Following a week filled with excitement regarding the rumored addition of west coast shows for the Dead, activity settled down quicker than an actress with a chloroform soaked rag over her face. The Dead camp paused for a week and allowed Phil the spotlight he deserved to celebrate his 75th birthday. All seemed relatively quiet in Grateful Dead Land otherwise.
Phil and his friends celebrated our favorite bass player’s 75th birthday with a week’s worth of shows at The Cap. While many shows were sold out, well in advance of the event, for EVERY single show, including Phil’s birthday show, a SIGNIFICANT percentage of tickets were released in the days leading up to the shows. Keep that in mind for Chicago friends. I was able to sneak in by pretending I was a small child. One thing led to another and before you know it, I was scooped up lovingly by Phil and we were singing Ripple together. It was a wild trip that I’ll never forget!
Phil’s bass playing has long been some of the most incredible and innovative playing in history. His command of the instrument is second to none. His low notes are way lower than yours. Phil made it clear throughout the week that his singing is the musical equivalent of Donald Trump’s hair. Maybe I’m not supposed to say that but I just did. Regardless, I’m grateful Phil is still thriving and making music at 75. My grandfather was a professional musician and played his old Wurlitzer electric piano every day of his life that he was able. Musicians are just cooler than the rest of the population, regardless of their age. Happy B Day Phil! Your life has helped change the course of musical history forever! Love You!!!
While opinions of Warren vary, I personally love his voice as well as his sound. While his love for Garcia is equal to ours, his style is completely his own. He sings from deep within his heart as opposed to his head and is able to use his soul as the final amplifier through which lyrics and emotions pass. He fills the entire room with the depth of his sound and his own connection. Not everyone can do that, Warren can…
Then with the patience and precision of a military strike, Phish finally released dates for their Summer tour. The band’s constantly trolling fan base left Grateful Dead sites for the first time since January to return to trolling themselves. The timing of the announcement seemed well orchestrated as after 3 grueling months, Dead Heads seem exhausted by their own complaining and have returned to posting pictures from the lot in Deer Creek, 92 and T-shirts they’ve owned since 1983.
The lull in activity created a precise moment for the unveiling of Phish’s Summer plans including the band’s 10th Festival, Magna Ball, meaning “Massive Testicles” in Latin. When asked about the name the band said, “It’s in August, It’s hot, the odor is pretty bad, there’s very little room to move, it’s totally packed and completely uncomfortable. We imagine this is what life would be like as massive testicles crammed into Mike’s stylish skinny pants. Tom and Trey will be writing new songs for the event that nobody will understand but everyone will sing with compassionate faces and furrowed eyebrows leading people to believe something deeply emotional is taking place during songs written about testicles.
One tradition the Phish crowd has carried on with far greater intensity than the Grateful Dead fan base is bitching about ticketing only moments following on sales. It seems like the upgraded campground, Glen Close, named because it’s close to the activities oddly enough, and because Fishman once slept with her, sold out in 8 seconds leading to an abundance of Conspiracy Theories and more chapped asses than the fans, not in the Glen Close compound, will have by the Monday following the event after shitting in the woods and wiping themselves with branches for 3 days. The upgraded campsite provides festival goers with the opportunity to shower during the weekend and drop their deuces in a toilet as opposed to Port-a-Johns that, by Saturday, will have corn anchors stacked well above the seat, where younger fans will continue to aerial drop their brown trouts making turd pyramids for the record books.
As signs of a maturing crowd following the band, RV Passes were the next to sell out only 12 seconds later. Even though the band selected a location that will accommodate every single person that wants to attend, the arguments around the community seem to be based on the level of comfort they’ll be able to acquire. Instead of Dead Heads complaining about the size of the venue and the inability to secure tickets at all, the Phish people are extremely upset that they might not be able to have the accommodations and amenities they desire. Apparently, the band is married to 100,000 wives that are impossible to please.
In closing, the preceding months have caused me to reflect on the past 30 years of my life like never before. Images from the past have been coming through with such detailed clarity. This week I thought about taking my dog for nightly walks as a teen living with my folks. My brother and I would go burn one and return to watch The Honeymooners or, on the one special night a week we’d grease our minds to properly prepare for The Grateful Dead Hour. Dead Heads throughout the entire NY metropolitan area would gather around the clock radios our grandmas bought us for Christmas or the vintage tubed stereo systems with as many dials as Phil’s basses. Back then we didn’t have archive.org, we had David Gans. He was the archive of our younger years and critical listening occurred during his weekly radio show. For many, the best chance you had of hearing soundboards from the latest tour was by tuning in to his weekly show. His voice was synonymous with all things Dead. We didn’t have the Internet so most of us wouldn’t recognize him by face if we were standing next to him. Unless he spoke, then every Dead Head would recognize him immediately. We looked forward to those nights with incredible anticipation starting the day before the show. Now I have a computer with every show that’s been played at my disposal. I’m really not sure which is better… Thanks for being such a cool part of my youth, David! I appreciate you!
Until next time, Love Y’all!
This piece is dedicated to the memory of Calico… God’s Speed Sweet Soul…