22 years ago I spend a weekend in the desert with the Grateful Dead. This past weekend I went back to Vegas and what a great (Grate!) time it was!
It was amazing walking around, strangers stopping strangers, and talking about shows and happiness and joy and peace, all because we are part of this odd tribe.
Some will say, and have said, that the new iteration of the Dead is over-produced, and that the sets aren’t as exploratory as back in the good old days, but the thing is, when Pigpen died, everybody thought the music died. And then Keith and Donna came along, and lots of people (LOTS) were not a fan, but Donna’s vocals did something life-giving for the music that would not have happened if she weren’t part of that leg of the band’s journey. And then it was Brent on the keys and–MY G-D!!–was the music ever alive–and then in the 90s (when I jumped on the train) we had Vince and the music in Jerry’s later years was rough (let’s be real) but I loved in the moment.
And anyone who knows anything about the Grateful Dead (in whatever portion of the band’s life) knows that the music is about the moment, the now. Not what was. Not what will be.
And so we’re going down a new branch in the road–and I for one am not feeling bad at all–my love for the music will not fade away.
The shirt I’m sporting while I try to figure out which camera to look at, is one I got at the shows 22 years ago. It was a little less snug on me when i got it (I don’t know, must have been the dryer…but not the roses.) And somehow I am blessed to have this amazing woman by my side this time around.
I can’t really put a whole lot of words to the show. The opener was “The Music Never Stopped” and it put me in just the right place to shake my bones all the way through–the “Deal” was a scorcher!
Encore was “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” with a beautiful picture of Gregg Allman up on the screen. The love for him was tangible.
Anyway…it was awesome. I’m still floating on the energy of being with the tribe and I’m stuck with what Mickey Hart said at the end of the Fare Thee Well shows.