Show report: Deadheads for Obama

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 Women†, Mississippi Half-Step Uptown
Toodeloo†>New Minglewood Blues*, Come Together*

II. (Acoustic)
Deep Elem Blues, Friend of the Devil, Deal, Ripple

China Cat Sunflower*†>The Wheel*†>The Other One*>Sugaree* Eyes of
the World*†>Throwin’ Stones*>Iko Iko>*†>Playing reprise

E. U.S. Blues*†%

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; †with Barry Sless, pedal steel guitar; %with Hippie Bill, flag

More impressions as I remember them.


7 Responses to “Show report: Deadheads for Obama”

  1. Addie says:

    I can only say that I REALLY wish I was there! I had it on Sirius and thank goodness for that because the connection on line was pretty poor plus it took me about an hour to get the connection! Unfortunately the radio and the internet were not in sinc so I kind of closed my eyes and listened and sometimes looked at the screen.
    I knew it was going to be something very special. I hope that they recorded it on both DVD and CD.
    If you missed it don’t hesitate to view it at>>
    all times are pst.
    peace to all..

  2. susan says:

    Hey David, Member me, the lady who makes the tie-dyed silk and cotton prayer flags. Anyway, home in San Anselmo last night, caught in the streaming weirdness, found your blog and
    want to send many thanks your way for being a light on the road.

  3. rich holborow says:

    Agree with the comments regarding “Other One” and “Sugaree”, but to these ears, “Minglewood” featuring Weir messing with the phrasing (like he does waaaay too much when he sings GD songs post GD) was lame and “Come Together” sounded like a really really bad garage band. Phil really surprised me with the nice “1/2 step”-he was in pretty good voice.
    The rest was sweet.

  4. […] Playing in the Band – Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart et al. 2/4/08 Warfield Theater, San Francisco (”Deadheads for Obama”) Read Gary Lambert’s report of this event on DeadNet. And here’s my report. […]

  5. […] Obama on video tape Playing in the Band-> Brown-Eyed Women – Deadheads for Obama […]

  6. […] called in to KPFA last night during the Grateful Dead marathon. We talked about the February 4 Deadheads for Obama show, and about the importance of participating in the political system – and Bob told one brief but […]

  7. […] music was just great. Read my review here. The Lesh people wouldn’t give me the board tape for the radio, so I downloaded this excellent […]

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