Dead Days

Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Wavy Gravy, Betty Cantor…these folks hold a special place in the history of American rock-n-roll and are, by all accounts, now big fans of our music.  How did this happen so fast? Those who were present this past week at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, witnessed history and if you saw the smile on my face, then you knew how completely elated the feeling was.  I mean, sharing the stage with Chris Robinson for more than nine months and over 115 shows across the U.S. is an amazing honor, in and of itself, but when you add Phil Lesh & Bob Weir to that equation you have a whole other ballgame, entirely.

Early into our last east coast run, while discussing possible guest sit-in’s for our four-night stint at Great American Music Hall, CR mentioned to us that Phil might be sitting-in on the last set of the third show.  Exciting news and for those reading who aren’t aware, Phil was the bassist for the Grateful Dead and Bob Weir played guitar alongside Jerry Garcia.  Both are still very active and doing quite well.

Anyway, knowing how things go in this business, I tried not to get my hopes up too high in regards to possibly playing with Phil cause I didn’t wanna be bummed if he wasn’t able to make it.  Well, he did and he played his ass off too, which came as a great surprise cause the dude is 71 years old.

Walking onto the stage for the encore, I put my arms around Phil to thank him for sitting-in with us and playing so great. He grabbed me and hugged me, warmly and said, "No, thank you!", then we both turned to the audience and someone in the crowd (Jaime Lieberman!) captured the moment. I'm so glad they did.

The show was fantastic that night and one I’ll remember for a long time to come.  But to top it all off, on the last night, we were given the chance (once again) to jam with the great Bob Weir.  Wow.

Neal Casal, Bob Weir, myself & CR (courtesy of John Collins)

Really good time.  Thanks, Bob!

75 year old Hugh Romney, aka Wavy Gravy, stopped by to give us a warm and truly funny introduction, setting the mood for the long night of music. During the show, he stood to the side of the stage and blew soap bubbles, in true "Wavy" fashion...clown suited and red nose'd! One of the sweetest cats you're ever likely to meet. (courtesy of John Collins)

For all four shows, Betty Cantor-Jackson, Grateful Dead archivist and longtime member of their production team, sat to the side of the stage, recording every note that was played.  Her recordings of the Dead are as legendary as the shows themselves and to see her smiling next to us was an incredible moment in time.  As honored and humbled as their kindness made me feel this past week, I have to wonder to myself…these folks are legends…has the CRB been given the nod from the Dead’s royalty?

Whatever the case, yours truly is certainly grateful.

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