Jerry Garcia’s 2-Week Acoustic & Electric Broadway Residency Began, 30 Years Ago Today [Full Audio]

first_img[Photo: Herb Greene] On October 15th, 1987, Jerry Garcia kicked off a two-week Broadway residency at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in Midtown, Manhattan, offering performances by both the Jerry Garcia Band and the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band nightly. The Broadway residency fell during an important time in Garcia’s life, just as the Grateful Dead frontman and guitarist was truly recovering and returning to performance full-time following his life-threatening diabetic coma in the summer of 1986. 1987 ultimately turned out to be a good year for Jerry and the Grateful Dead, as Jerry’s recovery process seemed to unlock a newfound energy within him that had been more-or-less absent earlier in the decade.Jerry Garcia’s ‘Cats Under The Stars’ 40th-Anniversary Vinyl Re-Issue ReleasedHowever, the months following Garcia’s diabetic coma also saw Jerry double down on his solo side projects outside the Grateful Dead. By the mid-80’s, Jerry Garcia Band had finally settled into a rock-solid line-up also featuring John Kahn (bass), Melvin Seals (keyboards and organ), David Kemper (drums), Jackie LaBranch (backup and lead vocals), and Gloria Jones (backup and lead vocals). Jerry’s comfort with the band and its mix of influential genres important to Garcia—soul, Motown, rock, folk, funk, and more—was clear, as he first returned to the stage following his coma with a number of Jerry Garcia Band shows during Fall of ’86 ahead of his first Grateful Dead performance on December 15th, 1986.In 1987, further working off his newfound vitality, Garcia created the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, reconnecting with old friends from Palo Alto including David Nelson, Sandy Rothman, and Kenny Kosek, with whom Jerry hadn’t performed with since the early 70’s or before. As noted by Grateful Web, Bill Graham first gathered what would become the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band to celebrate the Grateful Dead frontman’s medical recovery, though the performance was electric, and Jerry, highlighting his desire to play the influential styles of his youth, better remembered the bluegrass tunes than his bandmates.Recognizing that the project should continue, Graham encouraged Jerry to think of a way to bring the acoustic band to the masses while still keeping the performances intimate. Together, Garcia and Graham came up with an innovative and untried idea by other rock musicians: perform a run at a Broadway theatre featuring both matinee and late-night performances. Jerry agreed, though he wanted to bring both the electric Jerry Garcia Band and the newly created Jerry Garcia Acoustic band for the string of Broadway shows.The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre ultimately housed this thirteen-night run, which spanned from October 15th, 1987, to Halloween of that year. Each night, the acoustic band opened the performance with an hour-long set before the Jerry Garcia Band finished off the night, allowing audiences to get a taste of the acoustic project while still offering a more-traditional JGB set. While selections from this historic run have been released—notably, Pure Jerry: Lunt-Fontanne, New York City, October 31, 1987 and Pure Jerry: Lunt-Fontanne, New York City, The Best of the Rest, October 15–30, 1987—audience recordings are somewhat sparse, as Grateful Web notes, “The union boss for the Broadway theatre had ZERO tolerance for recording inside the theatre and Garcia’s sound techs had to hide their brand new DAT recorder from him.”You can listen to a recording of Jerry Garcia’s run-opening performance at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway with the Jerry Gracia Acoustic Band and Jerry Garcia Band below, courtesy of Youtube uploader nognuisagoodgnu. You can also check out the original Playbill from the residency here.Setlist: Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band | Lunt-Fontanne Theater | Manhattan, NY | 10/15/1987Set: Bright Morning Stars, Blue Yodel #9, Spike Driver Blues, Short Life Of Trouble, Two Soldiers, I’m Troubled, Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie, Rosalie McFall, Long Long Way, Ragged But RightSetlist: Jerry Garcia Band | Lunt-Fontanne Theater | Manhattan, NY | 10/15/1987Set: How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), Forever Young, Stop That Train, Think, Mission In The Rain, Evangeline, My Sisters And Brothers, That Lucky Old Sun, DealEncore: And It Stoned Melast_img

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