Happy Birthday Jerry Garcia: Jerry Goes Solo At The Capitol Theatre In 1982


Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was born in San Francisco on this date in 1942. One of the icons of the late-1960s psychedelic scene and a beloved musician by fans and admirers around the globe, Garcia was just days past his 53rd birthday when he tragically passed away on August 9, 1995.

With the Dead and his other projects such as the various incarnations of the Jerry Garcia Band, Legion Of Mary and Old & In The Way, Jerry shared the live stage with a nearly countless array of equally talented musicians. But there was one evening — April 10, 1982 — when Garcia made the rare decision to play a concert all by himself, staging early and late shows at The Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey.

Jerry’s solo appearance came between Grateful Dead concerts at Community War Memorial Auditorium in Rochester, New York on April 9 and at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York on April 11.

According to the official Jerry Garcia website, “Jerry only played one date (early & late shows) solo. Feeling uncomfortable alone on stage, he made sure that [bassist] John Kahn joined him for his next scheduled show. He never played alone on stage again.”

Indeed, on April 13, Dead guitarist Bob Weir accompanied Jerry during an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman and on April 23 (and several subsequent dates) it was Kahn alongside Garcia at The Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Thankfully, some video and soundboard audio circulates of both of the rare solo performances featuring classic Grateful Dead favorites, frequent covers and JGB staples. Watch “Reuben & Cerise” and portion of Jerry’s solo arrangement of “Ripple” via the Music Vault, followed by audio of the solo sets below:

[Reuben & Cerise]



[Early Show]

[Late Show]

A version of “Ripple” from Garcia’s performance remastered by audio engineer Joe Gastwirt will soon be available via Jerry Garcia Music LLC, a new independent music label launched by Manasha and Keelin Garcia, on most digital music services.

Setlists (via JerryGarcia.com)

Early Show

Set: Deep Elem Blues > Freight Train, Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie, Gomorrah, Dire Wolf, Little Sadie, Stagger Lee, Valerie, I’ve Been All Around This World, To Lay Me Down, Run For The Roses, Ripple

Encore: Reuben & Cerise

Late Show

Set One: Jack-A-Roe, Going, Going, Gone, Dire Wolf, Gomorrah, Run For The Roses, Friend Of The Devil, Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie ,Rosalie McFall, Sing Me Back Home, Deep Elem Blues

Set Two: It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry, Ballad Of Casey Jones > China Doll, Ripple

Encore: Reuben & Cerise