Friday, July 3, 2015

What a long, strange trip it's been: Getting ready for the Grateful Dead's "Fare Thee Well" tour

I know I should be writing something about the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez making a deal on his milestones (my opinion is that the Yankees got off easy) or even the Yanks paying $150K to a charity of Zack Hample's choice to get his 3,000 hit ball (my opinion is that he is even more of a self-aggrandizer than me, which is not easy to do!)

But tonight is a very important night. The Grateful Dead are doing their "Fare Thee Well" farewell tour at Soldier Field over the next three days, starting this Friday. (I will be watching a theater simulcast of the last show at a Times Square movie theater on Sunday!) And in honor of the shows, I was going to come up with a top 10 Grateful Dead playlist. But then I found this very excellent one, and my work was mostly done! (I do have some additions, though. See below!)

I am a very recent convert to becoming a Dead fan. Until 2014, the most that I knew about the band was when a lefty/hippie boyfriend of mine in college used to play the Dead's greatest hits collection "Skeletons From the Closet" during our makeout sessions.

But I was terrified of the Grateful Dead's concert noodling -- 30 minute jams weren't -- and really still aren't -- my thing. However, as I discovered after seeing the terrific documentary on Bob Weir, "The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir," which Squawker Jon and I saw last April at the Tribeca Film Festival, and then when watching the 1972 Bremen Beat Club concert at last year's Meet Up at the Movies, the Dead actually had some very catchy songs, and ones which didn't have interminable navel-gazing!

In case you haven't figured this out about Squawker Lisa by now: I am a very passionate person! Stuff I like, I really, really like. So when I finally discovered the Grateful Dead, I found myself listening to them constantly, and driving Squawker Jon and others crazy by talking about the band all of the time! Hey, I am what I am. Take it or leave it!

My favorite Dead era is in the early 70s, preferably when Pigpen was still alive and performing with the group.  To that end, check out this video, which has some of my all-time faves: "Bertha," "Mr. Charlie," and "Sugaree." If this concert had "Mama Tried," it would be the perfect show! Here is another good Dead show, from 1972. Then there is this before its time tribute to Aaron Hernandez in "Mama Tried."

Anyhow, I listen to the Dead all the time now. When I'm happy. When I'm sad. When I'm angry. When I'm tired. When I am running. When I am writing. They have such a diverse oevure (yeah, I went there, with the ten-dollar words!) that they have music for pretty much every mood! I wouldn't call myself a Deadhead, per se -- I am such a latecomer to all of this! -- but I would call myself a big fan! Shocker, I know!

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