There are lots of ways to interpret this performance. One reasonable way
would be to say that this is just about the nadir of Garcia's
performing career (perhaps 8/26/84), a professional embarrassment
shocking only because playing at least competently for a paying audience
formed perhaps the only real commitment in his life, a tangle of opiate
gauze. But one could just as reasonably say "it's not that bad, given
how much Persian he was doing."
I feel comfortable with
two evaluative statements. First, the vocals are horrifically bad.
Second, the guitar work is much better than the vocal work, and is
occasionally great. With more room, I'd elaborate each in turn. I'd also entertain a "compensation hypothesis", whereby when is vocals are really spectacularly, obviously, let's-just-get-this-out-in-the-open horrible, he tries to give the patrons their money's worth by tearing it up, in magnesium bursts, on the git-tar.
Jerry Garcia Band
San Francisco, CA 94133
August 24, 1984 (Friday)
45 min s1 aud GEMS shnid-124940
--set I (5 tracks, 45:03)--
s1t01. Cats Under The Stars [7:53] [0:05] %
s1t02. Knockin' On Heaven's Door [12:03]
s1t03. [0:08] Get Out Of My Life Woman [10:14] %
s1t04. ... Let It Rock [#6:41] ->
s1t05. Deal [7:50] (1) [0:08]
! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band #21b
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - el-b;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - organ;
! lineup: David Kemper - drums;
! lineup: Jaclyn LaBranch - vocals;
! lineup: Gloria Jones - vocals.
! 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: http://thejerrysite.com/shows/show/1765
! db: http://db.etree.org/shn/124940 (this tape)
! map: http://goo.gl/maps/L0BBt
! band: http://lostlivedead.blogspot.com/2012/01/jerry-garcia-band-personnel-1975-1995.html. #21b: THE Jerry Garcia Band.
! P: There are lots of ways to interpret this performance. One reasonable way would be to say that this is just about the nadir of Garcia's performing career (perhaps 8/26/84), a professional embarrassment shocking only because playing at least competently for a paying audience formed perhaps the only real commitment in his life, a tangle of opiate gauze. But one could just as reasonably say "it's not that bad, given how much Persian he was doing." Croz comparison. I feel comfortable with two evaluative statements. First, the vocals are horrifically bad. Second, the guitar work is much better than the vocal work, and is occasionally great. With more room, I'd elaborate each in turn.
! R: audience tape > ? > CD x > Harry Angus CD > jjoops CD > GEMS flac1644.
! R: "a Project **GEMS** Jamie Waddell
! R: "from the Jjoops Tupperware"
! R: "exact lineage unconfirmed"
! R: 1st source in circulation for this date
! R: taper pauses very abruptly at start and end of tunes, crossfades applied after tracks 1, 2 and 3
! R: seeder: "hope to see these and other masters surface for this show"
! R: seeder: "seeded on July 4, 2013 to Lossless Legs"
! R: first part of set II exists from this source, but it is garbled and not really worth hearing. Per the seeder: "Partial battery/deck failure/bad tape storage/smitten by audio gods: Harder They Come, Sugaree > Don't Let Go/".
! P: s1t01 CUTS: Jerry is a wreck. This is very near the bottom. But his very down and dirty instrumentation about 5-min mark suggests that he can still play a little bit of guitar, even if he can't sing. Vocal chords and lots and lots and lots of blow are not a good mix.
! P: s1t02 KOHD: again, Jerry is wrecked, but this tempo is not bad, may even lean a little peppy. I anticipate a short set where he runs out of gas at the end, but maybe I am being too cynical. So far so good. Over the 9-minute mark, Jerry evinces true world-weariness, the kind that makes you think he's chosen the song for its truth. His voice is brutal, he is struggling to finish his sentences, but, on the other hand, he's giving it his all, including a little yell at 10:40 that the crowd enjoys, followed by some nice reggae runs.
! P: s1t03 GOOMLW the vox are, again, very bad. @ 6:41 some good raunchy guitar work. But I think the whole thing kind of runs out of gas.
! song: GOOMLW (s1t03): first played 7/28/84, played pretty much every show from then until 8/24. http://thejerrysite.com/songs/show/973
! P: s1t04 LIR Garcia sounds horrific. Great fanning @ 3:40 ff, some very aggressive and articulate playing. Leaning in, sweating like a pig, I am sure. Listen to the little thing @ 4:35, just a quick little circle, a third time around from 4:50, very silvery-hairy tonality.
! R: s1t05 Deal some little clip around 1:20.
! P: s1t05 Deal Jerry sounds absolutely terrible. Terrible. And I don't find that the guitar work compensates.
! s1t05 (1) "We're gonna take a break for a little while, we'll be back in a little bit."