CD584, 3 CD
GarciaLive Volume 16 finds the world’s most recorded musician in the world’s most famous arena at the midway point in one of his longest and most celebrated solo tours. While Garcia was no stranger to Madison Square Garden, November 15th marked the Jerry Garcia Band’s debut in the vaunted venue. Though just two months removed from the Grateful Dead’s sold-out 9-night residency at the Garden, the crowd’s eruption as the houselights dimmed revealed the immense excitement for Garcia’s return. The buoyant set-opening “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” signaled the feeling was indeed mutual. Love remained a central theme throughout the evening with stunning versions of Smokey Robinson’s “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” Van Morrison’s “He Ain’t Give You None” and “Bright Side of the Road,” and Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate,” among others. A near-automatic highlight of any latter era Jerry Garcia Band set, this performance of The Manhattan’s “Shining Star” is so poignant it became the centerpiece for the 2001 compilation of the same name. The extended takes on “Ain’t No Bread in the Breadbox” and “Don’t Let Go” which followed offered the band plenty of room to stretch out with the latter yielding the deepest improvisations of the evening. Not one to treat encores as de rigueur, Garcia finds the perfect sentiment to close the night with the timeless “(What A) Wonderful World” sending everyone home walking on air.
In addition to the usual array of photos and memorabilia from the tour, the release features an in-depth liner note essay by Dean Budnick with reflections from Melvin Seals, Jacklyn LaBranch, Dennis McNally, and John Popper, whose band Blues Traveler opened the evening.
Disc One // Set One: