I’ve seen and heard every version of the band since the tragic loss of Jerry Garcia in 1995, and not one of the configurations came close to the magic they could have when Jerry was still with us. Every other year or so, the surviving members would recruit a new lead guitar player, or travel with several players who’d take turns on leads, they were good, some even great, musicians, but nothing satisfied, something always seemed to be missing.
Enter John Kadlecik.
John was a co-founder, in 1997, of a Grateful Dead tribute band called Dark Star Orchestra (DSO), a band in which he WAS Jerry Garcia, for all intents and purposes, for 12 years. And DSO was not just an ordinary tribute band. Their specialty was to recreate specific concerts from Grateful Dead history, using the exact set lists, adapting their sound to match the age of the band, using the instrument tones and arrangements the Dead used for those specific shows, while still allowing for improvisation in extended jams.
In 2009, John was asked by Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh to join them in a band they named Furthur. (Furthur was the name the Merry Pranksters gave to the bus they drove around in on their psychedelic adventures in the 1960s.)
Anyway, John is the absolute best choice for filling Jerry’s shoes. He dedicated all those years to perfecting Jerry’s craft and building on it, he’s said that Jerry would hate it if all John did was copy Jerry exactly, and sure enough, John brings his own unique touches, touches that keep the music sounding fresh and inventive.
The following is a yummy, spacey, second set from the third night of a 4-night run just last week.
If you’re like me, you just want to lounge out on a shag rug, close your eyes, and enjoy this latest long, strange trip.
Happy Weekend, everyone!