09.02.1989 Merriweather Post
11th JGB Performance of 1989
3rd Show of JGB 1989 Fall Tour
After 8.19, 8.26, and 9.1, Jerry was developing his finest
stretch of the year up to this date. 9.2.1989 was the third show of
the Fall 1989 JGB tour.
The show starts with I’ll Take A Melody. The song portion is
sung with a nice swing and enthusiasm. The Jerry led jam is a bit
calm but filled with nice flavor splatters. The finale jam is a bit
sloppy as Jerry stumbles through the peak progression. The Band
sounded good, but perhaps a bit too relaxed.
Next is TLEO. Again, the band and Jerry seem very tight in the
song portion. The Seals solo is nearly on fire, and Jerry sounds
edgier than on the Melody. Indeed, the Jerry solo has a very
distinctive and flavored peak that renders this an exceptional
Jerry follows TLEO with a very sweet and tender version of
Forever Young. The song portion is flawless as the harmonies from
Jackie and Gloria round out the aged sound from Jerry. The solo
soars and pierces the listener. Another great interpretation of
Dylan by Jerry.
That’s What Love Will Make You Do is next and it too soars. The
first jerry jam is complicated and filled with numerous flavorings.
The transition from the jam into “when they speak of beauty” is
flawless and tight. The band sounded very in synch at this point and
was continuing the 8.26 and 9.1 trend. The main jam starts with a
slowly built jerry jam that is mildly paced but filled with flavor.
This eventually switches to a marked increase in pace and overall
lunacy as Jerry began bending his notes nicely and cyclicing in and
out of the high end notes. Finally, Jerry switches to a fanning and
downright all out jam. Next is Seals who also provides a sizzling
solo. Tremendous version of this tune that many thought was only
good in the 70s
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door follows. The song portion swings
between the mournful verses to the reggae chorus. The band still
sounded pretty tight during the song portion. During Jerry’s solo
he meanders in and out of flavored progressions and keeps the song
very interesting. Not stunning but very interesting. The Seals solo
has a very odd sound but it too is well done.
Jerry next provides And It Stoned Me To My Soul. This version is
tight and well sung with Jerry’s aged moaning fitting the lyrics
to a tee. The jam portion is nicely flavored with progression surges
and the vocal finale is very well done with Jerry strongly
emphasizing the “Stoaaaaned me.” Sometimes I think this tune
must have been written about Jerry.
Midnight Moonlight arises directly out of the Stoned Me. This
version contains a pretty tight song portion. The jam from Jerry is
perhaps a bit typical and short. It certainly isn’t aggressive or
edgy. The keyboard solo is also a bit short (for an amazing Midnight
Moonlight, see 7.24.1980 – sandwiched between a stellar Mission In
A very well done first set that was just shy of exceptional as a
whole. This marked the end of 6 exceptional sets for Jerry in a row
(including 8.19.1989, 8.26.1989, and 9.1.1989).
Cats Under The Stars starts the second set. The song portion is
very tight and the jam reaches some tight heights. The jam as a
whole was not as aggressive or filled with flavor as 8.26.1989
version, but it is a bit cleaner. The main jam portion has a series
of licks that progressively build upon each other. Each is filled
with nicely flavored runs from Jerry that keeps the jam bouncy in
feel. The transition back to the song is flawless. A great start to
the second set.
Waiting For A Miracle is next and it rips. Again, as with the
Cats, this version is a bit calmer than the 8.26.1989 version.
Still, the jam portion has some very flavored progressions from
Jerry that are atypical. The song portion is also well done.
Simple Twist of Fate offers Jerry another Dylan interpretation
session. Jerry messes up the first verse, “A saxophone…in the
park, as the evening sky grew dark.” It certainly does not tarnish
the version. This version has some great moments as Jerry deeply
flavored progressions. The first solo from Jerry is slowly tempered
but has some nice quick note dashes from Jerry in a nonchalant
style. The second solo from Jerry is a bit tamer as it served as a
transition to the Kahn solo. The Kahn solo, as usual, is a crowd
pleaser and seems to hit all the right zones. Jerry’s solo after
Kahn’s solo has little repeating dashses that build upon
themselves into very flavored cyclings. This finale solo has a lot
of very complicated runs and shows off how “on” Jerry was for
this show. The song ends with some emphatic “ooooooaaaaaaaahhhh,
blame it on that simple twist of fate”s.
Evangeline is next. The song portion is well done as the band
shows off their ability to spew out rapidly paced lyrics. The jam
portion is typical Garcia – boogie. He hits all the notes with a
nice swagger that reaks of the 1950s.
Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down adds even more color to this
amazing show. The song portion is filled with lump in throat
passion, and the main jam from Jerry is rawly passionate. His note
progressions not only are complicated, but they pierce the song.
Jerry truly was a master at simple chord changes. For example, on
this solo, as the rhythm chords change Jerry creates a trap door
effect, which provides the listener with a tumbling cascade of notes
that drop into the next chord. The feeling is rather ineffable, so
this description is rather poor. Jerry further provides a very
embellished rhythm guitar during the Seals solo. While I actually
don’t lament the loss of Dixie in the least (happy to see them
white crackers get driven down), versions like this make me mourn
that Jerry no longer performs this song.
This show easily gets categorized into the must listen to at
least once every 6 months with the following Don’t Let Go. As with
the previous versions in 1989 (see, e.g., 1.27, 1.28, 5.19, and
6.10.1989) this version sizzles. But, this was to be first of the
Fall 1989 Don’t Let Gos. The song portion is very tight with some
great drum rolls from Kemper. Jerry extends the “don’t let go”
chorus prior to the main jam. He truly sounded as though he was
enjoying the moment. In fact, Jerry does an extended series of vocal
notes that match his guitar notes. The jam starts out with a bluesy
march. It meanders mostly in the middle of his fretboard. This lasts
about 2 minutes and nicely opens up the landscape for deeper
jamming. Eventually, Jerry starts working into layered progressions
that build in intensity. The band notes quickly follows and for a
while a well developed jam erupts. Jerry sounded a bit uncertain
however and instead of peaking with this waves the jam off with a
blast of feedback. Perhaps this was a bit rude for the audience, but
Jerry with an edge is better than most other Jerrys. Next, is a
rapid increase in pace as Jerry starts dashing back and forth with
quick note/chord changes. The band behind him sounded cautious.
After a brief drift, Jerry starts a pursuit that landed him into one
of the finest jams of the year. It started with a quick dashing
progression in the middle of his fretboard that had an exasperated
sound. Quickly this leads to a nasty and ugly fanning of notes. The
sound drops beneath him and leaves the band in a gross location.
Jerry pounces on the opportunity and opens up ugly and distorted
note bends. From this, Jerry starts along with Seals, another
increase in pace that ends up in more feedback. As the feedback
echoes leave the area, instead of returning to the song, Jerry once
again starts an edgy dashing of progressions in opposite directions.
This leads to an incredible and dazzling transition back to Don’t
Let Go. Jerry starts with complicated chord changes that leads to a
massive note fanning that after passionately blazing a hole in the
heart of those listening, starts into a chopping Don’t Let Go
rhythm. Another masterpiece in Jerry’s large cache of historic
moments. The vocal finale is worthwhile as well as Jerry extends the
“don’t let gos” for quite a while before ending the song.
Without the Don’t Let Go, 9.2.1989 was an exceptional show, but
with the Don’t Let Go, it is one of the finest Jerry performances
9.2.1989 marked the fourth show in a row for Jerry that was
exceptional – 8.19.1989 (with the Dead), 8.26, 9.1, and now
9.2.1989. Jerry was playing better and more consistent than at any
time throughout the year up to this date. But perhaps moreso, he
seemed to have more energy and gusto and downright joy than through
the first 8 months of 1989. Exceptions, of course, exist. But, as a
whole, Jerry sounded fantastic at this point in his career. And to
make things even better, he had only performed three shows of this
13 show tour. And while many shows would not equal the exceptional
quality of 8.26, 9.1 and 9.2, having three exceptional shows already
puts it past the Winter Tour for the Dead (only 2.10.1989 was
exceptional); puts it past the Spring Tour for the Dead (only 4.3
and 4.28.1989 were exceptional); and puts it one shy of the Dead
Summer Tour (only 6.19, 6.21, 7.7 and 8.19.1989 were exceptional).
Of course this is all based within my opinion, but regardless, it
means that Jerry was on a roll, and it is beginning to explain that
push that would lead to the Dead’s legendary Fall 1989 Tour.
Set 1: 7.89
Set 2: 8.142
Forever Young 8.15
That’s What Love Will Make You Do 8.25
And It Stoned Me To My Soul 8
Midnight Moonlight 7.5
Cats Under The Stars 8
Waiting For A Miracle 8
Simple Twist of Fate 8
Don’t Let Go 8.75