"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

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Six years ago, Vince Welnick committed suicide on this day. He had been battling depression for the ten years prior to his death. This was his second attempt on his life since the death of Jerry Garcia, unfortunately he was successful this time.
Deadheads relationship with Vince wasn't always the best. Fans complained that his chops were not as good as Brent, whom Vince succeeded as keyboardist. As like Donna, Deadheads complained that his vocals were too loud in the mix. But Vince did positively impact the Grateful Dead's repertoire. He was instrumental in them playing "Here Comes Sunshine" for the first time in 1213 shows and "New Speedway Boogie" that they hadn't played 1371 shows.

On this date in 1995, the Grateful Dead started what would be last three concerts in California. These three shows where highlighted by the previous mentioned "New Speedway" and "Sunshine", along with a guest appearance by the Guyoto Monks during "Drums".  
6/2/95 features an expansive "Bird Song", which you'll hear Vince crow in the middle of the jam. There is a very nice jam that comes out of the "He's Gone" before Mickey brings the Guyoto Monks for their chant. The post "Drums" "Standing on the Moon" is fantastic and I love hearing Jerry sing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". A fitting song being that he was once nicknamed "Captain Trips".
Then 6/3/95 has nice versions of "Althea"and "Stagger Lee" before a blue spacey "Eternity". Post "Space" they find there way into "Box of Rain", which was odd placing for the song. Then a emotional "Stella Blue" before a rocking "Throwing Stones".
The final show in California is 6/4/95. They open with "Bertha" and right off the back, it seems like Jerry can't remember how the song starts. Lucky there is a teleprompter, because it ends up being a good opener. The set ends with "Lazy River" and "Cassidy", which ignites the band before the set break. "Sunshine" opens the second set and is followed by the worst version of "Victim" ever. Vince and Jerry are playing one thing and Bobby, Phil and the Drummers are in a completely different part of the song. This was unfortunately not uncommon in 1995. So after butchering "Victim" they play a song that they didn't play for 21 years because it was too intricate. This is the only California version of "Unbroken Chain" and they were actually in sync. A upbeat "Eyes" leads them into "Drums". They encored this show with a fitting "Fare thee well" to California.
Vince and Jerry used to ride the bus together when the rest of the band would fly to certain gigs, because neither of them cared for flying. It's a strange twist of fate that Vince's first attempt on his life was on the bus during Ratdog tour. It seems like he was just trying to keep up the Grateful Dead tradition of disappearing keyboardist. He was 55 when he died, Garcia was 53 when he died.

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