Dead Love for the Grateful Dead

Maybe it was the skeletons and roses, I don’t know exactly why I had to check out The Grateful Dead: Now Playing at the New York Historical Society, but this celebration of a superband from the sixties did kind of carry me away. To where? To some oddly trippy, hippy place full of drugs, street parties and totally dedicated “Deadheads” set on grooving with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and company to the band’s rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, jazz, psychedelic and space rock riffs.

This band formed in 1964 in the San Francisco Bay Area—the first performance was in Menlo Park, actually, and they were originally called The Warlocks (good going on the name change). The show at the New York Historical Society features all sorts of memorabilia: recordings, classic album art, photographs, posters, tickets, instruments, props and a grainy video that rolls with a mix of performance and offstage moments set to the band’s down-home lyrics. It was a little spare, but it might have made a kind of post popularity fan out of me. I think that the whole idea was that the appeal of The Dead never dies, and I’d have to agree. It was like “coming home” to something you never knew. I found myself humming an old tune, Truckin’, as if it had always been a favorite of mine. What I like best was that they were consistently down with their fans and they managed to keep their independence and unique spin on the sound of the times. And they’re still touring (minus many of the members), as The Dead.

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it’s been …

—lyrics: Robert Hunter/music: Jerry Garcia,Bob Weir, Phil Lesh

—Erin Orison, DEAD LOVE/The Daily Slice

  • boldlow

    Hi Erin – nice touch bringing The Grateful Dead into the Slice's fold – to muse on The Dead – such opportunities for philosophical musings (and reminders) of the 60's…not to mention their distinctive sound. They'd fit in wherever you travelled. Thanks!