There are few things more satisfying in this world than when Jerry Garcia gets most of the words right while singing a Dylan tune, especially when that tune is “Tangled Up In Blue”. I’ve dug high and low listening to all the Jerry Garcia Band live versions of “Tangled Up In Blue” available on the web, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best one they ever played was on this day, July 26th, 1980 at Convention Hall in Asbury Park, NJ.
This performance took place during one of the peak periods for the Jerry Garcia band, with Ozzie Ahlers in the midst of his two-year stint on keys and Greg Errico of Sly and the Family Stone on drums. The band is tight and Jerry has not yet slipped too deeply into the issues that notoriously plagued him in the 1980s. Sure, the man’s strung out, but he’s still with it at this point, and both his playing and his singing are fantastic for all these JGB shows in 1980.
There are two official releases from this period: GarciaLive Volume 1, which features the show on March 1st, 1980, and After Midnight: Kean College, 2/28/80. Both are fantastic shows Ahlers on keys (with Johnny de Fonseca on keys) and Jerry’s vocals and playing of Tiger are in top form.
The show on 7/26/80 is not an official release as of my writing this, but the “Tangled Up In Blue” and several others are preserved in pristine quality on YouTube. The video below comes from the channel Classic Rock on MV, and my only complaint is that the video mislabels the venue as the Capitol Theatre, which is is certainly not from.
Watch the Jerry Garcia Band performing Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” on 7/26/80 below.