Dead again Grateful Dead will reunite for one last time by G re g Cahill
Reunited and it feels so good!
he fireworks don’t get much brighter in the rock world. The four surviving members of the Grateful Dead—Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann—announced last week that they will reunite for three shows between July 3-5 to celebrate the Marinbased band’s 50th anniversary. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will stand in for the late Jerry Garcia. The concerts will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago, the setting for the band’s last performance with Garcia. According to Rolling Stone, the original Grateful Dead Ticketing Service will have first crack at tickets for the three con-
certs, with a general public on sale through Ticketmaster starting Saturday, Feb. 14. And the Marinbased band that rose to celebrity in the 1960s is celebrating several anniversaries in 2015. “Jerry Garcia was a great American master and the Grateful Dead are not just a genuine piece of musical history, but also an important part of American history,” Anastasio told Rolling Stone. “This is a band, born right at the beginning of electric rock, that took the American tradition and moved it forward. They really embodied the American concept of freedom, rolling around the country with a ginormous gang of people and the mindset that ‘you can come if you want, you can leave if you want. We don’t know what’s going to happen. All we know is we’re not looking back.’ “What could be more American?” The band also will be joined by pianist Bruce Hornsby (who toured with the Dead in 1992) and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, Rolling Stone reported. “It is with respect and gratitude that we reconvene the Dead one last time to celebrate—
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This year also brings the 20th anniversary of the death of Dead guitarist, singer and songwriter Jerry Garcia at age 53 of a heart attack at a rehab clinic in Forest Knolls. Bob Dylan, who toured and recorded with the band, attended his funeral at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. His death signaled the official end of the Dead as a performing band. “Lookin’ forward to this one, oh boy, you bet,” commented Weir, who owns the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley and operates TRI Studios in San Rafael. “Let’s see just how much fun we can have this Fourth of July.” Y Knock Greg dead at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPINS OF THE WEEK The audiophile label Mobile Fidelity has just reissued two of the Dead’s classic acousticoriented albums: Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, both from 1970. Both are now available as original master recordings on the hi-def hybrid CD/SACD format as well as a pair of glorious-sounding four-LP 45 RPM vinyl sets. The recordings are milestones in the band’s history—after four albums of exploratory psychedelia, they tapped their inner Buck Owens, dipping into their folk, country and bluegrass roots for albums that remain among their best. Driven by high-lonesome vocal harmonies, mandolins, banjos and Jerry Garcia’s newfound love affair with the pedal-steel guitar—the albums signaled the increasing influence of songwriter Robert Hunter. And the consecutively released LPs would bring the Marinbased band into the musical mainstream. Such songs as “Uncle John’s Band” and “Casey Jones,” from Workingman’s Dead, and “Truckin’” and “Ripple,” from American Beauty, garnered extensive radio airplay and pushed album sales into platinum territory. “Ripple” remains a bluegrass standard, widely recorded and performed on front porches around the world. The albums proved to be a high-water mark for the band. “Never again would [the Dead] be so musically focused or so emotionally direct,” reviewer Jason Ankeny has noted in his All Music Guide review.—G.C.
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F E B R UA RY 1 – A P R I L 2 5 , 2 015
not merely the band’s legacy, but also the community that we’ve been playing to, and with, for 50 years,” Lesh wrote in a statement. “Wave that flag, wave it wide and high ...” Lesh and his wife, Jill, own and operate Terrapin Crossroads, a popular restaurant and nightclub in San Rafael. This year also marks other key milestones in the band’s history. May 5 is the 50th anniversary of the inaugural public performance by the Dead’s predecessor Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions at Magee’s Pizza in Menlo Park; on Dec. 4, 1965, the band, renamed the Grateful Dead, played one of Ken Kesey’s first Acid Tests.
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