Anniversary of Jerry’s Last Show with the Dead
By Paul Allen
July 9 is a special day in music history. An incredibly sad day. It’s a day that signifies the end of an era. July 9, 1995 marked the final time Jerry Garcia performed on stage. The show is not known for its musical highlights, but rather it gives us an opportunity to examine the power of the Grateful Dead. For someone who never got to personally witness the Grateful Dead perform, it’s a show packed with raw emotion every time I give it a spin.
Some of the musical highlights from the show include a second set opening “Shakedown Street > Samson and Delilah” and a very solid rendition of “Unbroken Chain”. However, the hands down highlight is the mid-second set “So Many Roads”. This “So Many Roads” is one of the singular most emotive pieces of music ever performed, with the title of the song providing a fitting tribute to the musical journey the band embarked on so long ago.
Garcia’s voice is tinged with a knowing sadness that the end is coming throughout the song. Listen to the end of the song as Jerry belts out the final refrain, and you will hear it yourself. We can hear the crowd roar in appreciation for the effort Garcia put into the song. Little did they know, Garcia would be walking off the stage for the final time that night. The emotion and energy from the show translates clearly to any recording you hear of this show all these years late, showing yet again the permanent relevance of the Grateful Dead. Jerry is physically gone but he lives on – stronger and brighter with every listen.