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.
"Attics of My Life"
By Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me
I have spent my life
Seeking all that's still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune
And closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play
You played to me
In the book of love's own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me
You flew to me
In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me