said that Merl Saunders is making some good progress on recovering from his stroke. Talking and walking better and in much better spirits.

    Thought I’d share that.


  3. Awesome work ScottyB!

    Naturally us Jerry’s Kids will love this section of Hidden Tracks, but the pics, the words and the links are just pure gold.

    BTW, I hope everyone has been keeping an eye on the Broadway aud releases on There’s been some real treasures.

    The quality varies due to the stealth recordings which were made (I heard security was seriously busting balls). Check this one out too:

    Jerry Garcia Band – 10/25/1987 – Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, NY NY – early show – electric only – nak300s – green mtn bros seed

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