Jerry Garcia slipped into a five-day diabetic coma in July of 1986; remarkably, he returned to the stage by year’s end. Three years later, with his fruitful side project the Jerry Garcia Band in peak form, the Grateful Dead guitarist arrived in Hartford, CT for a twelve-show run that featured Rob Wasserman and Bob Weir as the opening act (the two would later go on to form Ratdog in 1995).
Yesterday, Round Records released Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound, a six-disc set containing that Hartford performance plus the Uniondale, NY show from the following night. The five-plus hour release highlights Jerry and the Band at their peak, and this Robert Hunter-penned track is tucked among rarities like Delaney & Bonnie’s “Lonesome and a Long Way From Home,” plus other more frequent covers.
By ’89, it had been over ten years since the group released their only studio album, Cats Under the Stars; thanks to their re-energized sound, they would cut a self-titled live recording less than two years later. As keyboardist Melvin Seals told author Blair Jackson – which the latter recounts in Sound‘s liner notes – “I think there’s more of a spiritual focus to what we’re doing now. Any time you come that close to death, it makes you think about things differently and it does something to you inside.” And that’s evident in Garcia’s voice: “Lord you can see that it’s true,” he sings, “You gotta try and see a little further.”