All this week I’ve been celebrating Jerry Days, what they call in Deadhead parlance, ” The Days Between ” ( in reference to a song titled that which you probably don’t know if your not a Deadhead, it was one of their last and a really good song not on any of their official releases, you should check it out. ) The days between his birthday on August 1st and the anniversary of his death on August 9th. He lived from 1942 – 1995 and I consider myself fortunate to have seen him with the Dead for a good 10 years. The band was celebrating their 30th Anniversary that last tour. And while the music had it’s moments, it was painful to see Jerry fading away.
What a long strange trip it’s been ( W.A.L.S.T.I.B. ) since my first show in ’84 at Merriwether Post Pavilion in Maryland. I have to admit I was dragged there kicking and screaming by a friend that had dropped out of high school to go on Dead Tour and came back a die hard head. I was more of a punk/metal fan back then and I remember saying ” Why would I want to see a bunch of old hippies play country music? ” ( funny Trey said in an interview something to that effect about his first show too ) Well you can probably guess the rest, I got dosed and danced my ass off and have been a Deadhead ever since.
My last show was a surreal show in ’95 in Tampa. I made it up to the third row to see Jerry squinting at a teleprompter and flubbing the words to songs he use to know by heart. The band was rocking but Jerry was clearly struggling up there. It was sad.
What can I say ol’ Jerr Bear touched my soul and enriched my life and his music still lives on. Twenty One years later Dead and Co. are out on tour turning on new heads and keeping the longtime fans happy. I think Jerry would be proud.