Hippie Rock Is Corporate Rock But People Are Still Listening

by | May 18, 2009

The Dead played The Gorge on Saturday.

A bunch of our friends were there. We were not there.

Last week, an old friend took the time to explain to me why he decided to go. I said, “You don’t need to explain, you’re a Deadhead.”

I’m a Deadhead too, but since I wasn’t there, maybe I’m the one with some ‘splainin’ to do. So here it is: Since Jerry died, I’ve met Phil and Mickey on their turf backstage and they were both intolerably rude. I have never met Bob, but some of his decisions over the past few years have been even ruder. Yes, I’m talking about taking the soundboards off Archive.org—that was a bullshit move any way you look at it, especially considering he failed to consult his old prep school buddy John Barlow on the subject. Barlow is one of the world’s top experts on internet culture, but Bobby blew him off. Greed is stupid and it blinds.

Okay, back to the show. It was broadcast on Sirius XM, which I don’t subscribe to, but downloadable files were pretty much instantly available. So, while I wasn’t there in person to soak up the vibe, I have listened to the show. It had its moments—”Crazy Fingers” into “Dark Star” in the first set being one. Thanks again, Warren.

amazing photo by Alan Hess

There’s not much coverage of this show yet, but I did find this sober report from Glossolaliac:

The seating logistics were slightly annoying, since they were just folding chairs set up on the asphalt, moveable and moved by whoever got there first so you still had to fight for space. I wasn’t in the mood to be subtle and I think I succeeded in forcing our chairs out far enough to give me room to move, and I dare anyone to tell a pregnant lady to squeeze her chair forward. That said, the system is just dumb.

There was one place to pee, about halfway up the (steep fucking) hill in porta-potty town with a nonstop line, so they let me use the ADA bathrooms at the bottom. At band-break hubs got some $9 beers and I got an $8 cup of undercooked noodles with chicken. Thanks, Live Nation, for the hospitality! Way to cover people’s basic needs!

As for the band, she has this to offer:

The Dead came on with Bobby in front looking like a cartoon Einstein with a fluffed out shock of white hair. Phil still can’t sing. Warren Haynes again taking a role. The first set was a little disjointed, it felt like songs without much of a flow.

Which is interesting. Paul Liberatore of the Marin Indepedent Journal has Hart saying, “We really found each other on this tour. We’re renewing our friendship. We’re starting to become a group again.”

So which is it? Is the band gelling again, or are they an overpriced, out of touch relic that gets away with “bloody murder” thanks to their unquestioning, deeply loyal fan base? I guess everyone who cares will have to answer that one for themselves.