I sat 2nd row center for the June 3 Furthur show at Shorline and was absolutely transported.
Phil, Bobby, JK, and the band: THANK YOU for making sure that the amazing shared connection between band and audience that was nurtured to life with Jerry continues on.
I just finished reading Blair Jackson's book on Garcia and I wanted to share a few parts that are really apt:
The first is Jerry trying to explain the experience of a Dead show where that "channel" is open between band and audience:
"Garcia struggled to explain it in a 1990 interview: 'For me, the experience is one of tremendous clarity. I can see the people in the audience and everybody in the band and there's nothing between me and it; my own thoughts aren't between me and it, my own effort isn't between me and it; my ambition, all of my personal baggage.... That is to say, it's not like thinking, it's not cerebral, but it's not purely emotional, either. I experience it as a kind of transparency, and it's very, very easy when you get to that place. It's impossible to make a wrong decision. In fact, the music is kind of playing itself in a way because I'm not making decisions about where I'm gonna be anymore or where I'm gonna end up or how long a phrase is gonna last or any of that. I'm just goin' with it and everybody else is, too"
Well that's definitely how I felt that night of June 3. Good job, boys.
I miss Jerry, and I can only imagine how special those shows were for all of you fans older than me who got to see him through his earlier crisises. It also makes me respect Bob and Phil all that much more.
As I walked down to my seat at Shoreline that night about 3-5 minutes into Here Comes The Sun, crowd already alive all around me, the first thing I noticed is how AT HOME Bobby was and how much FUN Phil was having.
I didn't follow any of the bands until Furthur after Jerry died, so I also remembered Jerry's second-to-last show at Shoreline, which apparently Blair Jackson was at as well. He captured the emotional moment in it very well:
"Later in the set Garcia led a triumphal sing-along on 'Uncle John's Band', and in his post-'drums' ballad slot he offered a spellbinding version of 'Stella Blue' that was filled with heart. Garcia seemed completely inside Hunter's lyric that night-the giant video screens showed his face in extreme close-up and he couldn't have looked more clear-eyed and present. When Garcia was truly in the moment on his ballads, he was able to communicate the most complex feelings and emotions with a directness and simplicity that could touch almost any soul. He was singing about life and death, 'broken dreams and vanished years.' It was sad and beautiful, especially when he came to the last verse. The music dropped to a whisper--the silence between each note palpable--and the crowd hung on every word as he sang
It all rolls into one
And nothin' comes for free
There's nothing you can hold for very long
But when you hear that song
Come crying like the wind
It seems like all this life
Was just a dream
And he smiled ever so slightly, recognizing that the crowd and band had experienced a moment of the soul together--had walked in the same shoes and seen from the same eyes, if only briefly. It was that kind of enlightened moment, a shared reality full of spiritual nourishment and humanity, that kept Deadheads coming back for more. I'll always carry with me the vision of Garcia, his eyes scanning the crowd, desperately trying to connect with every person at Shoreline, and in the process drawing them into the depths of his own soul ".
Even as a young man of 20 years old or so, I can remember this moment like it was yesterday. And I am still coming back for more.
Jackson quotes M.G. at the end with a fitting sentiment:
" 'My heartfelt prayer is that Jerry's music will retain it's freshness and exitement forever,' M.G. says. 'When it's all said and done, the music is what's left--that music, that sound and the memories of the wonderful thing that Grateful Dead music could do and the way it all felt. And so much of that was Jerry. That sweetness he had is something that just emanated from him, and it's so much in the music. It was such a unique thing. God, he could be amazing! He could play these musical tricks that would absolutely dumbfound you. You weren't even quite sure what he'd just done half the time. He would pluck these meoldies from the air and you'd wonder, 'Where did THAT come from?' They had a life of their own, he'd play them once and then they were gone. That's pretty high art.' "
Indeed, and I believe that Jerry's having a great time with what Furthur's doing, and would have loved to play right there along wtih JK together.
Thanks to all for reading this.
If Bobby, Phil and the band read this, I also say again: Great job. Thank you.