Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

And Then It’s On To Chicago

Set 2 – Mississippi Half-Step >Wharf Rat> Eyes Of The World >He’s Gone >Drums w/ Sikiru Adepoju>I Need A Miracle >Death Don’t Have No Mercy >Sugar Magnolia

E: Donor Rap>Brokedown Palace > Mickey’s Prayer for Peace

As always: not a review of any sort, just kinda thoughts. On the…well, you know.

  • There will be a meeting about microphone privileges.
  • If the trend continues, July 5th will be capped by Jeff Chimenti thanking his parents for piano lessons and his Christopher Walken impression, which is not great.
  • Sometimes in life, you’ll turn away for just a second and when you look back: black guy.
  • His name was Spiro Agnew or something and he whomped on some stuff.
  • Mickey brought him along; he is not Mickey’s Benjy, though.
  • White guys cannot have black guys as their Benjies.
  • Black guys can be Benjies, of course: Puff Daddy had a Benjy.
  • Morris Day and Jerome.
  • White guy can’t have a black Benjy.
  • The whole point of a Benjy is that he’s your property.
  • Gotta have a Benjy the same as you; why have the internet write about how problematic you are?
  • Billy might be about to murder someone, and it’s going to be whomever is singing at the moment, I think.
  • Bobby seems to have recently shifted to a more Willie Nelson-type of phrasing.
  • Don’t get me wrong on this one: TotD loves the Redheaded Stranger.
  • But what Willie sings and the music being played has no bearing on one another.
  • They’re two separate and unrelated things happening at the same time in the same place.
  • Like getting a tugger in the stands of a minor-league hockey game: the players don’t know about your potato salad getting whipped; the jerk-job doesn’t, say, go faster if your team is up.
  • And that works fine for Willie, because Willie either accompanies himself with Trigger or tells the band ahead of time, “Do not listen to me; actively ignore me or this will go poorly. Especially the drummer. Who wants to smoke weed with Willie?”
  • But Bobby and Billy have no such understanding, it seems, and Bobby is torch songing the fuck out these tunes and Billy keeps getting thrown off the horse and Im afraid Billy’s going to stab Bobby. I’m sure Mickey has a knife somewhere in there.
  • “It’s not a knife: it’s a drum shaped like a knife.”
  • Thanks, Mick.
  • Treyvon is killing it.
  • Someone needs to tell him that he has tenure.
  • Trophy Alfaromeo is less fire-able right now than Joe Biden.
  • There’s an old saying about how you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t it drink, but that’s not true.
  • You just have to torture the horse.
  • Horses are just like anyone else: if you torture them, they will do things.
  • Next time, you must not pretend to not notice Bobby trying to get you to stop jamming.
  • Look him in his eyes.
  • Then, redouble your efforts towards the jam.
  • The jam ends when the jam ends.
  • Is it not written?
  • A long time ago, a man named Bear addressed Garcia, Bobby, and Phil. “You can sing, you can sing, you can sing. You cannot all sing at the same time.”
  • The players change, but the song remains the same.
  • I don’t know what that last sentence means, either.
  • We learned during Miracle that Jeff Chimenti has been authorized to sing; from what I could make out, he has a fine voice.
  • There are five vocalists onstage and the very laws of probability and music theory say that at least one or two combinations should be pleasing to the ear.
  • These combinations have not been found, but hope springs eternal.
  • There was a visible on ramp to Dark Star after Half-Step, which would have been perversely awesome: Dark Stars every night.
  • First set Dark Star.
  • “YOU get a Dark Star, and YOU get a Dark Star!”
  • Instead, they downshifted to Wharf Rat.
  • I’m pretty sure if you asked Jeff Chimenti to do you up an arrangement of Wharf Rat with the only musical direction being “Break my heart, Jeff Chimenti: fuck my shit up with song,” then Jeff Chimenti could give you what you’re asking for and stuff you didn’t know you wanted.
  • If he didn’t already have that shit in his pocket.
  • Jeff Chimenti prepares.
  • The sight of a sold-out football stadium set up for a concert–where the field is full as well as the stands–is halfway between glorious and terrifying.
  • These shows are a big deal for the stadium, and not specifically these shows: summer concerts at football stadiums.
  • A stadium’s a business: it needs customers and their main patrons take three-quarters of the year off for the ridiculous reason that adding even one more game to the NFL schedule would kill all the players the first year it was implemented.
  • There aren’t a ton of acts that can pack the house anymore so when, say, the Kinda Dead or Taylor Swift decide to play your venue, it’s a big deal.
  • You celebrate and, of course, everybody takes pictures and there are gifts and it gets in the paper and the wheels of show business go round and everyone feels like a big shot.
  • One of these gifts is a personalized jersey from the home franchise.
  • Most stars get a “1” on the back, because they think highly of themselves and enjoy when others follow suit.
  • I would guess that when Taylor Swift did this, they gave her number 89 because of her record.
  • The Dead, obviously, got 49ers jerseys with 50 on the back to celebrate their 50 years as a band..
  • There was a small ceremony and there was one made for every band member.
  • Unlike the old days, when Phil would scowl at the record executives and Garcia would simply refuse to come out of his room, people were polite and even if football jerseys weren’t their thing they gave thanks all around and took pictures and were just generally pleasant human beings.
  • Bobby will never wear his; Bruce is wearing that fucker around the house.
  • Only Mickey fell in love.
  • He caressed the shiny, slightly tacky letters: H A R T. 5 0.
  • Fifty years. The band didn’t exist for 20 of those years, and Mickey himself was only a member for 26 of the other 30 years, but still: 50 years.
  • It was so much more than just the symbolism: it was what the symbolism represented.
  • This was not just a free t-shirt.
  • A free t-shirt was designed, created, etc., with the intent of being sold; it only becomes a free t-shirt upon contact with Mickey.
  • Not this.
  • This jersey was made for the specific purpose of being given away: it had never had value attached to.
  • Other than the value generated by the fact that it’s free.
  • Mindfuck, right?
  • Mickey saw it instantly, though, and in his mind he ran through his underground fireproof t-shirt bunkers with hatchet and bleach, damning his formerly beloved garments.
  • Calling them whores.
  • “I love you for you are pure, Football Jersey With My Name On It,”
  • (Mickey had begun referring to the shirt that way immediately and it was clear that the words were capitalized and maybe you don’t want any piece of this one.)
  • “I shall use you to hide my nipples from society and God.”

This week in TotD: more from Santa Clara, plans for Chicago, and the dramatic origin story of Mickey’s gloves.


  1. You have truly earned the title of genius with this one.

    Also, too: someone needs to get a pic of Benjy without his hat. A stone fox could do it. Assuming Benjy swings that way. Which I’m not sure about. I mean, you’ve seen that hat.

  2. What the…? Chementi’s Chritopher Walken impression is AWESOME. This blog sucks.

    • ok usually it’s incredibly lame when commenters on here try to go funny-to-funny with the blog post itself, but that was well played

      • shellsonherbooze

        July 1, 2015 at 7:11 am

        You are the harbinger of cool, we all crave your Complete approval. Tell us again how you were here first!!

  3. bob and phil need to kick it in the middle seats and let Jeff and trey drive…they have a good grasp of the journey and the destination

    I thought they were going to cut loose and few times and the 2 bandleaders hit the brakes

  4. Didn’t see it that way. Trey was fine, yes. He rocked. He drove. And I understand TA’s need to have a musical voice compatible with the place Garcia once filled but also distinctly his own. Still, I’m old school. Two things made Dead jams unique, I felt. The first was Garcia’s lyricism. No matter how the melodic line bent, it soared because it sang. The other was JG’s precision, at least when he was up to it; he played and placed each note. That his technique seemed so understated, so effortless is made more apparent when even an excellent player like Trey does less. If jams didn’t take off, I think that’s why. They seemed to hit a plateau and could only get louder. not more rewarding. My two cents.

    • +1000 They need to Release The Kracken (Trey). I won’t even mention the drummer who had his puss face on. But I cashed it in at the set break so maybe he cheered up later. hahaha.

  5. Now that you are high falootin’ via. GR2UD sat-radioness……u r affection for Jeff c…..seems to eclipse that of trixie… this true?

    • He’s recalibrated and set his sights on Mountain Girl.

      “Trophy Alfaromeo is less fire-able right now than Joe Biden.” Amen to that, those checks have been cashed.

  6. RationalExpressions

    June 29, 2015 at 10:00 am

    For some reason, the only thing I want to see from last night is a montage of Billy’s facial expressions. Many reviews mention this, so it must have been obvious and entertaining.
    Fine job as usual TotD.

    • All the puss faces and scowls (not just by Billy, but yeah Billy) are gonna look great on the DVD issue in High Def. 🙂

  7. The red-headed stepchild’s tunnel vision during his solos was monumental last night. And Bobby’s frustration with it was equally substantial…like an old man trying to send back soup at a diner.

    btw, I almost had #dontletphilsing trending on twitter last night…I love the guy’s bass skills, but Half Step or Eyes would have been so much better with Bruce on lead.

    Same goes for Bobby singing the ‘Jerry’ tunes…isn’t that why Bruce was asked to be there? Or was it merely for the fact that he’s the only one who doesn’t have to crane his neck to talk to Bill Walton? ‘Hey Bruce, have you met our BIGGEST fan? You guys have so much in common…’

  8. I may be on my own here, but I thought Chilean Pistachio was going to kill these shows…and I’m disappointed. Seems like he’s bouncing along in his own private worlds — too much “soloing” and then when he does get more understated and ensemble-ish he seems a little lost. Actually, I don’t think I am on my own, I think Phil and Billy looked a little annoyed by his overplaying at times.

  9. I had a dream where someone dosed Benjy, and he stripped off all his clothes including his hat, which Billy then stole and put on his own head, refusing to give it back, and naked Benjy freaked out and stole Chimenti’s wig and put that on his own head and then scaled up the rigging behind Train Mustachio and then writhed around up there on the scaffolding all night while the band played 8/28/72 including the Tiger Jam in the Dark Star and then El Paso and all the other stuff and it was amazing except they all sang all the songs at the same time except Phil sang “Sing Me Back Home” all by himself.

    • As long as you were dreaming, you could have had that Dark Star go into Dew, as Jerry clearly intended, but I understand the need to hew closely to historical fact as well.

  10. Well, a coupla things occur to me after watching partial stream from last night

    1. If they used to argue backstage about their performances 40 years ago, wonder what the discussion was like last night?

    2. They’re replicating everything that was wrong about GD shows from the late 80’s on – rediculous venues, sloppy, unrehearsed don’t give a fuck performances. To my ears, nothing has changed. They might get a way w/ this shit in a bar in San Rafael, but it doesn’t translate to a 70,000 seat stadium.

    3. Why is Lesh singing anything? He sucks, always has, and is singlehandedly taking down these performances.

    4. Why have TA and Bruce onstage if you’re not gonna turn them loose? They’re the most competent musicians on the stage, and know the material inside out.

    5. Would be interesting to see what the core four could have done alone onstage, but, uh, that woulda been a lot of work…

    6. More tarnishing of the bands legacy. Sounds like every other crappy reunion since ’95. Glad I didn’t spend a dime on any of this foolishness.

  11. For the record, I am conceding that I was wrong in predicting that Security would crack down on weed. They did not, and pipes, joints and vapers were everywhere. Not coincidentally, the crowd was as peaceful as Deadheads are renowned to be.

    But lighting up a tobacco cigarette on the concourse was a sure way to get Security all over you! This is California, and we take that shit seriously.

  12. For anyone who actually attended, was there that impossible to describe feeling of anticipation, electricity, overwhelming joy tinged with a touch of fear just before the lights went out? Based on the Trucking I just watched, it looks like every other post Garcia throwdown I have ever witnessed, plus about 50,000 more people.

  13. Trey, I know you see me. Trey, Bueller Bueller. hahaha

  14. Some undiapered monkey on Reddit leaked both Santa Clara setlists well in advance of each days show with astonishing accuracy.
    Put some hot sauce on that shit.

  15. It’s all a problem of fucks, you see.

    Billy doesn’t give any. He’s here because Shapiro asked him and what the fuck? Sounds like a gas and also you’re going to pay ne how much? But the band is gone, make no mistake. And Billy only ever had four ducks in his life, three of which he wasted on getting benji to write his book and tour with him. and this old man is sure as shit not going to waste his last given fuck on a band that died twenty years ago. He’ll play the gig and pocket the cash, but he is definitely not going to lead any sort of fucking charge. That shit’s for young guys. You know, the fiftysomethings.
    Mickey would give a fuck if he had one, but he can’t even get himself into the mix. He’s wearing gloves for christs sake.
    Phil has been saving fucks for some time. Unfortunately all of his fucks were converted to Yugoslavian dinars back in the early nineties and as such are valued today at roughly two grilled cheese sandwiches and one ganja gooball. He’s an earnest man, but an old one. Being contractually obligated to keep every song at approximately 64 bpm is not helping things, either.
    Bobby smoked all of his fucks long ago, as evidence by his insistence that every four-bar phrase be allocated eight bars, and that no song be finished in this (or any other) time zone.

    Which leaves us with Trey, Bruce, and that other dude. For whatever it’s worth when you can hear any keys at all in the mix, they sound fantastic. Here’s a couple of guys with chops, with life, and with enough of a career in front of each of them that they want to make an impression. Either that or they really do dig the music and might even be having some fun up there. Trey is absolutely flush with fucks, having saved up for years by playing for countless trustafarians armed with glow sticks, yet somehow never giving any of us a reason to believe that he’s not, in fact, the diner cook from that one episode of the Twilight Zone. Bruce is only the best keyboardist to ever play with this randy bunch of fuckwits, and every key he touches absolutely drips with fucks, so much in fact that people have on more than one occasion, accus d his piano of being Bobbys plum smugglers from the 88 Spring Tour. And you know chimenti j(wait, who?) just mortgaged everything he could beg steal or borrow just to be sure he had enough fucks for the gig. You know, in case Bobby wanted to borrow a few or something.
    (Btw this Alabama is pretty hot. Definitely a bathroom tune for me in general, it is likely the hottest thing I’ve heard this band play yet.)
    i think we could all forgive the ticket prices, the rainbow conspiracy, the endless plodding of every tune not directly led by Trey, Bobby’s murdering of Black Peter, and even (EVEN), even the inclusion of What’s Become of the Baby, if the old guys would simply get the fuck out of the way and let the help earn their keep. They did, in fact, hire a kickass band. I wish they’d give them some room.

    Full disclosure: have not heard second set Sunday. Crossing fingers.

    • I think we have a new king of commenters.

    • Snorted up my coffee reading this. Don’t get your hopes up re: second set Sunday. “Eyes of the World” is is just horrible with Lesh singing (everyone else looks embarrased to be on stage at that point); when they train-wrecked “He’s Gone” I signed off.

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