Sunday, February 1, 2015

Welcome to the West Coast: Jerry and Merl In Front of Two Hundred at The Rio 1979-06-08



I saw the Grateful Dead 19 times in 1979 as well as four Jerry shows. And perhaps my favorite show that year was a in a little movie theater in Rodeo California in front of maybe 200 people.

Before I moved to the Bay Area in December 1980, I came west for the first time around June 1, 1979 as my girlfriend Harriet's Dad had given me a summer job in San Francisco at Deans and Homer ( no not Howard and Simpson).

This was a double header for me as I had walked from my office on Pine Street in the Financial District up to city hall to see punk legends The Ramones to play an uncharacteristic daylight noon gig laying 27-songs at lunch outside San Francisco City Hall in the Civic Center district in the warm California Sun.  see http://vivalesbootlegs.blogspot.com/2010/10/ramones-raw-2-city-hall-plaza-san.html for more information on that or Video Ramones before Reconstruction, First SF Friday  If you think there is a huge gap between The dead and The Ramones think again.  KSAN, famous for their Jerry shows (think 1972 with Merl), broadcast this live at noon.

The Dead played three area shows during my summer there, one in Sacramento and the very first two shows at their new home field, the Oakland Auditorium Arena (later Kaiser).  I will get to those shows in the coming weeks.  But luckily for me, I had already seen the Nickey Hopkins version of the Jerry Band in 1975 , the Keith/Donna versions in 1977 and 1978, and now I was seeing the short lived but wonderful Reconstruction for the first of four times.

We drove over from Marin (actually Harriet drives since I didnt get my license until 1981 in Berkeley) and this is the spot. The very cool Brokendown Palace blog has many photos of this place in which is in the middle of nowhere. The very cool Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger blog also writes about this venur and show.

http://jerrygarciasbrokendownpalaces.blogspot.com/2012/06/rio-theatre-140-parker-avenue-rodeo-ca.html

http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2010/12/reconstruction-june-8-1979-venue.html

Jerry often used places like this as our of town rehersals.  In fact it took me a long time to figure out which show I went to  (see my facebook conversation below). Luckily some of my friend's recall more.


The second photo is the clip that days Contra Costa Times, which was on the defunct Jerry Site.

 This was such a fun show, my first show ever outside the northeast and just three weeks since the Portland Maine 5-13-79 show (after seeing Brent's first shows on the East from 5-3 to 5-9 (although story, another blog but thanks Bobby Morris and Sam for driving )

Today's Grateful Seconds could be the whole show (which I do attach in mp3, flac to follow) but I'm giving you 397 Grateful Seconds of one of my first Merl vocals on Make It Better. Reconstruction was about 1/4 Merl vocals, 1/4 Ron Stallings (Telling My Friends is lovely) 1/4 Jerry and 1/4 instrumentals.  This show is fun and great, bur the band would hit its stride with the July Keystone shows and when Jerry started playing Dear Prudence. For a 20 year old Kid from Maine to come to the Promise Land and see Jerry and Merl in a movie theater on my first Friday night was mind boggling.  Having a gf with a car was so great too.