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Friday, April 11, 2014

Jersey Shore, Jerry and Scher (VN jg1977-07-09.jgb.early)

In July 1977, the Jerry Garcia Band went out east for a few big paydays playing for John Scher in Hempstead, NY and two shows on the Jersey Shore, at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park. I have reported on the first night (7/8) and on the 7/9 late show from an audience tape.  Lots of interesting stuff here – the Garcia-Scher partnership (a Don Law-promoted show up Cape Cod was scheduled for the 10th, but canceled for reasons unknown to me), money, hooliganism (between shows on the second night) and some interesting performances ("Tough Mama", from Dylan's Planet Waves, shows up the first night in the middle of a seven-year absence, and the late show second night ends with the only known JGB performance of "Not Fade Away").

Here's how it might have looked financially for the night of the 9th:

As noted, a big payday all around, about $200,000 in 2013 dollars.

Now, into the world drops video of many John Scher promoted Garcia Band shows, including material from both 7/9/77 shows. I have now viewed the early show video, and it's nothing short of amazing. Stunning. Unbelievable. I can't believe I get to watch this. My deepest gratitude goes out to all those who have made it possible for this stuff to be seen. Wow.

See my viewing notes below. A few tiny points. First, neither Donna Jean Godchaux nor Maria Muldaur is present. Second, John Scher says at the end that folks can use their ticket stubs to go see the Grateful Dead Movie. This makes me think that there is some cross-promotion happening between the Garcia Band gigs and The Movie. No big deal, but interesting. (update: of course, John Scher's business partnership with the Dead included a chunk of change around The Movie, specifically the distribution. So these Garcia Band shows and The GD Movie are bound together in some pretty essential ways, it seems to me.) We know that fucker was a monkey on Garcia's back – maybe the band and John Scher and all the rest of them are celebrating together their shared midsummer fortune with a payday, some partying, some music. I wonder where John Belushi was this night?

Jerry Garcia Band
1300 Ocean Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

July 9, 1977 (Saturday) – Early Show 7 PM
partial (41:34) B&W video

--end early show + encore--
[0:04] Sitting Here In Limbo :05-12:29 -15:49
Mystery Train 15:50-27:19 (1) -30:09
tuning 30:10-31:59
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) 32:00-40:36 –(2) 41:34 %

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band
! lineup: Jerry Garcia – el-g, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn – el-b;
! lineup: Keith Godchaux – piano;
! lineup: Ron Tutt – drums.

! 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: (Mattson early and late shows shnf); (Mattson early and late shows flac1644).
! band: JGB #xxx. Notice that neither Donna Jean Godchaux nor Maria Muldaur is present.
! historical: when this show ended, around 10:30 p.m., police started arresting visibly intoxicated people along the Boardwalk, a couple dozen in all (“Arrests Follow 2 Rock Concerts”).
! R: Both the audio and video quality of this recording are quite stunning. The video is a black and white multicam from the Monarch Entertainment screen feeds. They had this pretty locked in. The lighting is good. This is not a heavily generated copy. Tracking is clean. Pro quality. Some static late 36 minute mark.
! P: SHIL botches the first lyrics, and his voice is already betraying him. And this is the early show? Gonna be a slog vocally for awhile, I predict. Garcia looks skinny in the arms, heavy lidded, bouncing 2:25 to get himself warmed up. Tutt hitting the shit out of it. Keith short sleeves and mid-tint shades. 4:08 Jerry is really warming up already, a beautiful run @ 4:20, I was totally wrong. He is still futzing with his gear, but his guitar voice is fluid and expressive. John is beautifully mixed and he sounds good. Tutt visibly deeply in the groove 5:36. @ 5:50 ish Jerry is playing to Keith, looking over to him as he plays percussively and a little rough, asking him to soften it up. Keith is staring lost down at the ground to 3 o’clock, but he hears Jerry and starts with some more melodious stuff, warming up to a feature in the second half of 6-minute mark that is very nice. Around 7:30 Jerry is comping melodiously behind, almost like his “Day By Day” feel. Keith still getting warmed up, but this is pretty good. @ 8:45 Garcia is beautifully filmed, looking very much like Ed Perlstein’s blue snap of Garcia from ?2/22/76? on the cover of Don’t Let Go, frizzy haloed hair. Keith is noodling something, maybe Epistrophy, something jazzy, e.g., 14:15. Fascinating. Kahn is doing some ditty now late 14 over 15. Not just scales, I don’t think, but maybe. Can hear the stage talk 15:45 ish.
! MT @ 18:22 see Harry Popick dancing in the background. Garcia isn’t real secure on the vocals, so he steps back like he means to stay back for awhile late in the 18 minute mark. Not in a hurry, clearly warming himself up. Tutt is a metronome, lots of high-hat, e.g., 19:30ish. 23-24 Jerry picks up his pace a little, gets John’s attention. Things had been a little sluggish, they are a little peppier now. Nice shot of the white Travis Bean 24:30ish. He’s smiling a little now, strumming, John is roostering, getting real close to Jerry, signals a little thing to him around 25 turn. Jerry now down reel close on the neck, comes back confidently 25:51 because he strums his way to the mic. Kahn swings around behind him? Jerry sings the station master part with such gusto that he knocks his glasses down the end of his nose, big dig 25:35. Big dig.
! @ 27:35 (1) It looks like they are going to stay on for another song, no-one’s leaving, then Jerry leans over, whispers something, in John’s ear, and steps to the mic, pulling off his guitar: “Thanks a lot, we’ll see ya later.” That is odd that he waited 15 seconds to call it. It’s possible that Scher told them to shut it down, Big Steve relayed it to Jerry, and so they are shutting it down. But maybe it was Jerry saying “Hey John, let’s go get high, we’ll do a last one as an encore.” Or, perhaps he knows that later they plan to drop the half-hour singleton “Not Fade Away”, he knows they’ll need the time, and so he’s just planning responsibly. These and many other inferences are observationally equivalent. Maybe it’s everything at once. Sometimes it is. Tutt returns @ 30:10. This was one of those perfunctory encore calls, band and audience both knew they were coming back. 30:55 Kahn is playing a classical tune I should know, Fur Mathilde or something like that.
! P: HSII Jerry is very bouncy, obviously found some energy during the three minutes he was off stage. Note there are harmony vocals. If my analysis of the 4/2/76 early show video is correct, that would be Tutt on high harmonies, since Keith sings baritone parts. Jerry enthusiastic, rocking and looking back at Tutt, affirming his harmonies, some strong chords 37 minute mark. Nice closeup of some nice guitar soloing around 38:40. Back to “open my eyes at night”. Late Keith joins in on vocals, so all three are singing.
! @ 41:20 (2) John Scher: “Thank you very much, and good night. Those of you that want to be reminded, with you ticket stubs you can go see the Dead Movie for a half a buck less. Again: thanks, and good night. We’ll see you next time.” Wow. That little piece explains this mini-tour to me: It was about the GD Movie!

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