"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, June 19, 2015

Run Me Out

Well it was 20 years ago that I saw my final Grateful Dead concert. By all means, it is more than a bit surreal that they are booked again as the Grateful Dead. I never thought that I would see the day. It is wonder some to think that these show are the bands final send off.
The show, I'm talking about is the second night of Giants Stadium in 1995. I saw the previous night and thought it was magical, until the "Wharf Rat." Somehow Jerry's brain thought that he was playing "Stella Blue" but his mouth was playing "Wharf Rat" until the song coda, when he caught up to himself. Regardless the show was a magically experience for me and my friend as things seemed to line-up for us. This lifestyle, this band, this music was something that I was looking at investing my time and effort into and there was alinement in my trajectory with the band. Even though I was pretty silly of me to be proud of dancing through all of Drums and Space. Yet at the end of the night, I had just seen my first show on LSD and Jerry sang "Lucy in the Sky," so I was taking away from it that there was a mystical connection.
The next night, I saw some of these connection dissolve into uncertainty. For this night I was on the floor, instead of in the 300's. I thought that the first set of this set had more energy than the previous night and was hopeful that the second set would kick it up a notch. The "Aiko" was a fun opener and then the band slowly build into a request the previous night. Before the second set the night beforehand the audience in the 100 level started a long chain of interlocked glow sticks, as a way of requesting "Unbroken Chain." This night got the "Unbroken" but the song was spoiled by Jerry's guitar going dead right as the instrumental break came through. Steve Parrish was running like a madman around Jerry's rig as he fumbled with his guitar and petals. People found it odd a couple of years ago, when Phil plowed through "Unbroken" with Furthur, when Bobby went down, but this was a similar type of deal. The show must go on.
Jerry didn't appear on "Space" and he missed half of the "Other One" with more guitar problems. To me that, "Stella Blue" was a heart felt note. A brilliant apology to the evening technical problems. Then Jerry topped off the show with a fond Fare Well.
Yet there is some regret when I look back on my last show, not because it was my last show but because it should not have been. My buddy was going up to Albany for the two shows at the Knickerbocker Arena and I was going to go with him until my mom talked me into going to my Senior Prom instead. Her comment was, "The Grateful Dead has been around since I was young. You'll have plenty of times that you can go see them." Turns out she was wrong. So when she tries guilting me into not going to Chicago, I remind her of this and continue my obsession with the first weekend in July.
So my hypothesizing over the last month made me reflex on the 20th anniversary shows the band played on 6/14, 15, and 16th of 1985. The shows were full of the GD standards like "Scarlet/Fire," "China/Rider," "Sailor/Saint," and "Terrapin." But the band also took time to nod to the future by debuting out "Keep On Growing." As well they took time to pull out some gems from their years past, such as the first "Comes a Time" in 5 years. Then brief resurrection of "Cryptical Envelopment" which had not been played since 1972 and had only been played once since then.
So this Fare Thee Well, 5 show run, what will be the curveball. When Phil came back to the stage after his liver transplant in 1999, the revival of "Viola Lee" literally came out of no where. I don't remember anyone calling that one. In the years since them "Viola Lee," "Golden Road," and "Weather Report Suite" have all seen the sunshine on a regular bases. I have called "HC Sunshine" as an opener on 7/3 because one of the first interviews I read, Trey mentioned listening to shows from 1973. Then in the Wall Street Journal article Bobby and Trey talk about having about 90-100 songs charted. At between 18-20 songs a show, that means no repeats for all 5 shows. Happy, happy DeadHeads.
Like it or not "Drums" is going to played all 5 nights. I can't see the set up Mickey and Billy have been posting online just being there for "Stagger Lee" and "Ramble On Rose." This also means there will be late set transitions to those dreamy Jerry ballads each night. Five nights, five different songs. "Dew," "Wharf Rat,""Stella Blue," "Days Between," and "Standing on the Moon" could be the five ballads. But what if they open with a "Dew?" Or slide a "Standing on the Moon" as a first set closer? Out of a "To Lay me Down?" That would make room for "Comes a Time," which might make me hit the moon. I also think that there is a rare song that is similar to some of the slower Phish ballads and that is "If I Had The World To Give."
That would pretty much blow peoples mind. Yet I do not think that that would be the gem that gets revived in this atmosphere. The bust out song that I'm going to predict for the weekend in Chicago is "Blues for Allah." I believe that it will fit in the middle of the set and be one of those "Blues for Allah>Drums>Blues for Allah" type jams.
I can honestly say that I'm already thinking about Fourth of July weekend more than I should. I am driving there and back from NYC area. I have family there and hope to do some yoga each day at Cyoglab there. I love to meet up with as many people as possible, best way is twitter HERE or email playingintheheartofgoldband@gmail.com. And we will be "dancing in Chicago!"

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