My First Unbroken Chain
I never saw the Grateful Dead play "Unbroken Chain." I can remember when they finally busted it out it Phili in the spring of 1995 but by that point my Dead shows were few and far between. After six nights with the Dead in Boston and handful at MSG the previous fall, it just seemed that a certain energy had dissipated, so I cut back things back a bit in 95. I did hit a handful of shows but "Unbroken Chain" eluded me.
This coming weekend I’ll experience my first.
On Friday I’ll be traveling out to Amherst, MA for the public symposium, Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead In Music, Culture And Memory. The event will take place on November 16-18 on the UMass campus with a number of notable participants including : Dennis McNally, Dan Healy, Carolyn ‘Mountain Girl’ Garcia, David Gans, Bob Bralove, Rebecca Adams and many others.
I’ll be on a Friday morning panel that considers the Grateful Dead’s relationship with the media. David Gans is the moderator while John Dwork and Steve Silberman will participate as well.
I’m quite excited to hear the three of them speak and there also will be one personal break-out as I’ve never met Steve Silberman. I’ve read his work over the years from Skeleton Key on through his writings in Wired. I even co-authored an article with him which appeared on this very site back in November of 1998 (a dialogue from the perspective of a Phish fan engaging a Grateful Dead fan).
I’ve seen David a few times over the years but I can vividly recall my first face-to-face encounter. It was at the Gathering the Vibes 98, the one that took place up in Plattsburg. He was there for the late night jam on the night before the festival proper and it was pleasure to speak with him after listening to the Grateful Dead Hour for so many years.
As for Johnny, I’ve been running into him since the Wetlands days in the early 90’s when he was on hand with the Speed of Light Show. I can also remember the excitement in his voice when he called me to share news of the very first String Cheese Incident Horning’s Hideout event back in 2000. He’s also in the Wetlands documentary I directed and his appearances in the film never fail to elicit a smile from the audience (more on Wetlands Preserved in the months to come, as we finally make it to theaters, TV and DVD in 2008).
All in all it should be quite a weekend. I’m looking forward to Dennis’ keynote address on Friday night and I’m particularly eager to hear Dan Healy talk about dialing in the band’s sound over the years.
At any rate I have high expectations for my first Unbroken Chain. With any luck I’ll have a story and some images for you next month (and then I’ll get back to the 1999 Jambands.com tour or maybe even that story from Bonnaroo I think I still owe you).
later days and peace,