In the past few years since Fare Thee Well, as Grateful Dead music has morphed into its own genre, what bands play and how they play it has become an interesting series of choices. Do they want to play it straight, or do they want to interpret it through a filter (heavy metal, Celtic, Bluegrass, Hawaiian slack key guitar, etc.)? Do they want to emphasize the material the band played when they first became Dead Heads, or do they want to sample around? Good argument-starter: Is the best year 1972, or 1977, or 1989? Or fill in the blank...
Or, if you’ll listen to me (and it’s not the year I started going to shows), you’ll get very, very interested in 1969. They would become better musicians in future years, better song-writers, and their material would become much more sophisticated and cover a far wider range, but the psychedelic jazz-rock fusion that peaked that year was a particular form of Grateful Dead that would never be matched.
And thus Live Dead ’69, the band. It features Mark Karan (guitar, the Other Ones, 12 year veteran of Bob Weir’s RatDog), Tom Constanten (the only living ex-Grateful Dead-member keyboardist), guitarist extraordinaire Slick Aguilar (David Crosby and very long-time Jefferson Starship veteran), and bassist Robin Sylvester (RatDog).
This tour will reach into 1970, when the Dead began “An Evening with the Grateful Dead” concerts that included their spinoff band, the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The show will open with the band as New Riders, including Mike Falzarano, a member of the Riders for the past decade and more, to be followed by a full set of Grateful Dead from that very special year. What’s not to like?
August 1, Weds. THE FOUNDRY AT THE FILLMORE, Philadelphia
August 2, Thurs. THE HAMILTON, Washington, DC
August 3, Fri. 13th ANNUAL BEAR’S PICNIC FAMILY REUNIION, Blain Picnic Grounds, Blaine PA
August 4, Sat. STARLAND BALLROOM, Sayreville, NJ 08872
August 5, Sun. THE SPACE AT WESTBURY, Westbury, NY 11590