Monday, June 29, 2015

Fare Thee Well


Mixed emotions here as I pickup blogging after an extended hiatus.

Won't bother to explain... I will just say that I had my priorities straight. :-)

Just finished watching the 2nd show of the Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well tour.  Three more shows next weekend in Chicago, and the long, strange trip will bid us all goodnight.

SF Radio station KFOG is streaming the show as I type... for those who missed it. (note: this link will only get you the show the next few hours)

"Thank you.... for a real good time.!"

That probably sums it up actually.  The lyric from 1974's classic Loose Lucy, on From The Mars Hotel.

I'm not really gonna say anything about the Dead, as this has been done ad infinitum lately.  Even Newsweek, has devoted an entire issue to it... among a ton of other unlikely bandwagon jumpers.

As someone who literally grew up with the Dead (having been to my first show in utero), this all has so many resonant chords.  It is about time the US embraces the fact that the Grateful Dead were the archetypal American rock band. Shit, they sing about riverboat gamblers, prospectors, steam trains and hobos. There are really very few things more American than the Grateful Dead.  

But again, this has been discussed endlessly already.

My take on this is that things we knew to be true back on Dead Tour have all become mainstreamed now... and for the betterment of society. Weed is slowly becoming legal and assuming its rightful place as safer than booze. The days before the Dead reunion have seen the SCOTUS legalize gay marriage nationwide, and Bree Newsome taking down the Confederate Battle Flag by herself. (#FreeBree) These are things San Francisco and Deadheads have been 50 years ahead of the times on for the most part.

I suppose my basic feeling at this point is... "What took you guys so long?"  I mean, getting over people's "race" (actually a social construct), and accepting people's sexual preferences seemed like a no-brainer to me as a kid.  But then, I did grow up in the progressive California Grateful Dead scene.

I guess the giant rainbow that arced over Levi Stadium during the sunset performance of the rarely played "Cream Puff War" said it all. #LoveWins (okay, it started during Viola Lee Blues, a truly awesome jam from their first album about going to jail).

It is hard not to feel the nostalgia, and the "end of an era" vibe permeating this whole thing.  Maybe the next wave of American rock music will have this kind of massive social effect... who knows? I kinda doubt it. Nothing today's rock bands can do will ever be as controversial and radically subversive as the Acid Tests.

I still find it hard to believe that obvious stuff--like respect for people who may look or act different from you--has taken this long to be obvious to normal people... that we still live in a country where people are not through being uptight about race, sexuality, and marijuana.


This stuff is clearly not anybody's business to judge. And yet, many fossilized prejudices are are still enshrined in law... and, especially, the way the laws are enforced.

Anyway, for the moment, it could be 1975.  The Dubs are NBA champs, legalization feels somewhat immanent, and people can't stop talking about the Grateful Dead.... heheheh.

Here.  Let's let Trey and the boys have the final word:


  1. Entering comments to invite reflection...I never got the Dead although in my younger years anything with a skull was cool. This may recoil some so I might as well spill the beans...I've never liked the Beatles either. There. I said it. I finally got it off my chest. Call me a rebel among peers but I just couldn't pick up their vibe. Except for 'Stars on 45, I just didn't like them. I guess I grew up on The Monkees and when I watched the Beetles they weren't funny. As a youth I could not tell my people this information but now I'm out! Even the name...beetles. Have you ever seen a beetle? They are creepy. Maybe that was the hook. Anyway, I'm rambling but wanted to contribute to the blog as one who does not share the love. But I'm still a part of the OmniUniverse even as a non- Dead Head. ;-)

  2. Thanks for the comment. You don't have to like them, but both the Beatles and the Grateful Dead are as popular as they are for a reason. (unlike most things in Top 40)

    But taste is personal, so whatever floats your boat. I don't think one has to choose between the Beatles and the Monkees (or the Stones, or anyone else), though.

    "Then I saw her face... Now I'm a believer. Not a trace... of doubt in my mind."



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