Did you ever get the chance to see Jerry Garcia play guitar?

He could hit notes I've never heard anybody else play and it was on this date, May 19, in 1989 I got to see Jerry Garcia perform at Irvine Meadows in southern California.

This was one of the few shows I've gone to by myself, but ended up meeting a bunch of cool Dead Heads at the concert and in the parking lot afterward. During the late 80's and early 90's I lived in Monrovia and was able to attend lots of Grateful Dead shows and one of my favorite venues was Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. It had reserved seats below and a grassy area above and the location was right off the Freeway.

On this spring night, May 19, 1989, I drove down in my Grandpa's old blue Buick Electra 225 with the studded snow tires still on it. Bob Weir and Rob Wasserman were opening the show and then it was the Jerry Garcia Band.

Jerry's solo band was known for doing some soulful covers of a wide variety of tunes as was the case this night:

Set 1

  1. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
  2. Stop That Train
  3. Get Out Of My Life Woman
  4. Run For The Roses
  5. I Shall Be Released
  6. I Hope It Won't Be This Way, Always
  7. Deal

Set 2

  1. Harder They Come
  2. Waiting For A Miracle
  3. Simple Twist Of Fate
  4. Don't Let Go
  5. That Lucky Old Sun
  6. Midnight Moonlight

The last song was a cover from the 'Old & In The Way' time period when Jerry got together with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, John Kahn and Vasser Clements to revive some old bluegrass sounds. It was a fantastic concert.

Since I was alone, I was able to linger in the parking lot longer than usual and the security was being quite lenient. It turned out, I was one of the last cars in the lot when an attendant told me I'd have to leave or I'd be towed. I was still in no shape to be driving but headed out toward the Freeway anyway.

Luckily, at that time of the night, the highway was not too crowded and it didn't matter as much that I was hitting the raised dots that let you know when you're moving out of your lane. I realized that I shouldn't be driving, so I took the next exit and ended up at Bellevue Park near downtown Los Angeles. I slept in the car until the sun came up and I woke up realizing that I had to be at work that morning.

I was feeling much better than earlier and was able to make it home and get cleaned up to make it to work. It had turned out to be a much bigger adventure than I had imagined it would be, as was the case with most all of the Grateful Dead concerts I've been to.