Pure Jerry, v. 8: Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael, CA, 2/28/86 – Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia Family LLC
After a drought in the flow of Jerry Garcia vault releases, the eighth volume in the Pure Jerry series is here, with virtually no warning (Dead.net announced its existence the day before its release). No matter thanks to the efforts of the Gang Of Two (Jerrys daughters Trixie and Annabelle), producer John Cutler, and engineer Joe Gastwirt, we have this sweet acoustic outing from February of 1986.
A single disc/12-song offering, Vol. 8 is just Jerry and his 6-string Takamine with longtime bass buddy John Kahn holding down the low end. The brief liner notes mention the distinct physical inconsistencies and associated technical challenges of the original masters, but the finished product is a fine one containing just enough warts, sweat, crowd noise, flubbed notes, and voice cracks to be real. 86 would prove to be a hard year for Jerry five months after this show was recorded, he hit the wall physically with a diabetic coma but on this February evening, he and long tall John were in good form. They hit the ground running on a blistering Deep Elem Blues and never look back.
Highlights: a pretty, back-porch take of Friend Of The Devil; an 11-minute Bird Song featuring not just great single-string soloing, but fierce rhythm work from Garcia as Kahn roams the neck of his bass; and a driving Run Through The Roses. The sweetness of Ripple crowd sing-along and all hardly has a chance to settle on us when Garcia takes off on a show-ending version of Goodnight Irene. Things get almost jazzy for a while as Kahn holds down the fort and Jerry rips things up the sound of two old friends having fun playing music. One more verse, a final chorus and then a flourish of strumming; See ya all later, says Jerry and suddenly theyre gone.
At least with this we can hit replay and bring em back.
For a little while.