“Tennessee Jed” was a raucous riot, as it indubitably should be. The instrumental breaks showcased JRAD’s proclivity for shaking fresh ideas out of well-worn material. Benevento dropped a stanky, Dr. John crossed with Dave Brubeck piano piece. Metzger and Dreiwitz slipped into a parallel, Bizarro “Jed.” The entire unit tilted and started to spin ecstatically. It was like putting a Ferris wheel on top of a roller coaster. JRAD increasingly infused the Dead’s material with their own creative energy. They weren’t out to simply play these cherished songs; they sought to possess them and make them their own.
Last weekend, the historic Warfield in San Francisco hosted a special two nights in honor of the life and legacy of Jerry Garcia. It is fitting, as the storied 86-year old theater hosted Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band dozens of times and continued to book acts that bring an adventurous music spirit. One of the beloved guitarist and bandleader’s closest collaborators outside of Grateful Dead was organist Melvin Seals.