in Orlando. The 70 year old bass player, and Bob Weir (who turns 64 this year),
have hitched up a team of youngsters to deliver a blend of Grateful Dead music,
along with select rock'n roll standards, in the inimitable mutant style.
20 large cabs flew from each side of the stage in vertical array,
loud enough to feel on your face, lights swivelled, both floor wedges
and ear monitors fed the band's big ears. Lesh stood in front of 16
12" speakers (4x4 Eden cabs) while Weir ran a Strat and a 335 thru 2 2x12" open-back combos in stereo, with the cream amps facing back at the drummer. Kadlecik ran a HardTrucker 2 x12" JBL cabinet thru what may have been a Macintosh, MXR dist+, Phase 100, Boss Octave and Mutron III, playing his tobacco-burst PRS. The venue was 100 yards from my son's dorm, a low-pressure scene, and many Shakedown residents appeared to have taken a bath over the break; grumbling hippie merchants shuffled from lot to lot as they were relocated by hilarious Campus police megaphone routines. Many many family scenes, with gray parents and delightfully raggedy kids.
The setlist is found here;
Here Comes Sunshine, Dear Mr Fantasy, Cosmic Charlie, When You Wish Upon a Star ( for Mickey Mouse)- these are all notable-but the main event was when
the second set opened with Fire on the Mountain>Cassidy>Unbroken Chain/ Strawberry Fields Forever. Here was the opus, composed by Lesh, carried out in patient and orchestral
detail by the band- Unbroken Chain was the central jewel, the third eye in the collective forehead, Lesh driving the arrangement with relentless lead bass and competent vocals,
his search for the sound carrying us all along in his wake.
Kadlecik is riding the gigantic wave of Lesh like a surfer,
cutting back and forth so as to not outrun the thunderous curl.
Quibble Dept; Weir was undermixed and consistently slowed the tempo of every tune that he counted in,in fact the Cosmic Charlie> Sugar Magnolia that ended the first set had passages where the batteries in the music simply seemed to run down and down and down. He continues to split up previously coupled verses with 4 or 8 bars of vamping,
a bit unsettling in the Other One where primal expectations are undone.
Grateful Dead music is still the central sanctuary in the Electric Church,
and as long as Phil Lesh can drive this band into the deep unreal,
Hambone Sparklewell will insist on ranting in this manner.
Recommended by the International House of Goosebumps.