All The Years Combine: Day Six – Jerry Garcia – October 16, 1981 Amsterdam by Bob Minkin
We continue into the sixth day of All The Years Combine: Celebrating Jerry Garcia in Picture with this rarely seen image of Jerry taken at Melkweg Club in Amsterdam by photographer Bob Minkin who shares the tale behind the image below:
Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead had inspired a sense of freedom and wanderlust in me.
Through them I discovered Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Those books and the music and lyrics of the Grateful Dead, ignited my desire to travel, to visit San Francisco and ultimately move there from New York City where I grew up.
Flash forward to 1981… I heard that the Grateful Dead were to play Europe that Fall. Back in 1978 I missed my chance to see the band play at the pyramids in Egypt, and had regretted not going. I was determined not to miss the first major European tour by the Grateful Dead since 1972. The timing for me was perfect. I had already graduated college and had the time and some savings to make the trip.
Planning my first European trip, or even the idea of traveling to Europe, and places across the US is one big way the Grateful Dead affected, or changed my life. I doubt I would’ve accomplished any of these adventures at that young age if it weren’t for them.
I began the tour in Copenhagen, and followed the rest of the shows through Munich, Russelsheim, the two Melkweg shows in Amsterdam, Paris, and finally the last show in Barcelona.
The highlight of my musical life took place on those two nights in Amsterdam.
The second show on October 16th, also Bob Weir’s 34th birthday, was extra special for many reasons to be described…
Word must have got out that the Dead were in town because the club was packed that second night, about 400 people inside. When the Dead came onstage, Bob Weir was welcomed with a bouquet of daisies. The audience also sang him happy birthday to which Jerry replied, “touching, touching.”
The band opened with a rare acoustic set. The audience and band were getting off on the intimate atmosphere with between song banter and beaming smiles as they played. They knew what they were doing to us, and we gave it back to them. This was raw Grateful Dead, stripped to the essentials.
There were many amusing moments such as the girl who jumped onstage and writhed on Phil. He sent her off with a reverberating note over to Jerry who looked up from his guitar, gave her a polite “hello” before she was zapped away.
The second set was very electric. Never heard before Grateful Dead renditions of Hully Gully and Gloria were performed. During the jam after Gloria, an old familiar melody was heard and Bob Weir haltingly sang, “without a warning, you broke my heart”. They played a kickass Lovelight, almost a decade after it was last performed with Pigpen.
The houselights came on at 2:00 am and their manager Rock Scully stepped onstage and told us, “ This was a very special treat for us (the band) and a gift to us from you guys”.
The Music Never Stopped – It was no point sleeping that night, as I had to catch an early train to Paris for that night’s show at the Hippodrome. But that’s another story.
Signed & numbered limited edition archival photo prints of Jerry Garcia – October 16, 1981 Amsterdam are available for a limited time via the Garcia Family Provisions online store. To learn more about Bob Minkin’s photography, visit MinkinPhotography.com.