Carroll's 55th Street


Jerry Garcia just past half A-Z.

This week's Tuesday jam felt as if it fell on the heals of last week's Thursday jam. When I arrived at Studio 2 with Rich and Scott, we walked into the room to find Kevin and the same exact equipment we left last Thursday. It looks as if nothing moved or changed. I'm not ever sure if Kevin went home or if he spent the last several days in the studio. In any case, when we arrived, there was little to do, setup and tweak.

The PA, the monitors, the drums and all they amps were just like we left them last Thursday night. In some respects this bummed me out because I was looking forward to a new setup since we had a bunch of gremlins present last week. Kevin therefore switched out his buzzing Mesa Boogie rectifier amp for a Fuch's Twin Reverb and used that for the night. The PA actually sounded strong this week despite last week's issues. The Fender Silverface Twin Reverb I had last week, which I wasn't thrilled with, was still my amp of choice for this week until the end of the first when I noticed it beginning to fall apart. For the second set I switched to the Mesa Boogie amp that Kevin abandoned and gave that a chance. While I was setting up that amp, Donna scatted through a New Speedway Boogie while I was getting my own Boogie established. Once ready with my amp, Donna began to singe verses.

For the night we had no guests, only a repeat of the seven of us with the exception that Donna only hung around for the first few songs of the second set. Before starting the first set we were relishing the fact that Jerry's freakin' holy week was upon us, with his birthday and commemoration of his death coming to us at the start of August. We therefore had the idea that we should dedicate this jam session to Jerry Garcia and his music.

We opened with a simple Jerry Garcia Band number, And It Stoned Me and that got us going in that direction. Thinking of a Jerry song that I sing where Donna would have a significant role lead me to select Brothers and Sisters as the next song. Before we knew it, someone was suggesting that since we played a song that began with "A", then one that began with "B" we might as well keep the alphabet going and work towards a song that began with "C", then "D" then "E", etc. This kept us going ordinally through the end of the first set where a Might As Well followed the Loose Lucy. I also provided some stranger song/set juxtapositions including a first set Eyes of the World, He's Gone followed by If I had the World to give. Even the midset Deal was played in early 1970's style to signify its set location as the 4th song. Our only stretches to the concept were the first two songs which were JGB songs, yet not written by Jerry. At the time we were doing these two songs, the alphabetical Jerry concept wasn't realized and it was only the happenstance of the Brothers and Sisters that dictated our destiny. When we got to "K" we had no Jerry songs so we cheated a played the Knocking on Heaven's door as an honorary Jerry song. Likewise, we had to stretch a bit on "J" as Jack Straw had to fit the bill. Good thing we played it because it was one of the better moments of the first set.

We had potential to keep the alphabetical setlist going for the second set but I wasn't quick enough to think of the Other One as an "O" song as it was naturally being segued into out of the New Speedway Boogie. It was a bonehead maneuver on my part that brought this whole theme to a crashing halt. That got us to the "S" song Donna was looking forward to all night, Stagger Lee which she took the lead vocals on.

a-z-uploadable As a side note, on the Friday night following this jam I opened up a half-case of wine I picked up on my way to the jam at the Wine Library. Unbelievably and coincidentally, the wine is called A to Z. Oh my G-d. Is that subliminal or what? I had no idea the name of the wine I had just picked up, I don't pay attention to that. What a cool thing it was to find this out as a pulled a bottle out of the case. This is actually 3 days after I wrote the posting and made the weekly setlist poster. The box, as show in the picture was staring me in the face all the time.

With Donna gone for the final hour and the alphabet blown out of the water, we still wanted to stick to a Jerry Garcia theme and did some interesting stuff like trying to pull off a China Cat --> Doin that Rag. That didn't quite work as we didn't have the Doin that Rag introduction in our heads when it was time to play it. That brought this transition to a screeching halt. The Mission in the Rain and the Cats Down Under the Stars were serious Garcia efforts on our part. The Ripple represented the nice positive closer foe the night's Jerry theme. Since we tried the Jerry theme before the actual freaky holy week began, we can still pay tribute to Jerry when we jam again next week. Until that time, Freak Out!