Saturday, January 30, 2016

Alex Bennett interviews the Dead, September 16, 1970

Bennett, Alex, “Alex Bennett with the Grateful Dead. Interview broadcast on WMCA in New York City in 1970 [radio broadcast],” Grateful Dead Archive Online, accessed August 2, 2015,

Nothing here is verbatim, but hopefully this can provide some markers if anyone else wants to go check this out.

A few things of interest.

First, the date is 9/16/70, just before the Fillmore East "An Evening With the Grateful Dead" run.

Second, this is the day they flew on the plane with Huey Newton.

Third, I love that Bob Weir was reading the Times.

Fourth, with Paul's passing I'd like to go back and see what they said about Kantner.

Fifth, some time-stamping on American Beauty, which is just being finished. I think we knew that, but anyway.

Sixth, note they say they are going to go out and jam somewhere this night. I wonder?

Seventh, already talking about playing the base of the Great Pyramids. Badass.

Sketchy notes follow.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Bill Cooper Interviews Jerry Garcia, May 1982

Here's a nice companion piece that really resonates with "Bob Coburn Interviews Jerry Garcia, November 8, 1982".

My notes/transcriptions are little sketchy, but here's what jumps out to me.

On Run for the Roses, with some anti-marketing:

I’ve been working on it for quite a long time. I’ve had to squeeze it in amongst and between lots of other projects. It’s been the project with the least [sic] priority of the things I’ve been working on, so I strung out the actual work on it over three years, which creates certain problems.” Does some work, comes back six months later, and thinks critically “I would just as soon do all of this over.” This project is one of those things that’s so far from what I originally started …
Select tunes, discarded them, I haven’t been working on it steadily. I’ve been working on it in an extremely fragmentary fashion. But it’s interesting for that, too. It hasn’t worked to the disadvantage of the music. On some levels it’s nice to be able to have the luxury to deal with something over a long period of time because your sense of perspective sometimes improves … So the record is pretty nice. … Because the tracks all come from different times and places … well, actually, they’re all from the same place, pretty much, but … that adds a certain textural variety to it which is, I think, OK. It has quite a range, from things that have an acoustic flavor, to … I have one thing that’s got a big massive horn piece, a big section of highly arranged sort of things. It has a lot of range as far as emotional content as well. To me that’s a nice quality for an album to have.
 On John Kahn: "All of the things that you hear of that are called the Jerry Garcia Band are, in reality, the John Kahn and Jerry Garcia Band” … simpatico, “with just enough difference to make it interesting”. That first line echoes something that Corry has said repeatedly - well done!

More on anti-marketing: "I’ll be coming east, and I’ll be promoting the album more or less incidentally, but not … I don’t really do the straight show biz formula, where you put out a record and then do a promotional tour"

Because of the priority of the GD over JG: "my solo career is not my primary thing. The GD is really the thing that I’m primarily involved in. My solo career is kind of like, it has to get what it can get. So, when time and space allow the opportunity, then I go out with whatever’s comfortable."

On the acoustic shows of the period:

I’ll also be doin’ some things that are solo concerts, just me and my friend John Kahn. 0550 I did a couple of them recently on the east coast, one at the Capitol Theatre and one at … [can’t remember the Beacon] the format was that the one at the Capital played all by myself, just me and my acoustic guitar. That’s a little too stark for me. I like the thing of having one other musician, at least. The bass gives me a little bit more room. But I had such a good time, and it’s something I’ve done very little. I’ve never really been a solo performer before. 0640 It’s something that’s exciting for me, and it’s challenging, and it’s also a chance to play around with acoustic guitar, which I’ve been doing at home a lot, but it hasn’t been my primary ... 0655 It’s really quite different from electric guitar, and so this is a chance to push off in that direction

Interesting contrast with how he'd feel about the GD nine years later: The Dead “hasn’t really affected my life in any negative way, to tell you the truth. It’s been really … It doesn’t impinge. I don’t feel in any way fettered or anything." 0955

Why? “Playing is my life. That’s what I want to do. If anything, I would play more. … It’s what I love to do. Personally, I can’t get enough of it.”

Listening notes, with other interesting tidbits, below the fold.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

California Earthquake

Garcia was endeavoring to bring Rodney Crowell's contemporary "California Earthquake" to the Dead just a little bit before the Loma Prieta quake struck. That is really weird.

! ref: Morse, Steve. 1989. Man with a Mission: Garcia is Back from the Dead, Back with the Dead. Boston Globe, October 29, B1.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Great American String Band - May 5, 1974, Keystone, Berkeley

Sunday, May 5, 1974 found Garcia at the Keystone (typical), but in the background, picking some banjo in the Great American String Band behind its featured front line of Richard Greene (fiddle), David Grisman (mandolin), and David Nichtern (guitar and vocals).

Rather remarkably, we know a fair bit of very interesting stuff about this gig, despite the fact that there is no tape in circulation.

First, the band was billed as Great American String Band (GASB), which wasn't always the case - it sometimes traveled as Great American Music Band (GAMB), and it doesn't appear that things were particularly consistent in that regard. This testifies to the rather fluid nature of the enterprise, always of interest in the Garciaverse, which would become increasingly institutionalized as time went on. Garcia is listed first, natch - capitalists gotta capitalize - but that's pretty standard.

Second, an anonymous commenter at Hooterollin' reports special guest appearances, including, a week after Old And In The Way's abortive swan song --"no sweeping exits"-- at the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival, the last known stage shared by Garcia and the great Peter Rowan:
I saw Great American String Band show at the Keystone on May 5, 1974 and can attest to the fact that Peter Rowan and Jack Bonus were brought out for two songs - Midnight Moonlight and Hobo Song and the show was recorded professionally for what folks at the gig were hearing would be a future album.
Third, as the commenter said, the gig was being recorded for release, one presumes on Round Records, the "side band" companion company to Grateful Dead Records. While the Dead outfit had been up and running since the previous autumn, Round was incorporated 1/22/74. A review of this show that I have just discovered (Silver 1974) confirms that Bear (Augustus Owsley Stanley III) was recording the show with a female assistant, I presume the same Vickie Babcock who helped him record Old And In The Way the previous October.

Fourth, between the Hooterollin' commenter and Sam Silver's review, we can also reconstruct some of the setlist. The show started around 11 pm with what the reviewer called "Dog's Bone", which I assume was "Dawg's Bull", a Grisman original. They played "Bud's Bounce" ("mistakenly credited to Buddy Emmonds, really belongs to Buddy Spiker"), "Midnight at the Oasis", at least one Carter Family tune, and Django Reinhardt's "Swing '42" (about which Silver raves). Anonymous commenter adds "Midnight Moonlight" and "Hobo Song" to the mix.

update: Anonymous, in comments, adds the David Nichtern compositions "I'll Be A Gambler If You Deal the Cards" and "My Plastic Banana Is Not Stupid" to this night's setlist, and that "there was another Grisman song or two"

Fifth, Silver took and the Barb published a picture of the GASB in action, one of only two of which I am aware (the other from 5/25/74 in Santa Barbara - h/t Bob Murphy).
Sam Silver's photo of the Great American String Band, live at Keystone Berkeley, May 5, 1974. Published in the Berkeley Barb, May 10-16, 1974, p. 17.

Silver is over the moon about the band, with "the best of all possible pickers for the unique job of creating a new music". The review is well worth a read, really capturing the vibe of a show where Garcia is the draw but the other players are the virtuosi, and the audience seemed ready to rock but proved able to appreciate acoustic brilliance.

All of this raises a few essential questions. Are these tapes in possession of the Owsley Stanley Foundation? If so, who can spare whatever it would take to sponsor their preservation? Why didn't the GASB record ever materialize? Most importantly, given the amazing musical direction the band was taking - it was an early germ of Dawg Music, Grisman's brilliantly distinctive alchemical blend of dozens of traditional musical forms - why didn't the String Band last as a Garcia proposition, but morph into the David Grisman Quintet (DGQ)?

! listing: Oakland Tribune, May 3, 1974, p. 30;
! listing: Hayward Daily Review, May 3, 1974, p. 44;
! listing: Oakland Tribune, May 5, 1974, p. 2-R;
! ad: Oakland Tribune, May 5, 1974, p. 2-R;
! Ref:;
! review: Silver, Sam. 1974. Waiting for Jerry Garcia. Berkeley Barb, May 10-16, 17, via Independent Voices.

Jerry and Merl in the studio, 1975

Found this item in the LA Free Press (June 27 - July 3, 1975, p. 14): "Danny [sic] Selwell [sic] has been buzzing 'round the studio scene, putting time in with Art Garfunkle [sic], Steve Marriott ... Jerry Garcia and Merle [sic] Saunders".

Having found nothing on Danny "Selwell", I wrote
So interesting. Jerry and Merl working in the studio, right around the time (like, within a week or two) that GD Records and Round Records call it a day and join up with United Artists, right around the time (like, within a week or two) that Legion of Mary calls it a day. Curioser and curioser.
But Corry points out in comments that this probably refers to the Keith and Donna Godchaux record, to which Denny Seiwell indeed contributed.

Walkin' One and Only: JGMS backing Maria Muldaur, BCT, October 12, 1974

updated with newly-unearthed Phillip Elwood review

Well, well, well ... just found a review of a Maria Muldaur show at BCT on Saturday, October 12, 1974 in the Berkeley Barb (Wikarska 1974). Maria worked with three bands this night.

1) David Nichtern (I presume "and the Nocturnes"): Nichtern, Hank DeVito on steel, Larry Jones on bass, and Claude Pepper on drums. Nicolette Larson sang some.

2) Great American Music Band: Maria sang and played violin with the main band of Richard Greene (fiddle), David Grisman (mandolin), Ellen Kearney (rhythm guitar, vocals), John Carlini (guitar) and Joe Carroll. Martin Fierro sat in for a number with the GAMB!

3) Maria's band: Merle [sic] Saunders, Paul Humphrey, John Kahn, Jerry Garcia, Martin Fierro.

Beyond being new to The List, this is the earliest second-earliest confirmed Garcia-Humphrey shared stage event, supplanting the next night at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. Update: I now have confirmation that Humphrey drummed on 10/11/74 at the Chateau LibertéElwood's review provides the following songs from the JGMS set: "Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You," "Lover Man," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Harder They Come," "Sitting In Limbo," and Dan Hicks's "Walkin' One And Only".

JGMS serving as Maria's backing band certainly tickles the imagination.

! review: Elwood, Phillip. 19741014. Goodtime Maria in a mellow mood. San Francisco Examiner, October 14, 1974, p. 23.

! review: Wikarska, Carol. 1974. Maria Muldaur's Body Song. Berkeley Barb, October 18-24, 14.

! seealso: JGMF, "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You?", URL

Friday, January 08, 2016

Reading Notes: Goodman 1989

Goodman, Fred. 1989. Jerry Garcia: The Rolling Stone Interview. Rolling Stone no. 566 (November 30, 1989): 66-68, 73-74, 118

Garcia says he has “vacillated furiously” over the years as to whether he wanted to stay with the Dead or not (Goodman 1989, 68).

“The most cogent example of how my life is changing is that when the GD wasn’t working, I used to go play in bars. Low profile, not many people were interested. Now this has escalated along with everything else. And the stress level has skyrocketed” (Goodman 1989, 68). JGMF: This is one way of understanding the arc of Garcia’s solo career. Garcia had the Midas Touch, and when even his bar band started playing Madison Square Garden (11/15/91), the bullshit quotient is moving into the red. That said, I am coming around to the idea that maybe it wasn't as bad as all that, that it remained a refuge until the end.

Here he advocates drug legalization. “Accept the reality that people do want to change their consciousness, and make an effort to make safer, healthier drugs. When you take the greed out of it, all of the damage starts to fall away” (Goodman 1989, 68)

Says of JA “they’re all so amazingly argumentative”, notes that “sometimes it’s the chemistry that makes you fight and that makes the music good” (Goodman 1989, 68). Could be said about the GD.

“I can call up Kantner any time. And certainly Grace [Slick] was very helpful when I was going through my drug trips” (Goodman 1989, 68). Also mentions how much he loves Pete Townshend.

“What the Acid Test really was was formlessness. It’s like the study of chaos. It may be that you have to destroy forms or ignore them in order to see other levels of organization” (Goodman 1989, 73).

#politics Garcia didn’t vote. “choosing for the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil” (Goodman 1989, 73).

Visual art: “I think of notes as objects that have perspective. They have the front part of them and the back part of them, the attack and the release. To me, it’s very visual. If I had the time, I would illustrate all my solos. I could do it – I have seen them that way (Goodman 1989, 74).

“The members of the GD really have a complex relationship. At this point it’s gone beyond even blood. The GD has been the most intimate kind of relationship I’ve ever experienced” (Goodman 1989, 74).

“I spent a good long time trying a drug world that was pretty closed” (Goodman 1989, 74).

Q: why did that happen? “It’s just wear and tear more than anything else. It’s kind of like I needed a rest. … I stopped because I care more about the GD than I do about myself, ultimately” (Goodman 1989, 74).

"The Grateful Dead has become the focus of all of our lives, even though we have families and children. The GD - that's the center" (Garcia ca. October 1989, in Goodman 1989, 74).

Why did you end up with such a bad drug problem? “Self-indulgence, pretty much. I mean, I liked it too much, and the more you like it, the more it likes you, and pretty soon that’s just about all there is. I’m glad I’m not involved in it anymore. … But I haven’t come to any conclusions about drugs at all on any level. I don’t think I’ve gained any particular insights, but I do know that I’ve always basically been an addictive personality. That’s just who I am. And so, for me, it’s one of those things I always have to watch out for” (Goodman 1989, 74).

Good discussion of Neal Cassady over pp. 74, 118. “He blew my mind hundreds and thousands of times” (Goodman 1989, 118).

About the kids coming to shows: “Grateful Dead stories are their drug stories, or war stories. It’s an adventure you can still have in America, just like Neal on the road. You can’t hop the freights anymore, but you can chase the Grateful Dead around. You can have all your tires blow out in some weird town in the Midwest, and you can get hell from strangers. You can have something that lasts throughout your life as adventures, the times you took chances. I think that’s essential in anybody’s life, and it’s harder and harder to do in America. If we’re providing some margin of that possibility, then that’s great. That’s a nice thing to do” (Goodman 1989, 74).

Reading Notes: Henke 1991

I wasn't paying attention at the time, but my sense is that these September 1991 interviews (I think there might have been some separate remarks in the Boston Globe) caused a good deal of consternation in Deadlandia - and why not? The golden-egg-laying-goose sounds like he'd love to leave the reservation at this point.

Lots of good stuff here.

Henke, James. 1991. The Rolling Stone Interview: Jerry Garcia. Rolling Stone, October 31, 34-40, 103, 106, 108.

Two September 1991 afternoons, hotel room overlooking Central Park.

July 1991 was release of JG DG, August 1991 was release of double live JGB. Meantime, JGB was a stone-cold junkie, waiting in line for methadone like everyone else.

“solo jaunts are often more entertaining than his work with the Dead, and one gets the feeling that if he felt he could easily extricate himself from the Dead and his attendant responsibilities, he might just do it. Still, when pressed, Garcia claimed the Dead take precedence. … We’ve all put so much of our lives into it by now that it’s too late to do anything drastic” (Henke 1991, 37).

Two separate interview sessions September 1991 NYC. In a family way with Manasha and Keelin.

“recent” meeting in which Garcia told the other band members that he wasn’t having fun anymore, that he wasn’t enjoying playing with the Dead. Garcia confirms this. “The band is the board of directors, and we have regular meetings with our lawyers and our accountants. And we’ve got it done to where it only takes about three or four hours, about every three weeks. But anyway, the last couple of times, I’ve been there screaming ‘Hey, you guys!’ Because there are times when you go onstage and it’s just plain hard to do, and you start to wonder, ‘Well, why the fuck are we doing this if it’s so hard?’

We’ve been running on inertia for quite a long time. I mean, insofar as we have a huge overhead, and we have a lot of people that we’re responsible for, who work for us and so forth, we’re reluctant to do anything [38] to disturb that. We don’t want to take people’s livelihoods away. But it’s us out there, you know. And in order to keep doing it, it has to be fun” (Henke 1991, 37-38).

we’re … going to have to construct new enthusiasm for ourselves, because we’re getting a little burned out. We’re a little crisp around the edges” (Henke 1991, 38).

They are trying to work up to taking a long break, a la 1974, “aiming for six months off the road” (Henke 1991, 38).

p. 38 Gar talks about how he dislikes trying to write songs. “It’s like pulling teeth.”

They saw Brent’s death coming. “About six or eight months earlier, he OD’d and had to go to the hospital, and they just saved his ass. … I think there was a situation coming up where he was going to have to go to jail. He was going to have to spend like three weeks in jail, for driving under the influence or one of those things, and it’s like he was willing to die just to avoid that. Brent was not a real happy person. And he wasn’t like a total drug person. He was the kind of guy that went out [39] occasionally and binged. And that’s probably what killed him” (Henke 1991, 38-39).

Getting older, people dying. Rick Griffin just died. “[F]or me at this point, I’m just happy if someone dies with a minimum of pain and horror” (Henke 1991, 39).

“I’m not a religious person” (Henke 1991, 39).

The Grateful Dead is not where you’re going to find comfort. In fact, if anything, you’ll catch a lot of shit. And if you don’t get it from the band, you’ll get it from the roadies. They’re merciless. They’ll just gnaw you like a dog. They’ll tear your flesh off. They can be extremely painful” (Henke 1991, 39). Note that one word from Garcia could have put a stop to that, but he didn’t roll that way.

“Brent had a deeply self-destructive [40] streak.” (Henke 1991, 39-40). Talks about Brent lacking in culture.

“My life would be miserable if I didn’t have those little chunks of Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot” (Henke 1991, 40).

#drugs “I’ve been round and round with the drug thing. People are always wanting me to take a stand on drugs, and I can’t. To me, it’s so relativistic, and it’s also very personal. A person’s relationship to drugs is like their relationship to sex. … For me, in my life, all kinds of drugs have been useful to me, and they have also definitely been a hindrance to me. So, as far as I’m concerned, the results are not in. Psychedelics showed me a whole other universe, hundreds and millions of universes. So that was an incredibly positive experience” (Henke 1991, 40).

Still dabble with mushrooms: “It’s one of those things where every once in a while you want to blow out the pipes. For me, I just like to know they’re available, just because I don’t think there’s anything else in life apart from a near-death experience that shows you how extensive the mind is” (Henke 1991, 40).

“as far as the drugs that are dead-enders, like cocaine and heroin and so forth, if you could figure out how to do them without being strung out on them, or without having them completely dominate your personality … I mean, if drugs are making your decisions for you, they’re no fucking good. I can say that unequivocally. If you’re far enough into whatever your drug of choice is, then you are a slave to the drug, and the drug isn’t doing you any good” (Henke 1991, 40).

“I’m an addictive-personality kind of person. … with drugs, the danger is that they run you. Your soul isn’t your own. That’s the drug problem on a personal level” (Henke 1991, 40).

Says he was doing H on and off for 8 years.

Hard to quit H, but real problem now is smokes, that last thing left. “My friends won’t let me take drugs anymore, and I don’t want to scare people anymore. Plus, I definitely have no interest in being an addict” (Henke 1991, 40).

“I still have that desire to change my consciousness, and in the last four years I’ve gotten real seriously into scuba diving.” Also gives him some physical exertion (Henke 1991, 40).

With Keelin “I have a little more time to actually be a father. My other daughters have all been very good to me, insofar as they've never blamed me for my absentee parenting. And it was tough for them, really, because during the sixties and seventies, I was gone all the time. But they've all grown up to be pretty decent people, and they still like me. We still talk. But I never did get to spend a lot of time with them." (Henke 1991, 40).

Garcia got together with Heather (daughter of Jerry and Sara Katz) for 18 or 19 years at one point (Henke 1991, 103).

At this point, JG and MG are in the process of getting divorced. “She’s real glad to get rid of me. We had a great time, a nice life together, but we went past it. … We haven’t really lived together since the 70s” (Henke 1991, 103).

Joe died when Gar was 5. Joe played clarinet and other woodwinds, in a big ol 40 piece jazz orchestra. “My father’s sister says he was in a movie, some early talkie.” (Henke 1991, 103).

“I remember him playing me to sleep at night. I just barely remember the sound of it” (Henke 1991, 103).

Jerry watched Joe go under and drown. “It was horrible. I was just a little kid, and I didn’t really understand what was going on, but then, of course, my life changed. “ (Henke 1991, 103).

Ruth was an RN, but after Joe died she took over his bar. “He had this little bar right next door to the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific, the merchant marine’s union, right at First and Harrison, in San Francisco. It was a daytime bar, a working guy’s bar, so I grew up with all these guys who were sailors. They went out and sailed to the Far East and the Persian Gulf, the Philippines and all that, and they would come and hang out in the bar all day long and talk to me when I was a kid. It was great fun for me. I mean, that’s my background. I grew up in a bar. And that was back in the days when the Orient was still the Orient, and it hadn’t been completely Americanized yet. They’d bring back all these weird things. Like one guy had the world’s largest collection of [106] photographs of square riggers” (Henke 1991, 103, 106).

His third grade teacher Miss Simon hipped him to the possibility of being a creative type. “’You mean you can spend all day painting pictures? Wow! What a great piece of news’.” (Henke 1991, 106).

Dwight Johnson was another teacher, “he’s the guy that turned me into a freak” (Henke 1991, 106). He was a motor cycle guy, 7th grade teacher.

Talks about liking Dylan songs: “they speak to me emotionally on some level. Sometimes, I don’t even know why. Like that song, Señor. There’s something creepy about that song, but it’s very satisfying in a weird sort of way” (Henke 1991, 106). “This is talking about a kind of desperation that everybody experiences” (Henke 1991, 108). Songs-S

More fun outside the Dead. “that’s always dangling in front of me, the thing of, well, shit, if I was on my own, God, I could … “ (Henke 1991, 108).

Bruce, Branford, Rob Wasserman and I have talked about putting something together. I had this notion of putting together a band that had no material, that just got onstage and blew. And maybe one of these days we’ll make that happen” (Henke 1991, 108). Him saying this is the verbal equivalent of gazing forlornly out Grisman's picture window.

Garcia listens to Django, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, Coltrane. “Michael Hedges is great. And my personal favorite lately is this guy Frank Gambale, who’s been playing with Chick Corea for the past couple of years” (Henke 1991, 108).

“Living Colour is a great band … Jane’s Addiction is another band I like” (Henke 1991, 108).

“I feel like I’m a hundred million years old” (Henke 1991, 108).

Why kids keep coming to see the Dead: “There must be a dearth of fun out there in America. Or adventure. Maybe that’s it, maybe we’re just one of the last adventures in America” (Henke 1991, 108).

Thursday, January 07, 2016

San Francisco Sessions

Quick reminder (or introduction, if you are new here) about the work I put in this summer documenting San Francisco Sessions in a way not just limited to (though definitely strongly oriented toward) the Garciaverse:

With more time, I'd be able to do 1971 and maybe even a bit beyond, but it's not gonna happen anytime soon, if ever.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Money Money

Grateful Dead Touring Revenues, 1965-1995, via David Davis's Grateful Seconds blog.

The musical accompaniment is great, even if it prevents me from navigating away. ;-) 

Davis has just provided me with a beautiful gift - an estimate of annual Grateful Dead touring revenue, also with the component data. Wow. While I have posed some questions in comments to his post, this is a great start on what might, from, say, a Braudelian perspective be the time series most essential to understanding the Grateful Dead. 

More prosaically, consider this a general tip o' the cap' to Grateful Seconds, and a strong recommendation that you add it to your RSS feeds (as I have done) and read around over there (as I plan to start doing more).

Heresy Alert

Avert your eyes if you are sensitive to this sort of thing.
Great tapes, but 2/2/80 set I does nothing for me.

Further hypothesis: it exhibits the "Cornell Effect", whereby great sounding tape produces systematic and massive overestimation of performance quality.

UPDATE: In March 2021 I revisited this show, and found it to be "killer". Let that be a lesson to you, readers, that my assessments are not only subjective (lacking reliability) but also inconsistent (lacking validity).

Sunday, January 03, 2016

"Beneficent, Raptured": JGB 4/4/76 Page Auditorium

**update: see Corry, of course.

This show has long been AWOL among collectors, but a nice 1st gen copy of an undetermined master audience tape has just come into the light (shnid-134922). Thanks to Alan Richman and dminches for getting it out there!

I decided to post a little miscellanea, maybe a few notes.

Listing for JGB at Page Auditorium, Duke University, April 4, 1976 (NC Anvil, April 3, 1976, p. 10)

8:30 PM (early) show ticket, via

Listing for JGB 4/4/76, unknown (campus?) paper, p. 3.

The last is the cover of Carolina, April 8, 1976, which includes a great review by Richard McManus of the late show. These shows have a sweet energy that McManus captures nicely. Here are a few of the quotes I like from McManus (my copy is barely legible)
It was minutes before one o'clock on Monday morning when a filtered mist of white and blue light emptied onto the stage, where green monitors and yellow dots of light indicated that the show was tuned up, gassed, and ready to take off. A stubby man, his face shrouded with black, curly hair, straps on his specifically-made Doug Irwin-Alembic guitar, loiters in the electric silence for a moment, then steps into the light as he strums a beautiful introductory chord. The stage lights have found the rest of the band as the anxious crowd [illegible] a roar of anticipation and approval, and suddenly it's Jerry Garcia and Friends, lilting into a sexy 'Sugaree'.
  • He describes Garcia's gaze as "beneficent, raptured". He continues "Garcia has a habit of gathering his enthralled audience within a web of gestures, emotions, spiralling guitar work and plaintive vocals that is nearly impossible to resist". NB gestures? In later years, he'd barely move.
  • McManus loves "Duke's tasty little Page Auditorium, a room whose intimacy is inadvertently masked by the pretense of the surrounding architecture". On the tape, the room does sound good.
  • Donna Jean's "harmonies with Garcia, particularly on Dylan's 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', were sweet, sensual pieces that elevated, reassured, and satisfied", while the band overall generated a "Smooth, smile-inspiring warmth".
You get the idea. We have visuals from a few days earlier (4/2/76a and 4/2/76b - thank you, John Scher!), and though we can mostly only visualize 4/4, it all looks good from where I sit.

The references to "Jerry Garcia and Friends" are strange, given my own frame of reference, which is that the Jerry Garcia Band had been institutionalizing itself quite quickly since it formed a half-year prior to this show, and central to this, present in every contract that I have seen, is consistently "Billing the JGB". The Page Aud gig contract references Jerry Garcia Band on the front, it was a John Scher operation (partnering with the campus events outfit, DUU Attractions). I didn't get to see later pages of the contract, but I have to assume that the boilerplate for "Billing the JGB" was in there - they didn't vary much in any given period. Who knows? Crazy College Kids.

"Jerry Garcia and Friends" got $5k guaranteed, but did not earn the 60% top-up on revenue over $17k. Sunday night, or something.
Table xxx. Final Box Office Report - JGB at Page Auditorium, Duke University, April 4, 1976

Not that anyone but me cares, but let me come clean on Clio here. Note that I use 11:59. We know from McManus that the late show took place early morning of Monday April 5th. so I am not being strictly accurate, here, but I want people to be able to recognize what I am talking about, so convention must trump strict accuracy in this case. Too bad, not sure what the solution can be.

Last point: McManus captures something that I think was very fleeting - a period when sweetness and light really suffused the Garcia Band. It was all that, natch, this being planet Earth. But he really picked up on this, and I don't think he was just being googly-eyed. I think that it was true, sometime very early morning of Monday, April 5th. And that makes me happy. I am reminded of Ed Perlstein's amazing picture on the cover of the Don't Let Go CD release, soft blue light, the reflection off the white Travis Bean guitar, Jerry thin and reasonably groomed and dropping into a vocal or a lick - lovely.

Selected info and listening notes below.

My bottom line is that I *love* the early show and really like the late show - both are above average for the period, IMO, YMMV.

! seealso: