Leaving Chuck's house I proceeded to Fisherman's Wharf to listen to my friend John, the Paper Millionaire, play in his Grateful Dead cover band. I arrived to find Mark and John's wife Lynae sitting outside listening to the band. Not as many people this week as last week but I'm guessing that might have something to do with it being St. Patrick's Day and people generally hanging out in pubs drinking.
I'm not really a Grateful Dead fan. I mean, their music is okay, I can listen to it, unlike Country or Western. But friends of mine (like Chuck) have claimed to have attended dozens, if not hundreds, of Grateful Dead concerts. I never understood the attraction that would keep people attending concert after concert, day after day, year after year.
But after hearing John's band play for the past few weeks, I think I understand the phenomenon better. They're an incredible band that jam more than play, each song lasting ten, fifteen, twenty minutes at a stretch, often blending into the next song with no clear break between them.
They'll start a song, sing a few verses, then jam out for ten minutes, resume singing a few verses (oh, they're still playing that song I think), jam a few more minutes, sing the last verse, then start the next song.
But more incredible are the people. A large crowd, dancing on stage, spinning, whirling, stomping and otherwise just having a great time being abosrbed into the music, letting it take them where ever. It's effetious.
Like I said, I'm beginning to get a grasp on this whole Dead thang.