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Saturday, November 09, 2013

LN Reconstruction May 19, 1979 Old Waldorf, set II

Corry attended the Reconstruction show at the Old Waldorf on May 19, 1979, and has written it up very nicely from all of the angles that matter. He saw the 1st set. The second set, probably most of it, circulates from a very nice but unattributed audience recording. It's not the best Reconstruction set around, but I like it OK. This material has circulated as set I, but it's set II.

Garcia was clearly trying not to have attention drawn to himself in Reconstruction. He seemed to want to efface himself in the band, stand back in the shadows. Many of the show advertisements listed him as a featured player, in part because Reconstruction seems to have played some shows with Jerry Miller on guitar, and in part, well, to sell tickets. Garcia was always the goose that laid the golden egg in his side projects. Or, he was Midas, even for middling, disco-inspired funk, soul and disco outfits like Reconstruction. As David Grisman would say in another context, "Jerry kind of takes care of the profitable part" (or something like that).

My main reason for queueing this up is that it has some banter up front that I have always found revealing. Saxman Ron Stallings handled the emcee duties for Reconstruction. After the first few songs on this tape (shnid-14804), we hear the following exchange:
"Jerry Garcia on the guitar. On guitar, Jerry Garcia. Our guitar player, Jerry Garcia."

[ Crowd getting louder and louder, cheering more each time he says Jerry's name.]

Crowd member: "Hey, who's on the saxophone?" Another: "Take it, Merl!" They ask again: "Who's on the saxophone?" Stallings: "That's a very good question."

Someone in the back: "Who's on guitar?" Stallings: "Guitar? Jerry Garcia." Crowd: "Who? Who?"
No big deal, right? I know. But it is interesting to hear the slightly uncomfortable evidence of Garcia's stardom and fawning fan-base, even in the presence of badass players like Reverend Ron Stallings and drummer Gaylord Birch. Everyone who ever played a paid gig with Jerry had to reconcile himself or herself to the fact that Garcia was going to get all the attention, Garcia was probably going to bring in dollars, etc. One had to just deal with some over-the-top fans.

For the rest of the gig, Stallings makes a big deal of repeating the players' names over and over. But I think he's just compensating for the awkwardness of this earlier exchange. I can imagine Garcia being a little bit mortified by all of this. Revisiting the 6/13/79 show in Guerneville, I hear Garcia and Kahn trying to start up Dear Prudence before Jerry could be announced from stage. I swear, that's what I hear. And here I hear him cringeing a little bit for his fans and for himself. Just part of the "Burden of Being Jerry" (see also ca. 4/12/73 with Old And In The Way).

Listening notes follow.

Old Waldorf
444 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
May 19, 1979 (Saturday)
sinko s2 aud shnid-14804 shn2flac

--set II (7 tracks, 68:32, possibly incomplete)--
t01. I'll Take A Melody [10:07] [0:14] %
t02. [0:10] Ain't That Lovin' You [8:06] [0:07]
t03. band introductions (1, 2) [2:07]
t04. The Mohican And The Great Spirit [12:06] [0:02] %
t05. (3) [1:08] Lovely Night For Dancing [10:42] (4) [0:26]
t06. [0:45] What You Won't Do For Love [6:55] (5)
t07. [0:15] Nessa [14:59]

! Band: Reconstruction
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, v;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-b;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keys, v;
! lineup: Ed Neumeister - trb;
! lineup: Ron Stallings - ts, v;
! lineup: Gaylord Birch - d.

! R: symbols
! TJS:
! db: shnid-14804 (this fileset);
! map:,+CA+94111&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&hnear=444+Battery+St,+San+Francisco,+California+94111&gl=us&t=h&z=16
! Arnold:
! venue:
! R: source: audience recording > unknown cassette generation (supplied by Cris Benson) > NAK MR-1 w/ balanced lines >  MOT4 828 286/48k > Cakewalk Sonar > Cooledit 2000K (normalization, downsampling) > CD (2) > EAC using plextor 241040A secure mode with c2 > tracking via CDWav > SHN via mkwWACT. Extraction & encoding by Ron Sinko (, upload to etree 1/4/03, shnid-14804. shn2flac by JGMF 11/9/2013.
! R: seeder notes: "All that is known to circulate as of 5/19/02."
! setlist: seeder: "This is perhaps the entire show?" We just can't know.
! setlist: Corry reports from the early show/first set, starting around 10 p.m., that "the group played about an hour long set of 7 songs. Ron Stallings sang at least two, including "Telling My Friends," Merl sang "Do I Move You," there were a couple of instrumentals (one of which sounded like the Doobie Brothers "Long Train Running") and Jerry sang two songs. Garcia sang about the 3rd and 6th numbers, neither the first nor last song. He was very much framing himself as just another band member. Much to my surprise, Garcia took the lead on "When The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" and "Struggling Man." This has circulated as set I, but I now believe it's set II. This is based on 1) different setlist than Corry recalls, and 2) the waitress making last call rounds (t03). I am sure downtown SF they could run past 2 musically, so long as they weren't serving more drinks. So, this one goes late.
! setlist: Corry's post explains very clearly how these shows were ticketed/structured. On a night like 5/19/79, when the place was only half-full, there would not have been separately-ticketed/-admitted shows, per se. If you arrived early, paid cover charge and bought two drinks, you could just stay inside for the late show, for the price of two more drinks. They would have turned the room over if there had been a big crowd. So, as a matter of fact, this was basically a two-set show.
! R: very nice aud
! t03 (1) Ron Stallings: "Jerry Garcia on the guitar. On guitar, Jerry Garcia. Our guitar player, Jerry Garcia" Crowd getting louder and louder, cheering more each time. Crowd member: "Hey, who's on the saxophone?" Another: "Take it, Merl!" They ask again: "Who's on the saxophone?" Stallings: "That's a very good question." Someone in the back: "Who's on guitar?" Stallings: "Guitar? Jerry Garcia." Crowd: "Who? Who?" Stallings: "Gaylord Birch on drums. That's our drummer, Gaylord Birch. Our drummer Gaylord Birch." Chick: "Who's on drums?" Another crowd member: "Who's on bass?" Stallings: "John Kahn on bass. Our bass player, John Kahn." Some random crowd member, very near the mic, says "Santa Barbara is waiting!" (I have no idea what he is talking about, but it sounds like we should check the Santa Barbara papers for Reconstruction listings.)
! t03 (2) @ 1:41 waitress going around saying "last call".
! song: "Mohican And The Great Spirit" (t04): Ed Neumeister original.
! t05 (3) "Is anybody out there?" schtick, but I don't hear him say, as he usually did, "Well, hello, Anybody."
! t05 (4) Stallings: "Merl Saunders. Merl Saunders. On the organ, Merl Saunders!"
! t06 (5) Stallings: "On trombone, Ed Neumeister." Chick: "Who's on trombone?" Stallings: "Oh, our trombonist, Ed Neumeister. Just got back from Hawaii, Ed Neumeister on trombone." (Ed, like the picture, wearing a Hawaiian shirt?)
! P: t07 longish bass-led interlude, drums come back 12:45, song proper returns 14:09.

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