Flashback to Missoula Montana, Adams Fieldhouse, May 14th, 1974.
The Grateful Dead.
The "Wall of Sound"
What was sure to be a most memorable night for everyone attending turned into a nightmare. The Dead had brought along the "Wall of Sound", a special sound system designed specifically for that tour. It was definitely the premier system of its time. Thousands of Deadheads followed them from venue to venue, tickets at that time only costing $6 for up to a five-hour show. The set list of songs changed nightly.
At some point during the second set, Bobby Weir was hit in the head with a plastic Arber Day beer pitcher. The Dead left the stage for some time and then came back. Bobby vowed that they would never play in Missoula ever again.
2. Me and My Uncle
4. Black Throated Wind
5. Scarlet Begonias
6. It Must Have Been the Roses
7. Jack Straw
8. Tennessee Jed
10. Big River
11. Brown-Eyed Women
12. Playing in the Band
13. U.S. Blues
14. Mexicali Blues
15. Row Jimmy
16. WRS Prelude
17. WRS Part 1
18. Let It Grow
19. Dark Star
20. China Doll
21. The Promised Land (Chuck Berry cover)
22. Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly cover)
23. Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad
24. One More Saturday Night
Flash forward Missoula Montana, Adams Fieldhouse, September 27th, 2011.
The "DeadHeads" in so many respects don't exist anymore. The "Dead Family", a collective goup of people, 17 to their mid thirties, now follow Furthur around the United States. Their parents were the "DeadHeads".
And what attracts them? It is the sound of Furthur. It is Furthur's show. Tailored specifically for the LSD induced brain. A trip like you've never taken before.
During any first set you'll listen to Furthur play classic Dead tunes, but without any enhanced visual or sound experience. They sound awesome, but it's during the second (or third if there is three sets) Furthur bumps it up a notch with riveting broken keyboarding, echoing, lasers, colors, and anything else that they know will put you into an LSD trance. The bass lines that Phil Lesh plays reverberate through you like a heartbeat. They can even make it seem like time has stopped or spead up using both sound and lights.
Furthur is a visual experience like nothing you've ever seen before.
And that is what attracts the "Dead Family".
In Missoula on September 27th, 2011 Furthur started the show with Mississippi Halfstep Uptown Toodeloo. An awesome upbeat tune to start the night out with.
The background behind the band was a simple blue backdrop with large white triangles hung in front, eight of them if I recall, spaced out in a peculiar way.
They then went on to cover This May Be The Last Time. Was this a message to Missoula? Almost as if Bobby was saying, "Hey, fuck up again and this will be the last time we come."
Alabama Get Away seemed to confirm the message in the last song.
Still no visuals going on. Moderate lighting effects. Decent sound bumping.
Phil Lesh sang the next song, Octopus's Garden, which is of course a Beatles tune. I found this song to be a decent change in the line up of Grateful Dead songs.
The first song they played in the second set was Celebration and then directly onto Sugar Magnolia. The lasers were going now, and both of those songs ended with slight spacy riffs that started to put you into a trance.
Oh, yea it was on.
The crowd lost it when He's Gone, the mantra to LSD tripping, started next. And this is the best rendition of He's Gone I've ever heard. I don't recall exactly when, but at some point the lighting made the band members eyes and mouths disappear (nothing but black holes) and their faces were white as skulls. Bob Weir looked like a dead pirate. Lights, lasers, sound, a satanic goats head appeared shimmering on the backdrop behind the band, two of the white triangles became glowing orange eyes, the bottom one his goatee, two on the sides his ears.
Bob Weir made a gesture with his left hand, making like he was ripping his face off.
I about shit my pants.
Still tranced by He's Gone, King Soloman's Marbles began. Band members drummer Joe Russo, bassist Phil Lesh, guitarist Bob Weir, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, and guitarist John Kadlecik dazzled the crowd by taking turns soloing to a light spectacular.
Sunshine Daydream, which I believe is a type of Acid, was an outstanding ending to the best show I've seen yet.
Phil Lesh did his Donar Rap and Furthur left the stage.
The crowd begged for more, shouting, "Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!" at the top of their lungs.
Furthur came back for their customary encore and a fitting one at that: It's All Over Now Baby Blue.
As always, we shuffled out of the show like bewildered cattle to the slaughter, our brains echoing with Furthur.
My thoughts on this show:
I feel as though Bobby and Phil were sending a message to Missoula. "Hey, this is what you've been missing for the past 37 years. If you're good, we may well come back again."