on 5 May 2013
The most noticeable aspect of this set, recorded in March 1980, is the introduction of synthesisers where you'd be used to hearing a Hammond organ. Ozzie Ahlers, late of the Van Morrison touring band, sits in with more familiar names like John Kahn and Johnny deFonseca (familiar to JGB fans, anyway), and plays what sounds a little like a dated analog synth (an Oberheim, according to the sleevenotes). It works well on a swinging fist disc, with How Sweet It Is a standout.
The high points of the rest of the set are on the third disc, where Robert Hunter sits in. I'm a fan of his lyrics, of couse, but also of his solo work, and it's nice to hear the two old boys together on this album. Tiger Rose and Promontory Rider are rare enough to hear from Jerry, and work well here.
This was the year of Reckoning and Dead Set and it's amazing to think that, in the Spring before those shows, Garcia was exploring a parallel course with such a different paradigm. There is only one Dead song on this, the regular first set closer Deal (Sugaree, Catfish John and Mission In The Rain are from solo work), the rest given over to JGB's usual covers (Russian Lullaby, Simple Twist of Fate, The Harder They Come), ending with, in my opinion, one of the most successful of Jerry's many covers, Dear Prudence.
You know what you're getting here, even if it's on yet another 'series' (wither Pure Jerry)? Sound quality is great and the performances are warm, human and above all Garcia. Recommended, although not if you're new to this lark.