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Jerry Garcia & John Kahn | GarciaLive Volume 14, Jan. 27, 1986: The Ritz

The Dead guitarist is in fine form on this masterful acoustic performance.

I am sure even Jerry Garcia had his off nights. But this wasn’t one of them. Joined by nimble, melodic bassist John Kahn, The Grateful Dead singer-guitarist and spiritual leader is in fine form, masterfully delivering a strong, confident acoustic performance divided between Dead hits, solo fare, Bob Dylan covers and blues classics. What more could you want — aside from the next night’s equally outstanding but slightly different show (which is apparently included in the two-disc version).

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The GarciaLive series is set to return with our first dip into the acoustic realm! GarciaLive Volume 14: January 27th, 1986 The Ritz spotlights an exultant Jerry Garcia & John Kahn acoustic duo performance in the heart of New York City. There was always palpable energy to Garcia’s performances in the Big Apple and this Monday night was no exception. Captured at the midway point in their East Coast run, Garcia & Kahn delight a spellbound audience with a mix of Grateful Dead favorites, folk standards, and other staples from Garcia’s songbook. The duo’s performance is laid-back yet impassioned with Garcia’s mastery as a storyteller on full display. As Billy Strings describes in the liner notes, Garcia “sings through the verses and picks through the melodies as if he is the man in the story. Delicate and deliberate.” A sultry version of Friend of the Devil showcases Garcia’s soulful singing and his deep musical connection with Kahn. And what Garcia performance would be complete without a couple nods to the Bard — namely When I Paint My Masterpiece and Simple Twist of Fate. Other highlights include an upbeat Bird Song which Garcia & Kahn stretch out for the longest jam of the evening and a joyous Ripple we imagine made the whole room smile.”