Grateful Dead

Blair's Golden Road Blog

Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees. In coming weeks, I’ll be bringing up various issues connected to the Dead world that we can bat around and (hopefully) have some fun with, I’ll talk about some recent books and films (good and bad) that have connections to the scene, no doubt take a trip or two down memory lane, and we’ll see where it all leads. If there are issues or questions you’d like to see addressed, let me know. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here…

- Blair Jackson

  • Yeah, yeah, I know. We’re all supposed to be somber as we approach 9/11.

    But I’m more interested in celebrating 9/11—specifically 9/11/81—the 30th anniversary of the Dead’s first (modern) appearance at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. That evening was the first of 27 shows the band played at that magnificent venue from 1981-1989 (three per year). If you ever got to experience a Dead show there, you know there was nothing else quite like it.

  • I didn’t know it at the time, but I was part of a historic ticketing injustice.

    A few years ago, tickets were going on sale for a Bruce Springsteen show at the Oracle Arena. Now, I’ve had very bad luck buying tickets for big reserved-seat shows the past several years. Aside from the fact that I can almost never afford the best seats, by the time I usually get through for my shot—in the old days on the phone, more recently online—there’s nothing good left.

  • Tickemasters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped (ECW Press) is a fascinating and informative book that explains in exhaustive detail how the concert business — and particularly the ticketing side of it — got to its current infuriating state. Is there anybody out there who doesn’t hate ticket companies (Ticketmaster — or “Ticketbastard,” as folks have been calling it for years — being the prime offender), who doesn’t feel cheated and debased every time you buy a ticket?
  • What if on August 10, 1995, you opened up your morning newspaper and read the following: “Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia was rushed to a Marin County, California, hospital late last night and underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery. Garcia, 53, was said to be resting comfortably and joking with doctors and nurses. He is expected to make a full recovery and should be able to tour again with the Grateful Dead “somewhere between six months and a year from now,” a hospital spokesperson said, “depending on how seriously he takes this episode.”

  • “It Was All About Jerry.” If you’ve prowled Deadnet Central or other Grateful Dead message boards/sites through the years, chances are you’ve encountered “IWAAJ.” During what has become known in Dead Head circles as “The Days Between” (Garcia’s August 1st birthday through the day of his death, August 9th), I seem to see that abbreviation pop up in discussions even more, as folks weigh in and ponder Jerry’s passing and his impact, etc. But year-round, fans drop “IWAAJ” into online conversations in a variety of situations, perhaps most often as final punctuation in discussions about the relative merits of post-Garcia bands—as if that abbreviation, in and of itself, explains why RatDog or Furthur or any other group doesn’t possess that fully magical Grateful Dead X-factor; i.e. because Jerry is not part of it.

  • Furthur is excited to announce they'll be playing a LIVE video webcast concert from TRI Studios on Tuesday, June 7 at 6 PM California time. The show will be available direct to your home, anywhere in the world, broadcast in HD on the internet from Bob's Weir's state-of-the-art studio at TRI! Go to tristudios.com for more information.

  • If you’re reading this blog post in mid-July, chances are I am sunning myself on one of Kauai’s white-sand beaches, or gazing at a humuhumunukunukuapua’a through my snorkel mask, or sipping a mai tai under graceful swaying palm trees. Then again, maybe it’s pouring rain on the North Shore and we’re stuck playing Uno in the house. Anyway, it’s vacation time for the Jackson family—our first exotic one in several years—and I’m taking a breather from writing and really kicking back for a couple of weeks. The trip also coincides with my 30th wedding anniversary. If only my wife had gotten to come along! (Just kiddin’. Got the whole family with us.)

  • I was surprised at how deeply I was affected by the news a few weeks ago that Clarence Clemons had died unexpectedly of a stroke at 69. I knew he’d had health issues for a number of years, but those were mostly related to knees and hips; stuff that happens to plenty of us as we grow older. And the initial reports following his stroke on June 12 were encouraging. So hearing a few days later that he’d slipped away was almost as much a shock as the first stroke report.

  • Continuing on with last week’s theme—Robert Hunter—I want to turn the spotlight to his post-Garcia songwriting collaborations, many of which are excellent.

    I don’t think any of us expected Hunter to crawl into a cave and disappear after Jerry died. That’s not what restlessly creative types do. But I’m not sure any of us could have predicted how much would flow out of him, nor the myriad musical styles they would inspire.

  • My father’s generation had real war stories to tell. Even though my dad never saw combat during World War II, he still served in the Navy on a supply ship in the Pacific, met all sorts of colorful characters from all over the U.S., some of whom became friends for life, and traveled to the Orient and Hawaii — not bad for a kid from Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Garcia used to talk about how Dead Heads had their own version of “war stories” — grand tales of derring-do, close shaves, epic mishaps, and incredible feats of stupidity out on the road following the Grateful Dead.

Blair's Golden Road Blog