Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia sadly passed away on this date in 1995. The beloved musician was just 53-years-old when he suffered a heart attack that took his life. An acclaimed guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, Garcia created a lasting body of work with the Dead and the many projects he participated in during his all-too-short career.
In celebration of Jerry’s life and legacy, below is a collection of videos capturing him sitting-in with various other acts during the latter stage of his life. Focusing on performances beyond his typical collaborations with the Jerry Garcia Band, David Grisman and John Kahn, the collection instead presents instances where Garcia served as a truly special guest.
First up is footage from Paramount Sound Stages in Los Angeles in 1990. One-time Grateful Dead member Bruce Hornsby was performing with his backing band The Range when he invited his at-the-time band mate to accompany the group. Garcia assisted on “Across The River” and “Barren Ground” — just as he did on Hornsby’s 1990 studio LP A Night on the Town.
One day after turning 47, Garcia was part of a benefit concert held at the Crystal Ballroom in the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on August 2, 1989. The Benefit for the National Hispanic Arts, Education Media Institute saw Jerry team up Santana and fellow special guest, drummer Steve Jordan. Later, Garcia also played guitar alongside Ruben Blades & Son Del Solar on a rendition of “Muevete.”
Jerry’s first public performance after recovering from a five-day diabetic coma in July 1986 came during Los Lobos’ concert at New George’s in San Rafael, California on November 21, 1986. Guest Carlos Santana handed Garcia a guitar and then proceed to watch from the audience as Jerry made his return by helping out on “La Bamba.”
Traffic opened for the Grateful Dead during the summer of 1994. The Dead often covered Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and Garcia can be seen below joining Steve Winwood on the classic during one of Traffic’s opening sets.
On April 24, 1989 a concert ticketed as Elvis Costello & Friends took place at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, California. Costello played a solo set, followed by a collaborative performance featuring the likes of Bob Weir, Sammy Hagar, Pete Sears, Nick Lowe, Commander Cody and more. Among the songs Garcia was on stage for were “You Win Again,” “Why Don’t You Love Me,” “Riot In Cellblock #9” and “Going Down.”
Bay Area-based Zero performed at the Soviet American Peace Walk Concert at Golden Gate Park on July 16, 1988. Guitarist Steve Kimock, drummer Greg Anton, Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, bassist Bobby Vega, horn players Martin Fierro and Hadi Al-Saadoon and keyboardist Lowell “Banana” Levinger brought out Garcia for an extensive sit-in. Jerry along with keyboardist Merl Saunders, harmonica player Norton Buffalo and guitarist Marc Benno, accompanied the collective on Jimmy McCracklin and Don Robey’s “Think,” Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene” and Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”