VA – Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music Of Jerry Garcia (2016)

Posted by admin on January 8, 2022as



Essentially a warm-up gig for the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary shows, this double CD documents three sets of music performed by the surviving Grateful Dead members and a crew of fellow travelers. Ostensibly a tribute to one Jerome Garcia (1942-1995), this May 2015 show in Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion also celebrates the greater jam-band community, both musicians and audience, that keep the leading-averse bandleader’s increasingly codified but mostly inquisitive spirit alive.
Tribute shows, with their Teleprompter-abetted guest spots, rarely equal the real deal, and this one’s no exception. It does have its moments, however, beginning with Phil Lesh and his Communion ensemble’s show-opening “The Wheel/Uncle John’s Band,” 17 minutes so silky and sinuously tuned-in you can almost understand the bassist’s decision to blow off the rest of the event. And much of the second set stands as a kind of fathers-and-sons testament, with Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann shepherding the Disco Biscuits and other third-generation improv-rockers through spirited renditions of Grateful Dead jam staples “Scarlet Begonias/I Know You Rider” and “Help on the Way”/”Slipknot”/”Franklin’s Tower.”
Garcia’s bluegrass buddy David Grisman (“Shady Grove”), New Orleans composer-pianist Allen Toussaint (Get Out of My Life, Woman”), and reggae icon Jimmy Cliff (“The Harder They Come”) represent Garcia’s various stylistic and cover enthusiasms. (Don Was led a crisp house band.) And Moe. (“Loser”) and Widespread Panic (“Morning Dew”) tackle their material with grace and gravitas befitting the uncompromising, decades-old jam masters they are.
Whether joining Los Lobos for “Bertha,” or winding things down with “Touch of Grey” and “Ripple,” Bob Weir, judging by the DVD version of the show, looks vaguely uncomfortable throughout, even while performing like the wise old trooper he still is. Perhaps he’s pondering Lesh’s absence, or, even more conspicuously, that of lyricist Robert Hunter, who arguably brought as much to this music, this legacy, as did his writing partner. In any case, Weir knows there’s always another gig coming up down the road, and the final Dear Jerry letter is yet to be delivered.
1. The Wheel / Uncle John’s Band – Phil Lesh & Communion
2. Get Out Of My Life Woman – Allen Toussaint, Bill Kreutzmann
3. Shady Grove – David Grisman
4. I’m A Road Runner – Peter Frampton, Bill Kreutzmann
5. Deal – Buddy Miller
6. Sugaree – Jorma Kaukonen
7. The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann
8. Fire On The Mountain – Jimmy Cliff, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann
9. Help On The Way/Slipknot/Franklin’s Tower – Billy & The Kids
10. Scarlett Begonias / I Know You Rider – The Disco Biscuits, Billy & The KidsCD2
11. Loser – moe.
12. St. Stephen – O.A.R.
13. Bertha – Los Lobos, Bob Weir
14. Brown-Eyed Woman – Trampled By Turtles
15. Shakedown Street – Yonder Mountain String Band
16. Days Between – Bob Weir
17. Friend Of The Devil – Bob Weir, Grace Potter
18. Tennessee Jed – Eric Church, Bill Kreutzmann
19. Morning Dew – Widespread Panic
20. Touch of Grey – Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann
21. Ripple – Full Ensemble

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