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Thursday, February 17, 2011

LN19810129 JGB Catalyst Santa Cruz

Jerry Garcia Band, Sunday, January 29, 1981, The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA. shnid 111412.

So I thought I'd check out an early Melvin Seals JGB show as a reward for having concluded that his public debut with JGB was 1/22/81. Randomly picked this one. Pretty nice tape that puts you FOB, but the show is not much of a treat. In fact, it's a total trainwreck. I cannot recall hearing Jerry sound this out of it this early on. It's not quite as bad as ca. August-December 1984, but it's pretty bad. Melvin is bringing it, the drummer seems on, and it sounds to me like the main culprit is Garcia.

Anyway, this is a quintet, post-Ozzie Ahlers and pre-arrival of the backup singers in June, featuring Jimmy Warren and Melvin Seals on keys and, we believe, Daoud Shaw on drums. By my reckoning this is their fourth show together. Things would get better very, very quickly ... the February '81 east coast tour is quite hot right from the get-go. So this sounds like a down night, warming up a new band, fighting technical gremlins. Can't win 'em all.

Jerry Garcia Band
The Catalyst
Santa Cruz, CA
January 29, 1981 (Thursday)

Recorded, transferred, edited and mastered by JS
2 x Electrovoice RE-10 microphones > Sony TC-D5m
Transfer: Nakamichi Dragon (Dolby B decoded) > Macintosh with Digidesign AudioMedia III sound card(A/D 44.1/16) > Pro Tools (minor "nip and tuck" edits, normalization and tracking - no EQ or digital noise reduction) > AIFF > CD > Toast > xACT (FLAC

level 8 files with sector boundaries verified)

Disc One (4 tracks, 47:12)
--Set I--
d1t01. How Sweet It Is [8:55] [0:12] % [1:15]
d1t02. Catfish John [8:55] [0:07] % [0:26]
d1t03. Like a Road [16:18] [0:03] % [0:09]
d1t04. Deal [10:23] [0:13]

Disc Two (6 tracks, 62:15)
--Set II--
d2t01.  //Harder They Come [12:39] [0:10]
d2t02. % [0:05] Mission in the Rain [12:59] % [0:22]
d2t03. That's What Love Will Make You Do [9:29] [0:02] % [0:40]
d2t04. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [8:21] ->
d2t05. Dear//Prudence [#9:24] ->
d2t06. Midnight Moonlight [7:54] [0:09]

This originally listed as shn 17145 with incorrect attribution and lineage.

Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
John Kahn - el-bass;
?Daoud Shaw? - drums;
Melvin Seals - keyboards (organ);
Jimmy Warren - keyboards (electric piano)

! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [ ] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [x:xx] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.
! Recording: Nice FOB tape. Vocals are low, bass is pretty near inaudible, but the drums are right on you and guitar is pretty good. Keyboards nice and clear. Not too much crowd.

! R: d1t01 HSII some tape funkiness at start
! P: d1t01 HSII @ 1:22 Melvin does an 8-second sustain and then comes in with a nice solo. This is clearly early Melvin, and he is tearing it up! HSII goes for almost three minutes instrumentally, as they try to find the groove and as the sound people try to get things right. Jimmy solo, but Melvin solos over him, @ 2:12. Jerry's guitar is completely absent, then there's a crowd cheer @ 2:24 and Jerry's guitar comes in. Sounds like technical difficulties. First vocals don't start until 2:57! Then there is a lot of playing around before they land back .... Jerry starts the song back over at 6:46 with first vocals again ... yikes! He hits two clams in a row and sounds really, really bad. HSII vocals almost inaudible, more technical difficulties, @ start. Jerry sounds pretty sick on the opening vocals of HSII. Ragged. HSII @ 7:32 second vocals another horrible vocal clam. OUCH.
! Performance: Jerry's vocal weaknesses on this show, and his overall sound, lead me to conclude that he was probably not making healthy choices this night, or in any case was just off his game. I was going to lambaste the four-song first set, but I think equipment problems dictated that. There's a longish delay before the setbreak announcement (after Deal), Jerry sounds a little exasperated, and there are audible electronic gremlins out of the PA while he's talking.
! P: d1t04 Jimmy Warren is really not bringing much to Deal
! R: d2t01 HTC cuts in, enters on "battle won"
! P: MITR bad vocal flubs ca. 2:45. He sounds lost, and so he forgets the words, and he gets embarrassed and sings in a more constricted way, and so forth. A struggle. He is LOST.
! R: d2t05 Dear Prudence tape flip @ 0:05.1.


  1. Is this the show where he falls off the front of the stage into a few people in the first row? Not sure of the date.

    1. I don't remember anything about anyone falling off the stage at this show. Besides, there was no "front row" at the Catalyst. There was only a people jammed up on the floor.

  2. I don't know! I didn't hear anything like that.


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