It was a great night....a highlight of this trip, and a trip indeed! Since Jerry Garcia died back in 1995, and the Grateful Dead disbanded, several incarnations of the band have come and gone, and we have been there to experience most of it all. There was Phil Lesh & Friends, the Grateful Deads' bassist and his band of very talented and well rehearsed musicians. There was Bob Weir the Deads' rhythm guitarist and his band RatDog. Planet Drum was an interesting post Garcia effort by one of the Deads' drummer's, Mickey Hart. Surviving former Grateful Dead members would later unite for the first time since Jerry's passing to form The Other Ones, and then a year or so later 'The Dead'. Each band was unique and they expanded on beliefs, the music and the vibes that the Grateful Dead taught us all. Although we have been to several of these shows, and have seen at least one show of each band....with the exception of the latter mentioned, The Dead, due to our life in a far away land, and the utter lack of ability to attend.
But this night would be different. This night would prove to be a night of memories both old and new ones made, awesome music, smiles and all of the incredible vibes and spirit that could only be found at a Grateful Dead concert. There was always a very profound energy shared by band and audience. The band would drive the audience, and the audience would return the energized vibes back to the band which would propel the evolving circle into an experience unlike any you could ever experience anywhere else.
Yes, this night in Monterey, California would be special to us and showcased our vacation. And, on the same stage as the historic Monterey Pop Festival in 1967! In fact this would be the first time since any member of the Grateful Dead would perform on the same stage since their less than memorable performance 44 years ago. The scorch mark still sits on the stage floor from where Jimi Hendrix lit his guitar on fire with lighter fluid in front of an audience of up to 90,000 people. A small venue by standards, the Fairgrounds sits where now exists an airport runway. This simple presence only amplified the crowds excitement each time a plane would come in just yards above the audience for a landing, about every half hour, which would be accompanied by the crowd clapping and simultaneously roaring it's landing with approval.
The latest post Garcia incarnation is a band called Further. With the Grateful Deads' rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil Lesh, the line-up of old familiar Dead tunes and some selections brought out of the vault proved to be a show worth seeing. The bands lead guitarist, John Kadlecik of the Darkstar Orchestra at times can have a very echoed replication of Jerry Garcia's voice and in some songs such as "Morning Dew", just sent chills up our spines....you could close your eyes and flash back to 20 years ago. An incredible feeling.
I would be lying if I said we planned our trip around this show, however, I would be lying if I said we didn't! In the past, we always tend to kick ourselves in the ass because we find out we just missed a good band or concert, so this time we scanned the web and there it was....Further! So, we made our plans for the trip around the show! Well worth it all! For those who we missed seeing this time around....there is always the next. Sometimes it isn't easy being on vacation!