Monthly Archives: June 2015


Companies and small business scattered throughout the country today will be dealing with more absences and productivity issues than they have since July of 95. As an east coaster with kids, the last time I was up this late two nights in a row, I was boarding up the windows of my house from the inside during narcotic binges in 1993. For anyone that has said The Dead should do a full tour, do yourself a favor and assess how you feel physically right about now. Then, add 20 or 30 years of age and you’ll understand why that’s not such a wise idea. Sure, I know The Stones are doing it but I think they go into little pods in between shows where they’re kept like valuable, collectible figurines and transported to the next venue. I don’t know, maybe if I cleared a few million this weekend, I wouldn’t be looking for a blend of coffee that contained speed.

With the first weekend of Fare Thee Well in the books, we’re left with a few dominant thoughts. The first one is clearly, “Could you imagine those friggin set lists with Garcia????” Following night one, all I could think about was the sound of Garcia hitting the low notes way up by the top of the neck of Tiger. Something about the way he rode the low notes that grabbed my entire physiology and moved it from the inside out. He could take a bunch of those low notes, put em together and make it sound like he was wrapping a rope filled with joy around my mind, tightening it up and moving me exactly where he wanted to move me. You know who can do that a lot like Garcia??? Absolutely nobody… The thought of his sweet weathered voice emerging from the sound of Viola along with that Jam that consists of those low notes like only he could play em… That’s what makes me shed a tear…

Probably the most refreshing theme of the weekend was everybody finally shutting up about Trey. He earned his place in that spotlight by creating a huge community of his own, all while never attempting to mimic the Master. In my opinion, that light was far too bright for most and nobody had to endure more unwarranted bullshit in the months leading up to this as he did. The only redeeming quality of the disaster that was “He’s Gone” last night was the absolute happiness on Trey’s face while he paid homage to Garcia by riding the low strings in hesitant time regardless of the song that was falling apart around him. His happiness as he sang the lines that have given birth to mantras and millions of bumper stickers over the years was amazing. Bruce was trying like hell to save that moment too.

If you want to know why this whole piece is centered around the biggest mishap of the weekend, I’ll tell you. My 2 favorite things about The Grateful Dead have always been Garcia and Garcia. While that may be true, I was just kidding… My 2 favorite things have always been the moments when they were so connected to that great unknown force that moved them that every note, every sound, every piece of complete silence, were ALL in the perfect place! Those moments became as much a part of our neurologic make up as our mother’s voice. My second favorite thing were the moments that absolutely fell apart as we watched the incredible transformation machine of our life experience crash in front of all of us during moments that didn’t quite work out. The only thing that brought cheers as loud as a perfect Morning Dew crescendo were the moments when the words or the song being played were completely forgotten. We could all completely relate to falling apart in front of thousands of people as many of us stopped traffic on numerous occasions when we were forced to push our broken down buses out of parking lots or into rest areas and gas stations. Our heroes are human and even though they ran like a well oiled machine for long stretches of time and on some nights sounded so tight you could only smile at the stranger next to you and say “HOLY FUCKIN SHIT!!!” The moments when it all didn’t work out quite right were just as endearing.

In Bill’s book he said The Grateful Dead put all they had on risky chances as opposed to sure bets, every time. Because of that, we’ve been treated to the most magical and insightful experiences in musical history. Our minds and lifestyles were crafted accordingly and because of that, 50 years later we either pay homage by living what we learned or as the years slip by we lose sight of what we were and become what the cynical and deceptive world around us is constantly attempting to make us. The choice is always yours and yours alone. You don’t have to tell us what choice you’ve made, it’s obvious to those with opened eyes. Those that scream CASH are typically those without it… Those that scream FUCK YOU are typically fucked up themselves. Those that do nothing but try to shit on every moment are typically people that are helplessly stuck in their own shit. What we were supposed to learn from that all these years was to become an absolute Beacon of Love and hope in our worlds wherever those worlds may be. Our mission is to bring more joy and compassion into every interaction and environment we’re called to be a part of from day to day. It’s my responsibility to leave a trail of laughter in my path. It’s not my responsibility to make sure everybody knows what I mean our how I mean it when I say something, It’s my responsibility to know exactly what and how I mean it in my own heart and hopefully do so without being mean. Know what I mean?

He’s Gone falling apart last night was as perfect as it could’ve been. It really represented what’s happened to so many people in our community since Garcia left. The music has always been the ultimate mirror that we’ve been required to look at while honestly evaluating the condition of our own souls. It’s no different for those making the music than it is for those listening to it. Since He’s Gone, a lot of things have fallen apart. Since He’s Gone, a lot of people, including his closest friends, that used to stick together, completely fell apart. Interestingly enough, those that had nothing to do with it also seemed to be the ones that helped keep the moment together. Since He’s Gone, some people have found reasons to Smile, Smile, Smile while others have become rats in a drain ditch. Since He’s Gone, some have continued to move through life utilizing the finer things that he gave us while others have just fallen apart. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum there’s one thing we all have been witness to. Since He’s Gone, a lot of things completely fell apart. All of those guys on the stage last night participated in their own ways contributing to how everything fell apart. The emotional health of those at the center of our community has always had a tremendous effect on the whole. The more Garcia came unglued, The more the entire scene around us came unglued. There may have been nothing more appropriate last night than He’s Gone falling apart. Sometimes things can’t be repaired until they’re completely taken apart. That moment for me was the most significant moment of the weekend. It said more than any other moment could. From that moment we can all take a look at what we’ve become since He’s Gone and move forward in a manner that brings honor to the memory. Since He’s Gone fell apart last night I feel like everything and everyone came MUCH closer together… If you want song by song coverage, read somebody else’s stuff…

Can’t wait to see y’all in Chicago!!!

Dead To The Core,



I had no plans on writing a review of this show since there’s plenty of people out there that write reviews for a living. The internet, as expected, was littered with them this morning. I definitely won’t be reviewing these show by show but after reading the first 3 or 4, I felt like I wanted to participate on this one. Maybe nobody really wants to have a laugh or read anything other than a play by play review of every song that was performed. I found myself thinking, nobody brings up the stuff that sits in the back of my mind. Here’s my 4¢. I know it used to be considered 2¢ but everything costs at least twice as much this time around. I don’t have to tell you who was on the stage or where it took place. How the hell would you not know that already??? And if you didn’t know that already, why the hell would you give a shit about the article anyway? The guys that were scheduled to perform actually did. Shapiro has one up on Normal Bean for that!

I’m not in Santa Clara so I opted for the stream due to the ability to REview the show for the next 30 days. The biggest problem I encountered was that it’s impossible to REview something until you view it first. That never happened with It seemed like the folks that run TicketMaster were in charge of my mlb stream. More spinning balls with absolutely no results. I never made it past a black screen with a spinning circle. I immediately grabbed an audience audio feed thinking my HD feed would appear at any moment. It was like when the power goes out and you continue looking at the blank TV waiting for it to come back on. While I appreciate the effort put in by those that send their audience feeds online, Cheers to taperrob for being EVERYWHERE, if a HD feed exists, I’m going with it every time. I taped for a few years so I have nothing but appreciation for what that community does on a nightly basis to help others get the music. It’s really like having a full time job that pays nothing. What interests me more than anything is wondering what kind of batteries those cats have on their cell phones. I play a few games of Hearts and I’m at 50% life before ya know it… Anyway, I kept a phone on hold with mlb support for nearly 2 hours and never got anything other than some Air Supply and Kenny Loggins music. I won’t use mlb again. After switching to YouTube I was treated to a near perfect streaming experience and was quite relieved.

On with the show!!! I was a little disappointed that earlier in the evening, the entire set list was posted on Reddit. Whoever posted it was absolutely flawless, even including the information that Bruce was singing Casey Jones for the encore. Whoever posted it is also an asshole. Why post it even if you know? Some other folks made sure they reposted it to make it seem as though they were cooler than everybody else. The show was obviously 100% scripted in advance and someone on the inside is a rat. I can’t stand spoilers… I guess it doesn’t matter… Anyway…

The first set rocked and who would’ve guessed that the youngest song of the night would be the opener, Truckin? Seems like they may approach these shows somewhat chronologically. It must have felt as good for them as it did for us to finally get to making music. Phil looked happy as a man that got laid twice before lunch. His smiles were endless and illuminating. Weir looked as cool as a man can look while wearing sandals. Hornsby seemed like he was trying to fight aggravation and I don’t blame him. You couldn’t hear his piano at all the entire night. He seemed like he was struggling with his neck as well. I’m a Chiropractor and I can Adjust you a few times in Chicago, Bruce! Jeff was much happier than Bruce even though you couldn’t hear him for shit either. I’m not sure he was even plugged into anything other than the moment. Trey is no stranger to big moments and while I’m sure the butterflies in his stomach were on treadmills, he hid it well. The old school run through some of our favorites was a blast. Alligator is a tune I used to request from The Phil Zone regularly long ago. Reminded me of that scripture that says “Your words won’t return to you void but will establish what they’re set out to accomplish”. While I’m out of context with it here perhaps, It’s worth reading. It’s a favorite of mine. Isaiah 55 is like the Cream Puff War of Bible chapters. There’s a bible in your hotel, check it out. Not tryin to be preachy, just a cool read and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. I never realized it would take so long for those words to be established but it was great to hear! All that “Let Phil Sing” chanting all those years… Who knew how those words would return to us accomplished like they have 30-40 years later???

The Viola Lee really stood out for me. It was outstanding and I personally smiled every time I heard Trey’s flavor throughout the night. While he’s credited Garcia for being a huge influence on him, you wouldn’t know it from his sound. His sound is completely and uniquely identifiable. It seems like Jon Fishman was more influenced by Bill than Trey was by Jerry according to their styles. There’s really nothing about Trey’s style that would make one think of Garcia in my opinion. I loved seeing him up there and as a long time listener of everything he’s done, it was a proud and joyful moment for the entire Phish community. YOU DA MAN Trey!!!!!

In a manner fitting of recent current events and being in the San Francisco area, creative Gay people arranged for a Rainbow to arc over the stadium as the first set closed. It was the kind of magic that has followed The Grateful Dead around throughout their entire career. It’s as though the wind and rain, the light and the dark, things seen as well as those unseen bow in approval at their gathering places. We’re so lucky to have been born in a time to experience all of the serendipitous circumstances that have been a hallmark of our treasured community! Even Billy, who has never had a microphone near his face on stage in 50 years, took the opportunity to express himself at the close of the night. He’s a reborn man and it’s great to watch from the sidelines as he recreates himself in total alignment with the foundation that he settled upon over the years.

As the band came out for the second set, Mickey put on oven mitts and played with these things, made by Betty Crocker, that you use to put barbecue sauce on ribs. 20150628_101311
I wish he had at least one cymbal for Pete’s sake. You know, the one that he used to back hand the hell out of to his right. The mix I had made it difficult to hear what he may have been doing but he sure as hell was doing it! Bill was absolutely outstanding! In our world, drummers definitely get more respect than they typically do elsewhere but if I was gonna give a game ball out on night one, it would go to Kreutzmann. Stellar playing all night long. The song list was tremendous and the hiccups were few. While I would’ve liked to see a few tunes get a more thorough treatment, like St Stephen, my expectations were definitely surpassed. I’ve begun to just smile happily when my favorite bass player in the world sings. Phil going for high notes is like a fat, short guy trying to dunk a basketball. Speaking of dunking basketballs, the shots of Bill Walton’s smiling grill were great! I couldn’t help but to think, some poor bastard has the spot right behind him. Hope he didn’t have the Veggie chili backstage… Hornsby was outstanding on the Casey Jones encore and I personally wish he sang more than he did.

Overall, I was absolutely thrilled to see my favorite musicians on stage together. One of the biggest things that jumped out at me was how much they had to look to each other to communicate. They used to be so linked to one another, almost as if sharing one combined soul. The direction they traveled musically didn’t require them talking or pointing much at each other, it just happened as a result of their innate connection, the hive mind as it’s been called. That’s something that required the type of intimacy they shared for many years and have struggled with a little bit since then. All in all it seemed as though they were genuinely happy to be playing with each other and the moment seemed to begin healing much of what had been lost. When these guys play together it’s as though parts of me I didn’t realize were wounded begin to get better. I felt as though I was better internally for having experienced all of it in some way. I’m glad the Santa Clara shows were added to give everybody the opportunity to shake off some rust and get deep into it over the next 4 nights. I expect to experience more indescribable magic as the shows go by and am so glad that we’re all in the thick of it right now. In the blink of an eye, it will all be history…. I’m enjoying every second! Onward and Upward my friends!!! Love y’all!!!

Dead To The Core,

Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)

Offically Unofficial Fare The Well Preparation Video

*New image courtesy of Josiah Babcock and Julian Tenney