"If you tell the Truth, you don't have to remember anything"
-Mark Twain
"You realize, of course, that everything I say is horseshit." -Kurt Vonnegut

Friday, May 11, 2012


2-05 He's Gone

Twenty-one years ago today, Bob Marley died at the age of 36 from complications from melanoma discovered in his toe in July of 1977. Marley was traveling to Jamaica after trying some experimental treatment in Germany. On the flight his health worsened so they landed in Miami. He was rushed off the plane and to the hospital where he died later that day. Supposedly he said his last words to his son Ziggy, "Money can't buy you life."
The Grateful Dead were not the type of band that would play tribute to famous figures or fellow musicians, execpt The Bill Graham Tribute in Golden Gate Park on 11/03/91. In fact the band didn't even seem to acknowledge the passing of their band mates; Pigpen, Keith, or Brent. (The curse of the Spinal Tap Drummer!) But on May 12, 1981 that is exactly what they did for the passing of Bob Marley.

New Haven, CT 5/12/81
1: Alabama, Greatest, Peggy O, Cassidy, Roses, Uncle, Big River, Althea, Rooster, China, Rider
2: Shakedown, LLRain, Ship of Fools, Estimated, He's Gone, Drums, Space, Other One, Wharf Rat, Sugar Mags
Encore: Don't Ease

The "He's Gone" is dedicated to Bob Marley. Though they played a show the night of Marley's death, there was no acknowledgement, because this is before the existence of the Twitterverse.  The band obviously spoke about it before hand because the intro to "He's Gone" fizzles when Bobby comes up to make the dedication. The "Estimated" that leads into the "He's Gone" is very potent. Bobby seems to put some extra gusto into this rendition, as if to imply that Marley was some sort of Prophet, "And we raise up to glory, glory".
I find this strange because they never covered Bob Marley. JGB covered "Stir it up" a few times with Donna Jean and Maria Muldaur on lead vocals. Then there was the accidental cover the Dead did of "Stir it up" in 1988. But yet they chose to honor Bob Marley's Legend with this "He's Gone".
(I posted the song and you should be able to download it. If not let me know.)

I can't forget to mention that 40 years ago today the Dead played a legendary show in Rotterdam. Dick Latvala called this his favorite of all the Europe '72 shows.  The show features a "Dark Star" that ranges 47 minutes, including a little Billy drum solo in it. The "Dark Star" breaks down into a jam where Jerry seems to be pulling it into "Wharf Rat" but Bobby rightfully calls the uptempo "Sugar Mags". Picking up on a tease in the "Dark Star","Caution" comes roaring out of the "Mags". Before keeping the tempo going for a rockin' "Truckin'", which disintegrates as the show comes to a close. There is a reason why "Truckin'" isn't used as set closer! Then the cherry on top, "Uncle John's Band".

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