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In news that shocked pop music fans of the world like finding out there was no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny, rumors leaked this week that Bob Weir would hit the road again this fall with John Mayer and bass player from the Phish, Mike Gordon. The Rhythm Devils were on board as well even though Billy thinks a lot of people, in general, are assholes. Since I will never use the term “Core + #” to explain anything that happens with the remaining players of my favorite band, from this point on I will refer to them as The members of the band not named Garcia. This will help with any confusion in the future. The “Core 4” belongs to the Yankess, Like it or Not!

Perhaps most surprising of all are the reports that Taylor Swift will be covering Donna parts and vocals. When Bob Weir was asked about these rumors he said, “I believe Taylor can intelligently interpret the vibe we’re laying down and give to it a little something fresh and new. She’s got this piece of something that really gives some perspective to the music that’s never been experienced before which I guess goes without saying being that she never experienced any of the music before.” John Mayer, hated by most Dead Fans because his records sell, had this to say, “It’s gonna be great experience for all of us and I know it won’t take more than a week or two before I get dat ass again!”

Reports of the Fall tour went over like Brown Acid at Woodstock among the Grateful Dead Faithful. The announcement was met with the same kind of enthusiasm you might find with your invitation to Jury Duty. Many fans are outraged and insulted that the members of the band, that are not named Garcia, would have the audacity to play music with anyone other than the same guys that have been trying to pull off Garcia for decades. We all know by now the unbridled joy that circulates when anyone from Phish is included. This time, Dead Heads get to be treated to the band’s bass player, nicknamed Cactus because his personality appears to be that of a prick. As a veteran of hundreds of Phish shows dating back to 1991, I can assure you, he’s a creative genius that is quite prickish on the surface. I don’t know him, so he very well could be a veritable geyser of sunshine and happiness but you’d never guess that by looking at his face. Dead Heads have long felt it necessary to hate Phish for some reason and have often complained about Phish fans attempting to shove Phish down their throats. It appears like the guys left of the Dead, not named Garcia, are helping with that all they can.

It’s rumored that the first appearance of this group will take place at The Prankster’s Acoustic Acid Test, 4th of July weekend. Rumors that The Pranksters have rented out all of Northerly Island for nearly a week are widespread. The Band of Jokers were in Chicago securing legal permission to host their festivities which shows that these people are smarter than your average bears. I never knew those Clowns had that kinda money to be honest with you. Seems like they possess way more power and resources than anyone may have imagined. Apparently, Prankstering is Big Business. I’ve been doing all this shit for free… What the hell am I thinking???

I look forward to a young guy like John Mayer taking on a project with our favorite musicians almost as much as I look forward to hearing what a well studied Trey will be bringing to the experience. I know my opinion may not fall in the majority of those that make up our scene but give a musician like John Mayer or Trey some time to study the master and I think the end result will be great music. The problem is, what we experienced was the Soul of Garcia. No amount of study or natural talent can give a guy that.

Brings me back to one of those moments… Black Peter, Vegas ’91… In the midst of this solemnly tempoed tune, Bill and Mickey’s cymbals sound almost as though they’re being dragged along the ground while walking across the dry and somber landscape the tune paints a picture of… Garcia seems to stroll through a low lying garden of sound searching for the note that best represents the collective soul of the entire experience like someone might search for a 4 leafed clover… As he riffs through a multitude of choices he finds the one that speaks most clearly to him and, as a result, all of us as well… He picks the note from the garden as he sees fit and pulls the string with all he’s got unleashing this enormous wave of emotion infused in a Psychedelic Blues that seems to wrap around the entire venue, instantly pulling from every direction all attention, emotion and everything significant at that moment in time back into himself… As Garcia’s notes get higher, Phil’s get increasingly lower seemingly acting as cushions that carry Garcia’s notes into the stratosphere by way of our hearts. All attention, regardless of how scattered, instantly returns to the stage where Garcia is firmly planted like a Mighty Oak. As his glasses slide lower down his nose his eyebrows rise higher up his face as the sound of all of us getting hit with something so heavy, all at the same time, creates this spiraling tornado of applause and acknowledgement that pops the lid off of our collective consciousness as our eyes lock with strangers off in the distance having the exact same experience and uniting us instantly, Soul to Soul, with people 20 or more yards away… It was like finding a lost family member in a sea of people as we became indelibly marked to that moment and experience together in time forever, in a way only someone that was there could possibly understand… As we swelter in the desert heat having our minds stretched like hot gum pulled from the pavement, Garcia stands there cooler than a Snowman screwing an Ice Princess… Because he and he alone had that kind of Soul… Nobody else… Nobody… It’s hard to describe the way those moments removed the thorns from our own thoughts and lives but they absolutely did…

Yup, That shit isn’t happening again regardless of who’s playing guitar. Those are the moments that the most skilled of mimickers can’t recreate on their best days. It’s the reason why the music will never really go Further because Further would typically imply deeper, better, more meaningful. The music can continue and move on and be respected and honored but I’m not sure it can ever really go “Further” if indeed that’s what Further would imply.

In hilarious news, it was reported that Pay Per View options would be available for the Fare Thee Well Shows, more or less insuring theaters would be as empty as the Bottle Garcia sings about in Ship Of Fools. Even funnier was a Pre Sale for Pay Per View Broadcasts. That’s about as necessary as more Grateful Dead cover bands in Chicago 4th of July Weekend. Either way, everybody is going to get all The Dead they can possibly handle. That’s probably a good thing…

Check out the World’s biggest Fan Appreciation movement currently underway at #NFA on Facebook!

Gratefully Deadicated,

Dean So Tilly

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