- Wednesday, August 6, 1981, Sherwood Hall, 940 North Main Street, Salinas, CA
- Thursday, August 7, 1981, Freeborn Hall, UC Davis, Davis, CA
- Friday, August 8, 1981, Fox Theatre, 216 E. Main Street, Stockton, CA
I have just posted listening notes for the only recordings known to me of the August 6-7 shows (follow the links above), though the latter might well be from the 8th. If there are other recordings out there, even really nasty old cassettes, I'd love to be able to give them a listen.
Here I just want to reflect a little bit on this mini tour. Let me start with the ad that ran in BAM magazine. I first reproduce the full page in bad quality (including the TOC for the 7/31/81 issue of BAM, which is still an unindexed goldmine of late 70s-1980s Bay Area music information), and then a clearer but less complete scan focusing on the Garcia ad.
The tour is interesting for a few reasons. First, it occurs during a particularly fluid time in terms of membership of the Jerry Garcia Band. So I'll cover personnel issues first. Second, it's just a weird little tour. So I'll say maybe a thing or two about the tour overall, maybe a sort of business/economic aspect. Third, I'll just open up a slightly broader context to the rest of 1981.
First, personnel was extremely fluid around this time.
a. Keyboards. At the start of the year, Melvin Seals had come in on the Hammond B-3 organ, and Jimmy Warren was also brought on as keyboardist on his electric piano (I think it was a Fender Rhodes, but I am not sure). So, here we have Melvin and Jimmy Warren on keys, which is confirmed by the two tapes.
b. Drums. Historically, TJS did not show a drummer between 6/1 and 12/17, when Kreutzmann is said to come in. We know from our various discussions here and elsewhere, ultimately reflected in and derived from Corry Arnold's contemporaneous lists, that Bill Kreutzmann came in on drums for the Concord Pavilion show on September 7, 1981. I think he was also drumming in the Bay Area on December 17-18-19, while Ron Tutt had apparently taken the October-November 1981 national tour, as well as the other September '81 Bay Area shows. Anyway, Corry reckons that Daoud Shaw was around until Concord, i.e., through 8/23. That makes a lot of sense. Shaw and Essra Mohawk were an item, and both disappear from September 7 forward. So, here we presumably have Daoud Shaw drumming (though there are no guarantees of this).
c. Backing vocals. This is understood to be the short-lived Liz Stires-Essra Mohawk tandem on backing vocals. They debuted June 25, 1981 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, their first, the first Garcia Band show with backing vocalists since the Donna Jean Godchaux-Maria Muldaur arrangement vanished in late 1978. Essra appears to be gone by 9/7/81, replaced by Julie Stafford, so apparently our "School House Rock" heroine only sang a dozen or so times with the JGB.) (For more on backing vocalists, see here for early 80s, here for mid-1982 and here for late 1983.)
(One further note here, on Concord 9/7/81, JGBP says "Actually GD Archives source mentions Liz's sister. It's handwritten. [MS 332 Ser. 3, Box 1:2, GDR: Show Files: GD Concert Dates-Tour Schedule, Grateful Dead Archives, Special Collections, McHenry Library, UC Santa Cruz, CA].)
d. Bass. This is usually a non-issue: it was John Kahn. But recall that on 6/25/81 (Santa Cruz), 6/26/81 (Fox Warfield Theatre, San Francisco) and 8/22/81 (Fairfax Pavilion!) Phil Lesh played bass with the JGB, and Kahn was not present. I don't know anything about why this was the case, nor why John would miss a few more shows in March 1982, when David Torbert filled in. No point in me speculating about it, I just don't know. Anyway, based on a review of the two tapes of this mini-tour that I have heard, The Mule is in the house.
e. Summarizing, here's my best guess as to the personnel of the Jerry Garcia Band for the August 6-8, 1981 "1st Northern California Tour":
- Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
- John Kahn - el-bass;
- Melvin Seals - keyboards (Hammond B3 organ);
- Jimmy Warren - keyboards (Fender Rhodes electric piano);
- Daoud Shaw - drums;
- Essra Mohawk - backing vocals;
- Liz Stires - backing vocals.
a) It was organized as a set, it was advertised in BAM, there were posters made, etc. There's a promoter behind this. Yet I don't see that kind of information in the materials. Doesn't seem like Graham, both because his name isn't on the materials and because it's just too obscure. He seemed to let littler, further downmarket, and/or farther flung places be by this time. Since most of them seemed to pose little meaningful competition (and many seemed to come and go, change names, and generally struggle), he didn't really need to compete on that margin.
b) The itinerary is pretty unlikely. San Rafael to Salinas to Davis to Stockton to San Rafael? Now Salinas has the whiff of Steinbeck (less now than in '81) and is close to Monterey. Davis is a really nice college town. Even Stockton, not generally considered a desirable place to be, brings some California Delta charm, where the Gold Rush meets the Central Valley, all of which one can appreciate in an anthropological sort of way. But not in August. We're talking easy triple digits in all three of these places, but especially Stockton. August 8th in Stockton ... oof. I start sweating just thinking of it. I'll reserve judgment on the halls; a Fox Theatre can, of course, be a magnificent thing. So I am not knocking any of this, just suggesting that it's a bit odd.
c) Putting these together, it's the juxtaposition of utterly implausible levels of organization with utterly implausible itinerary that really strikes me. There are few other tours that look quite like this that I can think of. There were lots of obscure gigs in lots of obscure places beyond the core Bay Area over the years, of course. But most didn't have the faintest whiff of business professionalism about them, with the exception of the Freddie Herrera clubs (in which Ol' Jer played a ton, 'a'course). The only other tours were typically larger scale (N > 3 shows), usually further away (e.g., midwest <--> east coast). The SoCal tours bear the closest resemblance, such as the couple-day jaunts by Legion of Mary in March (7-9) 1975, Reconstruction in July 1979 and JGB in May (17-20) 1984. But SoCal is a plane ride, and anyway with all of John's people and places down there it's probably very comfortable. These places 100 miles from SF are actually less convenient in lots of ways.
Third, just a note about the rest of the year, especially re recordings. The Garcia shows that follow this one are pretty well represented. August 20-21-22-23 are ca. 70% in circulation (missing most of two of eight sets, less a little) and represent the last Phil Lesh guest slot (8/22) and the apparent end of Daoud Shaw and Essra Mohawk's time with the JGB. There are a number of dates from after that not in circulation that I know of (scanning TJS 1981, 9/20/81, 10/25/81, 10/27/81, etc.), but there's enough sprinkled through that we can interpolate across most of them.
Before this minitour is a different deal. Going back three months (to May), I see these dates unrepresented (back of the napkin only!): 5/20/81, 5/23/81, 5/24/81, 5/27/81, most of 5/28/81,
Anyway, mostly I just liked the artwork and wanted to shout out for BAM, and the rest of this is just an excuse to post those scans. ;-)
Jackson, Blair. 1999. Garcia: An American Life. New York: Penguin Books.
! see also: JGMF, "JG19810624: Wednesday, June 24, 1981, Sherwood Hall, Salinas, CA (UNCERTAIN)," http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2011/04/jg19810624-wednesday-june-24-1981.html.