Thoughts On The Dead

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

Second Set (Post-Drums)

    • There is no light that is not for commercial or artistic purposes left in Chicago.
    • This is what it looks like, from somewhere.
    • Backstage pano from Chicago, it
    • These are not the Lord’s lights, now: no, these flash down the aisles like they were chasing robbers, and run in rivulets across the ball caps of the crowd.
    • These lights are sinful and they boast.
    • When the Dead played New Potato Caboose in 1968, they had many excuses.
    • For example, it was 1968 and all sorts of bullshit was allowed.
    • Also, they were very young men.
    • Pretty much just boners with mustaches.
    • Soon enough, though, Playin’ starts and it’s hilarious if you listen closely.
    • Within the space of the intro and first verse, Billy forgets and remembers how the song goes three or four times, Bruce has to reintroduce the tempo to the rest of the band by Pounding! Very! Loudly! On! The! Beat! for a couple of bars, but then they settle into the jam.
    • A proper Playin’ jam should never be rushed into.
    • After all, you might be there for twenty minutes or so.
    • They do not attack the jam like children.
    • They woo the jam.
    • Woo.
    • Truman tells the jam how pretty it looks; Bobby takes the jam’s coat; Jeff Chimenti shows the jam all of his hand-made shirts.
    • The jam cannot believe how beautiful Jeff Chimenti’s shirts are.
    • The jam says, fuck it: let’s do this.
    • And they make love to the jam – some gently, others are Billy, but the love gets made as the jam envelops them all around 8 minutes in.
    • ©Jay Blakesberg
    • The Grateful Deads did this at one another.
    • Twelve minutes or so in: tell me if I’m crazy – West LA Fadeaway Jam.
    • I turned to Martin and said, “West LA Fadeaway jam!”
    • He denies this happened.
    • We’ll talk about Martin and Chris when we get to the Colonnade; that’s where we became friends, I think.
    • I swear I have a plan here.
    • Although, Triplet is really going on Bobby in an aggressive fashion up there.
    • If they were gorillas, Bobby would have to kill Trey or leave the nest and all the other gorillas to die alone in the forest.
    • But gorillas are terrible musicians, so they would never have gotten to this stage, so it’s a moot point.
    • Speaking of Thermidor Alobster, he has truly been studying Garcia, because he is doing nothing but soloing over this Let It Grow.
    • Which is exactly what Garcia used to do.
    • “Oh, don’t mind me. Just gonna solo. Play your farm song.”
    • I was the only person out of 65,000 that heroically thrust my fist into the air while screaming, “BLACK DIRT LIVE AGAIN,” but I’d do it again and twice on Sunday.
    • With no context, sheerly on its own musical merits, LIG is the most interesting and vital thing played yet tonight.
    • It is just a tiny bit too slow, so it does have that in common with what’s been played so far tonight.
    • The Dead have long employed the strategy they’re using to navigate the tough bits of Let It Grow: everyone but Garcia kinda stop playing, except now Garcia is not Garcia.
    • A shiny quarter to anyone who can tell me why Trump wasn’t standing by Bruce.
    • The whole point of hiring the man to be Garcia is that he was never a Jerry.
    • Let Garcia be Garcia, even if it’s Trey.
    • By now, the majority of the crowd on the floor is not so much dancing as they are shifting their weight from their bad knee to their shitty foot and back again.
    • The perimeter of the field is now littered with old, drunk men and young, drunk women.
    • Mud has been tracked in, somehow.
    • Women are more pregnant than you would think possible.
    • There are dancers and some accept their space and occupy it with grace and others bully their ways here and there.
    • There are babies where there should not be babies.
    • Baby wants to be a baby; baby couldn’t give two fucks about whether they nail the Slipknot.
    • Leave baby home.
    • Get away, baby.
    • I don’t need you now, baby.
    • Got my own shit to deal with.
    • ©Jay Blakesberg
    • During Slipknot!, Troposphere made this face.
    • He made that face a lot.
    • I’m pretty sure it’s his go-to face.
    • All of the Phishes can do an impression of that face.
    • Phil is singing Franklin’s Tower, and that’s a thing.
    • We will discuss Phil’s singing and its sociopolitical ramifications starting with Bird Song on July Fourth and ending with Terrapin on the Fifth.
    • To make up for the tempos of the previous two hours, the Dead (kinda) has decided to play Franklin’s entirely too fast.
    • On paper, this makes it average out, but reality is less mathematical than that.
    • Bruce and Truckmonster have taken this Franklin fellow out back and beaten him with tire iron.
    • Jeff Chimenti is like Ricky Jay taking a gig at a kid’s party: he’s doing all the stuff he’s supposed to do, but occasionally just lets loose with some organ-playing of both a slanderous and libelous nature.
    • There must be better combinations than the biggest sound system in the country, a Hammond B3, and LSD, right?
    • Fried chicken and waffles is pretty good, but not quite as impressive.
    • Also of note: Bobby stayed off his stool, and I ran into an old friend; she had flowers in her hair.
    • She had married since I last saw her; she found the whitest human being on the planet.
    • If this were a movie, he would be the guy trying to shut down the community center, forcing the Dead to put on a show.
    • Phil blatantly fucks up the “long, strange trip” line during the Donor Rap.
    • Making fun of the Donor Rap makes you an asshole.
    • Noting that they got longer every night is fine.
    • phil bobby ripple chicago
    • Bobby played acoustic and sang Garcia’s old parts and everyone else sang whatever parts they felt like, just like they always did.
    • We sang our parts, too, and when Bobby asked for songs to fill the air, we obliged him.
    • We would have obliged them anything that night.
    • I did not get my transcendental moment; it did not come and they cannot be forced.
    • I tried, anyway.
    • Maybe tomorrow.


  1. Triplet, Thermidor, Trophosphere, Truckmonster



  2. “There must be better combinations than the biggest sound system in the country, a Hammond B3, and LSD, right?”

    If so I haven’t run across it…when they get the Leslie speaker mic’d right and up in the mix…whooo

  3. YES, LA Fadeaway jam did sneak in. At the time I thought it may have just been the baked goods. Thanks for confirmation

  4. Felt like the peak of the July 3rd show was Bertha. (listening) In Santa Clara the first night was Dark Star and the 2nd night Hell in a Bucket, Possibly the end of Mississippi Step when they all sang. Interested to hear from people in attendance when they peaked.

  5. >>>> A shiny quarter to anyone who can tell me why Trump wasn’t standing by Bruce

    Nobody penetrates the Chimenti Follicle Force Shield.

  6. “Roses are red
    and ready for plucking.
    You’re sixteen
    and ready for high school”

    – Kurt Vogenant-

  7. “Oh, don’t mind me. Just gonna solo. Play your farm song.”

    That’s basically it during the Bobby songs. On bad nights he was just noodling and totally disconnected from the band. On good nights we all know what happened.

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