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Fare Thee Well

Parris and I spent the weekend in Chicago (one of my favorite cities), hanging around Soldier Field for the last three performances of the Grateful Dead, the Fare Thee Well shows.

(I went in disguise, forsaking my usual Greek fisherman's cap for a series of baseball caps, but somehow people recognized me anyway).

What can I say? Amazing shows, and the end of an epoch. I felt privileged to be there. And the music... well, words can never truly capture the feel of great music, as I discovered long ago when I wrote my rock novel, THE ARMAGEDDON RAG.

It was the RAG that brought me to my first Dead show, back in the 1980s. There was a time when the late great Phil DeGuere, the writer/ producer who brought me out to LA to write for THE TWILIGHT ZONE, hoped to make a feature film of the RAG, working with the Dead. That never came to pass, but it did get us backstage at many a Dead show.

Phil is gone now, alas, and so is Jerry Garcia, Cap'n Trips himself... and now the remaining members of the Dead have played their final shows together. But the memories will Not Fade Away, and the music will live on as long as people listen to rock and roll.

You will be able to buy a boxed set of those three last shows, I understand. Don't hesitate. They were amazing performances.

Meanwhile, here's my favorite Dead song (a hard choice, since I love so many)... from a 1980 show at Radio City Music Hall (not one I attended, alas):

Comments

( 39 comments )
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mydunn123
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:10 pm (UTC)
Farewells are always sad ...
... but memories live on
Matthew Roth
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
great weekend in Chicago for sure! Every stop I made on the road yesterday back to New England I ran into more deadheads.

I must say as I've read a lot of your works I find dead references scattered throughout. Sometimes subtle, the way Robert Hunter has scattered common folk refrains throughout the songs. It may be me reading to far into it, but it always brought a smile to my face.
caraig
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:21 pm (UTC)
I took my brother and his wife to one of the shows in Santa Clara. (I didn't get tickets, I'd never been much of a Deadhead but they were both big fans.) I admit that 'Fare Thee Well' always makes me choke up a bit, no matter the context. My brother liked the show a lot.

What made it almost surreal -- in that wonderful Grateful Dead way -- was that during the second song, here in hot, dry, drought-ridden California where it hasn't rained for weeks (and even then it was a weak drizzle) a rainbow appeared over the stadium. I'm not one for superstition, so I'm comfortable leaving that as a mystery, and a nice tribute to Jerry.
Andy Marinkovich
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I did not know you were a Dead Head! How lucky for you to attend the last shows. It was a bittersweet weekend for sure. If you haven't already, check out the documentary on Bob Weir called "The Other One." It's available on Netflix and well worth a watch.

I know the band won't be performing together again, but it seemed by the end of this past weekend they were truly connecting and getting in tune with each other, and they sounded as if they could do a full tour. Trey was a wonderful addition. I only wish they'd brought him into the fold earlier when they were touring as Further and The Dead. And thank you for posting the "Ripple" video. It seems like only yesterday when I was watching Jerry sing and listening to the fluttering notes of his guitar, and Bobby looked like a kid! :-)
rumata
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:28 pm (UTC)
Great song! Jerry was cool.
scott4567
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:42 pm (UTC)
Fare thee well show
You were in Chi-town? Ya shoulda called! Yeah, the Soldier Field shows are always huge affairs. This time was no different.
I always chuckle when I picture Ser Gerold Dayne with a touch of gray.
Hope you had a good time. Cheers!
shadow_karl
Jul. 7th, 2015 06:56 pm (UTC)
Ripple
Great choice, that is my favorite song of the Grateful Dead as well. My Freshman year roommate in college was a Dead Head and used to play their albums all the time. Ripple was the first song I really took a liking to. He saw one of Jerry Garcia's last shows in Kansas City or St. Louis if memory serves. In any case right after he passed away I remember hearing about it on the radio and they played Ripple in tribute; I was very pleased with the selection.
cashcraig
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:00 pm (UTC)
George, do you listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogarty)? I love the heck out of their stuff. I'd see John in concert every other night if I could.

He always tells that story of how Grateful Dead didn't finish their set at Woodstock until 2AM, giving CCR a completely passed out audience.

grrm
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, I love Creedence.
(no subject) - drpaisley - Jul. 8th, 2015 04:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Seth Carr
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:08 pm (UTC)
What a fantastic time we all had in Chicago this weekend. I was one of the lucky ones to attend these 3 phenomenal shows. I thought Trey nailed it. He wasn't parroting Jerry by any means, but there were moments where you could close your eyes and be swept away.

On a side note: Did you get any of that deep dish while you were out there? I got some Giordano's stuffed pizza and it was great; however, I'd take a NY style over that any day.
grrm
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
Not a fan of deep dish.

I did get to Greektown for some of that good Chicago Greek food.
adamengland
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
It's all a dream we dreamed
One afternoon long ago
dragonborngurl
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:29 pm (UTC)
Awww, thanks for posting that. A real blast from the past. evokes such vivid memories of the late 1970's being a happy high hippy teen ager in my home made halter top and cut off jean shorts, no digital world, no make up, healthy and fit driving in a car on our way with friends, my dog Zeena in tow and some beer to our favorite summer swimming hole in upstate NY. Carefree, soaking up the music of our life and feeling the warm breeze and breathing the clean air. *sigh*

Edited at 2015-07-07 07:32 pm (UTC)
livejournal
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:35 pm (UTC)
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Michael Genovese
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:45 pm (UTC)
This is awesome
I am so glad you enjoyed it. I was on couch tour and enjoyed it immensely!
solarbird
Jul. 7th, 2015 07:47 pm (UTC)
One of the financial news sites I follow reported that offers on floor tickets to the final show were at $116,000. But there was zero churn, meaning no transactions. There were no sellers.

That's a pretty determined fandom right there. ♥
athelas6
Jul. 7th, 2015 09:16 pm (UTC)
Classic
Thanks for sharing.
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