Songs Of Our Own
Your editor showing some dorky civic pride next to Further prior to the 8/21/93 Eugene show
Do you remember exactly where you were when you heard that Jerry Garcia had passed away?
I assume that like myself many of you do.
I can close my eyes and feel that moment, receiving the call about a disturbing rumor that was circulating. The web was still in its infancy so things were a bit different back then, word of mouth still predominated. In many ways this was quite fitting as, “Touch of Grey” moment aside, the Grateful Dead remained entwined with their grassroots. Indeed some of the charm, some of the cultural capital associated with being a Deadhead, was being in the know when information wasn’t so easily attainable and quite literally at your fingertips. Being tapped in meant being part of a community. Sadly, members of that community soon learned the truth, that Jerome John Garcia had indeed passed away in the early hours of August 9, 1995.
Your editor, puckering, before the 7/23/90 Tinley Park show, on the 10th anniversary of Keith Godchaux’s death, which also would be Brent Mydland’s final performance with the group
The rest of the day is a blur but I hours later I found myself in Hampton Beach Casino standing on chair to the left of the soundboard. From there my eyes locked with Bob Weir, who eased ours souls with a Herculean effort on a evening while his must have ached deeply as well. I can’t imagine what was going through his head as he performed on the very day he too learned that his longtime friend and bandmate had passed away. What I can tell you is that that he helped. And I hope we helped him in some way.
I can remember less of the images of that night (Bobby’s steady, reassuring face; the post-show drum circle that didn’t want to end) than the sentiments they evoked and continue to evoke. Back then when naysayers ever questioned my motivation for traveling from show to show with the Grateful Dead, I often explained that it was all about the music. For me that’s just as true now as ever and part of it is breathing deeply of the tones that help to express the ineffable and part of it is joining the person next to you and feeling the same notes.
In that spirit, on the 10th anniversary of Jerry’s death, enjoy the latest from us at Jambands.com.
Later days and peace,