Bootleg Nation: Jerry Garcia Band - Berekely, CA (07/23/77)

Jerry Garcia sans the Grateful Dead still jams like nobody's business.
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jerry garcia band keyston 77

Jerry Garcia Band
07/23/77
Keystone
Berkeley, CA
Download MP3@320kps:  Part I, Part II
Audience Source

Set I
Tuning
Sugaree
Stop That Train
Mystery Train
Simple Twist Of Fate
The Way You Do The Things You Do
Set II
Tuning
They Love Each Other
Sitting In Limbo
Tore Up Over You
My Sisters And Brothers
Stir It Up
Tangled Up In Blue

One of the great things about the Jerry Garcia Band was that it allowed Garcia to play songs that just weren't suited for the Grateful Dead. The Dead played all sorts of genres themselves, but solo Garcia could let his inner rastaman out and play some reggae, dig deep into 1960s soul music, and even reach into his own soul and jam out some old gospel numbers.

He does all of those in this show and throws in a couple of songs by Bob Dylan for extra measure. The show starts with a blazing Grateful Dead original, "Sugaree" which alone is worth of the price of admission (which since this show is free of charge I guess isn't that hard to do, but the song really smokes). It checks in at about 16 minutes in length, but I hardly notice. Lyrically "Sugaree" isn't one of my favorite Dead tunes, but the music has this perfect laid back, mid tempo swagger that allows Jerry to snake and slink around in ways that will shake your synapses into a fiery boogie.

With at least six members the Grateful Dead's sound was deep and full, but here with a slimmed-down lineup -- guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard -- Garcia's lead work takes center stage and it gets pretty mind-blowing.

Check out his solo work in this cover of Sam Phillips "Mystery Train." If that doesn't make you a believer, nothing will. In actuality if you aren't a Deadhead by now, this concert probably isn't going to convert you. Its a damn fine performance, but it does contain a pretty long list of things that generally drive non-believers insane:  long, noodling jams, big breaks between songs while Jerry figures out what to play next, song lengths that are longer than other bands entire albums, etc.

However, for fans this show really highlights the strengths of Garcia and company, and is a great way to see what he was up to sans the rest of Grateful Dead.

If you liked this Jerry Garcia show you might also like these bootlegs:

Bob Dylan and The Band - 01/14/74 (So Many Roads)
Elliott Smith - End Sessions KNDD - 02/22/99 (Jazz Blues and Co)
Pearl Jam - 2003 Tour Covers, Improvs & Rarities, Part I (We Got Sh*t)