How Are Deadheads Celebrating Jerry Garcia's 74th Birthday?

Clayton Call/Redferns
Jerry Garcia performs at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco on Jan. 31,1991. 

If you live in the Denver area and are a Grateful Dead fan, you’re in luck. Monday, Aug. 1 would've been Jerry Garcia’s 74th birthday. To honor that, Warren Haynes will lead the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration with the Colorado Symphony at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in nearby Morrison. It’s part of a short tour that ends Monday, Aug. 8 at New York’s SummerStage in Central Park.

With Dead & Company off the road, having completed their summer tour on Saturday at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif., how else can fans of the late guitar player and Grateful Dead co-founder mark what would have been the beginning of his 74th year?

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They can start by downloading or streaming Garcia’s solo-album catalog, which is now available via iTunes, Apple Music and Google Play for the first time. The albums include Garcia (1972), Compliments (1974), Reflections (1976), Cats Under the Stars (1978), Run for the Roses (1982), all six Garcia Live volumes (the seventh will be released on August 19), After Midnight: Keen College, 2/28/80 (2004) and Fall 1989: The Long Island Sound (2013). More titles will be announced soon.

Another live event -- the Jerry Garcia 74th Birthday Celebration -- will take place Monday at Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, Calif. Stu Allen & Mars Hotel are headlining the show. Grateful Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra, who play entire shows from the group’s legendary live archives, are off tonight, but will perform at the BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C., on Aug. 2 and continue on tour through Aug. 20.

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The 14th Annual Jerry Day is scheduled for Aug. 14 at McLaren Park Amphitheatre in San Francisco, with Melvin Seals & JGB and Stu Allen & Mars Hotel on the bill. Though that’s 13 days away, Deadheads will mark the week leading up to it with memorials for Garcia, who died on Aug. 9, 1995 of a heart attack after a long battle with drug addiction.

Born on Aug. 1, 1942 in San Francisco, Garcia famously lost two-thirds of the middle finger on his right hand in a camping accident when he was just four years old. That didn’t stop him from pursuing a career as a guitar player, singer, songwriter and bandleader, which ultimately led to the formation of the Grateful Dead in 1965 along with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Bill Kreutzmann. Garcia would team up with lyricist Robert Hunter to write some of the group’s most enduring songs, from “Truckin’” (No. 64, 1970) to “Touch of Grey” (No. 9, 1987).


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