This is it. The Grateful Dead are playing their final show ever – the last of their 50th anniversary Fare Thee Well farewell shows takes place tonight. And if you’re not lucky enough to be in attendance at Chicago’s Soldier Field, don’t worry, you can still see the show tonight via the free live video stream from Grain + Verse in New Cumberland.
The shows have been pretty great so far. Last weekend’s shows in Santa Clara served as a great warmup for the group and there were a few standout moments. As a Phish fan I loved seeing Trey Anastasio take the lead on “Alabama Getaway.”
I’ve been a fan of the Dead for years and I also love Phish so it’s extra exciting that Trey is handling the lead guitar role. I never got to see the Dead during the Jerry Garcia days, but I’ve seen offshoots of the Dead numerous times and it’s always a musical adventure.
Since yesterday was the Fourth of July, I guess “U.S. Blues” would be the obvious choice, but this morning I’m playing one of my all-time favorite Grateful Dead jams: “Eyes of the World” featuring Branford Marsalis on saxophone. (The groove that Marsalis gets into around 11 minutes is one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever heard.) This song is from the Dead’s performance at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, on March 29, 1990. Fans of the Dead will recognize this version from the band’s 1990 live album Without a Net.
According to Marsalis in a Rolling Stone interview, the Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh approached him and asked if he’d like to sit in during the first set on “Bird Song.” The band was so turned on by Marsalis’ saxophone playing that they asked him to return for the second set. And it’s a good thing they did, because now we have this: “Eyes of the World” from March 29, 1990, the Grateful Dead with Branford Marsalis.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take 16 minutes (and 14 seconds) to take a musical trip with the Grateful Dead.
Any requests? What are you listening to this morning?