Jerry Garcia left us in August of 1995 but the weight of his presence, real or imagined, still casts a heavy shadow every moment his song is sung. At the Gorge Amphitheater on May 16th, a tour came to an end but the music was celebrated in a way perhaps not felt since his passing. That might be part nostalgia but the band is hitting new heights and creative territories with a youthful spirit and vengeance not felt and seen since 1990. We have all heard the stories about the rift between brothers but on this night, only love and respect were observed. From the arm in arm gathering prior to walking on stage, to the mutual respect and appreciation shared between Bob and Phil, there was a creative essence that warmed the soul. I'm sure Garcia, wherever he might be, is sighing, relieved as he rests in peace. In some ways, this felt like the perfect ending, the aging fighter who brings greatness to the ring one last time. But that would be shortsighted as this has always been a group of artists who understood the power of the journey; the search for higher truths through music and that is a journey only few are fortunate to bear.
As Bob sweetly sang the words to "The Days Between," many thoughts traveled through my mind. The tender love expressed for a brother, the gratitude felt to still be here singing his sorrowful tune, and the realization that we are only here a short time to appreciate each other.
Yes, this was a reunion like many before, but in the end, make no mistake, this was a tour that had so much more. This tour had a sense of a new beginning, a long lost journey found once more, and perhaps a new wisdom realized. Stuff of this nature and of this importance only comes along once in a lifetime. And for some reason lightning has chosen to strike twice. It's not for us to know the reason why, that's for another place and another song. As Bob once said, "I look for the burning questions that beg answers." Well, I doubt that he will find one much greater than this.