Parris and I spent the weekend in Chicago (one of my favorite cities), hanging around Soldier Field for the last three performances of the Grateful Dead, the Fare Thee Well shows.
(I went in disguise, forsaking my usual Greek fisherman’s cap for a series of baseball caps, but somehow people recognized me anyway).
What can I say? Amazing shows, and the end of an epoch. I felt privileged to be there. And the music… well, words can never truly capture the feel of great music, as I discovered long ago when I wrote my rock novel, THE ARMAGEDDON RAG.
It was the RAG that brought me to my first Dead show, back in the 1980s. There was a time when the late great Phil DeGuere, the writer/ producer who brought me out to LA to write for THE TWILIGHT ZONE, hoped to make a feature film of the RAG, working with the Dead. That never came to pass, but it did get us backstage at many a Dead show.
Phil is gone now, alas, and so is Jerry Garcia, Cap’n Trips himself… and now the remaining members of the Dead have played their final shows together. But the memories will Not Fade Away, and the music will live on as long as people listen to rock and roll.
You will be able to buy a boxed set of those three last shows, I understand. Don’t hesitate. They were amazing performances.
Meanwhile, here’s my favorite Dead song (a hard choice, since I love so many)… from a 1980 show at Radio City Music Hall (not one I attended, alas):