September 20, 2003

an odd little homecoming


My good friend RC invited me out to see the Dead last night at Shoreline. I had resisted going to the shows that various incarnations of the band members put on in the intervening years since Garcia's passing in '95. I suppose I believed that without Jerry, the music would finally stop. As it turned out I was both right and wrong.

We got in a bit late, and they were well into Shakedown Street by the time we found our seats; the crowd was on its feet and rocking hard. After I got over the initial visual shock of Bobby as a shaggy greybeard, and all the new folks on stage (was that really Joan Osborne?), I began to realize that the band had moved on and the music had evolved, and it was actually pretty good. The sound was full and intimate, they were playing confidently and tightly, and the new members brought their own ideas and styles to the mix. It was a revelation of sorts; it started to feel like coming home.

But it was an odd sort of homecoming. It was as if, after many years away from home, I had gone back to the old neighborhood to find my family living with strangers. Strangers that tried to seem a lot like the family I knew, but were obviously different. Strangers that had been accepted by the rest of the community, but not by me. It was weird and disconcerting.

Well, but then they played scarlet begonias, and a new kind of dark star, and did long interludes of drums and space, and finished with iko iko just before midnight. I was won over, even if I caught myself thinking 'that's where Jerry would have done it this way...' Bitter and sweet.

I guess we'll see.

Posted by Gene at September 20, 2003 11:58 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?