The sun has shone brightly all day. The car wash was packed. People seemed a little happier and peppier today. It’s only 40 degrees now and it ‘feels like’ 35 but you would think it’s 60 degrees judging by people’s attitudes. It’s actually a little bit unseasonably cold. The average high in the ATL area for February is 57 with an average low of 38. Perception vs. reality huh? Amazing what a little sunshine can do.
One of my all-time favorite song is George Harrison’s ‘Here Comes the Sun’. “…Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces, little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here…”
And the music itself in the song. It just makes you smile. It moves you to want to dance.
Me and Paul were at a Further concert at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) in Saratoga Springs, NY back in the summer of 2011. I was working that area, along with Lake George, NY, and the opportunity availed itself. The band Further includes two core members of the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.
If you’ve never been to a Dead show, or one of the many incarnations that the surviving members formed, Weir’s Ratdog and Phil Lesh and Friends would be the most recognizable, then you’ve missed something special. The band members casually stroll out on stage when they’re good and ready to little or no fanfare. The they will tune their instruments for what seems like an eternity.
During the tuning process the various notes being tinkered with will eventually form what sounds to be fragments of a song. Eventually the sounds WILL develop into a song and the crowd will, usually and simultaneously, recognize the song. There will be a huge roar and then everyone will begin to dance like mad, spinning, twirling, swaying, bouncing and hopping in a free form manner.
Well, on that night back in June, four years ago, the tuning and jamming turned into ‘Here Comes The Sun’. I think the entire crowd was quite surprised, I know me and my Grateful Dead Granny were. The smiles on the faces of all in the crowd were worth the whole concert experience, and it was a very good show.
Here is an excerpt from a fitting article in Americana – The Journal Of American Popular Culture.
“The Answer To The Atom Bomb: Rhetoric, Identification, and the Grateful Dead”
“In The Hero’s Journey , mythologist Joseph Campbell claims that ‘the Grateful Dead are the best answer today to the atom bomb’ because ‘The atom bomb is separating us and this music is calling up the common humanity’. Campbell first articulated this belief about the psychedelic rock band from San Francisco after attending one of their concerts in 1986 in Oakland, CA. where he witnessed what he refers to as ‘one incredible Dionysian ritual,’ ‘a dance revelation,’ and ‘magic for the future’. As Campbell explains, ‘They hit a level of humanity that makes everybody at one with each other. It doesn’t matter about this race thing, this age thing, I mean, everything else dropped out… It was just the experience of the identity of everybody with everybody else. I was carried away in rapture. And so I am a Deadhead now.”
Amen brother Campbell. You NAILED it! There is NOTHING like a Grateful Dead show! It is a transcendent experience. Everyone is one with their fellow human beings. It is tangible. It is church. And the sacraments aren’t bad either. 😉
Music was the only church me and Paul had for many years. The joy and fellowship we have experienced is immeasurable and the friends we have made, at concerts and festivals, are priceless.
The SPIRIT is the SPIRIT wherever it manifests itself. God/Goddess is everywhere, in everything, in everyone. Where love exists, God exists. God is love.
I’ll close with a line form the Dead song, Scarlett Begonias. “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”
So tonight, why not cue up Scarlett Begonias and dance like nobody’s looking.
Peace and love.