Monday, May 11, 2009

The Dead

I went to see The Dead (the band formerly known as the Grateful Dead) last night at the Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, CA. It was surreal on so many levels. For starters, it was my first Dead show since about 1992 (I think). So much time has passed since then, but at some level, it was just like old times. The crowd energy level - I will get to the band in a minute - was awesome. I expected a Phish show with lots of younger, obnoxious folks, but this was definitely the genuine article. The other surreal aspect was how old the hippies (the genuine, 1960's artifact) have become. There were people there literally rocking out -- in their rockers. I guess I should have realized this but if you are a 60's era hippie -- you are pushing the front end of 70. And it's plain weird to see a 70 year old in head to head tie die smoking pot. But they were out there -- en massse, in fact.

And then there were the band. I think Warren Haynes (of Gov't Mule fame) is probably the finest guitarist alive today and he is seriously awesome -- he's essentially the only guitarist who could sit in Jerry's chair -- but I am sorry to say that he's no Jerry. And I'm not one of these old school Dead heads who's unaccepting of anything but Jerry -- but it is what it is. Makes me appreciate Jerry even more.

So, there was that. And frankly, I thought the band was a tad laconic; almost as if they have lost a half step. But when you get right down to it -- they are old guys. And they still played for three plus hours. And some of their songs had the old swagger.

So, in a nutshell, I am really glad I went. It was not only fun, but for one night it was a step back in time on a number of different levels for me. I think that the highlight for me was the Shoreline Amphitheater (located one block from the Google complex). That is by far one fo the coolest venues I have ever experienced and it has great acoustics to boot. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more so, than the Hollywood Bowl in LA.

Viva the Dead. I do think they will last forever in certain respects.

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