Dave’s Pick #38 (Uniondale, 09/08/73) is a good show, starting with Bertha and Me and My Uncle, has El Paso and China Cat>Rider and moves out with Goin’ Down the Road>Not Fade Away. That said, it’s just more of the same because of Dave Lemieux’s myopia.
Consider Dave’s liner notes: Every moment with Dick Latvia, every interaction, every word he said was memorable. And then: Every song, every solo, every moment was out-of-this-world excellent. Yeah, Lemieux is the guy at the ballpark who yells “Home run” for every pop-out. (And I mean every pop-out.)
More to the point, Lemieux’s maniacal vision of the archives -1968-74 & 76-80 being holy relics and 1987-95 his personal nostalgia – denies everyone else the belly of the beast, the bleeding heart of The Grateful Dead, the music that must be shared.
Lemieux is a nice guy in a dancing bear suit, not the person to manage the archives. It’s time to get someone else in there before this whole thing ends up a Broadway show.
The two remaining pillars of The Grateful Dead – Phil Lesh and Bobby Weir – don’t play together anymore, which is an odd turn of events given the success of last summer’s reunion in Chicago.
Grateful Dead play Soldier Field in Chicago on July 4, 2015
Phil tours with “Friends” and Weir plays with “Company”, leading to the question not why are they apart but which band is better?
Band members: Dead and Company appears to have this in spades, given the inclusion of original Grateful Dead drummers, Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, along with John Mayer and, of course, Bob Weir.
Dead and Company play Citi Field, Queens, New York on June 25, 2016
That said, the focus of Phil Lesh’s bands has always been the quality of the music, with Warren Haynes, John Scofield, John Medeski as regulars, and noted guests including Melvin Seals (longtime member of the Jerry Garcia Band) and Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes. Further, given the fact that John Mayer isn’t as great as he thinks and Kretzmann and Hart are mailing it in, the Friends have it here. Advantage: Phil Lesh and Friends
Venues: Dead and Company are going for the big, fast bucks and have booked the largest venues possible; in other words, it’s all hockey arenas and baseball stadiums.
Jerry Garcia’s ghostly projection during Phil Lesh and Friends at the Capital Theater, Port Chester, New York on May 29, 2016
Phil Lesh plays almost exclusively at The Capital Theater (outside New York City) and Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael, California, with capacities of 1800 and 350 respectively.The question is only getting there. Advantage: Phil Lesh and Friends
Song Selection: Dead and Company draw from across The Grateful Dead catalog, showing favor to the early 1970’s, including Weir’s Country and Western gems. Phil and Friends have a similar bent, more in the 1960’s. Advantage: Draw
Phil Lesh and Friends play the Capital Theater on November 7, 2015
Overall Sound and Experience: While it’s true that Bobby is losing his touch and Phil should stop singing, both know the music. However when it comes to getting inside the sound, being carried away by the interplay between musicians – the jams, man! – Phil plays and leads best. Advantage: Phil Lesh and Friends