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Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Last Quartet Show

LN jg1982-10-23.jgb.all.aud-knudsen-GEMS.112275.flac1644

This show is the last for the short-lived October '82 quartet configuration, which did a quartet of shows on 10/13/82, 10/21-22/82 (neither of which has ever circulated), and this night. In Guerneville on the 24th, backing vocalists would augment the ranks. If I am not mistaken, this could be the last show the JGB ever played as a quartet (in case you were wondering).

I have made a series of posts discussing band personnel/membership issues in 1981-1983.

This "membership" theme isn't properly considered/elaborated in social science work on institutions/organizations, as far as I am concerned. It should be central: after all, we are dealing with social aggregates.

Investigating the margins of each membership era -- a little before and, to a greater extent, a little after any personnel change -- can be interesting in lots of ways. The early 80s are particularly interesting, for all kinds of reasons. First, there are lots of personnel changes, giving us lots of little natural quasi-experiments to think about. Variance is good. Second, substantively, I think the evidence suggests that Garcia was really looking for a stable band, but it took him several years to get the blend just right. So there's some amount of tension in this nearly-interstitial music. Garcia and the other band members have to focus, listen to each other and generally engage each other more than at other times. In lots of ways, the Garcia Band would challenge Jerry less and less over the years, and this seemed to be how he liked this band. It was a comfort band. He got challenged enough for his taste with the always more dissonant Grateful Dead. But during these moments of breaking in new personnel that equation is in some ways reversed, or at least the positions of JGB and the GD are closer to each other on the comfort or consonance <--> dissonance dimension.

Third, as I have argued in some of the posts linked above, "break-in" shows for new members were more likely than the average gig to be weeknight and off-the-beaten-path (see discussion of the possible 6/24/81 Salinas gig for another engagement with that theme).  Partly as a consequence, they were less likely to have been taped, and as a consequence of that there has been more uncertainty around who was where, when, when they showed up and left, where it was and what they played, who subbed for whom whenever that was, and so on. Thank goodness that there have been listmakers over the years to help with all of this, something about which I'll have more to say. Here I'll just say thank goodness for all of the intrepid, foreword-looking and generous tapers such as Jeff Knudsen, who rolled tape while tripping the Keystones fantastic during this period. Tapers, your work is very important and much appreciated. Thanks.

One of Jeff's tapes is Saturday, 10/23/82 at the Keystone Palo Alto at 260 California Avenue in Palo Alto, CA, 94306. As far as I know this is the only recording to make it out of the club that night, and it's a nice tape. Gotta love that the guy just danced to the music with a couple of cheap mics under his armpits, running to a cheap deck sitting in plain view on the table, and made a tape that's fun to listen to and historically important.

This is the last of four shows by the Garcia/Kahn/Seals/Errico quartet (10/13/82, 10/21/82 and 10/22/82 being the others). They are still warming themselves up, though I have to say that Errico drums like a mofo. The next night, in out of the way Guerneville, would see the introduction of Jaclyn LaBranch and DeeDee Dickerson as Garcia's backup singers. Ms. LaBranch would be a JGB fixture ever-after, her 12.5 years in the band surpassed only by constant bandmate Melvin Seals (14.5 years) and the one and only John Kahn (ca. 25 years).

Anyway, a few listening notes for the record.

Jerry Garcia Band
Keystone Palo Alto
Palo Alto, CA 
October 23, 1982 (Saturday)
77 minute Jeff Knudsen audience recording

--Set I (4 tracks, 32:07, missing 1 song)--
s1t01. How Sweet It Is [8:37] [0:02]
s1t02. % (1) Catfish John [11:02]
[missing It's No Use]  
s1t03. // I Second That Emotion [#6:42] -> 
s1t04. Run For The Roses [5:36] (2) [0:06]

--Set II (4 tracks, 43:43, missing 1 song)
s2t05. (I'm A) Road Runner [8:27]
s2t06. The Harder They Come [14:24] [0:04]
[missing Valerie]
s2t07. // Dear Prudence [11:56] [0:10] ->
s2t08. Midnight Moonlight [8:24] (3) [0:23] dead air [0:03]

Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
John Kahn - el-bass;
Melvin Seals - keyboards (Hammond B3 organ);
Greg Errico - drums.

Tape and Transfer Specs:
! R: field recording equpiment: Marantz SuperScope microphones > Aiwa HS1 cassette master.
! R: subsequent analog history: master cassettes > 1st generation cassette by Jeff himself.  Note: "All his collection is such.  This was done by him to get the show in order on tapes, as set one was recorded on both tape sides 'A', and set two was recorded on both sides 'B'."
! R: transfer to digital domain: 1st gen cassette > Apogee Mini ME 24/96 > Apogee Mini DAC > Wavelab 6.0 by Matt Smith.
! R: digital domain: edited and mastered by Jamie Waddell on the **GEMS** Edit Station at 24 bit 96kHz. Weiss-Saracon for conversion to 16 bit 44.1kHz. TLH for FLAC8 Tag&Rename for MetaData SBE Free.
! R: Meta: A **GEMS** Production      March 2011

! 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.
! TJS:
! db: (this recording).
! Seeder note: Huge thanks to Jeffrey for sharing his recordings and Matt Smith for the transfer work
! R: seeder note: Recorder was turned off between some songs
! From info file: Jeffrey Knudsen Equipment: AIWA-HS1 Cassette Deck and Marantz SuperScope microphones. Location:  "I always taped from the front row tables with the recorder simply laying on the table in full view. There was a piece of tape over the red 'on' light and the mics were black with black chords. I took napkins from the venue and folded a wad up and taped the two mics together with the napkins separating the front ends and the back end were together. That way the mics had some angular separation. I then put the whole mess in a black sock and stuck it in my armpit.  Everyone stands the moment the show starts (except at the front row balcony tables in Berkeley) so I would point my shoulder at the stage when Jerry was instrumental and then I would point my shoulder up to the overhead monitors when he sang. In Berkeley I just had the mics taped, in a sock and laying on the table, and pointing at the stage."
! More taper info, from info file: "This run of shows (10/21-22-23/82) were that last shows of 1982 that I was able to record before I moved to Barbers' Point, Hawaii.  I was in Party Mode #342.67b for the whole weekend and just had a hard time with that miserable 'pause' button. It was very distressing to look down and see the recorder not working and having no idea what happened. Well, that is not exactly true. LSD was in the mix -- go figure. Such was the price to pay for such a good time. This torrent is the first time that this show has been circulated. Hopefully another version will show up so the whole show can be patched together."
! Historical: This is the only known recording of the final show of the Garcia/Kahn/Seals/Errico quartet of October 1982 (10/13/82, 10/21/82, 10/22/82, 10/23/82). As I have often noted in connection with personnel/band membership issues, and especially in the first half of the 1980s, the pivotal shows during fluid periods were often a little off-the-beaten path and less likely to have been taped. Despite this being a Saturday night show, my hunch is that the Keystone Palo Alto was just less likely to host a taper on any given night than the other Keystone clubs. That's conjectural, though testable. Anyway, as we know the next night would see a gig waaaay off the beaten path -- at River Theater, Guerneville, CA -- and the introduction of Jaclyn LaBranch and DeeDee Dickerson as Garcia's backup singers. Ms. LaBranch would be a JGB fixture ever-after, her 12.5 years in the band surpassed only by constant bandmate Melvin Seals (14.5 years) and the one and only John Kahn (ca. 25 years). How long did Ms. Dickerson stay in the band? I have some question about that, but I'll try to elaborate my thinking on that separately.
! R: tape is quite solid. Not super-high definition, but I can hear all of the instruments and the vocals reasonably distinctly.
! s1t02 (1) Taper talk. Guy in crowd yells "rock and roll!". Maybe in response, or maybe in response to something else, taper says "Your wish come true" right on the opening notes to Catfish John. So not sure if he is affirming that it's "rock and roll!" or to someone's (unheard) call of Catfish John as the next tune.
! P: s1t02 CJ Jerry's voice is sounding a little strained, a little fragile.
! P: transition from s1t03 ISTE to s1t04 RFTR is a "true" one, in the sense that Jerry spins it out. It's not a long, well-developed segue, but it's not a pause/stop-for-a-3-count segue, either. Somewhere in between. At this time frame and in the state he was in during it, that's pretty adventuruous. Remember, too, that Errico is just getting warmed up (only his 4th show in this go-round with JGB, which would last through June 5, 1983 out on the east coast). So it's nice to see Jer pushing things even just a little.
! P: s1t04 RFTR ends with an off-beat, just a new band not 100% sync'd up. Sounds like maybe Garcia was considering another song, but discretion being the better part of valor he sheepishly gives the (2) "We'll be back in a few minutes" setbreak announcement.
! P: s2t05 RR bad vocal clam in first verse, on "toothbrush".
! R: s2t07 Dear Prudence comes in before the second ("let me see you smile / ... / like a little child"), maybe 2-3 minutes missing here?
! P: s2t07 at the end of Dear Prudence and heading toward Midnight Moonlight, you can hear that they still aren't 100% meshed. Right at the end of DP Jerry, John and Melvin are keying right into Midnight Moonlight, but it takes 10 seconds to indicate it to Errico and get him with them. Not a criticism of him, by any means -- fourth show in for him on this stint, and they hadn't done this segue yet. Things are hanging, and then Errico just starts pounding out a rock rhythm for Jerry to jump onto. He jumps on in the wrong key, but recovers OK and things manage to take shape.
! s2t08 Mid Moon This whole version is quite a standout because of Errico's playing, which really pushes Garcia not just pacewise, but in terms of driving his voice a little harder. That said, I think I hear why JG wants backup singers. His voice just can't hold it at the end. I bet he walked off stage and said to John "find me a few chick backup singers".
! d2t08 (3) JG: "Thanks a lot, see you later."

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