So the fact that all three shows were available as a modestly-priced stream allowed me to indulge myself in the early hours of the mornings of Saturday, Sunday and Monday before watching the Sunday show for a second time at the Showcase Cinema on Monday night in the company of 300 or so local Deadheads. The sight of a motley crew of ageing groovers, some (though not me) in tie-dye, attempting to relive and celebrate their past must have been quite a revelation to the youngsters heading for Jurassic World, Minions and Magic Mike XXL, especially as I – a month short of 66 years of age – was one of the youngest in attendance. But hey, love-is-love-and-not-fade-away.
The Stalinist Deadheads have given these gigs some serious stick, but I enjoyed Friday and Sunday a lot. (Saturday less so, but then I was never a fan of Saturday shows – too many songs!) Lesh, Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart can still do it. Trey is not note-for-note Jerry but closer in spirit than the likes of John Kadlecik and, although I never embraced any of the Dead keyboard players after Keith, if I had to choose one, it would be Bruce Hornsby. And if you had to choose just one song from the entire run, it would be Cassidy on Sunday. Quite beautiful. Every component playing as one. Will never tire of it thanks to Bill Walker and NYCTaper.
So, a fitting celebration of 50 years of the Grateful Dead and of course, for me, a celebration of 47 years of my own life – and somehow appropriate that it took place in the early hours of the morning: much of my listening to Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa, for example, took place in seedy undergraduate rooms during those hours in the company of other nighthawks.
We are still in the basement of a pretty poor ALE, of course. And there are many causes for concern. But it is a positive pleasure to see Mookie and Bogey proving that they are no longer prospects but accomplished ballplayers. Eddie Rodriguez has been sensational and really looks the part. Clay is, as Rick Hough pointed out to me, “more Mississippi John Hurt than John Lee Hooker” but he has pitched superbly before this latest trip to the DL. Ramirez is a great DH in waiting if we can sort out how to play Papi (maybe at 1st a couple of times a week?) and it is no accident that our W total has improved since the return of Ryan Hanigan. He’s not ‘Tek, but he’s very, very good.
As things stand, the morning after beating the Yankees last night (and as England beat Australia), I am not optimistic of a Red October. I think the season is over from that point of view. But these guys are good enough to give us a lot of fun times between now and then. And I have been spectacularly wrong before. I hope I am this year.
One thing I know, though: Dead shows and Sox wins don't compensate for being parted from Ms Every!
Today from the everysmith vaults: Not, at this moment, one of the Chicago Fare Thee Well shows, but the first Santa Clara gig and What’s become of the baby? – an extraordinary piece which I had never heard live before and, to be honest, never thought such a thing was possible.