The Dead Reunite for Obama Benefit, Lesh and Weir to Co-Headline New Years Performances
On Columbus Day, the four surviving members of the Grateful Deads classic lineup performed together at a benefit for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. The show, which was held at held at State College, PAs Bryce Jordan Center, marks the first time Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann have performed together since August 19, 2004. In February, Hart, Weir and Lesh also shared the stage at San Franciscos Warfield under the assumed name Deadheads for Obama. Immediately after The Deads performance, the groups management confirmed that Bob Weir & RatDog would co-headline San Franciscos Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on December 30 and 31 with Phil Lesh & Friends. Leshs current bandmate Jackie Greene will open both shows with his solo band.
At last nights benefit, the members of the Grateful Dead were joined by Allman Brothers/Govt Mule guitarist Warren Haynes and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, both of whom were part of The Deads lineup in 2004. The benefit also featured a performance by the current incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band, though neither group performed under its proper name due to the evening’s political nature. Similar to their recent summer tour, the members of the Allman Brothers Band offered a single, extended set featuring chestnuts like One Way Out, Mellissa, Jessica and Whipping Post, in addition to covers of Van Morrisons And It Stoned Me, Bob Dylans Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright and Derek & the Dominos Anyday. Susan Tedeschi and saxophonist Ron Holloway also sat in a various points throughout the night.
Likewise, The Dead offered a selection of classic sing-a-longs and improvisational vehicles, including Truckin, Touch of Grey, Playin in the Band, Dark Star, St. Stephen, The Other One, Unbroken Chain, Not Fade Away and the sequence of Help on the Way, Slipknot and Franklin’s Tower. The group also nodded to the evenings political theme with U.S. Blues and Throwing Stones, as well as speeches by both Weir and Lesh.
The announcement that Weir and Lesh would spend New Years Eve together only furthers rumors that the surviving members of The Dead will tour together in 2009. Some also speculate that Hart and Kreutzmann will make a stealth appearance with their bandmates on New Years Eve as they did on December 31, 2001.
GDTS Too and Musictoday will begin accepting postmarks for the holiday performances on Thursday, October 16. Musictodays presale will begin at Noon, EST. Pre-sales for GDTS and Musictoday will conclude on Friday, October 31 at 6:00 PM EST. Public on-sale will begin Sunday, November 2 at 10:00 AM PST.