The greatest compliment I ever received came from JPB on my FB page last summer. I was honored to know he read my stuff and had the sense of humor that is too often lost in our current world. Last night, Barlow was everywhere. This is truly a weekend at Barlow’s and being held at The Barcelo which is probably Spanish for Barlow. Our collective love for all things Dead and his contributions are at the forefront of my experience this weekend more than ever! Love you forever JPB!
The show kicked off with Playing and when they started it made you wonder how nobody saw that coming from a mile away. It was infused with everything we’ve come to expect from it and just like fat folks at the buffets, Dead & Co wasted no time heading right for the meat. Me & My Uncle high-tailed it down to Mexico and He’s Gone turned us inward early. I don’t know if you could see it on the stream but Barlow came out on his bed for Cassidy and half of the community threw a fit while the other half thought it was beautiful. Brown Eyed Women really got things swinging hard and the jams during that were like a boomerang that ventured out into the distance before coming back rapidly and smacking you right in the face. “OH FUCK!” faces were seen in abundance. Bertha came around here some more and the sand was flying at Riviera Maya! In the style of days gone by Good Lovin started where Bertha left off and La Bamba tried to find its way in there as well. The first set was a fantastic sign of things to come.
It’s not too easy getting up front when you’re travelling with a family. Everybody’s little needs definitely are at odds with one man’s desires. When it comes down to it, ya gotta sacrifice your own wishes in order to try to keep the family together. My kids were jammin but my son wanted to be on my shoulders throughout. I danced most of the time with 40 pounds on my neck. It was tight up throughout the center and up front so we were way left with little view of the stage. Instead of wearing an ascot, Saturday I’m gonna wear a black vest and a bow tie and carry around a tray because those motherfuckers were running drinks up front all night long. It made for a lot of folks that drank way beyond their ability to handle their consumption. You might see me in a vest and a damn bow tie and tray of drinks making my way through on Saturday…
The second set kicked off with Scarlet and that shit was raging. The band and our collective contributions of soul matter was working up a love filled frenzy. The ratchet that turns around the center bolt in the creation of the music was getting tighter and tighter. The transition to Fire was perfectly twisted and unrushed. The second biggest ovations of the night occurred when Oteil stepped to the mic. Fire was furious and when the embers went from ablaze to completed Althea emerged in a place that was unusual yet seemingly perfect. John paid tribute to one of my favorites with a passion and a drive that made the experience one that was capable of evoking the emotions that are infused throughout the depth of the tune’s story. This space was getting incredibly hot! Estimated paid tribute to The Prophet on The Burning Shore and once again Barlow’s spirit was reverberating through time and space. The Eyes was fantastic but I had to listen to it while walking my wife and kids to the shuttle. They were toast by then but even as we walked far from the venue my wife turned to me and said, “This jam is amazing!” Indeed it was! Drums was magical and then during space, the whole band played Jeff’s piano. Jeff was pretty happy when John and Mickey joined in and then I wondered at what point he probably felt like, “This was great guys but how about y’all get the fuck off of my piano!” Probably happened when Mickey started kicking it like it was his beam… All kidding aside, it was a great moment with the 3 of them on the piano.
Looks Like Rain was perfect outta space and the ballad that Barlow penned before he ever knew a romantic Love himself created the most emotional moment of the night. Weir was stellar and reserved in a way that was deep and consumed by a Love that was more akin to his Love for Barlow than the romantic nature of the song. As JPB’s pictures decorated the screens, we all wept together as we felt John’s exit from the physical realm being transformed into his energy form that will encompass us and our scene throughout eternity! The tribute to Barlow elicited the biggest ovation of the night. It was an absolutely incredible moment we all shared. Then it was, “It’s Truckin! No wait, it’s New Speedway and then The Miracle followed. Toward the end, John threw the Silver Ax on that clearly signaled Casey Jones was taking us out. It was full of energy and put an exclamation point on what was already a night that we’ll never forget and revisit by way of media as long as we live.
Even though I hoped to never hear The Weight, ever again, they encored with it and I thought it was much better this time around. Every time a significant member of our community passes, it puts more weight on those who remain. The song had some reggae colors throughout and was interesting. That’s all I’m gonna say about that…
Mayer’s first show without his appendix made me wonder if it was weighing him down all along. That brother was en fuego all night long and Post Appendix Dead & Company sound better than ever. Maybe like Phil’s organ donor rap, John should do a “Remove an organ Rap!” Post Op John is bringing it better than ever! I gotta split, I’m on vacation. Love You Long Time! Forgive the errors, I’m poolside trying to write this with a glared out screen and kids that wanna swim. See y’all soon!
In Loving Memory of John Barlow and Bruce Grossman.
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