Jerry Garcia Band
It was clearly a case of nerd rebellion in high school when I dismissed the ever popular Grateful Dead for bands such as Rush, The Cure, and Violent Femmes. Call me a square peg, but I have never understood the fanatical obsession of the Grateful Dead nor having looked back and wished to have followed them across the country in a beat-up VW bus. I have family who took care of that for me. If only they would stop sitting "Shiva" for Jerry Garcia. The only people worse in my book are those who feel the need to make Jimmy Buffet a guiding light. It was not until Jerry Garcia passed away a few years ago that I lowered my Kevlar for just a brief second and now must confess that I am glad that I did. While no Grateful Dead has yet to find a place on my shelves, I have become quite the fan of the late Mr. Garcia and his brilliant work with David Grisman.
Two days before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon I stood on the edge of the dance floor in the Ballroom of the Drake Hotel (guests of Donahue...) in Chicago, arms wrapped around the shoulders of my wife, awaiting the arrival of my newly married cousins. When the newlyweds entered the room, the lead guitarist began quietly playing the opening chords to one of the strangest first dance songs that I have ever heard at a Jewish wedding.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, please join Jill and Todd and Jerry Garcia on the dance floor," announced the band leader.
The title track to this somewhat hard to find live two-disc set featuring the Jerry Garcia Band drags on almost as long as this review, but why complain when it gets a beautiful woman to wrap her arms around your neck and dance the night away…which is what really good music is all about.
The rest of the recording, which includes covers of Daniel Lanois' "The Maker," Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street," Solomon Burke's "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," and the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend The Night Together" does sound like your typical Grateful Dead show…songs that last about five minutes longer than they should (does it really take that long for the pot to hit?), but it is difficult to find fault with either the song selection or the quality of the recording. The recording is HDCD-encoded and it does make Garcia's guitar sound deliciously smooth, almost as good as the ice cream... just not the fat-free hippie frozen yogurt stuff.
So much for my post-wedding diet...
Sound Quality: 85