The Flying Other Brothers enjoyed a tremendous evening at the Gore 2000 Northern California kick-off party, a fund-raiser for VP Al Gore. For the second set, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart joined the band. Tipper Gore sat in on percussion for Queen Jane.
In the Haight-Ashbury (actually Fillmore) section of San Francisco (460 Haight Street n. Fillmore, S.F. CA). Nickie's has a "Deadhead night" every Monday night in which Grateful Dead tapes are played. This particular night included a special performance of the FOBs doing, of course, Grateful Dead songs! An excellent night sweetened by the aroma of S.F.'s finest medicine. Highlight: The FOBs do the Dead's magnum opus, "Terrapin Station".
At mid-afternoon the line of tie-dyed hippies stretched around the block from the will-call window. This was a special night in which the FOBs opened for Bob Weir's band Ratdog. A benefit for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (and featuring Woodside as the opening act, followed by the Raving Daves), the FOBs took the stage in front of a sold-out audience of real Deadheads, and played an energetic set that ended with a very special appearance by Bob Weir, who jammed with the FOBs on "Uncle John's Band" and an extended, improvisational "Uncle John" jam.
We supported Bob Weir and Mickey Hart at this benefit for Al Gore, playing all Dead tunes in 2 sets. And of course, Tipper Gore once again joined us on percussion -- for the "Women Are Smarter" (Harry Belafonte) -- "Iko Iko" jam.
The FOBs played an internal launch event for BEA Systems at the Tech Museum in San Jose, featuring a new song by TBone Tony Bove based on the Who's "My Generation" (Tony was an employee of BEA at the time).
The party at the Fillmore, hosted by Roger and Ann McNamee, featured Hot Tuna (Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, founding members of Jefferson Airplane), then the Flying Other Brothers set, followed by a jam of the FOBs with Jorma and Jack, followed by a set of the FOBs with Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Billy Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead members), followed by an acoustic set by Box Set, and ended with a set by Ratdog (Bob Weir's band).
Highlights from the event follow, extracted directly from hand-written notes by TBone Tony Bove...
The band that made a name for itself at high-tech confabs in exotic locales, at SoMa company launches and Silicon Valley hangars, at Comdex Las Vegas events and financial high-altitude ski junkets, gave a command performance at the fabled Fillmore Auditorium in S.F. on the eve of Y2K, joined by most of the surviving members of the great Sixties bands, the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane.
I'm just lucky to be in this band, the Flying Other Brothers. We've had some great gigs, but there is nothing to compare to the feeling of being on stage like this, surrounded by members of the Grateful Dead, rocketing off on a mesmeric, jaunty groove from one song into a new space, dropping the "one" (the first beat) every so often. I'm on harmonica and I was completely in sync one second, out the next, looking at Billy Kreutzmann on drums and trying to figure it out -- and I look over to Mickey Hart on percussion, and he's smiling at me as if to say, "welcome to our territory." Every generation has its heroes, and mine were goofing on me on the stage of the Fillmore. Jorma (guitar) and Jack (bass) were trying to figure out how to play their own song, "White Rabbit" in a lower key so that I could sing it!! If you've ever seen Jefferson Airplane or Hot Tuna perform, you know that Jack just prowls the stage like a monster, one of the most animated bass players in rock. And just as I start the first verse, Jack comes vamping up beside me, grinning wide and looking me up and down like I'm some kind of weird version of Grace Slick, and I can hardly keep from laughing through the lines. But "White Rabbit" rocked the house. For me, it was like going to church on Easter Sunday with the Pope.
Then along came the Grateful Dead... When Bob Weir jumped out on stage with a twinkle in his eye, and said "How about we try something, let's try 'Minglewood'" and I just said "Sure!" But of course, we had never tried it -- not as a band, nor during our quick sound check earlier that day (although I had done it a few times as a member of the Graceful Duck in the early 1980s).
So we started tuning up. Bill and Giles were leaning in, asking Bob Weir for the chords to "New, New Minglewood Blues". He started to tell them, then smiled and said, "Oh hell, you'll figure it out by the third verse." And we were off!
At one point Bob Weir asked if we knew the Blues for Allah version or the live version of "The Music Never Stopped" and Mickey just yelled at him, "Aw man, just let them do their version, the Flying Other Brothers version!"
And I realized that, beyond the limitations of our musicianship, beyond the obvious pretension of Silicon Valley executives acting like rock stars, these particular rock stars had some respect for us. Even more importantly, the sound techs and the stage crew have respect for us. We're in it for a good time and to give everyone else a good time. And we succeeded!
Later, Larry introduced me to Billy Kreutzmann, and we shared some secrets about life in Mendocino County (where Billy has property). Another dream had come true. They just kept coming.