Last weekend, I went to my first Grateful Dead concert in Santa Clara as part of the Fare Thee Well mini-tour. I have never been a Deadhead. I have liked the dead, listened to them on many occasions, and I even own a few CDs and a couple of vinyl bootlegs. If this was any other band, I’d be considered a fan. When it comes to the Dead, I’m an outsider. I appreciated the Dead musically but I was always a bigger fan of their studio material than their live jams. American Beauty has been spun on my system as much as any of my favorite albums (I own over 10,000 albums to give you some perspective). As a first timer at a Dead show…this is my impression: now, I get it. I was blown away. This is easily one of the ten best concert going experiences of my life and I’ve seen hundreds of shows. The musicianship was excellent, even with the few missteps (which should be expected) their craft was better than 99% of the musicians playing music today. Vocally, they were functional…but let’s be honest, the Dead were never great singers. They were unique in the vein of Dylan. I always thought they sounded like old men singing…now they live the part. I hate Phish, but thought Trey was a perfect guest to fill Jerry’s shoes for this celebration. The show was stunning and will be a great memory to my musical life. I wasn’t a Deadhead before the show, I am now. Now I’m off to catch up with 50 years of concerts, albums, and side projects.
I’m shocked by the reactions of some people about the 2015 shows and the abilities of the band. Some say it’s a cash grab, which is a petty argument. Aren’t all concerts cash grabs? People say the show wasn’t the same as in the old days. Of course not, these guys are in their 70s, get some perspective. After listening and watching old shows on Youtube…I’ll be honest…they still sound exceptional. Are the 70s shows better? Yes. The 80s shows? Sometimes. The 90s shows? eh. The biggest difference isn’t the band…it’s the crowd. The Dead culture was as big as the band. That culture no longer exists…which is the bigger aspect of what was missing. The music was sharp as ever. As a concert experience, it was still mind-bending.
This list is meant to be fun. It’s not a list of what should have been played. Not at all. It’s a list of some of their stronger songs that didn’t make the tour. I made a list of live versions of all these songs, so you can enjoy them.
Here Are the 11 Best Grateful Dead Songs Not Played During Fare Thee Well:
- Good Lovin’ (Shakedown Street)
- Sugaree (Garcia)
- Mexicali Blues (Ace)
- Ramble On Rose (Europe 72)
- Peggy-O (Go To Heaven)
- Ship of Fools (From The Mars Hotel)
- Mama Tried (Grateful Dead)
- Looks Like Rain (Ace)
- The Promised Land (Steal Your Face)
- Dire Wolf (Workingman’s Dead)
- Dupree’s Diamond Blues (Aoxomoxoa)