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Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 6/10/89 - Eel River

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Jerry Garcia Band ~ Columbia, Maryland

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 6/10/89 - Eel River

09.02.1989 Merriweather Post Pavillion
Columbia, Maryland
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 version.

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 The Rain).

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 ever.

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
Show: 8.016

Melody 7.6
Forever Young 8.15
That’s What Love Will Make You Do 8.25
Knockin 7.75
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
Evangeline 8
Dixie 8.1
Don’t Let Go 8.75

Rob Goetz ©

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 6/10/89 - Eel River


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