menu Home chevron_right
Grateful Dead

Scarlet Begonias jam

Paul Dunay | October 7, 2020

While 1984 isn’t usually what comes to mind when thinking of incredible tours, this is a fine example of Jerry and the band at their absolute peak in terms of listening to each other and creating a vivid space from which to improvise. Jerry’s health was in huge decline during this period, his vocals often being strained to the point of scorched during most of 1983-1985. It wasn’t until after the coma and return to the road in 1987 that he could croon on a regular basis. However, there were often many great nights of guitar playing pre coma. At this point, he was still performing magically on most nights. The Greek Theatre was always a special place for the band and this run was no exception. This night was the first of a three night run and the first back in their hometown winding down from the long summer tour that started out West, moved to the East and then Midwest. This night among other things was known for the breakout of Dark Star for the first time since New Years 81 and more interestingly played as an encore, While that was satisfying in its own right, I believe the Scarlet Begonias —> Touch of Grey —> Fire on the Mountain was the barn burner of the show. This jam in Scarlet, prior to the move to Touch of Grey, which hadn’t ever happened before this night as far as I know, was intense, full of energy and great band syncopation. Paul and I are constantly looking for that magic in the music and this was no exception. The interplay between Jerry’s leads, Bob and Phil’s rhythmic foundation, the drummers cool fresh sounds and Brent who had come into his own (almost 5 years at this point) was highlighted by this mesmerizing jam. I find this full of energy and fresh ideas that I have drawn from in countless jams. The pace starts out nice and even and then builds dynamically throughout to an interesting crescendo. What always keeps me coming back to this jam is the upbeat nature of it. Scarlet jams could be sometimes short, spacey or even somewhat measured. There might be better ones, but this is pretty cool. I especially like the tease at the end into Fire on the Mountain, which Jerry actually abandons in favor of Touch of Grey which is not included here. Enjoy…

Written by Paul Dunay


This post currently has no comments.

Leave a Reply


    play_arrow skip_previous skip_next volume_down