Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 4/22/79

Phils Like The First Time

You know I don’t do the Today in GD History bit too much; in fact, I resent May 8th and that miserable week in August for drawing so much attention to themselves. Some dates need celebrating, I suppose, but not all of them. Certainly not the 38th anniversary of a show in San Jose.

Unless, of course, it’s Brent’s first show. To honor him, I present you with this photo that he’s not in. This would set a tone for the rest of Brent’s tenure in the band.


If you only had this picture, you would think Phil had a head like a Pachycephalosaurus.

Paging Chez Ray, Paging Chez Ray

Where you going?

“Getting that meatloaf sandwich.”

You’re obsessed.

“I’m hungry.”

How did Brent do?


Brent. Your new keyboard player. This is his first show.

“It is? I thought Donna called in sick.”


“How about that? I’m sure he did great. When have we ever hired the wrong keyboardist?”

40% of the time.

“Close enough for rock and roll, right?”


“Now stop bothering me. Sandwich time.”


Showing Brent The Way

band brent first show

This is from Brent’s first show, 4/22/79, at UC San Jose State. (Go Banana Slugs.) It was so nice of the other Grateful Deads to dress up for the occasion.

Assorted thoughts:

  • Two clean-shaven, two full beards, two mustaches: that means something, I’m sure of it.
  • Phil’s monitor was chilly.
  • Speaking of mustaches and Phil: while we do have a firm grasp on Garcia’s mustache timeline, we haven’t quite pinned down the start and end dates for the rarest period in all of Grateful Dead history – the brief moment when Phil was the fattest guy in the band.
  • The only other photo I know of in which Garcia and Phil exchange places on the chubometer is this one:
  • jerry bobby phil fat backstage
  • This must be from ’79, too: Phil got larger than this, peaking in the mid-80’s when he cut back on the Heineken, but from ’80-’82, Garcia put on at least a hundred pounds and was never challenged for his title again.
  • Bobby looks like he is starring in the direct-to-video feature American Gigolo 2: On The Gigolowdown.
  • How involved is Mickey?
  • Actually, there’s two questions nestled within that larger query:
  • How involved does Mickey think he is?
  • How involved is he really?
  • All of us–all us adults–know that the Wall was a ludicrous invention, and it broke the band’s back, but God it looked grand.
  • It was a feast for the senses.
  • The Dead in 1979 was not a feast for the senses.
  • Bunch of mangy dudes and Peter Potato Salad over there.
  • Although in defense of Bobby, he was the only thing to look at, so he felt like he had to put in extra effort.
  • “Drum store? What’s the biggest drum you got?”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • And so on.
  • Look: it’s Brent.
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