Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Vitamin D JGB (Jerry outdoors)

Like I said in my my last post, Garcia's various solo endeavors didn't get outdoors very often for most of his career.  The magic of the outdoor show is a big part of Grateful Dead folklore and iconography (Haight Street, Veneta, the Frost and the Greek, and so on), but Garcia's side projects usually kept to far less idyllic locales.  But still, upon drawing up this little list, I was surprised just how few outdoor gigs he played during the Keystone era (1970's-1987).  In 1987, Bill Graham took over Garcia's solo bookings and he started playing some bigger outdoor venues both in California and on tour.  Before that, though, I think this is it:


10/3/71 -- Frost Amphitheatre, Palo Alto, CA.  Garcia/Saunders were on the bill at the Pamoja Jazz Concert (a benefit, I think?) with jazz artists Big Black and (wow) Bobby Hutcherson. (no recording).  Note that Garcia apparently also played later that night with the NRPS in Berkeley.  [see jgmf].


6/8/73 -- Warrenton Bluegrass Festival, Lake Whippoorwill, Warrenton, VA.  Old and in the Way.  Jerry Moore taped it and reported that the stage was a platform set up a few feet out in a lake.  Garcia's gig the following day also happened to be outdoors: a little shindig at RFK Stadium with the Dead and the Allman Brothers.


9/5/73 -- S.S. Bay Belle, New York City Harbor, NY.  Garcia/Saunders at a Hells Angels party.  No recording, but there's a brief clip of them in the Hells Angels Forever doc (starting @25:30ish; nsfw), and it looks like they're playing outside on the deck.


4/11/74 -- Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.  Garcia/Saunders.  I wonder what the occasion was? (no recording)


4/27&28/74 -- Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival, San Rafael, CA.  Garcia played both with Old and in the Way and the Great American String Band.  jgmf has a series on the entire festival.


5/25/74 -- Campus Stadium, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA.  The Great American String Band was one of the opening acts for the Dead (apparently unbilled, along with the NRPS and Maria Muldaur).  How many times after 1971 was Garcia a part of his own opening act?  How did that banjo sound, pumping through the Wall of Sound?
5/25/74, source

9/2/74 -- Marx Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.  Garcia/Saunders played the finale of a three-day People's Ballroom concert series (so, presumably, some sort of a benefit).


10/13/74 -- Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA.  Garcia/Saunders with Maria Muldaur.  No recording, but the sky is visible in this nice picture:
10/13/74, courtesy Merl Saunders Jr. via jgmf

5/30/75 -- Marx Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.  Garcia sits in with the Diga Rhythm Band (Zakir Hussein, Mickey Hart, et al) who were opening a free concert by the Jefferson Starship. [see lostlivedead].
5/30/75, via dead.net, courtesy Ron Draper?

6/8/75 -- El Camino Park, Palo Alto, CA.   "The Institute for Non-Violence Presents, A Day in the Park" on a Sunday afternoon with Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia (technically not the Legion of Mary, since Ron Tutt was MIA) and Kingfish.  David Gans' photos of G/S are here and one of Kingfish here.


10/17/75 -- Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA.  JGB with Kingfish and the Keith & Donna Band.  A very similar bill had played Winterland four months earlier (there was no JGB yet, but "Jerry Garcia and Friends" headlined).  It turned out to be a surprise Dead show, so I'm sure everyone in the pavilion was salivating tonight, but no dice.  I don't know what the occasion for this was, but all three bands were touring the east coast shortly after this show, so maybe this was a convenient way for everyone to road test some gear in a larger venue and make a little more money than individual local club gigs would bring?


8/12/77 -- Pier 31, San Francisco, CA.  A Greenpeace benefit, with some well-known photos but no circulating recording.  This was may also be the last gig that Ron Tutt played with the JGB until 1981?
8/12/77, under a blue blue sky

9/7/81 -- Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA.  KMEL-FM's Labor Day concert [see lostlivedead].  A buck to see Jerry on Labor Day?  Might as well, might as well.  I think this show is very good, better than average for the period.  Kruetzmann was (briefly) back on drums and is really kicking things along here, and Garcia responds accordingly.


6/16/82 -- Music Mountain, South Fallsburg, NY.  JGB on tour with Bobby & the Midnights.  This is a rightfully well-known show, one of the very best from the 1981-82 lineup.  Attendees report a sunny evening during Jerry's set and a downpour during Bobby's (and look at Kreutzmann's little kit in front of Billy Cobham's monster setup!)
6/16/82


10/30/82 -- Mesa Amphitheater, Mesa, AZ.  Another JGB/Bobby split show (the Midnights played first this time): a solid, workmanlike set by the new lineup on the first night of their southwest/east coast tour, but nothing to write home about.  Judging from pics of the venue online, this is definitely outdoors.


7/24/83 -- Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley, CA.  JGB at the Sierra Sun Music Festival.  Another excellent, high-energy show, and one of David Kemper's first as a bandmember.  The Dead also played here two months later.
The Band gets top billing; they would open for the Dead on NYE that year

5/18/84 -- Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, Irvine, CA.  This show is smokin', but it was an unusual venue for the JGB to play in '84.  The Dead played here regularly in the mid 80's, and the JGB played here again in '89, '92, and '94, but what was the occasion for this particular show?  Robert Hunter opened, and it was also a radio broadcast.


8/11/84 -- Caldwell College, Caldwell, NJ.  "Concerts on the Hill."  While this JGB tour definitely had its moments, imho this show was only okay -- but it was outdoors.  [see jgmf].


8/18/85 -- Dunsmuir House & Gardens, Oakland, CA.  Garcia & Kahn acoustic.  No comment about the music, but this lovely photo reveals it to be both outdoors and quite sunny.
8/18/85, courtesy Tim Schonholtz

That's 19 times [more?*] in over 15 years, though I'm sure there are a few more from the early days that we don't know about.  In August 1987, the JGB played two back-to-back shows at venues that were both about as idyllic as it could get -- French's Camp on the Eel River and the Greek Theater -- and a new period began.  Call it the era of Vitamin D JGB?


* some questionables:

7/7/74 -- Shorebird Park, Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, CA.  An uncertain Great American String Band gig that either never happened at all, or the GASB didn't play, or something else.  [see jgmf].

3/3/76 -- Lane County Fairgrounds, Veneta, OR.  Unlike another certain faire ground in Veneta, this one appears to have indoor facilities, so I assume it was inside.  But I don't know.

9/15/76 -- S.S. Duchess, New York City Harbor, NY.  Another Hells Angels party, but this time it looks like they're playing inside [youtube].

8/10/84 -- Rocky Glen Amusement Park, Moosic, PA.  I don't know if this was an outdoor venue or not.  There was a Rocky Glen Music Hall in Moosic, but there was also an outdoor music venue at the local amusement park too (or at least there was in the 1950's-60's, thanks to this old footage).  fwiw, unlike the next night, I think this is a strong show with some standout performances.  Stump your friends at your next GD Trivia Night with this one: name two adjacent years where Garcia played at an amusement park.

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