Lesh recovering from bladder cancer

Longtime Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has been treated for bladder cancer, but says he's expected to make a full recovery. Lesh, 75, canceled several sold-out shows at his Terrapin Crossroads bar that were to feature Chris Robinson. "I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early October, and have spent the last few weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale (Ariz.) doing tests and eventually surgery to remove the tumors," Lesh said in an Oct. 16 email sent to customers and later posted on the Terrapin Crossroads web site. "I am very fortunate to have the pathology reports show that the tumors are all non-aggressive, and that there is no indication that they have spread." Lesh successfully battled prostrate cancer in 2006. He also underwent a liver transplant related to hepatitis … [Read more...]

Fare Thee Well set lists

Here are the set lists for the Grateful Dead's final concerts, dubbed "Fare Thee Well." The concerts were on the band's home turf in Santa Clara, Calif., and in Chicago. Almost no songs were repeated, the exceptions being "Cumberland Blues," Bob Weir's "Truckin'" and the instrumental workout "Drums / Space." The Grateful Dead veterans were Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. They were joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The Dead called the shows "our final stand," vowing there will be no further concerts. "This is it." CDs and Blu-rays/DVDs from the concerts are due for release Nov. 20. Concerts were divided into two sections, with the sets divided by an hourlong break. (Years refer to Dead originals' … [Read more...]

80 CDs of live Dead: Here comes ‘Sun’

The half-century celebration of the Grateful Dead continues at warp speed, with news of an 80-CD box set of unissued live shows. "Thirty Trips Around the Sun" resurrects 30 concerts, with more than 73 hours of music. The limited edition set (6,500, numbered) checks in with a $700 price tag. Release date for the Rhino set is Sept. 18. A four-CD set, "Thirty Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story, 1965-1995," boils things down considerably. A USB drive with all of the "Thirty Trips" content is planned as well, also at the $700 price point. The USB edition is limited to 1,000 copies. Dead partner Rhino is issuing the box set, which will be sold exclusively via dead.net The set more or less coincides with the series of "Fare Thee Well" concerts featuring surviving … [Read more...]

‘The Other One’: Bob Weir docu shines

"I've led kind of an unusual life," says Bob Weir, in a moment of understatement. "I've seen stuff that no one has seen," the guitarist adds, bringing to mind that "Blade Runner" replicant in the rain. And yes, Weir says, quoting himself: "It's been a long strange trip." The rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead steps out of the long shadow of Jerry Garcia in the documentary "The Other One," which just made its public debut streaming on Netflix. The film, by Mike Fleiss, offers a splendid collection of clips, some fine musical performances by Weir and recent collaborators, and of course a snoutful of nostalgia for Grateful Dead fans. It's an entertaining, fast-moving film whose revelations will be revelations only to non-fans. The documentary likes to stay in … [Read more...]

Quad Doors, live Yes, EL&P spark Q2

Classic but freshly repolished goods from the Doors, Yes, the Yardbirds, EL&P and Miles Davis promise a strong second quarter in the psychedelic music world. The Doors' music remained in strong demand a few years after the death of singer Jim Morrison. Elektra looked to give the music new spark with a "Best Of" collection in quadraphonic. The four-channel format fizzled, and Doors marketers moved on to other repackaging jobs, but the quad collection was never forgotten by the early adopters of long ago. Ace audio revivalist Steve Hoffman delivers the goods June 2 with a hybrid SACD containing the original quad mix and his re-do of the two-channel stereo mix. Tracks include the usual suspects as well as "Who Do You Love," "Take It As It Comes" and "Moonlight Drive." "I think that … [Read more...]

Dead adds pair of California concerts

The surviving members of the Grateful Dead will say "Fare Thee Well" two more times with a pair of shows in Santa Clara, Calif. The shows on June 27 and 28 will come before the trio of concerts at Soldier Field in Chicago (July 3, 4 and 5). The new shows had been widely rumored and tipped, but not confirmed. "Since we made the decision to go back to Chicago to say our final goodbye, it has become clear to us that we first need to return to our beginnings, where we first said hello -- to each other and to all of you," the band wrote in a letter to fans. As with the Chicago shows, the lineup for Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara includes backing from Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The Grateful Dead 2015 are Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart … [Read more...]

Dead’s movie night from Alpine Valley

Time to Meet-Up at the Movies for the fifth time, Grateful Dead loyalists. The 2015 edition of the annual movie night is set for Monday, May 4, featuring the Dead in performance from 1989, at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin. It was the final gig of the Dead's three-night residency in Alpine Valley (near East Troy). The July 19, 1989, show ran almost three hours, with the band working extra hard for rain-soaked fans. "It was our Woodstock," one Wisconsin native recalls. While the big-screen video is billed as "never before seen," the set 1 closers of "West L.A. Fadeaway," "Desolation Row" and "Deal" were included on the concert video "Downhill From Here." That title was released on VHS and then DVD in the late '90s. Highlights include "Sugaree," "Box of Rain," "The … [Read more...]

Record Store Day ’15: Zombies, Doors, Sly

The Zombies, the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, Captain Beefheart and Hawkwind lead the freak parade for Record Store Day 2015. Other goodies for psychedelic bin flippers include vinyl by Country Joe and the Fish, Todd Rundgren, Jeff Beck, the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, Tomorrow, Sun Ra, Robert Plant, the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, the Flaming Lips and Frank Zappa. The eighth-annual event promoting indie record stores is now an unabashed celebration of the old-school vinyl format. Record Store Day is Saturday, April 18. The Zombies: What was to be the follow up to the psychedelic classic "Odessey and Oracle" never was. Officially. Now the "R.I.P. Album" has been unearthed for its "first legitimate vinyl release" by the Varese Sarabande label. The band had broken up the … [Read more...]

Garcia & Hunter enter Songwriters Hall

The Grateful Dead's primary songwriting team of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter are being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Hunter, a lyricist, had been named a member of the Grateful Dead despite not performing with the band, a testament to his importance to the psychedelic music pioneers. Garcia, who died in 1995, wrote the music for the duo's many songs. The Songwriters Hall pointed to "Casey Jones," "China Cat Sunflower," "St. Stephen" and "Truckin'." Other tracks highlighted were "Dark Star," "Friend of the Devil" and "Touch of Grey." Hunter (pictured, top) also worked with Bob Dylan, writing most of the album "Together Through Life." He and Dylan co-wrote Dylan's 2012 hit "Duquesne Whistle." Hunter performs and records as a solo act as well. Hunter … [Read more...]

A psychedelic Christmas gift guide

Bless those who feed our heads with the gift of music. From killer box sets ... to silver-shiny audiophile treasures ... to festive-colored vinyl -- music makes for some serious holiday cheer. Here are a few recent releases that can't miss with fans of 1960s psychedelic music: Love's "Forever Changes" on SACD: Mobile Fidelity continues to marry late-1960s goodness and audiophile excellence. Just out on hybrid SACD is "Forever Changes," considered by many the peak album of the psychedelic era. Mobile Fidelity last year rereleased the Arthur Lee band's second album, "Da Capo," on SACD, which like "Forever Changes" is "from the original master tapes." While "Forever Changes" has seen many careful reissues over the years, this appears to be the first as a (hybrid) SACD. (No extra tracks. … [Read more...]

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