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Lot #2172
Jerry Garcia Autograph Letter Signed

“Grateful Dead just played our first outdoor show of the year at a place called the Greek Theatre”

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“Grateful Dead just played our first outdoor show of the year at a place called the Greek Theatre”

Extremely rare two-part ALS signed twice “Jerry.” First part is on two pages both sides, 5.25 x 8.5, no date but circa late May–early June 1982, and second part is on one page both sides, 8.5 x 11, Hotel Parker Meridien, New York letterhead, no date but postmarked June 22, 1982. Written to a woman he met at a NYC party in 1980, in full: "Thank you really for sending that postcard, I feel like it’s sort of our first 'official' communication somehow. I’ve been hoping we could get together ever since we first met at Al’s that winter nite so long ago (sigh)…However it seems as tho…(Hey! My pen stopped writing) I’ve been ninety degrees off or out of phase or something whenever it might have been possible to get to know you a little better. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’ve been avoiding you, although I admit I’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity (that is, the 'right' opportunity) for us to meet in some kind of neutral context that would be comfortable and relaxed and free of any pressure. Of course it could be years before any such opportunity arises, so…this is just a long winded way of saying thank you for writing. Oh! also in spite of never having been alone with you, I somehow feel close to you and I’ve looked forward to and enjoyed those times, however brief, that we have been in the same general vicinity and spoken slightly (New York, Germany, Calif etc.) you know—so…

The Grateful Dead just played our first outdoor show of the year at a place called the Greek Theatre (a nice amphitheatre in back of The University of Calif. in Berekley [sic] kind of like this)," Here, Garcia draws a very detailed sketch showing all elements of their performance at the Greek Theatre: the columns lining the back of the stage; the band on stage, which he labels "us"; and the audience, labeled "them." He continues, writing: "A really nice site, we played for three days and the weather was really delicious although the last day (Sunday) was the beginning of a short hot spell and was a trifle uncomfortable but it was nice to play outdoors. I’m going to be playing in and around New York in June (while you’re in London naturally) and I’m sorry I’ll be missing you again: write me more, if you like that is, and thank you again for the card." He also adds a brief postscript, indirectly attesting to the extreme rarity of this item: "P.S., Pardon my handwriting, this is the first letter I’ve written in years."

The ALS continues on in a second part, written later on Hotel Parker Meridien, New York letterhead, postmarked June 22, 1982. In full: "Now, weeks later I’m in N.Y.C. Received your 2nd postcard (gasp) and I’m just getting (that is) around to mailing my first letter. Partly, it’s a sort of mail fright, like stage fright and partly editorial misgivings (Let’s see, is it legible? Spelled correctly? Am I constructing these sentences properly? God I hope she doesn’t think I’m an idiot for running off at the pen like this) Oh well—I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland. Hope you enjoyed it & I hope this letter finds you well. The whole Falkland thing here became really creepy (for me) when Begin explained & excused Israel’s invasion of Lebanon by comparing the situation to the British position in Falklands. The whole business scared the hell out of me. Latest news from England is of course the Royal birth. I’ll bet the locals are enjoying it immensly [sic].

I’m on the road again. This time with my own band & also doing some more of those two piece shows (me and John Kahn) (bass). I’ve done a few more of them since I last saw you and am starting to adjust to and become aware of the musical possibillitys [sic] of that acoustical format. It’s exciting tho still scary. I wish you were here now that I’ve got a little time here (for once) but… bye for now." In overall fine condition, with a few small stains to earlier portion of letter. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Garcia’s own hand. Also accompanied by full letters of authenticity from Roger Epperson/REAL and PSA/DNA.

Garcia admittedly had uncharacteristic “stage fright” with this method of correspondence as he repeatedly revealed, waiting so long he added a second part. When he finally mailed this letter from NYC, he was prepping for his June 25th acoustic solo act with John Kahn at The Palladium. The legendary front man mentions a little bit of everything including the June 21, 1982 birth of Prince William, “Latest news from England is of course the Royal birth.” The rarity of this handwritten letter cannot be overstated—research indicates no others ever being on the market—even Garcia himself noted, “this is the first letter I’ve written in years." The unique sketch he drew of the Grateful Dead’s historic home-base venue, the Greek Theater, is particularly poignant as it relates to their Bay Area roots—this year marks the band’s 50th Anniversary.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Remarkable Rarities Auction
  • Dates: #445 - Ended January 22, 2015