There is something about the energy created by people coming together to hear the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. The first time I experienced this seemingly human-powered electricity was a few days before my 18th birthday, in 1994, in a parking lot near what was then the Boston Garden. When Jerry died the following summer, I found myself in a park sitting in a circle around a singular candle that seemed to burn for hours.
Skull and Roses is a celebration of community, a community generated by the music of the Grateful Dead. Our music.
Somebody asked Uncle John what being a Dead Head was all about. He smiled and said, “When you want to be fully alive, an individual but also tied at the heart within a rich, vibrant family, somebody who wants to have a lot of fun and probably dance, too – then you’re a Dead Head.”
In their forth outstanding gig at San Rafael’s Terrapin Crossroads this year, The Rock Collection brought an evening of originals, and beloved covers dissimilar to anything fans had seen of them yet. Any act under the jam band umbrella has to keep their shows diverse night to night, but what makes The Rock Collection standalone is the sheer combination of talent and background that allows the music to take off different directions on any given night.
In a three-set, five hour night of music at the Warfield Theatre on February 25 that began with an unusual David Nelson Band performance, the current, proficient Melvin Seals and JGB turned in an fine set before giving way to special band roster, also led by monster organist Seals, but with the addition of Stu Allen on lead guitar, Oteil Burbridge on bass and 1980s-‘90s-era JGB v
Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. Melvin is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Melvin spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become "Jam Band Music".
The air was crackling with energy last Saturday night as fans piled into The Warfield to witness a tribute to hometown hero Jerry Garcia. The significance of the venue was certainly not lost on the audience, smiles abounding through the crowd on the floor of the theater, which provided a home-base for the Jerry Garcia Band in the 1980s and 90s. Garcia performed at the hallowed venue 88 times, and the memories of countless transcendent nights of music have seeped into the bones of the old theater.
The felt moment of immediate experience has been lost. Perhaps we have given it away by not accessing it. Perhaps it was robbed by this mainstream media/cereal box religion/consumer culture. Music festivals help us drop out of the noisy centralized confines of the Matrix and fall into the magic of experience; to revel in the full richness of the moment. It is a domain of feeling, and at best it is a vector of love, light, good vibrations and community.
I had the privilege of attending my favorite festival of the year for the fifth year in a row, and I am here to tell you of the best place on Earth. I would travel across several oceans to get to this festival. It is one that if you haven’t experienced, it should definitely be placed on your bucket list. I’d like to start this tale of Dark Star Jubilee, held at Legend Valley, in Thornville Ohio, each Memorial Day weekend, with some words from the band, written in each schedule passed out:
While the San Francisco Bay Area might have some mighty fine music venues in the present, there are fewer that remain from the city’s bright musical past. One of the few that’s stood the test of time is The Warfield. Right off of Market Street, adjacent to downtown’s Tenderloin neighborhood, it’s hard to tell the insides majesty from the somewhat seedy exterior.