Notes from 6 Dead & Company shows this summer.
First, how I got here.
I never caught on to the Dead until Dead & Company. I saw the Grateful Dead twice when I was younger, when Jerry was still alive. The music was great, but I didn’t like the shows.
The Dead’s fans, Deadheads, mostly they rubbed me the wrong way. They had long hair, but they weren’t hippies. They didn’t know music, most of them were just there for the party. I lived with some Deadheads – they were snobby, East Coast prep school kids. But they had good drugs, so I put up with them. One guy I lived with was mean to my dog, that really pissed me off. I’m still pissed about it, need to let it go.
Because their was fans were such a turn-off, I paid just about no attention to the Grateful Dead. When Jerry died in ’95 I did, however, go out to Fiddler’s Green to pay my respects. Jerry Garcia was a great, great, lead guitarist. He’s easily in the list of the 10 best lead guitar players of all time.
By the time the surviving members of the Dead announced the Fare Thee Well shows, I’d been turned onto Phish and digging it. Trey was playing lead guitar for the shows, I watched on pay per view. They were good shows, but not great. The band didn’t have enough time to rehearse, Bob Weir said as much in this recent interview.
When Bobby walked off the stage after the Chicago shows I knew there was going to be more. In fact Bobby even said so, in a backstage interview.
Then it happened. Dead & Company announced their debut and a fall tour. When I saw the lineup, I knew it was going to be great.
Deadheads weren’t believers. Most of them either didn’t know who John Mayer was (“he’s a pop star”), or didn’t believe he could fill Jerry’s place on stage. They thought that the Fare Thee Well shows should be it, the end. Never mind that the Dead have a song called “The Music Never Stopped”.
Not me. I’ve known John Mayer was a great lead guitar player for years now. I’d been watching him play with the Stones, Eric Clapton, and Gary Clark Jr. John Mayer can play, he rips.
Oteil Burbridge is a great base player, he can sing. Jeff Chimenti is a great keyboard player, he’s been playing with Bob Weir for years. And both Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann were playing drums. I knew the band was going to bring it.
I saw my first Dead & Company show in Broomfield in 015. Then I saw them last summer at the Shoreline and in Boulder. The music was such a turn-on, so tight. Dead & Company was now my band, I was listening to and loving Grateful Dead songs.
Dead & Company have been such a turn-on for me. The music is wonderful. The fans? Still some poseurs, every concert has ’em. But now, all I see are people loving the music. I’ve met kindred spirits, I dance and sing along with everyone. Yes, Deadheads miss Jerry. I miss Jerry. But just like me, the music is brand new for them now too.
So the whole scene is so on for me now — I’m downloading shows, watching videos and reading books about the Grateful Dead. I saw 6 shows this summer, I’m going to the Jerry Garcia 75th Birthday Concert @ Red Rocks in August. I’m proud to say I’m a Deadhead now and forever more. I couldn’t be any happier about it.
The summer 017 tour started with two shows at Shoreline.
When I travel I eat the same way I do at home.Yes, it takes a little creativity. But it’s worth it. Because my health, is worth it.
At DIA, I got oatmeal and fruit for breakfast with Almond Milk. Every airport I’ve been to has plant based food, you just have to look for it. And you have to improvise a little. If I’m staying at a hotel, I make sure it has a fridge. Before I check-in I make a list, go to the local Trader Joe’s.
There’s nothing like a Dead show.
At Dead shows there’s Shakedown Street. It’s a cool scene. Shakedown Street is a model for what we need to get back to — buying from each other, instead of faceless corporations. We need to start buying from neighbors – know farmers, know food. Check out this cool company I discovered, Vision Lab Apparel, that’s selling t-shirts made from recycled plastic.
Freedom and do your own thing is part of the Dead culture. It’s something else that attracts me to them. At other concerts it’s rare to see people playing music in the parking lot. At a Dead show there’s people playing music all around.
This guy needs a miracle ticket. So he got his friend to rig up a device to let others know. Deadheads are creative.
Trump isn’t very popular at Dead shows.
The band is definitely political, something else I love about them. At every show there’s Participation Row. It was great to see the folks from A.U.M Films there, the makers of Cowspiracy and What The Health. Participation Row @ Shoreline was celebratory and festive.
While I was there I wanted to have an Impossible Burger. There was a restaurant in Palo Alto serving them, so I went to see what all the fuss is about.
The burgers were bite sized, sliders. Renee’s burgers are better. The bill for two bite sized burgers was $18. This is everything that’s wrong with the Organic/Vegan food movement. $18 dollar burgers aren’t going to accomplish anything but making the owner of Impossible Foods, rich.
My nephew and his family made a trip from Monterey, great to see them.
Shoreline is a cool venue, I hope I’m fortunate enough to see the band there again. Congrats to Golden State for winning the title. They’re a great team, they’re going to win it again next year.
On the way home some words jumped off the page from a book I’m reading, small is beautiful by E.F. (Ernst Friedrich) Schumacher.
Schumacher believed that the youth (circa 1970) were rebellious, truculent, and often misguided. He thought they were searching for a new lifestyle. But that it was the duty of the older generation to break out of their narrow ways and offer, to the best of their abilities, and overall view and a prescription for the future.
I think we’re on a speeding train to a brick wall.
It makes no sense to tell our kids we love them, then leave behind a world in which their lives will be chaos. Everyone will be affected by what we’ve done. No amount of money will save a person from where we’re headed.
History is important. It’s illogical to study history then ignore it when it’s convenient or uncomfortable. It’s deeply hypocritical to reference Gandhi in posts or on posters (Apple’s Think Different campaign) then not follow his teachings such as wear Khadi. It’s deeply hypocritical to dance to the music of the Grateful Dead then ignore or not study what Jerry believed in.
Gandhi said, “I want the dumb millions of our land to be healthy and happy and I want them to grow spiritually…If we feel the need of machines we will certainly have them. Every machine that helps every individual has a place. “…but there should be no place for machines that concentrate the power in a few hands and turn the masses into mere machine minders, if indeed they do not make them unemployed”.
Because of our obsession with cheap and free, we’ve handed control of our lives over to a few companies. We’re now minders for the machines — Apple and Google control technology, Monsanto is close to taking over food supply.
Onward to two nights in Boulder @ Folsom Field.
This was the first trip of the summer in the HIPEVAN — loaded up the van with food, met up with my friend Jules who was kind enough to let me crash in her parking lot. Many thanks, Jules. I was close for the Boulder Shows. The band was tight.
I had good neighbors for both shows, that was bonus. Down on the floor it’s a different scene, it gets tight. People can be dorks. People around me were cool.
I had some good conversations with my neighbors, even exchanged contact information and promised to stay in touch. I thought I’d made connections.
Right after the show I followed up with two people I met, no response. This happens most of the time at concerts, I don’t know what it is. A part of me wants to tell myself that people are only cool when the lights are on. That they’re only Deadheads at concerts, that’s not who they are otherwise. That once the show is over, they go back to their lives of consumption, selfishness and greed. I hope that’s not the case. Maybe it’s me? Maybe I’m putting out the wrong vibe? Who knows. All I know is I just keep on, keeping on.
After listening to Johnny B. Goode from the New York show, I had to go to Chicago for the last shows of the summer tour. The band is playing blow my mind great.
Got to my hotel, took a walk. I thought I could get a Vegan Burger from this joint, I was wrong.
The Mindful Burger isn’t being mindful of the planet. And grass fed meat (chicken, beef, pork) is no better for your health than commercially raised meat. And there’s no such thing as sustainable fish. No wonder we are where we are. People believe advertising – or they just don’t care. Neither is good.
The last two shows were great. I stood in front of the sound board, the sound was tight. She’s tight too!
The tour ended with Sunshine Daydream and some fireworks. It was a great way to celebrate and wrap up the tour.
Many thanks to Ian for selling me a ticket for the 2nd night at a fair price. Ian has forever changed my view of Venture Capitalists.
I also met Ian’s brother Duncan, but I think I said something to Duncan he didn’t like.
Duncan used to live in Telluride, which explains a lot. Telluride locals are so clicky — worse than Aspen people — and Aspen people are the worst.
Most Telluride locals think their mountain is God’s gift to skiing. I got news for ’em. Yes, Telluride is a good hill. But it’s not the best hill. Chair 9 is painfully slow. Every powder day I been there, which I admit is only 2, Chair 9 was broken and/or it didn’t open till noon. The best lines there are short.
I left Duncan a message apologizing for anything I said, might have said, or didn’t say. Never heard back. Of course if he ever reads this any chance I had at making friends with him is out the window.
Anyway, Duncan is up to something really great, The World Pavilion. Check it out:
On the way out of town I saw an advertisement that I wish there were more of. People need to disconnect more – a lot more. I don’t know what it’s going to take.
I’m 58, finally got to go on tour. Dead shows are an experience. They’re wonderful. Here’s to more tours.
Onward to the Jerry 75 show at Red Rocks on August 4th. I hope to see you there.
Thank you my darling Renee for letting me do this. You are everything to me. I love you more every nanosecond.