Words by: Kyler Klix
Drift back in time to four decades ago and you’ll find Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, and the latest installment of GarciaLive, recorded on August 11, 1974 at Berkely, California’s Keystone Club.Garcia and Saunders started the show with a bluesy “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” Right from the beginning when the jams start, Garcia and Saunders show off their skills and get ready to lead the night into musical bliss.
Besides the big names on the cover, John Kahn provides a tremendous bassline that booms through the record nice and clear, and Garcia’s Grateful Dead bandmate Bill Kreutzmann took care of drums. The band also included Martin Fierro on saxophone and flute.
Fierro comes through on fire with the saxophone in his first jam on the first track. The second track, “La La” is a smooth melody dominated by his flute, as the rest of the band provides a background on this instrumental.
The rhythm and blues picks back up on track 3, “It Ain’t No Use.” Garcia’s vocals shine every chance he gets to sing, and on this track you can feel the emotion behind the lyrics. “Mystery Train” brings up the tempo and really gives Saunders a good solo to jam on, a track that probably brought everybody back to the dance floor.
The second set kicked off with “The Harder They Come,“ where the band does a great job at making the song theirs. Things slow down quite a bit as next couple tracks have a more bluesy bent to them. Hearing Jerry sing about losing love over the saxophone on “It’s Too Late” really sets the mood.
The band brings the last of their energy for the night on “(I’m a) Road Runner,” a fun song that’s a little more upbeat than the blues songs that dominated the night.
The show closes softly on what always seems like a crowd pleaser: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” It was a great way to end the night.
The patrons of the Keystone were treated to some lovely jams on Aug. 11, 1974. Luckily the recording came out so well, everyone will be able to re-live this awesome night of music. With an exciting list of songs, and some tremendous jams to add in, GarciaLive Vol. 9 is sure to delight anyone who listens.
Disc 1 – first set
- That’s What Love Will Make You Do
- La La
- It Ain’t No Use
- Mystery Train
Disc 2 – second set
- The Harder They Come
- Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got)
- It’s Too Late
- (I’m a) Road Runner
- The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down