I watched the Saturday night show from the comfort of my basement. I streamed it to my computer, airplayed it to my tv, and bluetoothed it to my audio player. It seemed a light year away from the trading of bootleg cassettes, but I was just as thrilled Saturday night, as the first time I heard a tapers recording. I thought Saturdays show was absolutely outstanding! It was as though I could feel the vibe being delivered straight from Chicago. We went to see the Dead in the mid 2000’s, with Warren Haynes. The vibe then was dark and desperate. I felt let down after that show. In retrospect, had I known how great the music would be in Chicago this past Saturday, I would have tried to go. Thank goodness for the internet!
As a huge Phish fan, I was stoked to hear Trey play with my old heroes. He delivered on every front. From the start of the show, Trey was pawing the stage like a quarter horse behind the gate. I am also a huge fan of the Allman Brothers and Warren Haynes, but I think Trey was a way better fit for “Fare Thee Well”. The riffs and solos were distinctly Trey, but they absolutely invoked the spirit of Jerry. I saw the Dead play about 25 times and they were better some times than others, they made mistakes. The raw emotion of the music always more than made up for a less than glossy performance for me. The show from Saturday was the same. It was not free from mistakes and miscues. Vocals at times were lousy at best. I doubt anyone cared. The pure joy of the music and the jams satisfied everyone from the Warlock fans to the touch heads!
I really appreciated that the band came on with very little fanfare and simply played their music. That is the way I always remembered it too. At all of the Dead shows I have seen, other than his singing, I never heard Jerry say a single word. Very few words from the rest of the band either. Never would you hear the clichéd “Well it’s really good to be back in Chicago again”. Thanks guys for again sparing us that crap. Watching the show on Saturday from my basement was a great reminder to me about how much fun, and how cool the vibe was at those shows. Seems hard to believe it was 35 years ago my love of their music began. Thanks as well for not turning these 5 shows into a drippy Jerry Garcia memorial. We all miss Jerry, but as time goes by, the shock and sadness of his early passing, for me, has given way to fond memories of the music and scene he created. I think Jerry would have been most impressed with what went down in Chicago. His old friends and band mates, playing his songs and theirs, with all of the passion still fiercely alive.
Surely, that is the greatest tribute of all.