Magic moments (1): Jerry Garcia

In 1982 The Knife went to see The Grateful Dead at Edinburgh Playhouse. Unfortunately a combination of being knackered and trapped in a throng of dope-smoking Germans in rainbow braces lead to me falling asleep, to my shame. I still got about 2 hours of the Dead’s best line up, and Jerry Garcia at his peak.  Thirteen years later he was actually dead – diabetes, drugs, ischaemic heart disease and obesity.

The Dead were fantastic, mostly, but the recommendation here is the Garcia  2 disc compilation, which contains stacks of great music, particularly the live second disc. The Dead and Garcia were the most natural and gifted of live performers, and it transmitted perfectly to disc, unlike, say, the Rolling Stones. He was a wonderful musician, but also one of the most affecting singers that I’ve heard. Try Deep Elem Blues and Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power).

The Knife occasionally measures the worth of music in U2 units. Using this technique, I calculate that 4 seconds of Deep Elem Blues is equal to, or better than U2’s entire recorded output (both now and in the future).


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