|4/23/79, by Chris Stone|
This is one of those aud tapes that I love more for what's happening between songs than for the actual music itself. It's a really good pull (taper unknown) of just the first set of a typically enjoyable but fairly unremarkable Reconstruction show. I was most impressed by Garcia's long solo in Nessa, riding a fierce and very fast groove with aplomb. I'm also impressed by the amazingly good save during the flub in the transition at the end of an otherwise great I'll Take a Melody, but I suppose that kind of thing isn't technically a highlight (although, seriously, nice save!). Also, if you're listening on headphones, watch out when Garcia hits that effect pedal for his solo in Struggling Man -- whoa! But otherwise, there's not much to say about the music itself.
Like 10/24/78, however, there are a couple of little nuggets to savor between the songs, if you find value in this kind of thing. It starts with a good-natured doof asking after the opener, "what is this? oh, a recorder? [then, in response to his buddy, who was probably like, "no, sherlock, it's a toaster oven, keep talking into it"] I didn't know what it was!" A minute later, someone (the same guy?) explains, "they were in Frisco and someone told them Reconstruction was playing here, so they got on the bus and came here." Oh for the days when you heard Jerry was playing tonight and just hopped on the bus.
This is probably more up JGMF's alley, but after I'll Take a Melody a different guy hollers, "why didn't you play last night?" Hmm. gdsets lists a 4/27/79 date at the Centennial Hall in Hayward, CA (just across the Bay from Palo Alto) with no setlist, and a setlist for 4/26 at the Keystone in Berkeley (but no tape). Centennial Hall (capacity 1500) seems like an odd venue for Reconstruction, particularly sandwiched in between two Keystone dates. Was it canceled? Or, apropos of the fact that Reconstruction played in Hayward a few months later without Garcia, could it be possible that the comment is just be directed at him?
[edit: can't believe I forgot to mention the bomb-drop whistler. There's a dude who figures on several Jerry aud tapes from this era who does this persistent whistle like a bomb dropping (or like Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff). I always find him a little irritating, particularly since he seems to amp it up when Garcia is soloing, but it's not bad enough on this tape that you'd even notice it. I think 12/17/79 is one tape where it's pretty bad. Anyway. Who the heck was this guy? What was his deal? I think about these things listening to tapes like this.]
Finally, my favorite: just a second before the above hollering, you can hear a guy ask, "you like it?" and a little kid respond, "yeah!" Go dude for bringing your kid to see Reconstruction! Sorry, but as a parent of smallish children, this tickles the heck out of me. See also 1/15/72 (a great tape for many reasons, not least for the little kid who heckles Save Mother Earth in the first set), 9/30/73 (kids playing near the stage as OAITW starts Panama Red, of all things), and an honorable mention to 9/20/76 (I think?) with the baby crying during Russian Lullaby. Okay, so it's a short list so far.
You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.