I have been strangely ambivalent about the upcoming Dead tour. As a vet of hundreds of Grateful Dead and assorted line-up shows; my interest should be higher than it is.
Initially, when The Dead announced that tickets (except for behind stage) would be in the environs of $100 a pop, I was disgusted. $100? When did Jerry and Pigpen re-join? I understand that the boys are getting older, and their 401K's probably tanked like the rest of ours did, but jeez... a hundred clams for what was being passed off as The Dead? No thanks. Funny thing is... if tickets were half that, I probably would have bought tickets for all four local shows!
The other aspect is the arena experience. Weir and Lesh have been touring on their own for years, usually in small theaters, where getting up close was easy. To sit in the enormo-dome and hear crappy sound and deal with all of the other hassles of arena shows seems to be a little over the top for The Dead these days.
I wasn't surprised that the 4 NYC area shows sold out. But, I am wondering what percentage of people going are doing it of nostalgia, how many are doing it for the music (and possibly weren't old enough to see Garcia) and how many are just going to get wasted.
Based on early reports, the band is playing well and Warren Haynes can certainly be considered on the short list of guitar players who are capable of getting a Jerry vibe. There appears to be a "scene" as morons of every age are doing the "whippit/lsd/mushroom/miracle" shtick. Not to disparage the "Phish-Dead-heads", but yecch, put some shoes on, take a shower and grow up already.
One of the shows is literally in walking distance to my house. However, I have other plans. There was a time that NOTHING would have kept me from a Dead show. I am going to one NY show (free tickets for the Missus and I) and depending on how I like it and how cheap I can find a ticket, I might go to one of the NJ shows. Times are tough, and throwin' down so much money is a tough call. Especially how there are other old time bands I wanna see (The Damned & X).
It'll be fun to see what passes as The Dead again, but I just don't have that spark anymore. Of course, the day of show I will probably be bouncing all over the place. At least I hope!!!!!!
The Dead - Charlottesburg, Va April 2009
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Grateful Dead - Promised Land (9-3-77)
Grateful Dead - It's All Over Now (9-16-78)
Sham 69 - Rip Off