Rare Footage: Jerry Garcia’s Solo-Acoustic Shows from ’82

by Steve Spohn
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JerryGarcia13FeaturedIn 1982, legendary East Coast concert promoter John Scher talked Jerry Garcia into doing two completely acoustic solo shows. It would be just Jerry and his acoustic guitar on the stage.

Garcia had never done a solo show before, and he wasn’t really up for it. But in the end, he relented. The solo paycheck was appealing and the challenge intriguing.

So Scher got his two, same-day acoustic solo gigs from Jerry on April 10, 1982 at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ.

Although Garcia said he wouldn’t do it again (and true to his word, he never did), the result was impressive nonetheless. See for yourself. (By the way, we’re not counting the shows Jerry played with bassist John Kahn as true “solo” performances. At the two shows we’re talking about, it was Jerry and his acoustic guitar, and nobody else.)

Here’s rare footage from John Scher’s vault. The shows were shot with house cameras in vintage black and white. The clips are brought to you via the Concert Vault.

You will have to suffer through a 15-second ad before the actual footage starts. It’s worth the wait.

Here is Jerry performing a rare solo-acoustic version of “Reuben and Cherise.”

Here is Jerry playing a rare solo-acoustic version of “Ripple.”

Steve Spohn is a former Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon Television executive. Growing up near Princeton, NJ, led to a musical addiction, with WMMR in Philly and WNEW in NYC providing the daily dose. When not attending or planning to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts, he's plugging away as a screenwriter in Beverly Hills. Reach Steve at SSpohn@SongMango.com.