A Rainbow Full Of Sound


A rainbow appears at the end of the first Fare Thee Well show’s first set. Was it real, fake or Jerry?

The music started again this weekend, not in some muddy Somerset field but in a soulless US football stadium in California.

A momentous musical event ignored completely by the UK media, I’m hungry for more information, impressions and feedback than I can glean from the web. Fintan!

I thought The Who managed to keep going fairly well for their 60-minute set; 75-year-old Phil Lesh kept going through 3.5 hours, almost non-stop. Reports seem to indicate that some of the music was pretty good too.

23 thoughts on “A Rainbow Full Of Sound

    • Hi Simon! Yes, even without touching the devil’s spawn that is facebook, I’ve found several clips and articles that lead me to believe they did a reasonable job, and that Sunday was better than Saturday, with Trey getting more comfortable in Jerry’s shoes.
      My local cinema in Didsbury is showing the broadcast: I’ll be there.

    • Yes, it seems I could have just shown up and got cheap, or even free, tickets. On the one hand, I’m glad the scalpers caught a cold by buying more tickets than they could sell but, on the other hand, I’m pissed off that many who would have gone (like me) couldn’t be sure of a seat.

      I’m impressed that most of the reports I’ve read from the US media have been fairly positive about the whole thing, and it’s been left to the usual picky ‘heads to carp about Phil’s ‘singing’ and Bill Walton’s over-enthusiasm…..

      • The Dead are as American as apple pie and lemonade. Sure you get some derision, but it’s small beer compared to the UK reviewers. Chances are that music journalists here of a certain age (like ours) have seen the Dead countless times back in the day, unlike in the UK. As did old Deadheads, who passed the tunes down to their kids. You can hear Dead music playing everywhere here. And then there’s Phish.

        If the Dead had toured the UK more, it may have been a different deal there.

        Here’s a take from one of those “picky” Deadheads – which i most likely am as well, as much as i can even claim to be a Deadhead. (I probably can’t. I just love the music, but was into other tunes and cultures back in the day.) As i can’t, i’m not paying much attention either, save for what i come across in passing. Without Jerry, i’m taking a pass on most of this too.


      • As part of my current internet auto-trawl process, I just came across this article about a poll examining America’s attitude to the band: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-bipartisan-poll-finds-grateful-dead-popular-across-political-party-lines-all-age-groups-300106129.html?tc=eml_cleartime.

        Bullet points:

        79% of Americans have heard of the Grateful Dead, and 39% know enough about them to have an impression; among this 39% (the “hard name ID”), almost three times as many Americans rate the band favorably as opposed to unfavorably (2.9 to 1 ratio)
        The Grateful Dead have the highest hard name ID among Republicans (46%), followed by Democrats (37%) and independents (35%)
        On a Fav/Unfav basis, Republicans give the band a 32/15 (2.13 ratio), Democrats a 31/6 (5.17 ratio) and Independents 26/9 (2.89 ratio)
        Yet, among partisan subgroups, the greatest intensity of favorable feeling for the Grateful Dead is found among independent-leaning Republicans
        The Grateful Dead has the highest hard name ID with 100k+ annual wage earners (55%) and college grads (55%); respectively, these two sub-groups give them a strong 45/10 and 44/11 fav/unfav rating
        While best known by Baby-Boomers, the Grateful Dead, interestingly, is most popular with the youngest Americans: those age 35-44 give the band a 37/8 fav/unfav (4.63 ratio) while those age 18-34 give a 21/5 fav/unfav (4.20 ratio).

    • Cheers, fuel. Being a picky deadhead (see above), I’m rather dismissive of Mickey’s opinions. He didn’t experience the Acid Test moulding sessions and his inflated ego meant his drumming has always tended to dominate the much more subtle and open-eared Billy (the other drummer, who, in his book, says he was not keen on Mickey returning to the band in 1974). Mickey is the reason why far too much of latter-day second sets were dedicated to hitting things with sticks and far too many songs plodded along. I’d rather he’d stuck with his Planet Drum stuff.

      It’s interesting how many US bands have members who are now confessing their affection for the Dead though.

  1. Yes, the complete lack of UK media coverage has been shameful, particularly when you look at the massive amount of coverage that has been wasted on the execrable Florence and her dreadful Machine.

    By the way, I thought that The Who at Glastonbury were absolutely terrible. Both Daltry’s and Townshend’s voices are completely gone and they sounded like a tribute act; nothing of the power, menace, majesty and anarchy of The Who remains.

    Very sad.

    • Well, given the number of subs on stage, The Who are a tribute act… They were under-rehearsed and Daltrey, in particular, struggled to hit all the notes. Phil has the same problem!

  2. Hey Chris! I’m still catching up from 24 straight hour blitz. 4 of us drove down Sunday morning. Handicap sticker got us about 100″ from the main gate. So one of us being older ( & with really bad knees) really paid off. The total parking fee was $78 to a lot a mile and half from the stadium so Jon’s knees were working for us. The vibe was wonderful immediately and I would love to say I was as competent at my profession at 66 as the Dead are at 70+. They played a great couple of sets with a truly remarkable Sugar Magnolia to finish. As good as anything in 73-74 agreed to by all. Didn’t even mind Mickey’s overly long (as usual ) drum set ( your right about his ego btw) as Kreutzman kept drawing him into some fine rhythms that tempered his act. Only weak song for me was Black Peter. I’ll always think it’s just Jerry’s song and this take just never jelled for me. For the most part the sound mix was excellent though a couple of times it turned to mud. The encore was Broke Down Palace and a better goodbye lullaby isn’t possible. We all teared up a bit I think and people near bye were holding each other close. That couldn’t have been better. We decompressed in the parking lot while the traffic cleared and were entertained immensely by the security helicopter that started circling above almost immediately telling us via the bullhorn the concert was over (Duh!) and we were contravening a breach of the peace by sticking around He even used his searchlight and siren. That only evoked applause from the crowd left. Not a soul hurried to their vehicle and people were still dancing and waving to him when we left after about 45 minutes.. Wish I had a recording of his voice, He clearly was reading from a script and bored to tears. We drove straight back to Sparks and I was finally asleep about 5 AM. Hadn’t done that for years but well worth it. Cheers!

    • Oh. I forgot to mention Trey Anastatio’s bit in all this. To his credit he didn’t seek to be Jerry. He played his parts pretty much clean & straight and when they jammed he did his own wandering and very nice it was. He knew his role and filled it admirably and with a minimum of distraction. Fine effort.

      • I have no beef with Trey’s guitar at all.

        (Ignore the uncharitable comment – “It sounds like the song had the balls sucked right outta it….”. They turn it into a kind of lovely little jam. And that’s from obviously a massive fan of the original.)

        I imagine he did just fine with the Dead tunes.

  3. Well, I sat in a cinema with about 40 other people for 4 hours last night and really quite enjoyed it. Plenty that could be carped about (Bob’s vocal gurnings, Phil’s lack of voice, Mickey’s ego-trip, the poor second set song choices…) but plenty to smile at. Particularly the looks exchanged between Trey, Phil and Bob as they tried to decide when that next change would arrive, or why it hadn’t arrived when it should have.
    Musically, it was like an 80’s Dead show filtered through Phil & Friends. Brent’s smoothness and Phil’s taste for lounge jazz pervaded most of the songs – but it worked quite well. Mountains Of The Moon was particularly successful (despite Phil’s vocals), as was Estimated Prophet, Throwing Stones and, surprisingly, Terrapin Station. Some of the jamming almost took off, too: Trey did a good job, emulating – not impersonating – Garcia. Not sure what Hornsby added, tbh.
    The event looked and sounded fantastic and must have been truly memorable to be part of. I’m not sure I’ve been in a cinema audience that applauded before. There never was anything like a Grateful Dead concert.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.