We all knew that the remaining members of the Grateful Dead were probably going to do SOMETHING to celebrate the 50 year mark. I was curious and a little uncertain about how I felt at the idea of celebrating the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary 20 years after Jerry Garcia’s death. Since that epic loss, the Grateful Dead‘s remaining members have played both together and separately, but never under the moniker “Grateful Dead.” And appropriately so, in my opinion. Jerry Garcia wasn’t just a guitarist, he was one of the main reasons the Grateful Dead sound and energy existed at all.
A quick reminder that the Dead family are gathering today at Bob Weir’s TRI Studios to create a free webcast Tribute to Jerry Garcia and a celebration of what would have been Garcia’s 70th birthday. It starts at either 6 or 6:30 PM PST (both times have been listed on their site, so “arrive” early would be my suggestion). You can watch the proceeding from the comfort of your own home at TRI Studios or Yahoo! Music
According to Dead.net:
Performing artists include Bob Weir, Mike Gordon, Neal Casal, Jeff Chimenti, Joe Russo, Donna Jean Godchaux, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler of the Hold Steady, Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend, Jonathan Wilson, Cass McCombs, Harper Simon, and Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman of the Yellowbirds. Plus very special guests…
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Benmont Tench will no longer be appearing on the show.
In addition to a one-time-only performance by the assembled artists, the Move Me Brightly webcast will include rare Grateful Dead concert footage and video tributes given by Garcia’s peers including David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Carlos Santana and more. David Crosby’s moving tribute, “’Cause I’m Missing Him Tonight,” penned specifically for the occasion, will be read during the show. Bill Walton will be in the house and Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Old School, Anchorman) will take a moment away from his day job to emcee the event.
In the meantime, here’s Jerry’s ex-wife, mother of two of his children, and lifelong friend, Carolyn Garcia (Mountain Girl) on Jerry’s passing:
Many Small Circles
To all our very dear friends everywhere,
Your many kind letters and calls have eased our sorrow during this difficult time. To everyone who wrote to us or sent us your wonderful, compassionate healing energy, we thank you and hope these words can serve as a return communication to the many we know are sharing this loss with us.
Jerry’s passing has shaken and saddened our family members. He was our father, husband, brother, leader, and inspiration. He showed the way by living and thinking creatively. He was filled with gifts and gave freely and humorously to anyone nearby. He shared his imagination and keen sense of fun with everyone, yet also carried the passion for life that manifested clearly in his music.
Just after Pigpen passed away, Jerry became despondent about continuing with the band and was close to deciding to hang it up. He and Hunter sat down together and wrote a couple of tunes that were so weird, no one but the Grateful Dead could possibly play them. This realization was somehow so cheering that it propelled them into the studio to work on songs for another album. Then they took that long break from performing, which made time for “Old and In the Way” to develop. The memories from that time are some of our very happiest. The children were young, we were young, lots of energy was flowing for love and life and making music.
We wish some of that creative juice time for all of you.
After all, we have learned much about magic, about the dance between audience and performers. It’s a circle of hearts falling into rhythm, in confluences of color and sound. All those shows, so many instants of perfect communication between musicians, energy fielded by the crowd, swirling around, filling hearts; this is our shared memory and shared ceremony.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to set aside a day to remember Jerry each year. His birthday, August 1, is a possibility. Good summer weather to go to the park with kids and dogs, share a picnic, walk by a lake, be with friends. Love one another. Play together. If we were a big circle, we can be many small circles and pass that good feeling around again and again. It is real.
To everyone, our love and deepest sympathy.
Carolyn Garcia (Mountain Girl) & the Garcia family circle
“We’ll meet again someday on the avenue.”
This passage is an excerpt from GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, originally published in 1995 by Dupree’s Diamond News. To learn more about Dupree’s Diamond News or how to obtain a copy of GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, click here.