Brent Mydland's first concert, Spartan Stadium, San Jose, CA.
Brent - Brent was for real. What else matters? Not much.
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.
Yes I was in Chicago for the last Sunday show, and man was that a great reception for that picture of Brent! I remember thinking that I wish he could've known how much he was loved and respected when he was alive. I was born far too late to have seen Jerry play, being only 22 now, but I my favorite keyboards are definitely from the Pig and from Brent. Long live the Dead!
I think it all comes down to personal preference , meaning if you were part of Keith & Donna era Pig era or Brent era is who was loved most. Having only been introduced to Brent as the live version of that band that I witnessed he was only one I got to feel the vibe from. My early bootlegs were from the 70's & 80's. Gave me chance to hear what I missed but never felt. Someone above wrote how Vince seemed hurried to which I agree. They had a fall tour scheduled along with Europe when we lost Brent so I to think maybe they hurried into the decision. Wish in a way they kept looking for the missing spark. One could only speculate on who might of fit in better then Vince. Having been to so many shows and watched Brent grow into his own I think Jerry loved the bluesy edge he brought to the band. Listening now to the good old days I will always love Brent.
All valid points, I missed Pig, but was there for Keith, very good til 78 or so, I can see why he n Donna were let go, Brent was great but some really sloppy mid 80s stuff, and Vince, no comment there, he shoulda stuck with Fee Waybill and the Tubes. Give me Hornsby my fave of all, gave Jerry a few more years 91 and 92 Bruce carried Jerry IMO. All in all they were all pieces to a puzzle, picture wouldn't be complete without any of them
love the memory of that Leslie spinning like crazy, and Brent wailing on the keys of that B3 so hard ... it just was really cool shit, even though songs like CC Rider & Little Red Rooster were somewhat overplayed, he just knocked those out of the park every time... and I still appreciate it (¡¡¡¡¡) Hockey John > are you the fan on the Star Trek shirt ("they're dead, Jim !") ? If so, I think we did some touring together .... look me up on the Cape, I'd love to catch up !