Oteil has probably needed sandpaper to wipe my lipstick off of his ass this tour. I’m typically not much for kissing anyone’s ass but it’s probably justified since he really is the difference maker in the overall energy and impact of the music. Uh oh… He’s gonna need another sheet. I know a lot of people think breathing in Weir’s farts can cure lung cancer but I’m not one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Weir but I wouldn’t act like a little girl meeting Justin Beiber if I ran into him. Bob carried the band many a night in Garcia’s darker years and I’m a fan for sure but I’ve been pretty rough on the hairy fucker at times.  I think it’s about time I put some lipstick on Weir’s ass…

Blossom was a special night because it was Heather Doomis’s birthday. I was waiting for the band to play Happy Birthday or put on some Sombreros and sing Feliz Cumpleanos or something. That didn’t happen… Maybe next time Heather! We Love you!!!

I have to get packing since I’m flying to Chicago so I don’t have too much time. The first set was perfect because they played Row Jimmy right in the middle. That’s an ideal time to take a leak. Everything before it was good and so was everything after it. The first set was so short I was wondering if they were double parked or they had to go feed the meters. Bank robbers spend more time at their gigs. Nugs was probably happy since they gave us another free one and didn’t have to use much bandwidth! Thanks a million Nugs! We Love You! Even if 12 people actually buy the stream when it’s available and stream it themselves to the other 50,000 people, we still appreciate it!

I never get tired of China->Riders. To me, that’s as much fun as you can have without needing to apologize the next day. Dead & Company, unlike the rest of us, have gotten tighter every show and the experience between now and the first week of the tour has changed dramatically. I know some folks think every show sounds unbelievable and some think every show sounds terrible. Since those folks will feel the same regardless, I’ll talk to eveyone else. I’m happy when you’re happy but I’m not getting a case of red ass just because you got one. Doesn’t bother me any. He’s Gone was great and contained all the elements you expect from it. Just spooky enough to appreciate without freaking ya the fuck out. That tune makes a lot of people do that prayerful hands thing. I don’t know if anyone is really praying but they sure do look like it. Maybe it’s all just a big long 52-year prayer… Who knows…

Truckin was groovy and Weir was stronger than an acre of garlic all night long. In the beginning of the tour, it seemed like Bob was under the impression he was still on the campfire tour. I know Bob has that Cowboy thing in his head and it probably fits him now much better than it did in past decades. You roll up on a bunch of cowboys with a pony tail, Daisy Dukes and a hot pink guitar and I’m putting my money on you gettin an ass kickin. Not anymore. Weir is a lot more rugged lookin and fits the role much better now. Either way, this isn’t the campfire band and while I really loved those shows and went to a couple, I think he had to shake that vibe off and transition to the Raging Bon Fire that is Dead & Company. Weir was fantastic on everything he sang. The brother isn’t young but you couldn’t sense fatigue on him last night. Sure his voice may have a raspy register or 2 but overall, you have to appreciate how he’s holding up.  If I’m not mistaken, Truckin might have been missing my favorite jam at the end when they wind up the universe until the spring breaks. I’ll have to go back and listen again. They’ve been challenged bringing that jam to tension but have had one or two that got there.

Drums was great and I love when they play with horns. Horns make the party better! They’re like the high caliber strippers of unusual Drum segments. I’m just kiddin about that y’all, don’t judge! Space was some weird sounds played for approximately 8 minutes.

The post Space segment was Weir at his best! Finally, I Need a Miracle didn’t sound like it needed a pacemaker. Weir still can’t get the first verse out of his mouth. I wish Barlow would help him rewrite that tune. I’ve said it before, I just don’t know if he can fully commit to a verse that has him making affirmations like needing women twice his age and weight anymore. Just change that shit to “half my age” and maybe he can get it out of his mouth. Poor dude probably can’t get the vision of an Urn full of ashes out of his mind when he sings “twice my age”. Regardless, The Miracle was the best one that they’ve played so far in my opinion. Mayer’s backups were appropriate and he didn’t go falsetto and sound like a cat when you put them in a hot tub.

I’ve been extremely critical of Weir on Garcia ballads but the Wharf Rat was outstanding, mostly because Weir didn’t sing it tolike Weir. I think the way he hangs back and rushes to get verses in or runs ahead and lets the song catch up to him is a hallmark of his own songs and I love it on tunes like Estimated but on Garcia’s ballads, I’ve never cared for it too much like Weir. He sang the Wharf Rat like he was staring the tune Dead in the eyes. It wasn’t stylized or influenced by any attempts to make it his. It’s not his… I say that with an abundance of respect for Weir, one of my life’s favorite artists. He sang the tune in alignment. It marched forward delivering a message that was completely untarnished in its delivery. I had one of those moments when my appreciation for Weir was so evident that I saw myself with the head of a Donkey for all the ball bustin I’ve sent his way. Another thing that really struck me during the Wharf Rat was that John’s false didn’t bug the shit out of me during that tune. I realized there may be times when it could be much less aggravating and maybe even appropriate. Then it continued a little too long and I changed my mind…

Good Lovin was a fun way to close the show and Weir continued to be as solid as he was the entire night. The jams were a blast and the set resembled a more familiar experience. It almost felt like you may have heard this show before as opposed to the rearranging of the traditional order and placing of songs that Dead & Company has typically utilized. The first and second sets pretty much kept the tunes in places you would have expected them in the past. I liked it as much as I like them mixing things up. Weir showed at the end of Good Lovin what going falsetto is all about! Brother can still howl at the end of that one and it’s amazing that he still has that after all these years. When there’s a dude next to you that’s almost 70 and he can go false like that, you just listen and save your false for some other time and place. It was a fantastic night for Weir!

While you liked Black Muddy River, that song gives me a Soft-In. That’s the opposite of a Hard-On. Sure it’s a lovely song but it’s definitely never been an encore I love. I think it makes the walk to the car much slower and less funny. It almost forces you to leave quietly. I know y’all will make comments about how wonderful that song is and how much you love it and that’s just fine. I won’t think less of ya for it and I don’t even have a shit that I can give about it. I think The Dead might have been the only rock and roll band in history that encored with slow and pensive tunes.  In the years when artists did 5 song encores, The Dead always gave ya one and every now and then 2. They give ya Brokedowns and Knockins and We Bid You Goodnight. I think it’s one of many great and unique things that The Dead did throughout their career and have carried on with Dead & Company. Sometimes you walk to the lot high steppin and full of newly infused energy and conversation and sometimes you walk out quietly while thinking and not really caring to say much. I appreciate them both!

I gotta board the plane. See ya in Chicago! Can’t wait to get there! It’s gonna be a crazy good weekend at Wrigley! Love you! George Hargrove gets props on the perfect screen capture!

Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)

@gd50th on Twitter

Grateful Dean on Facebook

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