Thoughts On The Dead

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

The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Shows FAQ

What’s this I hear about the Dead’s 50th anniversary?

The Grateful Dead’s first gigs were in the spring of 1965, making this year their gold anniversary. The surviving members of the group who have penises and are not TC will be marking the occasion with three concerts over Fourth of July weekend.

Just three shows?

The Dead thought it would be more special to limit the number of appearances. Also, any sort of extended tour would most likely kill one or all of them. But: mostly the thing about making it special.

Didn’t the main guy die years ago? Hairy Mendoza?

Close enough, and: yeah. He died in 1995 and since then, the Dead have reassembled in various forms under different names and with any number of guitarists.

Fake Jerries, yeah.

Dude, you can’t call him Hairy Mendoza and then know the term “fake Jerry.”

Sorry, sorry.

The bit is Frequently Asked Questions. Just be the guy asking questions frequently.

Okay, so, who’ll be playing guitar and singing with the Dead at these shows? 

That’s actually (one of) the exciting part(s): Trey Anastasio from Phish will be playing lead guitar and singing a whole bunch of Garcia’s songs.

And that’s exciting because?

Well, first off: Trey’s got a hell of a lot more star power than any of the other dudes up for the gig. Did you know that there is a man named John Kadlecki and he’s a damn fine guitar player?

I do now, I suppose.

And does that fact make you want to book plane tickets and a hotel room?

In no way, shape, or form.

Right. So: Trey. Also, while Phish is clearly the “heir” (whatever that means) to the Dead’s legacy, they’ve always tried to maintain a separation from the Dead in musical styles, lyrical content, attitude towards improvisation, aesthetic presentation.

Would a normal person be able to tell the two bands apart?

Oh, fuck, no. Guitar solos for white kids to take drugs to. Like: 99% the exact same bullshit.

But to a Deadhead or a…what do you call a person who likes Phish more than the Dead?



Are you trying to start a fight in the comment section? It’s already weird enough in there.


Let’s continue. Who else is going to be performing with…what is this phrase they keep using? The “core four?”

Yeah. The “core four.” Someone thought that phrase up and now we all just have to live with it.

It rhymes!

It does. So: Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti will be playing keyboards.

Two keyboardists?

Yeah. Weird thing: Bruce Hornsby refuses to play with the Dead unless they provide him with another piano player that he can bully. And Bruce Hornsby’s maybe seven feet tall, but he’g got quick feet, so you can’t get away. He did some fucked-up shit to Vince, but the stuff he’s already doing to Chimenti is going down in the history books. Or arrest reports: times have changed and this kind of behavior is rarely laughed off anymore.

Already doing?

The night the contracts were signed, Bruce Hornsby dressed in drag, seduced Jeff Chimenti, and–during love-making–implanted several post-hypnotic suggestions into Jeff Chimenti’s sub-conscious.

I thought you said Bruce Hornsby was seven feet tall?

Jeff Chimenti likes ’em big.

Are you two gonna be serious?




Don’t be sorry. Stop enabling him. Help people out with some honest answers to the questions they might have about the Farewell Shows. This is a big deal to some people and they want some true facts. You were a journalism major in school: act like it.

Unemployed and bitter?

Hey. Get back to the FAQ or say goodbye.


Why are the shows being held in Chicago?

It’s kinda/sorta/almost the middle of the country, so people from both coasts are equally inconvenienced. And Chicago is very temperate in the summer.

Is it, really?

Oh, fuck, no. It’s like a marsupial’s pouch. The precise temperature, moisture level, and smell of a tin wash basin full of piss left out in the sun all morning.

Are the shows sold-out?

They haven’t gone on sale yet, but they’ll sell out the second the digital gate is opened. The ticket-bots and StubHub touts are already circling and shenanigans have most suredly already begun.

What about the prices?

What about ’em? This is a goddamned capitalist society and the Dead’re free to charge whatever the market will bear as recompense for their years of creativity and struggle!

Slow down, Dagny: I just wanted to know how much the tickets were.

Oh, expensive as shit. Well, actually: the Stones charge more, and those fuckers have been on that farewell tour of theirs for so long that they’ve run out of places to play and had to hit India and Australia. Also way cheaper than the Super Bowl and they have that every year and attending it in person is empirically provable to be worse than watching it on a TV at a halfway decent gathering. So: not ridiculous in context.

Is it going to be any good?

Oh, fuck, yeah. It’ll be a great time no matter how they play and I think they’ll play well, regardless of their history at every single important gig of their entire career without exception. Who cares: you won’t find a ride like this no more.

Seriously, why two keyboardists?

Listen: Bobby and Phil just kind of have custody of this Chimenti guy. They share him, I think. Anyway: he’s become their John Kahn.

Please don’t accuse people of that. End of FAQ.


  1. Once again a magnificent write up. No one can deny the tension between phish and Dead Heads. Trey will do a good job just like he did at ‘Lockn two years ago.
    If I had the resources I would go. Gonna be a big deal for sure

  2. Anchovy Rancher

    January 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    I wouldn’t even want to take a crap at Soldier Field. Not even a little cheap beer and burrito one. Which is about all you’re going to be able to afford after flying in from wherever, staying anywhere but the Youth Hostel and maybe getting robbed/pickpocketed while photographing The Bean.

    I had a six hour layover I Chicago once, waiting for the Westbound Amtrak “Empire Builder” to East Glacier National Park.

    I’m from San Francisco and thought that Chicago was kinda’ creepy. Had breakfast at “George Somethingorother’s Artist’s Cafe” and walked around taking photo’s of the cool old architecture, had a couple of Bloody Mary’s, rode one of the River Ferries and got back on the train. I felt better when we got into North Dakota.

    I can’t imagine dropping $1 Large for a weekend of Phish/Deadiness. $60.00 a day for the Nosebleed Seats? Nah. You’d have to be down there in the Ivy League Mosh Pit.

    • Anchovy Rancher

      January 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      By The Way: I’ll be buying at least 100 “Nosebleed Tickets” and posting them on eBay for $250.00 apiece. Maybe $300.00. Just to be “nice” to the Brooks Brothers Button Down Trust Fund Fuckers that couldn’t find Mommy’s Visa. Hint: It’s next to the Grandma’ Style Peach Step-In’s in the second drawer from the top.

    • While I agree with you most whole heartedly about the shows, Chicago is no creepier than SF or any other urban environment. If you felt better in North Dakota, watch “Fargo”, it’s a great series!

      • Actually, I was only “creeped out” by a couple of thuggish, young, drug hucksters and then, some of the side streets where I could distinctly smell the acrid stench of roasting human flesh.

        Alright, I’ll stop. Chicago is not any weirder than most decaying urban environs. It’s mostly that it’s in the Midwest. At least it wasn’t full of “pleasant fat people” like Iowa City, where I’d been visiting an old Crew Guy Buddy. I did, however, get to see Bonerama and Garaj Mahal at the Iowa City Jazz Festival.

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