Mardi Gras show
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
February 23, 1993
- Cold Rain And Snow
- Wang Dang Doodle
- Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
- Broken Arrow
- Way To Go Home
- Johnny B. Goode
- Drums* >
- Iko Iko*
- Lazy River Road >
- Playing In The Band >
- Drums** >
- Space** >
- The Other One*** >
- Stella Blue*** >
- Turn On Your Lovelight***
* w/ Sikiru Adepoju & Denardo Coleman
** w/ Ornette Coleman & Graham Wiggins
*** w/ Ornette Coleman
Jerry Garcia guitar, vocals
- Ornette Coleman and Primetime
First "Broken Arrow".
Jerry sat in on the last song of Ornette Coleman's opening set.
Daniel Aaron | Thursday, March 10th, 2016
The band was well in the mood for celebrating on this evening. I am uncertain what was going on behind the scenes… but there was a different feeling in the room (in my opinion).
There was a green (I think) glow stripe across the stage in front of the band. The sound was mixed to perfection. There was undeniable magic in the air.
Ornette Coleman and his band warmed up the room, but the sound was disrespectfully low, particularly for an artist of Ornette’s caliber (this is all my own opinion). I’m sure the folks up front had some great sound. I was Phil side half way up and halfway back, I suppose. Sharing the show with an ex and her family.
At the end of Ornette Coleman’s set, Jerry Garcia stepped up to play a tune. And still the mix wasn’t all that. At the time, at home, I’d been listening to Miles Davis’ ‘Bitches Brew’, and “Friday Night in San Francisco, and John Coltrane’s Village Vanguard ’62 night 2 show-stopper: “India.” So… I would have been happier to have actually heard that music.
Some time flew by. The lights went down. The band took the stage. Jerry was holding Wolf. The night was going to be a different style of music. From the cathartic looseness of the first night of the run, with three original compositions debuted; to the spacey extrapolations of night 2 (where I found that I was going mad, saying to myself during Sugaree: “I wish I was at a Grateful Dead concert right now…”) and another great debut: the Days Between out of space); this night was going to be different.
The mix was crisp. Phil was turned way up, with extra bounce to his tone, and a round and crisp tone. Jerry was patient, more focused, less noodley. Each member of the band did their soundcheck live on stage. Weir was ready. The sound in the room was stunning. And nobody was hitting anything but the right notes.
The first set was played beautifully throughout. Phil’s voice shook the coliseum during one part of the debut of Broken Arrow. Jerry was soulful and understated from the start. Way to Go Home was inserted into the first set, where it rightfully made sense with the traditional flow of the show. (Short blues rock tunes are first set tunes, good to warm up on, I would think). And for Johnny B. Goode, Jerry gave us a moment of Powerhouse Garcia! Electric moments like that… you can’t deny!
As expected, when set 2 rolled around, the drummers took to the stage and heralded the parade. I believe this is where the celebrational Bill Clinton with huge joint rolled through the coliseum. Iko Iko followed in its usual tradition, and the parade needed, I think, towards the end of that.
Jerry used this second Corrina in a week to re-examine the tune, playing less, but making all the essential licks. The second ever Lazy River Road followed, setting up the unusual scenario of two repeats in a single run of shows. The band was not setting out to be overly impressive, exhibiting an unusual amount of self-restraint in all areas third song second set. And so they started Playin’ in the Band.
Well played, the band stepped into jam land and artfully and respectively flushed the music right down the psychedelic toilet into drums. Fluid, spacey, holding less tension than explorations of the previous 5+ years… the band transformed the jam into perfect chromatic and outside-sounding harmony that weaved and churned until it pestered out into the drum solo. Message: “get ready. we’re going deep tonight.”
Drums came on. And so did guests. Graham Wiggins, on didgeridoo, appeared in front of Vince’s keyboard station. Sikiru was there with Mickey and Billy. Healy was spinning multiple layers of soundscapes through the room, proving that the PA is not only in front of you, but it’s at your left, your right, and behind you. And the band played deep through deconstruction of sound, and then came the story of space and redemption.
Rebuilding from space, a saxophone sounded, and then came Ornette Coleman, stepping out onto the darkened, deep blue or purple stage. And the band conversed as they do. And eventually, members of the band started up The Other One. Maybe Ornette didn’t know, or wasn’t having it. He dragged the band back into freeform territory, and thus, a tug of war began. The band pulling Ornette to the Other One groove, and Ornette dragging them back into space. This built up until some real tension was burning. Weir sang the first verse, and the ensuing jam included two huge peaks before the second verse and ensuing cool down into Stella Blue. Coleman threw in bizarre fills throughout, and Jerry stretched this one out in a way he only did when he was really feeling it. Coleman really excellent on the R&B tinged “(Turn On Your) Lovelight,” and took the band and audience alike joyfully to school.
Before the encore, …. let’s see. I’d been pondering mortality a lot at that time, and I had this weird thought: Whatever Jerry sings for this encore, will be an answer to this question: “Am I dying?”
Sure enough, Jerry comes right out and sings: “Fare Thee Well, My Honey…” And so I knew. Sadly, I’m mortal. We all are. Jerry shared this sublime spirit, sometimes declaring “I never expected to live this long.” Yes. Me neither, Jerry. Me neither.
Three and a half months later, I began practicing Buddhism. Go figure. Hahaha.