When Jerry Garcia died, David Letterman, who had been a friend said in his opening monologue, ” The bad news is Jerry Garcia has died, the good news is thanks to some very powerful drugs, he’ll still be able to tour. ” Well it’s been 20 years and Jerry’s passing left some hard shoes to fill. The surviving members of the Grateful Dead concentrated on their solo projects, Bob Weir, Rat Dog, Phil Lesh, Phil and friends, Mickey Hart’s Mystery Box and Bill Kreutzmann’s 7 Walkers. Now on their 50th anniversary they have decided to get together and play a run of shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field, which was where Jerry played his last show with the band. But who could they get to fill in for the mighty Garcia? Names like John Kadlecik who played with Furthur and Jimmy Herring from Aquarium Rescue Unit were bandied about. Sure they could really play but like most people you’re probably saying who? No they needed a known performer, someone who not only had the chops but also was a name draw themselves. Up steps Trey Anastasio from the biggest jam band in the land, Phish.
While no doubt Trey is a world class guitarist and a decent vocalist, but besides similar past drug problems he and Garcia don’t have much in common, stylistically that is. Trey’s more of shredder as they say in rock guitar parlance. But Phish have been crowned the kings of the jam band scene, therefore the Dead’s successors. Plus him and the guys from the Dead are all old friends having rubbed elbows and shared stages over the years.
Being a fan of both bands it’s not much of a controversy to me but many naysayers from both camps have filled message boards with pronouncements of doom but I think it’s going to be a great match. Trey’s been clean and on top of his game for awhile now and I hear he’s been practicing up for the shows. See you in Chicago.
Q. ” What did the Phishhead say when he ran out of drugs? “
A. ” Man, this band sucks. “
Q. ” What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of drugs? “
A. ” Deadhead’s don’t run out of drugs! “