I don’t have much time this morning so I’m gonna have to make this one just like myself, short and sweet! I Love Austin and they have a strong community of DeadHeads that are some of the kindest folks you can come across! I’m sure the scene reflected that. The poster for Austin was probably my favorite so far! If anyone has an extra, let me know! Mayer posted pics of his shredded up fingers on Instagram after blazing through Dallas so I figured he would have a pick in his hand all night. That brother finger picks the hell out of most his stuff so I was interested to hear how that might change things. Here’s how things sounded to me…
The show started with that “Nothing To See Here” jam that led into Jack Straw. Nobody really needed jackets this weekend and the weather was beautiful but they played Cold Rain and Snow anyway. One song that used to be a real scorcher but hasn’t aged too gracefully is Minglewood. That tune moves along slower than a Wook learning economics. I suppose you can find a way to bounce through it and find the groove but nobody was stealing any women with last night’s Minglewood. When Weir graduates from this chaotic planet and goes to be with Garcia, we’ll spend the rest of our lives talking about how much we loved him. The accolades and admiration will never end. People will sit around campfires and dinner tables and spend hours discussing all things, Weir. I’m sure there will be memorials that bring out hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world and I’m sure I’ll be one of the folks that will attend if I’m still around. I can pretty much guarantee that at no point will one of those people look into the eyes of another one and say, “Boy, he sure could play that slide guitar like nobody else!” Anyway, it says T for Texas so that one’s a must. It was so slow, in my mind I could see Barbara Bush jogging in perfect time! Next Time You See Me roughed things up a little and that’s always a good time. Ramble On Rose is a vocal walk through a historical comic book of sorts. If I had The World To Give is a beautiful tune and I always wondered why Garcia wasn’t very interested in singing it. Sugaree provided one of those moments that always make the highlight videos due to every member of the band making it to the jubilee all at the same time! It might’ve been a little more abbreviated than some of the others we’ve heard but had great moments of musical magic none the less!
It was pretty obvious that China-> Rider was at the front of the line in the rotation at this point and that’s how the second set got kicked off. I’m not sure how they managed to remove so much energy from parts of I Know You Rider because that tune has always been an absolute rager. It’s reminding me of Barbara Bush jogging again. It’s like they have to take a rest in a couple spots and the music, instead of raging forward, nearly comes to a halt. Maybe it’s just me… Dark Star was weird enough to be considered good and there were some really interesting jazzy moments throughout the jams in Austin. If you were super high on acid, I’m sure that was probably your favorite. Between Dark Star and The Other One you get the sense that you’re heading straight into the supermassive black hole that exists at the center of the galaxy. Once Oteil starts marching during the Other One, it’s on!!! The Other One from MSG retains its title for this tour but last night was good.
During Drums, weird voices were heard that made some people nervous, some people laugh, some people get all fetal in their position. Always a great experience! Space was a delivery system for Uncle John’s that did little to nothing for me. I was wondering if they were gonna go to bed early on Austin. That definitely wasn’t gonna be the case when you hear the first notes of St Stephen! That tune hit hard and often and the phoenix rose from the ashes. Then to make sure you’d properly remember Austin, you get the Dew! Weir was as good as Weir can be on it! I followed The Grateful Dead around the country millions of miles and hundreds of shows hoping to never miss Garcia sing another Dew. That tune in Garcia’s voice is made from the same particle vibrations that oscillate around my soul. One thing I’ve noticed about John this tour is his playing of the more delicate pieces that make up the moments. He’s always been able to rage but seemed pretty unaware or totally out of touch with the more delicate moments. The first solo on The Dew last night was a great example of how much that has developed since this thing got started. The exquisitely subdued moments that Garcia was a master at playing have been absent for the most part. Those moments at the end of The Dew when Garcia would intricately remove the heart of the hearer and separate flesh from the substance of one’s internal energy source. Those moments were the calm before the storm and while we all knew the storm was coming, we held our breath in reverence as Garia placed his heart, along with all of ours on a podium created by the components and creators of the composition. In those moments that only lasted a couple of minutes, we had time to access every detail of our lives somehow. Those moments took a lifetime of trials and tribulations and brought them to the light of a victorious new day within ourselves. It may not have been that way for you but those moments changed me forever. I doubt I’ll ever see those places again but I’ll also never go to Middle School or High School again. I may have gotten a little carried away with that but as far as last night, the end of The Dew was every bit as capable of providing that for a new generation of people that are experiencing this for the first time. Since my experience is much different with what we have now than where we came from, I can only say that I hope the younger people that have come aboard The Bus are able to get to that place through this music. The crescendo of the experience was a whirlwind of sonic stimulation that definitely still resonated deep within me. Then the statement that makes you wonder if it matters anyway… That… Moment…
Surprise of the night goes to the encore with One More Saturday Night! There should really be more tunes written about Thursday… Thursday is a great fuckin day and totally doesn’t have a tune… I maybe need to work on that. Bob showed how to properly utilize the falsetto on that one and it was a great closer! Mayer stayed away from overdoing the false backup and I think it made his backup singing MUCH better last night. His backup on One More Saturday Night, in his natural voice, gave the tune what it needed and I think sounds much better than that make-believe sound. Who gives a fuck what I think anyway? Austin was definitely a show that will be remembered by me for its really strong finish as opposed to anything that took place in the middle. This tour is winding down in a hurry. NOLA is next and we’re almost ready to deal with full-blown PTD(Post Tour Depression). Not before a few more nights of magic await us… Love y’all Long Time and Forever!
Y’all might wanna think about going to that Festival in Virginia this year… That’s all I’m gonna say about that…
Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)
@gd50th on Twitter
Grateful Dean on Facebook
Grateful_Dean on fans.com