Jerry Garcia Band: GarciaLive Volume 11: November 11th, 1993 Providence Civic Center

Larson Sutton on September 3, 2019
Jerry Garcia Band: GarciaLive Volume 11: November 11th, 1993 Providence Civic Center

There’s no doubt it’s one of those fabled hot shows when the final song of the night exerts as much if not more crackling energy than the first and, with this thoroughly lively performance, that is saying something.  The 11th in the GarciaLive series, it’s no accident that this 11/11/93 ripper from Providence was chosen to be next, beyond the numeric synchronicity.  In fact, it’s a wonder it wasn’t released sooner, given all of its strengths.

First and foremost is Jerry Garcia’s inspired voice and guitar work that proves once again why he was so beloved.  The setlist is full of familiar trails- cookers, covers, and ballads-, with a few surprises, but it’s almost beside the point; it’s the vivid articulation, the verve, from Garcia and company deployed on every song that makes this one another must-have from this ongoing series.

The two-disc collection is recorded quite well, balancing sonically and with strong fidelity each stellar contribution from the always-steady ensemble; whether Melvin Seal’s dexterity on “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” John Kahn’s storytelling bass on “Simple Twist of Fate,” or David Kemper’s intuitive double-time push on “Dear Prudence” as Garcia ripples through the changes.  Yet, if the reasoning for acquisition of this gem needs to be reduced to one word, it’s Garcia.  Jerry is masterful, measuring blitz with bliss as he travels, often driving solos past the exit signs that appear with resolving chords, instead ‘feeling it’ and heading further on down the road.

This final JGB performance in Rhode Island’s capital- always a Northeast stronghold for the Dead- is closed with a bluegrass staple, “Midnight Moonlight.”  It’s jaunty, old-time fun contrasting the exploratory, improvisation-infested “Don’t Let Go,” that precedes it, beautifully showing off two of the many shades of Garcia.  It’s also a bit bittersweet, recalling a much younger man playing jug music in the hills of Appalachia, with the whole strange trip still ahead.