I think no more Jerry Band for me. These bloggings started with the express rule: no Jerry Band, which of course encapsulates Ratdog and Seastones and drunkenly narrated slide shows from Billy’s scuba trips. (“Punched that fish in the dick, punched THAT fish RIGHT in the dick. Swimmin’ over here and takin’ our jobs.”)
There is something, a gestalt (a Jungian would say that) that exists between four men and whomever else they let on the stage that creates the Grateful Dead. It’s like Voltron, except it now takes up to three hours to form the Voltron Robot because one of the lions–I’m not going to say which one, but it’s Garcia–has locked himself in the Space Lion Bathroom again and we can’t really force him out of there because he’s in an 800 ton warp-capable lion mech; outright aggression would be counter-productive.
I say four because it was four who were necessary: Garcia, Bobby, Billy, Phil. Mickey came and went; keyboardists plowed under as if stage right was the Somme. It was the four of them that made the sound that was the Dead: that lazy lope, that leonine lurch, that lupine lambada and they checked one another’s bad habits.
The worst thing to happen to Garcia–or any of them, really–was being the guy in charge of the band. Because Garcia wanted to play this next number for 23 minutes. Doesn’t matter what song, but it’s probably Dylan or a reggae tune he has de-reggaefied, and it’s gonna be 23 minutes. So, if Garcia’s the one signing your check, you comp under him for 23 minutes. Also, it’s going to be slow.
Billy wouldn’t put up with that shit, though. Billy was the guy who, when the group needed to buy a new truck in the early days, instead demanded they buy him a Mustang that he promptly wrecked. If Billy wanted a song to be over, it was going to end.
Phil didn’t really do any solo stuff; he could be a bit lazy. And surly. All of the Evil Dwarves. And, of course, when Bobby gets left to his own devices, this happens: