|Jerry Moore, courtesy of Relix.|
Continuing my Paul Humphrey streak, I very much enjoyed returning to this outstanding tape made by the great Jerry Moore, who taped several shows from this short Garcia/Saunders east coast tour, including all three of the Bottom Line early shows. No late shows! Can't blame a guy who's gotta get up and go to work in the morning, but still. Oh woe.
I find the set to be enjoyable, but mixed overall -- the good stuff is really outstanding, but they're not totally consistent. They come pumping out of the gate, but the delivery seems to dip a little bit in the middle of the set, with a draggy tempo for Second That Emotion and good-but-not-very-inspired performances of Leave Your Hat On and He Ain't Give You None. But this was their first night on the road and mostly they're pretty cookin'. They stumble a bit with getting together at the start of Mystery Train, but then they do indeed get it together. Favela is fast, so fast that it feels like Jerry is only just staying on top of it. To my ears, he fares much better on La-La, but both are pretty heavy performances.
Taper legend Harvey Lubar shared the following story about this night (here)
As some of you might know, Jerry Moore and I were real close when we were in college together but drifted apart afterwards. Nothing major, just life. So, here's a quick story: Jerry and I went to the Bottom Line on 11/5/74 to see the early show. The tables were perpendicular to the stage and we had the first two seats on each side of the table, right by the center of the stage. When Garcia came out, I mentioned to Jerry that Garcia was starting to gray. Jerry looked at him (his ankles were 3 feet away from us) and nodded in agreement. We had never been so close to him before. Jerry then took his mics out and actually put them on the stage for a few seconds while rearranging his bag. Garcia stared at Jerry with total disbelief (his eyes actually widened) but he didn't say a word. Then the show began. Another great recording by Mr. Moore.It is indeed an excellent aud tape, but what is particularly delightful is the chatter between, I presume, Moore, Lubar, and maybe another buddy or two. Thanks to the particular terroir of this tape, we are in a unique position (to paraphrase myself) of listening to Jerry Moore and Harvey Lubar listen to Jerry Garcia, and they are loving it. This new drummer, whoever he is, is blowing their minds. They are telling each other all about it. For example, after a great That's a Touch:
"That drummer is really good."after Favela:
"Martin is nice."
"Yeah, he fits in."
"The drummer is really nice on the little rolls there."
"Musically, this is the best I've heard them."After La-La:
"The drummer is gooood."
"He's really good."
"He's damn good."
"Did you see, him and Garcia--"
"--right, that's what I was just going to say, he obviously knows(?) him a hell of a lot."
[calling out] "Who's the drummer!?" "what's his name?"
[deadpans] "Mickey Hart."
"He was, like, checking it with him -- it was incredible... [inaudible] ...It's really strange, but it was definitely happening."
"That must be different for Garcia, for sure -- it's a different style of playing entirely."
"This is definitely better than the last time they were here." (ahem)And I would have to agree. After Mystery Train, one of them declares, "phenomenal!" and Moore stops the tape. But they weren't done yet. The tape cuts back in:
"I don't believe that wasn't their last number!"and they power through a hot Money Honey to end the early show, unusually long at almost two hours! A nice final touch is that Moore lets it roll for another minute, capturing the Bottom Line announcer cheerfully asking everyone to clear out for the next set and being greeted by Moore, Lubar, and a chorus of New Yorkers expressing how they feel about that.
"What is it, quarter after two?" [this has got to be sarcastic, right? This is definitely the early show]