Brent Mydland's first concert
Brent was for real. What else matters?
I remember this man with long hair coming into the catering area asking for some orange juice (which I gave him) Later @ sound check I saw it was him playing. Later he came back into catering for something else (to eat) which I gave him & welcomed him to the Grateful Dead. He was a very sweet man & we all loved him dearly........Gypsy Cowgirl
Jerry forgot to introduce Brent to the audience during the show.
I was a newbie to the Dead - didn't have any older siblings to introduce me to their music - didn't even have an album of theirs at the time. Just needed to go to see why all these people were always talking about the Dead & why their 20 or so shows a year in the Bay Area sold out. Drank a 1/2 bottle of Jack Daniel's & managed to make my way through the opening bands (really odd mix of Greg Kihn & Charlie Daniels) and then had a whole new world open up to me with the Dead. Was a little too hammered to remember the various songs & which ones I wanted to hear again - but I remembered the vibe. That sense of community and joy that comes being part of the event. First of my nearly 100 shows - and I have 2 more to go in Santa Clara.
Brent was never really appreciated during his lifetime for what he brought to the band. When the Dead had a ballin' keyboard player (Pig & Brent) they could take it to another level. Keith was there when they created the classics - but when Pig was on - it went into overdrive. Brent's bluesy singing could also take it to another level (check out the rap during Blow Away on Crimson, White & Indigo) and I had my first dance with my daughter to I Will Take You Home. I know the band officially ended it when Jerry died - but, for me, the passing of Brent broke the back of the band. I don't think Jerry had the same respect for Vince Welnick - and the band become somewhat less motivated until Jerry's drug habit finally won.
I think Brent's time with the band was their musical peak. I started seeing them in the Donna and Keith era and while there was a certain magic, the improvement in the quality of the music was evident immediately. Many of my friends dated back to Pigpen and they agreed about the quality of music, but said that his energy was over the top. I think everyone felt that the choice of Vince seemed rushed. Regardless of his skill, I don't think he really fit in, but maybe it was that the whole band was fractured by then. Regardless of how he was viewed during his time, when they were showing pictures of band members past and present at the last FTW show ovation for Brent was second only to Jerry.