Thursday, July 3, 2008

GMVW # 26: "Peace, Brother"

Gem Music Video of the Week # 26: Peace, Brother
Song:  U.S. Blues by The Grateful Dead
(Songwriters: Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia)
July 3, 2008

No other country could have produced a spectacle like the Grateful Dead.  So on this most American of holidays (on which the Dead played often throughout their career, including a show with Dylan in Foxboro in 1987), I’ve dug up a Gem from their ‘74 tour, ‘U.S. Blues’.  This song and many others by the band, reveals a unique insight into American life.

When it came to drawing a crowd, any band would have traded places with the Grateful Dead, as they proved to be a guaranteed sellout at any locale.  Deadheads even came in droves to the pyramids in Egypt to see the band (how they got there <the Deadheads, not the pyramids> remains a mystery that may never be solved).  The shows were lively, fun and upbeat.  You could probably say the same thing about Jimmy Buffet and his Parrot Heads.   But there was something much deeper and more mysterious about Dead shows…. and when Jerry Garcia broke off into an extended riff and the band jammed around him, the music soared into the stratosphere.  You wished it would never end.

The night Garcia died, I recall Ted Koppel on Nightline, scratching his head trying to make sense of the intensity of the reaction around him.  Usually a man of far-ranging insight, he had no idea what the big deal was.  David Crosby very eloquently tried to explain to him to no avail.  I guess it can be equated to trying to explain the 60’s… as they say, if you remember it, you weren’t there.  I’ll give it a try though.  The Grateful Dead can be best understood through their shows.  Sure there was an excess of drugs and a few too many drop outs in the parking lots for most folks liking.  Nothings perfect.  However, at the core of a Dead show was a message that was constantly played out in the crowd… a message of peace, love, and understanding.  And as a wise man once said, what’s so funny about that?  Quite a legacy if you ask me.

Since I equate the term ‘Deadhead’ with a limited ability to relate to other music, I refrain from categorizing Mac as one.  However, Mac attended a great many of their shows, and was the connection for my occasional foray into this unique experience for which I am forever ‘Grateful’.

Happy 4th (and Happy <belated> Canada Day)

- Pete

“I’m Uncle Sam, that’s who I am
Been hidin’ out in a rock-n-roll band
Shake the hand that shook the hand
Of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan”

Gem Music Video: U.S. Blues


About the Video: A cartoon of Uncle Sam skeletons in a prison that switches over to the Dead live sometime in the mid 70s.

Video Rating: 1


Best Feedback: Fred

One of my top 3 shows of all time was Dead/Dylan on 4th of July in Foxboro approx. 1985......

One of my worst 3 was Grateful Dead in summer of 2004/5/6(?) in Oxford, ME.  

Hope you had a good weekend....


PS:  Kippy would love to be added to these.  


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