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Wednesday, May 4

Dead and Company not only plan on this ambitious summer tour. They havemade it clear this band will be a part of their legacy. What a longStrange Scripted Trip? An editorial by Kevin Long.

Dead and Company not only plan on this ambitious summer tour. They have made it clear this band will be a part of their legacy. What a long Strange Scripted Trip? An editorial by Kevin Long. 
     


  Let your life proceed by Mayer team's design. Well that may be putting the horse ahead of the cart but Dead and Company's rosy smell seems to be fading a little. Dead and Company is performing on The Jimmy Kimmel Show to promote their huge summer tour. Talk about things you thought you would never see. I could not think of a bigger injustice than any member of the core four losing any grace for playing to long. It's all we know and the passion is still burning inside their iconic souls. Being Dead Heads we will support and explain away almost anything. If you need proof just look at GD 94-95 tour. The worse Jerry's playing got, to the bigger crowds it mattered not. I think we may be entering the time where a grueling stadium tour is not in anybody's interest but John Mayer's. Who's team happens to be managing almost all aspects of the band. 
     When  Dead and Company announced a grueling summer tour this summer,  I had mixed emotions, I was excited the boys were hitting the road. But the size of the tour is grueling for young men. The last tour of this size Bobby's health gave out and they cancelled almost half the dates.  Most of us have witnessed fatigue from smaller endeavours from all three original members. If Dead and Company are planning on making music together for the foreseeable future. I worry who is looking after their best interest.The ticket prices makes it safe to say they are being compensated well. But at what cost? I  loved the Dead and Company shows I saw last fall. I am not trashing this incarnation, far from it. But it just feels different now that it's not one and done. I always defer to Hunter's wise line in Crazy Fingers  "See how it feels in the end". Hunter's brilliance saves my perspective yet again. I will take his advice and be grateful for what we got. I try not to judge a band before they have completed their musical statement. 
   I shared Mr. Hart's strong opinion about Furthur.  I agreed with his infamous quote he said while defending the band's decision of picking Mayer ironically. His sentiments were that playing with a jerry clone is an insult to the legacy and he would rather drink bleach than play with a fake Jerry. Even if picking on J.K. was unnecessary and beneath him. I could not have agreed more with his strong statement, I have long felt the exact same. I saw Dead & Company last fall, in Nashville and St.Louis. I enjoyed both shows on a high level, but they did not break new ground. Otteil's unique chops and uncanny ear fired up the Rhythm Devils. Furthermore his confidence not to mimic Phil's style was as refreshing as the jams that resulted from this fresh approach. His bass added interesting dynamics and was a joy to watch. Bobby's playing and voice were easily the best it's been in years. Most importantly, he was consistent the entire tour. John Maher performed better than I imagined and I knew he could flat out play. His guitar was tuned and sounded almost identical to Jerry's' rig and unmistakable sound. I was surprised but he was bringing a touch of the Blues to his approach and the band was great,...... Not FTW GREAT, but worth a spin. 
  Since I found out Dead and Company's plans on being an ongoing band, I started feeling uneasy about it. One of the main reason is the outrageous ticket prices and how that comes across to younger fans. I also feel we are paying premium dollars for a damaged rock star. John Mayer found the Grateful Dead like many of us during an identity crises. He was addicted to Twitter and changing clothes up to a dozen times a day. Before the first show even Wavy Gravy the most positive man living was hesitant of John Mayer. The average fan threw verbal eggs akin to when Trey was announced for FTW. The only difference not many came to his aid. Of course now it seems he is more beloved and as off limits from reproach than the pope.  If you think this group is amazing than it is. I don't get for the life of me why the vast majority of young heads don't realize that their vote is all that matters. Hell, I enjoyed the band and those feelings could grow depending on how it plays out. The longer fall tour played out last year the more originality disappeared from Mayer's interpretation of the songs. That may reverse itself and he may still put his stamp on the songs similar to Trey, Warren and Kimock to name a few. 
  The longer into the tour last fall the more Mayer's guitar tone morphed into mimicking Jerry's' style and sound. That touch of the blues he brought just weeks earlier was all but gone by New Years. He basically turned into a fake Jerry. I suggest Mickey apologizes to J.K before he drinks that gallon of bleach. Mayer musically speaking is a remarkable talent. But truth be told before Dead and Company his career and brand was a hot mess with a serious public image crises on the side. Now he has officially reinvented himself.
Like I said his team is savvy, they handled the corporate sponsor non issue like professionals. "We never had a problem with selling out, it's just nobody has ever asked." That was a perfect line, but nobody asked before because they never had a Pop star playing in the band. Then American Express gave us a free concert in Madison Square Garden or over the web. Smart move they created the controversy of corporate sponsorship because they had the answer. Free Music!  The news ran with this story,  especially the free concert. Most have learned very little in life is ever free and I hope it does not cost a band beyond description it's ending. After Chicago's final FTW show tears were rolling down my face as I thought what a magical ending to a mystical band’s long strange trip. I fear the powers that be are more concern saving Mayer's career instead of focusing on the three legends swan song. It would be a crime if their run in music history ends on anything but a high note. Unless they come back this summer a different band, DeadCo while better than Furthur is not a high note. It's a glorified version of a Reunion Tour. This is my opinion and it's just as correct as  yours. I think J-RAD is by far the best band playing our songs. Dead and Company feels disingenuous to me at times, while Joe Russo's band follows the spirit of the music. But the best part is it's not a computation! Some feel it at D.S.O or Phil and Friends. We all are Deadheads, but we can disagree without being assholes. Some of my favorite memories following the circus was sharing your thoughts till dawn with strangers who's rarely agreed on anything. But then all we ever wanted was to love, learn and grow. If the music takes you to that place we all chase. Than that band is miraculous! Who cares if the world does not agree. If I cared what my peers thought I would have never found my Life's Band Aide. I owe who I am to The Grateful Dead, sorry if I seem over protective. 
Words and The Opinion of Kevin Long