Quite simply, that was the best Grateful Dead music I’ve heard in 15 years or more.
I did not go there expecting to be thrilled, but thrilled I was. Everybody brought his higher musical self to the stage, and they played with great warmth, inspiration, telepathy, dynamics, and precision. I was impressed with pretty much everything I heard.
Mark Karan played guitar most of the night. Barry Sless alternated with Mark much of the time, playing pedal steel; the two were together onstage a few times, too. Both men demonstrated their profound appreciation of how this music works while conversing in their own voices throughout. And (especially) later in the show, Jackie Greene brought his own appealing flavor to the dialogue. Mark and Jackie played some Duane-and-Dickey-level dual guitar in “The Other One” and again in an extended and dynamic “Sugaree.” It was truly thrilling.
I saw Rob Levitsky, who danced around countless Grateful Dead shows in a bear suit that lit up and flashed and a scepter with a spinning lit-up orb. I didn’t see if he was wearing the bear suit, but the spinning lights made the place feel more like home again. When Rob Levitsky is lit up, the spirit is in the house.
Jerry was there: a stuffed Jerry doll oversaw the proceedings from the top of Jackie Greene’s Leslie speaker at stage left.
The set list, thanks to Gary Lambert:
Playing in the Band*>Brown-Eyed WomenÃ¢â‚¬ , Mississippi Half-Step Uptown
ToodelooÃ¢â‚¬ >New Minglewood Blues*, Come Together*
Deep Elem Blues, Friend of the Devil, Deal, Ripple
China Cat Sunflower*Ã¢â‚¬ >The Wheel*Ã¢â‚¬ >The Other One*>Sugaree* Eyes of
the World*Ã¢â‚¬ >ThrowinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Stones*>Iko Iko>*Ã¢â‚¬ >Playing reprise
E. U.S. Blues*Ã¢â‚¬ %
Bob Weir, guitar and vocals; Phil Lesh, bass and vocals; Mickey Hart, drums and vocals; John Molo, drums; Jackie Green, guitar, keyboards and vocals; Steve Molitz, keyboards and vocals.
* with Mark Karan, guitar; Ã¢â‚¬ with Barry Sless, pedal steel guitar; %with Hippie Bill, flag
More impressions as I remember them.