This is the JGB show where Bela Fleck walked in for a cameo, plus the usual mix of familiar and unfamiliar songs.
By way of warning (once again), we are now in the weedy fringes of the Dead. If you are considering purchasing this disc, you probably have too much money, too much time and too much optimism regarding the number of times you’ll actually want to hear Jerry Garcia mumble his way through an nth retelling of “Deal.” Fortunately, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can stream this for free and rest comfortable in the knowledge that your fiscal responsibility and honesty will net the estate of Jerry Garcia nearly twelve cents. For your troubles, you’ll be treated to a surprisingly good live concert of the Jerry Garcia Band featuring an interesting setlist and a brief appearance by Béla Fleck at the beginning of the second set. The concert starts out on familiar ground (“How Sweet It Is,” “Run For The Roses,” “That’s What Love Will Make You Do”) but introduces some unexpected twists in the middle: “My Brothers And Sisters” and “Tears of Rage” (from The Basement Tapes). The second set opens with Old And In The Way’s “Midnight Moonlight” (which originally featured Garcia in the banjo seat) and “The Harder They Come,” Fleck joining in on the festivities with some presumably improvised picking. The pairing is intriguing in a “gee, so that’s what reggae music would sound like with a banjo” sort of way, but as carrots go it’s kind of a carrot. The real highlights happen after, with a version of Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me” where Garcia totally nails the timing (as opposed to “Tangled Up In Blue”) and Bruce Cockburn’s “Waiting For A Miracle.” While archival interest in this concert is likely fueled by the participation of Béla Fleck, it’s the rock-solid performance of the Jerry Garcia Band (here in their longest-running lineup) that makes this one a keeper. They’re a backing band in the truest sense, as they have Garcia’s back throughout, giving him just the right amount of support without overshadowing him. Also, this seems as good a place as any to plug deaddisc.com, which has proven an invaluable resource in tracking down the Dead’s ever-expanding repertoire over the years.
A1. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/Eddie Holland) (7:33)
A2. Stop That Train (Peter Tosh) (6:47)
A3. Forever Young (Bob Dylan) (7:20)
A4. Run For The Roses (Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter) (5:50)
A5. That’s What Love Will Make You Do (James Banks/Eddie Marion/Henderson Thigpen) (8:06)
A6. My Sisters And Brothers (Charles Johnson) (4:15)
A7. Tears of Rage (Richard Manuel/Bob Dylan) (8:16)
A8. Deal (Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter) (8:34)
B1. Midnight Moonlight (Peter Rowan) (7:26)
B2. The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff) (10:46)
B3. And It Stoned Me (Van Morrison) (6:21)
B4. Waiting For A Miracle (Bruce Cockburn) (6:43)
B5. Evangeline (David Hidalgo/Louie Pérez) (4:22)
B6. Think (Jimmy McCracklin/Deadric Malone) (7:01)
B7. That Lucky Old Sun (Beasley Smith/Haven Gillespie) (8:22)
B8. Tangled Up In Blue (Bob Dylan) (11:19)
Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Gloria Jones (backing vocals), John Kahn (bass), David Kemper (drums), Jaclyn LaBranch (backing vocals), Melvin Seals (organ) with Béla Fleck (banjo on B1/B2).
Released on 2CD on June 25, 2013 in the US (Round, JGBRR1002) and Europe (ATO, 8088218662).