“NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I

thedeadpicI 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.

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“NOT THE GRATEFUL DEAD” Even More Cynical Than I

Grateful Dead 50th Reunion Event: Impressions & Struggles


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.

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Grateful Dead 50th Reunion Event: Impressions & Struggles

DARK STAR As You’ve Never Heard It


The Grateful Dead at the Family Dog at the Great Highway August 3, 1969 in San Francisco. An incredible night in its entirety, but this 23 minute Dark Star with violin and saxophone accompaniment by David LaFlamme and Charles Lloyd respectively carries us across entirely new landscapes and over unimaginable peaks. It is a breathtaking auditory odyssey.



DARK STAR As You’ve Never Heard It

Jerry Garcia Week 2011 Day 7: Soundcheckin’

In 1976, the Grateful Dead returned from a year and a half hiatus during which time they recorded the amazing studio album BLUES FOR ALLAH. ’76 has a reputation for being a somewhat lackluster year. I, personally, find that to be a gross misconception. The Dead were well rehearsed and feeling precise. The music was often on the mellow side, particularly in the first months back but, for me, there was an extreme beauty that flowed from the band during this period.

Below are two soundchecks from the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco in July. I think it shows a band in top form. From their funky rendition of DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS to Jerry’s ode to love, THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, it’s a perfect way to welcome in a mellow Sunday morning.


Jerry Garcia Week 2011 Day 7: Soundcheckin’

Justice in California, For A Change…

“A federal judge in San Francisco decided today that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, striking down Proposition 8, the voter approved ballot measure that banned same-sex unions.”

It’s about time. I keep hearing the same misguided argument that marriage is a religious union between a man and a woman.

Perhaps for some.

But this is America where freedom of religion is a right. So, firstly, not everyone subscribes to the same religion or interpretation of religion.

Second, who says marriage is only a religious union? Are Atheists not allowed to marry? I wasn’t raised with the notion that marriage was a religious union and I’m an American. Does that mean those married by a justice of the peace and not a priest or a rabbi or some other religious figure are not truly married? C’mon, people. You may have your preferences, but stop deciding the definition of marriage for all people. THAT, my friend, is NOT American.

Third, there’s the argument that a child should be raised by a male and a female, a mother and a father. Okay, so what about gay couples that don’t want children? Or what about heterosexual single parents? If one dies or goes off to war and is not present for the child’s developmental years… Should that marriage be annulled? Are those kids in horrible danger of becoming deviants? Or perverts? Should the surviving parent have their child or children taken away?

Fourth, there’s the argument that all gay couples want is what is already offered through civil unions. By what if what they want is to be equal? What if what they want is to be able to express their love for one another through an institution and ritual that they were taught is what one does when one is in love. They get “married.” What if one person’s definition of marriage, like one’s definition of Christianity, Judaism, Democracy, etc., is different from someone else’s?

No, for America to work, for it to be the land of the free, all people must be treated equal. They must have equal rights. And in order to achieve that, we must have tolerance and understanding.

Then there’s the lovely notion that gays getting married tarnishes the very institution of marriage itself. Really? I know and have seen quite a few heterosexual couples that don’t do much justice to, or seem to display an overwhelming respect for, the institution of marriage. It’s on a couple by couple basis. By the same token, I know a number of gay marriages that I, as a heterosexual, hope to someday be able to emulate in both commitment, communication and expression of love and understanding.

We should all be so blessed.

Justice in California, For A Change…

Jerry Garcia Week 2010: Day 2 – Help On The Way

Yesterday I mentioned the album BLUES FOR ALLAH as my favorite studio effort by the Grateful Dead. It is a transcendent, mesmerizing journey consisting of some of the most beautifully complex songs and sounds the Dead ever created. But like all Dead albums, the studio environment was no match for the live. In concert, this band took the “skeletons” of these songs as created in the recording studio, and expanded them into full-on musical explorations that, like everything they played live, morphed and changed with each performance.

Though the Dead took a year and a half long hiatus from touring starting in late ’74 and into early ’76, they did play a handful of shows during that “off” period. Here’s a sampling from that tour-less time-zone. It contains many samplings from ALLAH as well as some good ol’ Grateful Dead from years past.

Off to a fiery start, Garcia breaks a string during SLIPKNOT! and the triple threat of HELP ON THE WAY-> SLIPKNOT!-> FRANKLIN’S TOWER is brought to a surprisingly graceful, albeit unexpected, halt. But all is alright in the world of the Grateful Dead. Strings are replaced, laughter ensues, and the journey continues, although this time traversing some different territory before returning to complete the trilogy.

The energy is high in this show with Garcia slamming his guitar as if to proclaim to the music Gods that it will take more than a broken string to stop this particular train. Then there’s the baby that’s born during the show as the band tries to coordinate from the stage getting doctor and patient together in time for the blissful event. Some kid out there was brought into this world listening to some wildly beautiful sounds. What a place he or she must have thought they’d landed!

Grateful Dead lore also suggests that this was one of the shows the band was “known” to have been chemically altered (along with 08/27/72, 05/11/78).

So welcome to Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park (San Fran, of course) on September 28th, 1975.

The journey starts HERE.

Jerry Garcia Week 2010: Day 2 – Help On The Way

Weekend Flashback: Summer’s Here And The Time Is Right

Summer has finally made its way to So Cal and, in honor of its somewhat late arrival, I thought we’d span a ten year period of the Grateful Dead performing DANCING IN THE STREETS. Ahhh, what a difference a decade makes!

Our first offering is from a concert the Dead gave in 1967 in Golden Gate Park, San Fran. It is blistered by Harry Reasoner’s paranoid and somewhat misguided interpretation of the events surrounding the scene.

The second (and third) offerings are from 1977 at the Capital Theater in Passaic N.J. ten years later and 3,000 miles away. The song is broken up into 2 video segments. This newer rendition features the Grateful Dead’s alternative arrangement to the song. One that I personally loved and wish they’d continued playing into the 80’s. But alas, this version died out with the 70’s.

But today, summer’s here and the time is right. Again… Enjoy!

Weekend Flashback: Summer’s Here And The Time Is Right