Ended up at Furthur show and had a blast. Nothing’s changed! Crazy. Some myths to dispel:
- Myth #1: Furthur is not the Grateful Dead. No, they are the Grateful Dead, just with a new lead guitarist/singer, John Kadlecik (who arguably sings and solos better than Jerry) (fav bumper sticker saw for sale = ‘Jerry would love this band’) and a new drummer, Joe Russo (who is a better drummer than the crazy double drummer set up the Dead had), a new piano player, Jeff Chimenti, who tears it up on the keys, and awesome backup vocalists who provided killer harmonies. All this new talent sets its sites on being true to the gestalt of the Dead, playing the tunes and capturing what the Dead did. The presence of Weir and especially the inimitable, wandering bass playing of Phil Lesh looms large. They could call themselves The Grateful Dead but don’t want to rile the ire of the Deadheads and their patron Saint Jerry.
Yeah, felt like a Dead show. It was a Dead show. The same crowd, the same vibe, the same flow, pharma being sold pre-show, people looking for miracles, spinning hippie girls, sweaty white dudes with dreads, in depth discussions of the set list choices, the whole enchilada. It was at once weird and great. Once born, subcultures don’t die.
- Myth #2: Furthur/The Grateful Dead are sloppy. This might have been true of certain incarnations of the Dead, but not this current incarnation. This band, when it chooses to be, is on top of its shit. They still noodle plenty, but the noodling holds together better these days, prob cause of the drummer, who is amazing.
- Myth #3: Furthur/The Grateful Dead are simpletons. Not true! There’s some complex, wack shit going down. There was one tune in 11/8 (3 3 3 2 basically) that was sweet. And Terrapin Station Suite could very well be jazz fusion. What’s best is their ability to, well, jam. They are the masters of drifting into different tunes without stopping, explore ideas, the origins of psychedelic. Yes, they often stick to their beloved Myxolidian mode, which can get old, but just when you lose interest, they come back with some great sing along melody. No one does the jam band thing better.
Props to Weir/Lesh for keeping it going. Never got the whole teddy bear thing though.