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The Dead Announce Extensive Tour

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In an article for MSNBC.com on the Ten Best Bands in rock history, I picked the Grateful Dead as number four:

    The Grateful Dead

    Out on the road today/I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac/A little voice inside my head/Said ‘don’t look back, you can never look back.’
    (Don Henley, “Boys of Summer”)

    When Henley wrote “The Boys of Summer’ in 1984, he saw the sticker on luxurious Detroit steel as a contradiction of values: a symbolic matter/antimatter collision that obliterated the meaning of both. But Henley didn’t realize that his symbol of a Dead past was in reality a very powerful symbol of the present and future.

    The Vietnam War was the perfect polarizer between youth and adult culture: it had no clear objective, it was far away, it cost many lives, and it was involuntary – the old made the decisions, the young died. After the war was finally mercy killed in the mid-’70s, the nation came to realize that it had hated the internal confusion more than it had hated the external enemy – blood is thicker than ideology.

    As a result, both sides of the internal conflict embraced the perceived highlights of the other’s culture: adults lightened up — Johnny Carson grew his hair long and joked with the band about smoking pot — and the youth embraced the acquisitive materialism of their parents with the shamelessness of Midas.

    The Dead became THE symbol of this blending of ideologies until Jerry Garcia’s death in ’95: a well-oiled money making machine ($50 million a year in concert revenue) that sold peace, love and understanding to a legion of internally divided admirers. The Dead sold out every show because a Dead show was a socially acceptable place to temporarily take a break from the rat race and try on ’60s hippie values without having to live them. People who didn’t do drugs any other time indulged and danced around like pixies to the Dead and their light, rhythmic, pleasant, sometimes inspired, extended musical journeys.

    On that musical front, Rhino’s “Very Best of the Grateful Dead” is an excellent representation of the band’s eclectic blending of country, folk, psychedelic rock, R&B, jazz and Afro-Caribbean rhythms on classics like “Friend of the Devil,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Ripple,” “Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones,” “Franklin’s Tower,” and their lone hit single “Touch of Grey.”

    “Grateful Dead” (’71) is my favorite live set by the band – it rolls along with “Bertha,” “Mama Tried,” “Playing in the Band,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Not Fade Away” and “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad,” showing great energy and versatility.

    The Dead’s success inspired the entire jam band movement, which carries on its musical and cultural lineage to this day.

As does “The Dead” – they have just announced a summer tour:

    Approaching nearly four decades of touring America, The Dead will hit the road this summer to continue what they are best known for – playing live. Since the band’s inception, The Grateful Dead have had a long-standing tradition of appearing at the year’s biggest rock festivals such as Woodstock, Monterey Pop Festival and Watkins Glen, and this year is no exception. On June 12, The Dead will kick off their three-month U.S. “Wave That Flag” Tour by headlining the second night of the 2004 Bonnaroo Music Festival, a three-day music and camping festival recently hailed by Rolling Stone magazine as “The American rock festival to end all festivals.”

    The “Wave That Flag” tour will make stops at 28-cities before concluding on August 19 at Atlanta’s Hi-FiBuys Amphitheatre. Highlights include five-nights at Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a performance with the Allman Brothers Band at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre and multiple dates in Boston, New Jersey and New York (complete schedule below).

    The Dead are comprised of Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart (percussion, drums, vocals), Bill Kreutzmann (drums), Phil Lesh (bass, vocals) and Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), along with keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and guitarists Jimmy Herring and new member, Warren Haynes. Although the band toured last summer, this will be The Dead’s most extensive string of dates since the founding members reunited in 2002.

    Widely considered one of the most popular groups in rock history, the Grateful Dead formed in the San Francisco area in 1965. 2004 marks the band’s 39th Anniversary.

    Newest addition to The Dead, guitarist and vocalist Warren Haynes, will join the band on all dates. Also member of the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh & Friends, Gov’t Mule and an accomplished solo artist, Haynes will open half the tour with solo acoustic sets. Longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter will open the remaining dates with solo acoustic performances.

    Tickets for The Dead’s “Wave That Flag” Summer Tour 2004 will go on sale via Ticketmaster on Saturday, April 17. Early tickets are currently available through Grateful Dead Ticketing; visit www.dead.net or call 1-800-CAL-DEAD for more information.

    “WAVE THAT FLAG” SUMMER TOUR 2004 DATES

    JUNE
    12 – Manchester – TN – Bonnaroo Music Festival
    15 – Denver CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater – WH
    16 – Denver CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater – WH
    18 – Denver CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater – RH
    19 – Denver CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater – RH
    20 – Denver CO – Red Rocks Amphitheater – RH
    22 – Phoenix AZ – Cricket Pavilion – WH
    23 – San Diego CA – Coors Amphitheater – WH
    24 – Irvine CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – WH
    26 – Mountain View CA – Shoreline Amphitheater – RH
    27 – Sacramento CA – Sleep Train Amphitheater – RH
    29 – Salt Lake City UT – USANA Amphitheater – RH

    JULY
    1 – Boise ID – Idaho Center Amphitheater – RH
    2 – Portland OR – Columbia Meadows – RH
    3 – George WA – The Gorge (w/ The Allman Brothers Band) – RH
    23 – St. Louis MO – UMB Bank Amphitheater – WH
    24 – East Troy WI – Alpine Valley Music Theater – WH
    25 – Indianapolis IN – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – WH
    27 – Detroit MI – DTE Energy Music Theater – WH
    28 – Cleveland OH – Blossom Music Center – WH
    30 – Boston MA – Tweeter Center – WH
    31 – Boston MA – Tweeter Center – WH

    AUGUST
    1 – Saratoga Springs NY – SPAC
    3 – Hartford CT – The Meadows – WH
    4 – Scranton PA – Ford Pavilion @ Montage Mtn. – WH
    6 – Darien Lakes – NY Darien Lakes PAC – WH
    7 – Camden NJ – Tweeter Waterfront – RH
    8 – Camden NJ – Tweeter Waterfront – RH
    10 – Holmdel NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center – RH
    11 – Holmdel NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center – RH
    13 – Wantagh NY – Jones Beach Amphitheater – WH
    14 – Wantagh NY – Jones Beach Amphitheater – WH
    15 – Bristow VA – Nissan Pavilion – WH
    17 – Raleigh NC – Alltel Pavilion – WH
    18 – Charlotte NC – Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – WH
    19 – Atlanta GA – HiFI Buys Amphitheater – WH

    Solo Acoustic Opening Acts: RH= Robert Hunter WH= Warren Haynes

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About Eric Olsen

  • Eric Olsen

    The three posts currently atop the Music, Video and Et Cetera columns are all “Dead.”

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    I am into all styles of music, the crucial factor being that it is well done. Classical, punk, folk, jazz, rap, reggae, etc. It all has it’s virtuosity.

    The Dead are amazing. The most consistant live performances I have ever seen of any band. Amazing concert sound, incredible jams. Always get that rush that hits you in the soul. Drugs or not. The performance is the drug.

    Anyway, I’ll agree with your choice.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Douglas, I appreciate he support. I was very surprised how much animosity was expressed toward the Dead in the comments here.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    dang, i could have sworn that Joan Osborne had become a permanent member of the Dead.

    i guess not.

  • Eric Olsen

    God became one of us and vetoed it.

  • http://www.cdbaby.com/X-15 Douglas Mays

    And, you know, they always get knocked for their studio work. And in reality, their studio albums are not bad. Some are very good. For instance, “Uncle Johns Band” from the ‘Workingman’s Dead’ album features some very good engineering. Notice the use of very crisp echo on the final chorus.

    You know the old 80-20 theory. It applies to music. If you only listen to one music catagory 80% of what you hear is schlock. I like the top 20% of all catagories. The Dead fall in that department. then again, they are pretty much their own catagory…

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    YEAH! The music never stops.

    I’ve seen dozens of Dead shows… so glad to be able to continue the tradition. Yowzah!

  • sheri

    RE:”God became one of us and vetoed it”.

    “What if God was one of us…Just a slob like one of us…Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home”.

    RE:”The three posts currently atop the Music, Video, and Et Cetera columns are all “Dead”.

    Why, we are in Rock-n-Roll Heaven, of course !Stephen King said so, he reads my dreams :0)

    Anyway, the Dead was ahead of my time, but the more I read about them, the more interested in them I get.The colsest I ever come to being a Dead fan, was owning a GD T-shirt in high school, cause it was a cool thing to do.Even though I didn’t listen to any of their music, plz don’t hate me now.

  • Eric Olsen

    Only love for you, Sheri. That Very Best Of at the top of the Amazon list would be a great place to start.

  • ClubhouseCancer

    Have any of you deadheads (or anyone else out there) read Tiger in a Trance, a recent novel by Max Ludington? The novel isn’t perfect, but for those who went to HS and college during the Dead revival of the late 80’s-early 90’s will be amazed at the accuracy of Max’s scenes.

    It’s a sprawling, well-observed novel about Dead Tourists in the era, and may really take you back — if you were there in the first place.

    Me, I hate the boring, derivative Dead. Of course, I am unable to judge objectively; when I went to school, “put on some music” literally meant “choose a Grateful Dead live tape from the hundreds we have in the rack and press play.” sked their favorite album, many of my friends would answer “Hampton Coliseum ’84” or “Byrne Arena, second night, ’82.”

    If I hear one more “Scarlet/Fire” I will forever cease sharing the women or the wine.

    IMHO opinion, Jerry should have practiced his scales at home.

    But read Tiger in a Trance. Max is a nice guy whom we should all encourage. Here’s the amazon link, for some reviews et al…

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    There’s an interesting movie, Festival Express which will be shown at the SF Film Festival and start opening in theaters over the summer. It chronicles a 5 day train trip in 1970 in Canada with the Grateful Dead, the Band, Janice Joplin, Buddy Guy, and many more.

    There are a bunch of performances from the concerts, but the heart of the film are the jam sessions on the train.

  • Eric Olsen

    I have always stayed clear of Deadheads in groups (other than at concerts, of course), so I have never been inundated by the band’s music or its fans, and have just picked and chosen what I have liked of their prodigious output (official releases only) as I have gone along over the last 30+ years.

    Approached that way they have all kinds of great stuff, but I would never approach them (or any other band, for that matter) as a way of life.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    I’ve heard it on good authority that the Dead (remnants) were about to pack it in when they saw Eric’s Top Ten list on MSNBC and were so fortified by his high esteem, they organized this tour.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Suckup. ;)

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    hey, i’ve got a DeadHead story…

    during the summer before my last year of college the Dead came to play at the university of maine. i did go to the show but i got a direct ‘viewing’ of the DeadHead scene as i took a run from my off campus apartment…running through the huge parking lot next to the hockey arena and fieldhouse i came across the largest collection of weird folks ever assembled in orono, maine.

    the next day at work (umaine computing center) i found out that one of my coworkers was on the arts committee. the previous night his job at the concert was to pick up Jerry and bring him to the show…Jerry only said one thing during the from hotel to arena:

    “A lotta freaks out there, eh?”

  • Eric Olsen

    I am pleased to hear my influence is finally beginning to rise to the level it so richly deserves.

  • Kardo Collinsky

    I just read your article on the top 10 all time rock bands and I want to compliment you on your insightful analysis. I totally agree with your top four, but would have included some of your honorable mentions in the top ten. Of particular note, is the DEAD at #4, Rolling Stone Mag didn’t even include them in the top 50!!!! What fools.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Kardo, very kind of you. I don’t expect anyone to agree with the list as is – it’s pretty well guaranteed to aggravate – but I’m glad you read it in the spirit in which it was written. Thanks again!