Unlike many other music fans my age (just hit 50 two days ago--Yikes!), I've only seen the Dead in concert once. And that was during their WORKING MAN'S DEAD/AMERICAN BEAUTY phase, which means it was not nearly as trippy and cosmic as I had hoped. At the time, I remember grousing, "If I had wanted Crosby, Stills and Nash," I'd have gone to see Crosby, Stills and Nash!... Give me "Dark Star" for crying out loud!"
Oh, the impatience of youth. Somehow I never quite got around to seeing them again. I still enjoyed their music, but as the concerts became bigger and bigger and more and more crowded, I lost all interest in attending one. I am mildly agoraphobic and besides, who wants to wait in line all day to get a bracelet which will ultimately allow you to purchase a ticket--if you're lucky.
Well, this is as close as I'm gonna get to the 70's style concert experience. And it's pretty darn good. It's nice to see Jerry still alive and without even a touch of grey. Eerie to hear Bill Graham talk about having a plane to catch. The Deadheads we observe are still kind of innocent and goofy--and kind of likeable in their own spacy way. Not a scene I'd want to be reliving in 2002 certainly, but it does evoke a kind of nostalgia for what was really a more innocent age.
And the music is grand. The Dead's languid sound was earthy and experimental at the same time. They always maintained that they were a jug band at heart, and there's truth in that assertion-- if you mean a jug band from outer space. Anyway, this video has a lot of wonderful moments, as well as a few where those of us of a certain age will be scratching our heads and saying, "Well, we were pretty SILLY back then, I guess!" Worth repeated viewings, in any event, even if you'll never ever wear tie-dye again.