For anyone who read my most recent posts, you know I was not a fan of the music-making that took place in Santa Clara, CA. at the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead celebration. To clarify, my intent is not to diminish the experience of those who were there or those who genuinely loved the music. So much goes into a concert experience and these particular concerts are so very emotionally charged. I’ve not talked to one single person who was in attendance in either Santa Clara or Chicago who did not remark on the amazing energy that was present in both stadiums. Through the roof. The outpouring of love must have been tremendous. That experience in itself transcends the quality of the music-making, no question. The sheer celebration and flood of emotional and spiritual experiences. The sheer importance of this music in our lives, this bond we share through it, the journeys we’ve taken both internally and externally, the absolute life-affirming nature of the entire Grateful Dead experience.
I post the below article written by Stewart Sallo in the Boulder Weekly titled LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD not because I agree with it, but to represent part of the experience Dead-Heads are having. This article is far more cynical than I am. I would prefer to believe the remaining members of the Grateful Dead had the best of intentions here in trying to satisfy the many needs involved. And I think it turned out to be a far greater beast than any of them anticipated.
Perhaps that’s naive, I dunno. I can certainly see it as an opportunity to both celebrate the Grateful Dead’s 50 years AND make some money. This is, after all, one of the ways in which these guys earn their living. And they’ve hit retirement age now. They still play music, but they no longer tour and they rarely cut albums. So yes, this was also a chance to make some money. I hold no grudge with that. Artists should be paid and paid well. It’s just unfortunate that this event has also created much heartache and disappointment for many.
Perro, or Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, was the name given to the group of musicians who played, recorded and jammed together in the early 70’s. They were, essentially, members of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Their first album together, Blows Against The Empire, was released, not as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, but as Jefferson Starship (a name later used for Grace Slick and Paul Kantner’s band formed in 1974). They then officially became Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra on David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name.
In 1971, these musicians got together for rehearsals at Wally Heider Studios and, luckily for us, these sessions were recorded (see below) yielding some truly remarkable music and interactions between this collective group of inspired and supremely talented artists. They were as follows:
Shortly after Garcia’s death in 1995, David Crosby had this to say about his longtime friend:
I remember laughing so hard I got the hiccups. Of course, that might have had something to do with the big sticky buds, but we were a pair of odd ducks anyway, and we cracked each other up a lot.
Jerry, Phil Mickey, and Bill all came to Wally Heider’s many nights when I was recording “If I Could Only Remember My Name.” So much fun, so MUCH music…
What did we lose? One of the best minds in music: articulate, always thinking fresh, original thoughts. Jerry didn’t tell you what he thought you wanted to hear, he told you what he thought.
Jerry played his own way, too, completely unlike any other musician. As different as Hendrix was, in another direction.
Somehow, I wound up being a closer friend to Phil. Jerry wound up being kind of hard to reach to, in the later times. As much as I miss him, I know that Phil and the others miss him more. I listen to Kids and Dogs, or The Wall Song, and… I miss him.
This passage is an excerpt from GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, originally published in 1995 byDupree’s Diamond News. To learn more about Dupree’s Diamond News or how to obtain a copy of GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, click here.
Here, for your listening pleasure, is some of the now-famous Perro Sessions:
Surviving members of the Grateful Dead reunited on stage last night for the first time in 4 years. It was for what they called “Change Rocks”, a benefit concert to raise awareness for Senator Barack Obama and the upcoming November 4 election. The benefit also featured the Allman Brothers Band.
Here is the setlist for the show and the transcript of Sen. Barack Obama’s filmed greeting to the sold-out audience:
CHANGE ROCKS SETLIST
Bryce Jordan Center
Pennsylvania State University
State College, PA
October 13, 2008
Filmed greeting by Senator Barack Obama:
“For twenty months, I’ve been traveling this country from town to town-even developing a ‘Touch of Grey’ of my own. And on that journey, I’ve seen Americans who are hurting under the politics and policies of Washington. They need change, and I am running for President to bring about that change.
“On November 4th, you’ll get to make a choice between two different candidates with two dramatically different visions for our future. You’ll get to choose which direction you want to take our country. I believe that now is the time to put Americans back to work and rebuild our middle class; to live up to the promise of affordable health care for everyone; to guarantee a quality education for all our children; to end our dependence on Middle East oil; and to bring this war in Iraq to a responsible end. We can do all that. And on November 5th, I hope to announce that we ‘Ain’t Wasting Time No More.’”
Help On The Way>
Playing In The Band>
The Other One>
Touch of Grey>
Not Fade Away
Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, gtr; Phil Lesh, bs; Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, dms; Jeff Chimenti, kbds.