July 10, 1981
Set List:Jack Straw
Brown Eyed Women
Ramble on Rose
Let it Grow
Don't Ease Me In
Samson and Delilah
Eyes of the World
Uncle John's Band
Playin' in the Band
Uncle John's Band
Playin' in the Band
Around and Around
Attendees of this show
Many of you may have in your tape collection, or seen in other tape collections, an interview with Jerry Garcia, dated July 10, 1981 from St. Paul, Minnesota, labeled "An Evening with Jerry Garcia". This is the story about how this interview came to be.
I was lucky enough to be one of the participants in the room with Jerry. If I recall correctly, it was in Room 1503 of the Radisson Plaza Hotel, located in the downtown area of St. Paul, MN. I believe the hotel is now owned by the Holiday Inn chain, although I may be mistaken.
At any rate, my best friend, named Greg, somehow found out where the Dead were staying and called Jerry at the hotel and asked for an interview. Jerry was in fact registered at the hotel by his real name. A side issue: Weir was registered there as "Mr. Wonderful." Greg said he was with the University of Minnesota radio station and would like to do the interview. When Jerry offered to come to the radio station, my friend declined, and said it could just be done in his room. They agreed to do the interview at 4 PM the day of the show in Jerry's room at the hotel. The fact of the matter was that my friend did not work for the University of Minnesota, but like so many of us, just wanted to meet Jerry. Greg called me and told me where the Dead were staying...to this day he still hasn't told me how he found out. I called Jerry at the hotel also, the night before the show, and told him I had followed him a lot of years and a lot of miles, and I just wanted to say hi. I remember Jerry's words exactly..."Well, usually that's not too much of a problem. But I'm working on something right now. Come by tomorrow before the show, about 4 PM and that will work much better."
I guess I'm the one responsible for screwing up the formal part of the interview. After his interview was going about 15 minutes, I called Jerry, and he invited me and my girlfriend at the time up too. What delayed me is that we wanted to meet Weir "Mr. Wonderful" too, and Bobby was kind enough to meet us in the lobby about 15 minutes before we called Jerry. Weir was kind and polite, but almost painfully shy, which kind of surprised me. When I met Bobby, I asked him if he had ever sung "Unbroken Chain." He said he had. My thinking was trying to plant a seed at the time...that if Phil wasn't singing at all then, maybe Weir can sing it and break out Unbroken Chain finally.
Anyway, my friend stopped the tape when I called, but immediately started it again when we got up there. I had to pretend I didn't know my friend Greg at all when we got together, because I didn't want the thing to come off to Jerry as a "set up".
What shocked me about Jerry was how immediately comfortable I felt in his presence. I mean, here was JERRY !
But he had no airs about himself at all. He couldn't have been more kind, cordial, or accommodating. He wasn't "Jerry Garcia, Rock Star." He was just this guy named Jerry, who happened to play guitar for a band that just happened to be popular with a lot of people, and he felt he was amazingly fortunate to be in the circumstances that he was in.
Jerry could sense that everyone was comfortable with each other. We were later joined by another couple of guys from California, Johav and another guy whose name escapes me. After about 90 minutes of BSing and hanging with Jerry, he had to go do the soundcheck. It was an extremely fun and comforable experience. Jerry was fun, accommodating, funny, and extremely comfortable to be around. In the end we could tell he was in a really good mood. And we all know what that meant...when the big guy was in a good mood, that meant we were in for a big show. The after-Space segment of Uncle Johns Band>Playin in the Band>China Doll>UJB reprise>PIB reprise>Around & Around>Good Lovin is to this day some one of my favorite GD moments ever. If you don't have this show in your collection, find a way to listen to it. It's just tremendous as the tension continues to build throughtout this segment and then releases itself naturally in "Good Lovin". The only down side is that this show apparently does not exist in the vault. It's an audience-only tape.
Meeting Jerry and spending the time that we did with him goes into a category all by itself. Sitting here now as a 51-year old with what hair I have greying badly, I still cherish this experience. A truly unforgettable and wonderful evening on many levels.