Oh and (as good naturally as possible) let me explain why I said that JK will be part of the GD legacy. He is in a band with some of the original members. It has gone on 2 years now and may go on a few years longer. Now (and I apologize for this JK) I would rather see a guitarist up there with an original style taking a new approach to the music than trying to re-create a sound from 20 or 30 yeas ago (just my opinion). I would rather see Ratdog up there trying to do something original and sometimes failing than seeing a cover band trying to imitate a sound-gone-by and succeeding. But look around next time you are at a show. People LOVE this band and I have a GREAT time with friends and family whenever I go to a Furthur show.... that's why I will continue to go (just bought tickets to a few shows today!). So while I am luke-warm on Furthur myself I find it hard to ignore the fact that JK is part of the story. I never said he was a fixture or cornerstone of the GD legacy... but a part of it yes. And if I was in his shoes I would be doing exactly what he is. I hope that as time goes by he lets his Jerry-act wane and lets his own talent come through. I believe I have seen/heard hints of this on this last tour. If this trend goes "furthur" we may have something really fun on our hands.
I wasn't planning on ever signing up here to actually post, but this thread really irked me. I think having JK play any of Jerry's guitars would be offensive to a lot of folks. Tears? Yeah, but not in a good way. I agree wit most of what was said above, but let me explain a bit more. I agree that I'd much prefer a guitarist that has a unique, more mature style. People like to insist that JK "channels" Jerry, that he doesnt' "imitate". I also see that many of the folks that say that never had the opportunity to see the Grateful Dead so I'm not sure how they can make that statement. If you never experienced the GOGD live, then how can you even know whether or not JK is channeling or imitating Jerry? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a Furthur show as much as most here, but I'm also not blindly saying they're anywhere near the same level as the GD. I'll be honest, I hated JK the first few times I saw him playing with Furthur because I think it's very weird that a cover/tribute band player would be brought into Furthur in the first place. This is a guy who's made his living, not channeling Jerry Garcia, but flat out imitating him. That's what his role was in DSO, wasn't it? I'm asking because I've never seen DSO, I'm just not interested in tribute bands myself but it's a personal thing and I don't begrudge those that enjoy it. However, it is pretty much of a fact that this guy was copying Jerry for years. So now he's playing with the big boys (and if I remember correctly, Bobby said quite directly in an interview that one of the big draws of JK was that he 'knows all the songs', which to me is a total cop out but again, that's just my little old opinion) and the first year+ he was basically copying Jerry, at least that's how it sounded to my ears. The stance, the way he chose to sing (I've seen clips on YT of him with his own band a few years ago and his voice does not sound Jerry-ish at all), his rig on stage, etc. So when I hear someone suggest that he should also play Jerry's guitars now? Yeah, no thank you! It's enough already. And to be fair, he's finally beginning to take on a sound that might be a little tiny bit less Jerry-ish and I think he should continue on in that direction. Be his own musical voice. And I would guess that if he went 100% his own musical voice, he would not sound like Jerry. And I'll bet people here might be complaining that he no longer sounded like Jerry, which sort of reinforces how much he does indeed sound like Jerry. If you followed the logic in that last sentence, you get 25 extra points!
As for comments about what will constitute the history of the GD, to me, as much as Furthur is similar in vibe to a GOGD show, it's also another side band to the GD. The Dead in 2009 was "The Dead" and the closest thing to a GOGD show because all the remaining members were present. I mean, if one is saying JK will go down in GD history because he's playing with two original GD members, then the same can be said for Papa Mali and whomever is playing with the 7 Walkers and with the Rhythm Devils, right? They're all side bands, and from what I've seen, Furthur just is more popular because it's closer in feel to what a real GD show used to feel like, again, in my humble little opinion.
Lastly, can I vent just a tiny bit? I get really tired of people saying, "Jerry would have liked [fill in the blank] so much!" I don't think any of us can presume to know if Jerry would like this or that, or if he would have appreciated JK playing just like him or not. I'm certainly not going to say what he would think because I honestly have no idea. I don't even know how much he wanted to continue playing, or not. I don't think any of us do, but for some reason, people love to hold on to a story that involves being totally sure that Jerry would love this and that. I think Jerry appreciated artistic expression and originality for sure, it's what his music is about. But he was the one that created that music, and I can totally understand how some folks would be put off by someone who seemingly copied so much from his style, to now take up his beloved instruments as well. Mimicking needs props, honoring does not. Warren Haynes and Steve Kimmock are great examples of accomplished musicians who can honor the Jerry vibe, and they sure don't need props to do it. Just something to ponder.