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Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 9/5/89 - Hartford, CT

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz

Jerry Garcia Band ~ Hartford, CT

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 9/5/89 - Hartford, CT

09.05.1989 Hartford Civic Center
Hartford, Connecticut
13th JGB Performance of 1989
5th Show of JGB 1989 Fall Tour

Luckily, the Weir Wasserman sets circulate for the 9.5 and 9.6.1989 shows. Even more luckily, relatively high quality hand held video camera footage exists for both JGB shows.

The Weir Wasserman set was pretty interesting. It was nice to hear Weir step outside of his comfort box and present some solo tunes. On average, the set went from average to bad, but there were some real highlights (e.g., acoustic Victim Or The Crime, and a bit less so of the Throwin Stones). I’d recommend hearing this just for the Victim, but that is because I’m a big fan of that tune (a rare minority).

Here is the setlist with my notes:
1. Festival – cheesy Weir but somewhat catchy
2. Fever – again, cheesy, but well done
3. K.C. Moan – very interesting as it seemed Weir was truly exiting his Dead style here
4. Desolation Row> ok – but suffered from lack of flavor inbetween verses
5. Looks Like Rain – bland, done very similar to the Dead’s version, thus lacked elements
6. The Winners – not a great song upon first listen
7. Victim Or The Crime> Fantastic! A real treat to hear acoustic and to only hear Weir’s influence
8. Bass Solo> not as impressed as I thought I’d be
9. Throwing Stones – pretty good but lacking Jerry presence

The JGB opens with Cats Down Under The Stars. The song portion is strong and edgy. The jam waffles in and Jerry quickly asserts a no nonsense lead. The stream is straight down the middle and has a driving force that increases in complexity and edginess upon each new cycle. Through the jam Jerry spills his note progressions into a sassy display of candor. This version of Cats definitely rivals the 8.26 version for best of the year (through this date). The video shows Jerry with big smiles. The video focuses mainly on Jerry throughout the tune (and show). During the main jam Jerry hung his chin on his chest and fingered away.

As with the Cats, the TLEO features a very solid song portion. Jerry’s singing was strong at this point. The jam portion starts with a furtive Seals solo. His sneaking around opened up the space quite a bit, and Jerry pounced on it. Jerry’s solo started a bit deeper because of the Seals effort. As such, the ultimate effect was a deeper than usual Garcia TLEO solo. The zenith of the jam has Jerry pulling out textbook note cycles. Delicious to say the least. The video shows Jerry with an angled head through the jam keeping an eye of the band with his right eye.

Continuing with the trend, Waiting For A Miracle is equally stunning. Jerry creates such a yearning during the song portion with his haggard voicings. The guitar solo enhances the effect even moreso. This version is nearly flawless, and the guitar solo laced with complexity and tension. The video shows Jerry with his head down throughout the jam.

Three songs in and three very exceptional versions, the JGB next entered Run, Run, Run For The Roses. Not surprisingly the song portion is very strong, but the guitar solo from Jerry is a bit lackluster. It doesn’t quite nail the song down and seems a bit lost. I guess every rose has a thorn. The video shows Kahn playing with a cigarette in his mouth through the tune. During the Seals solo, Kahn and Jerry bob their heads in unison.

Like A Road follows. This version is pretty strong but has a few stumblings during the song portion. The jam starts with a flavored Jerry solo that is not too piercing, and the Seals solo lags a bit. The 9.1.1989 version is much better. The video shows little animation from Jerry.

What started out as on par with 8.26, 9.1 and 9.2.1989 had diminished a bit with Roses and Like A Road. Still, the next tune, Sisters and My Brothers, was stellar. This tune was consistently nailed by the JGB and this is no exception. The video shows a stoic Jerry in contrast to a very animated band presence (e.g., Kahn was nearly dancing).

The set ends on a very high note with Deal. The main jam is quite extended and has numerous peaks from Jerry that are mixed with complicated cyclings and fannings. Jerry was literally on fire here, and must have made the backstage Bob Weir think about the 7.19.1974 version. Jerry was literally on fire here. The video here truly is a treat. Inbetween verses 2 and 3, Jerry presents a humerous smirk. The main jam focuses just on his fret board, and it is amazing to see how quickly and exactly what notes he was plucking. During the peak, Jerry was thrusting his head forward and backward in unison with the jam, and during the finale he was staring at the band with raised eyebrows and a smile while his fingers were flying off his hands. This is a treat to have captured on video (but was not to be the highlight of the show).

Overall, this first set from 9.5.1989 was incredibly well done except for the two bogies (Roses and Like A Road).

First Previous 2 of 2 Next Last

Recommend Message 2 of 2 in Discussion

From: winterland121072 Sent: 7/23/2004 8:16 AM
Harder They Come starts set two. This version is rather typical as the jams just don’t amount to serious flavors. Inbetween the first and second verses, Jerry is seen smiling to the band. The band was very animated, but Jerry seemed quite serious through the jamming.

Next is the Mission In The Rain. This is a very relaxed version and does not have the struggling tension present in the 8.26.1989 version. Still this version is above average. The song portion is flawless and the Jerry led jam has flavor – but not flavored tension. In my opinion this tune is all about struggle and the jam portion needs to highlight the struggle to reach the “All the things I planned to do.” While this version has some interesting licks and twists from Jerry, it just doesn’t make me yearn for the next verse. The video again shows a stern and serious Jerry through the tune and jamming. The lighting at the Hartford Civic Center emitted a blue shade on Jerry through the tune that was very interesting to see.

Forever Young also seems a bit sedate. The song portion is well taken as Jerry’s voicings are quite direct. But, the jam portion struggles to surge far outside of average. The progressions have tracings of flavor but mostly are typical ascensions and descents from Jerry. Again, the video shows a mostly serious Jerry with his head down.

Evangeline follows and it is a crisp version, but the guitar solo suffers from being flat. The jam has some nice points, but the pacing was a touch slow. More excited versions exist (see, e.g., 8.26.1989).

Gommorah is next. This version is quite slow and the vocals are mixed well. The song and the solos, though, are not overly impressive. Jerry is seen with his solid and serious composure.

Don’t Let Go is next, and there is no surprise in that this was the highlight of the show. As with nearly every other 1989 version, this version is very deep and filled with top notch jamming from Jerry. It almost seemed as though from version to version, this was the tune to catch – this was what Jerry truly lived for. The main jam on the 9.5.1989 version starts with a grumbling almost angry kind of jam. Unlike 8.26 and 5.19, which had a very jazzy start, this start seems a bit ticked off. The second theme has a switch to a less reverbed tone and not as angry theme. This is inquisitive Jerry meandering. A cyclical route is entered that reaches a nice pace and maintains it instead of increasing or decreasing. This second theme peaks with a high note cycling. The third theme has a similar tone, but the overall tempo is more driving. Jerry was obviously beginning to get antsy. While this third theme was cruising along, the other band members were clearly sprinting with him to keep up (note, e.g., the Kahn bass riffs that are nearly lightning fast). Eventually, as the band catches up with Jerry, Jerry switches gears and enters a the fourth theme. This fourth theme gets pretty grisly as Jerry literally melts the jam in one spot and drives the jam very deep. This is not overly psychedelic but incredibly impressive. Once again, based upon a sequential assessment of each Garcia performance from 1989 through this date (both GD and JGB) I am astonished with the Don’t Let Go jams. Where was this Garcia through the Dead’s 1989 Spring Tour? Summer Tour? Would this Garcia surface with the Dead’s Fall 1989 Tour and the upcoming Dark Stars? In the aftermath of theme four, Jerry effortlessly flies into a swinging and soaring Don’t Let Go theme. And again we’ve entered upon the essence of Mr. Garcia (the great American that he was) blending pure horror with pure ecstasy (similar to, e.g., 9.28.1972 prior and including Bobby McGee). This blends into a sixth theme comprising dashing, sprinting and surging back and forth like trapped animal. This was not grotesque, but more just tension. Jerry peaks this with about a 90 seconds of lighting fast surges that struggles and achieves a ripping sound. And suddenly, out of nowhere, Jerry launches into the strumming of D chords marking the onset of I Have Never Been So Lonesome and a Long Way, Never Been Lonesome and a Long Way, Never Been Lonesome and a Long Way From Home. Another classic moment. While the actual Lonesome from 9.3.1989 was much better, this transition has to go down as one of the better Jerry moments. On the video, Jerry has a huge smile on his face during this transition, and Kahn actually seems happily surprised by the abrupt transition.

As noted, the video alone is definitely worth getting just to see this amazing reading of Don’t Let Go.

As stated, the Lonesome & A Long Way from 9.3.1989 was better. The jamming is not as intense as 9.3.1989, and the band seemed a bit tired. Jerry looked quite happy though.

All in all, it is difficult to say the shows was not a success because of the Don’t Let Go and to a lesser extent the Deal. The JGB started this tour with three straight exceptional shows (8.26, 9.1, and 9.2.1989) but followed with two average-above average shows (9.3 and 9.5.1989). Alas, the JGB had but one show left for this Fall 1989 Tour which would not include Clarence Clemons.

Set 1: 7.97
Set 2: 7.45
Show: 7.7

Cats 8.3
TLEO 8.25
Waiting For a Miracle 8.25
Roses 7.25
Like A Road 7.25
Sis Bro 8
Deal 8.5

Harder 7.1
Mission In The Rain 7.35
Forever Young 7.25
Evangeline 7.15
Gommorah 7
Don’t Let Go 9.1
Lonesome 7.25

Rob Goetz ©

Jerry Garcia concert reviews by Rob Goetz - 9/5/89 - Hartford, CT


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