Ear Monitor Recordings From Jerry Garcia’s Final Show Surface

JamBase originally published this article in February ’14, but today we re-publish the post as we’ve reached the 20th anniversary of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead’s final show.

During the last few years of their career the Grateful Dead used inner ear monitors and talkback microphones that allowed the members to communicate with each other without the audience hearing what they were discussing. A few recordings from 1995 of the “monitor feed” have turned up over the years allowing fans to hear the inner workings of the band. Today, we stumbled across a pair of “monitor feed” recordings provided by TimeZonerTV from Jerry Garcia’s final show, which took place at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 9, 1995.

In the first clip we hear the drummers discussing the pre-drums setlist the band was about to lay down and joking about the song titles:

The second clip features a recording of the ear monitors from the first double encore the band performed in nearly four years. At the two-minute mark we hear members of the band discussing the two songs they’re about to play. You can hear bassist Phil Lesh say “the second one’s gonna be ‘Box Of Rain.” Following “Box Of Rain” we hear someone exclaim “come on guys, let’s do one more!” and goading the members of the band by calling them “chicken shits.” Alas, the show ended with “Box Of Rain.” We can even make out the fireworks that exploded over the stage after the Phil Lesh-sung tune that brought Jerry Garcia’s time with the Grateful Dead to a close.

UPDATE 2/27 12:30 p.m. PT: TimeZonerTV has shared “monitor feed” clips from Garcia’s penultimate show, which took place on July 8, 1995 at Soldier Field in Chicago. We get to hear a funny take on the evening’s setlist, Bob Weir get called out on his pants and more:

Two other “monitor feed” recordings from 1995 circulate among fans. Check out a recording from Lesh’s monitor feed from March 17, 1995 in Philadelphia as the band works out the soon-to-be-busted-out “Unbroken Chain”:

And here’s a recording of Lesh’s monitor feed from March 29, 1995 as we hear him convince his band mates to open with “Unbroken Chain”: