By Alex Mathews
This past weekend in San Francisco, Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir joined with some of their friends to play a benefit concert for Haitian Earthquake relief via their Unbroken Chain Foundation under the name of Furthur and Friends.
Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes fame joined the band for three sets, with a birthday celebration for Phil Lesh, who was celebrating his 70th birthday, sandwiched somewhere in their five-plus hour long performance. The band came out and began with a rousing acoustic Ripple, with Johnnie Green on the mandolin. The entire first set was an acoustic marvel in the key of G, with some incredible takes on classics like They Lover Each Other, and A Hard Rains A Gonnna Fall, sung by Bob Weir.
Chris was a soulful addition to the ensemble, and I personally am a purist when it comes to Grateful Dead music. I don't like anything to disrupt it, like chocolate mixed with peanut butter or something. Despite this, I loved Chris Robinson and I felt he truly shined as a real fan of the band and their music.
This video of Easy Wind, an old blues number relegated to the era of Pigpen, shows how soulful Chris was, and how this new incarnation of what remains of the Grateful Dead is just in a place where they can make all new rules. With former Dark Star Orchestra guitarist John Kadlicek, this group is just on fire, selling out every date they book. If you are a deadhead, you have to go out and see this.
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