I once met a fellow who told me he had just read the worst book of his life and I quickly zoned out as he explained why. When he got to Chapter six, 45 minutes later I finally snapped "Why in the hell are you making me suffer through every horrible detail? Can we talk about a book you did like?" I feel this book was a little like that. There was an incredible amount of detail about their bad performances, while major events, incredible shows, deaths and important pieces we didn't know about were mentioned as an aside, if at all. There was no mention of Jerry's performance on 10/1/94 where he killed every single song, and late in the game changed the lyrics of So Many Roads just this once to Heal My Soul. No mention of Jerry's 50th birthday, and only little hints at the eerie "coincidences". For instance he did confirm that the Grateful Dead were playing Fire on the Mountain when Mt. St. Helens erupted but failed to mention Compton Terrace '94 when Jerry brought back Here Comes Sunshine for the first time since 19 and 74 and litcherally as he hit the first chord the black clouds, torrential rains and cool air were instantly replaced by sunshine and oppressive heat. He said Jerry was the leader who would not lead as if anarchy were a dirty word. If he had "led" there would have been resentments that he was a controlling, power hungry, ego driven megalomaniac. He portrayed the fans of the 80's as consumer driven, deader than thou, narcissistic, Nitrous Oxide sucking, arm swinging gate-crashers. Okay, so he nailed that one but really it was only a few jokers. Besides, every generation thinks they're better and more wise than the next. It's not like we stabbed people at Altamont, killed a pregnant movie star to start race war, killed a president, his brother and Civil Rights Heros like your generation Dennis. For the most part things don't change that much, however we did start becoming inundated with media in the 80's so it appeared as if bad stuff was happening more often by the weaponized media to scare people back into submission after the revolution of the previous generation. It must be inherent in western society to feel the need to feel better than, terminally unique , and to make invidious distinctions. I've seen it in every sub-culture I've witnessed including but not limited to business, social work, Mormons, Baptists, 12 step recovery fellowships, athletes, dudes and all their "conquests". I'm sure it was a tremendous burden for Jerry. I have a hard enough time showing up and being "on" at work and home everyday and I don't have 50,000 kids watching, expecting me to blow their minds every night. I think he also left out the most important point so I actually wonder who he had access to and who spoke to him and how much truth they told him. I've heard Jerry and Phil say they set out to create a new form of art that relied heavily on audience participation. They wanted to co-mingle music, lights and dance and man did they succeed at that. For one or two moments, many decades ago, I was able to combine my heart and soul with a band beyond description and 15,000 outcast, freaky friends into one blissful, tribal, soul-melting dance. I had no idea I'd still be alive, let alone deconstructing their songs, shows and lives 30 years later. It's like I tell my super aggressive power, sculpt, cardi0, core, yoga instructors, "If I knew then I'd be in this class at 5:00 am I would have taken much better care of myself and not smoked so very, very many drugs." Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter anyway.
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