American Camping Association (private event). Wavy Gravy set this one up. If the poster is any indication, the American Camping Association is a more progressive organization than we ever imagined. For more information: http://www.acacamps.org/
w/ Waybacks, Bob Weir, and the Emory Joseph Trio
SEVA Benefit, celebrating Larry Brilliant's 60th birthday! The FOB4 helped mark Larry's becoming a sexagenarian. The Waybacks headlined, with an appearance by Bob Weir, and the Emory Joseph trio opened. Wavy Gravy emceed as only he can!
w/ Nick Gravenites, David Nelson, Peter Rowan, Bob Weir, Warren Haynes
Spencer, who was the drummer for Jefferson Airplane, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Dinosaurs, had fallen on hard times; he had lost virtually all his possessions in a house fire and was also facing pressing medical problems. The FOBs joined with David Nelson and Friends, including Peter Rowan, Bob Weir and Warren Haynes in a memorable evening of music to help cover some of Spencer's mounting costs. A lot of very cool artwork and one-of-a-kind memoribilia were auctioned off, as well. What a night!!! The vibe was strong, the music felt good, and we created some high quality karma. Altogether, this evening and its attendant auctions will have raised a very significant sum for Spencer. San Francisco music lovers proved they know how to take care of their own. Nick Gravenites and Friends opened, followed by David Nelson and Friends, featuring a terrific appearance by Peter Rowan, and another by Bob Weir (who also sat in with the FOBs, as noted in the set list below). The evening concluded with a free-for-all jam, beginning with a rousing "Somebody to Love," featuring Kathy Peck on the lead vocal, Jorma's brother Peter Kaukonen on guitar, and Nick Buck on keys. Pete Sears, who put the whole evening together, played bass, nailing down a beautiful groove to get things going. The crew was tireless and flawless. And the Purple Heart goes to Jim Sanchez for service above and beyond -- The Great One played with every group that hit the stage that night. P.S. The whole evening was shot in video for possible future release.
Special guests David Nelson and Mark Karan made this a one of a kind treat! We worked with the good people at the Crystal – you remember, that place with the AMAZING sprung floor -- to mount an “unofficial” afterparty: The Dead were playing at Columbia Meadows outside town, and it seemed like a good time to reconnect with some of our friends in the Rose City. We lined up David Nelson and Mark Karan to share in the fun, and we delivered a long show with some great musical moments (at least it felt that way on stage!).
The FOBs opened up, with Mark coming up to spar with Barry on a couple of tunes. David did a lovely acoustic set with Barry, Pete and Jimmy, including a timely rendition of Banana’s “Hippie from Olema,” food for thought in these mistrustful times. To close out, David summoned the stampede with his Telecaster: everybody came up, and this very large string band played “Dead Flowers” and “Panama Red,” oh yes! David then left the stage to the FOBs with Mark Karan for a set highlighted by a burnin’ “Devil’s Kitchen” and Mark’s signature stylings on “Annie Don’t Lie.”
Cosmic Pizza is one of those places where you walk in and are instantly comfortable: it’s a big, spacious room in central Eugene. There’s an open kitchen at one end of the room, with a range of fine pizzas and beverages (and some excellent desserts!), and a an Internet café with full coffee bar at the other end, and tables and clusters of sofas dotting the space between. The beverages include beer and wine, and there’s a big blue line swirling down the middle of the floor that separates the alcohol zone from the alcohol free, meaning that all ages can enjoy programs that run the gamut, from holistic this and that to free range politics to . . . well, to the FOBs.
This is one hip, well-rooted resort! The treehouses that give the place its name are phenomenal! The American Way was very much in practice at the Treehouses for the Fourth of July: There was a bout of the national pastime – softball, of course – and a caricature of Dubya peeking out of a tree, and a whole lot of “independent spirit” in the air. People couldn’t have been nicer! We played two solid sets, with a wonderful and massive fireworks interlude. This was the good stuff!
That sounds so formal, for what turned out to be a totally relaxed outing in a lovely glade in Laytonville, not far from the Hog Farm and Camp Winnarainbow. Roger first ran into James Taylor, as Mr. Jones is widely known, at a Dead show at Shoreline many years ago, and he has seen our band evolve, with more than thirty FOB shows on his watch. This hoedown was held at Area 101, an alien-themed campsite just off the highway, and featured five bands, including 7th Direction, ourselves, and David Nelson and Friends, and a huge (and delicious) birthday cake. The all-vegan feast featured the work of local growers: delectable!
Getting to Homer, at the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula, takes some doing. It’s a matter of three flights from the Bay Area, or two into Anchorage and a 220-mile drive. If you’ve got the time, drive it: your eyes will feast on some very lovely countryside, including the dramatic plunge of mountains into Cook’s Inlet and Turnagain Bay – and maybe even a moose, if you’re lucky (as one of our vans was).
Homer is worth getting to, as well, with its natural spit extending nearly five miles out into Kachemak Bay. Alice’s Champagne Palace is a terrific spot, and a great introduction to Alaskan nightspots. We had a good crowd on this Thursday night, despite a bit of rain, including a number of tie-dyes from our visit to Palmer last year.
At the show at Alice’s in Homer, we were introduced to “Mark from Sterling,” who hosts a weekly show for deadheads on KWJG-FM. He told us he’d love to do something live with us, so Sunday afternoon we broke up our trip to Girdwood with a stop at the station. Mark had borrowed some acoustic guitars, we ran Bill’s bass into the board, and found Jimmy a very soulful carton that had once contained Radio Shack Co-ax. We blathered and riposted and such, and did four or five tunes into the bargain. No moose however – although we did see a herd of rusted-out Ramblers . . .
We followed a great percussion troupe onto the stage, and they essentially said, “Play ‘til it’s time for the fireworks.” The long Alaskan twilight is the perfect complement to the expanses of sea and mountains that mark the Kenai Peninsula. We played to a warmly populated array of benches, but the strength of the audience was in the beer garden, off to stage left. A number of folks who’d been at Alice’s showed up again for this one: it was beginning to feel like home . . .
Girdwood is the locus for Alaska’s premiere ski resort, Alyeska, which gives the entire town a somewhat different feel from the other places we visited. Maxine’s has a menu to brag about, and a touch of that après ski casual elegance that makes things real easy. Barry had a big surprise in store for hims this evening: two old friend from the Baltimore area had tracked him down. We managed to lure Billy Kemp and Christina van Norman up to the stage for a couple of numbers, stylishly rendered.
Highway 61 Revisited
Wise Man in the Desert
Tell Me It’s Okay
Falling in Leaves
Ticket to Ride > Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’s Bad
Spillin’ the Blues
W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
Like a Rolling Stone (with Billy Kemp and Christina Van Norman, vocals)
As of this writing, more than 7.5 million acres of forest have burned this summer in Alaska. Almost anywhere in the state, when the wind blows wrong, you may find yourself in what resembles a San Francisco fog – but it’s all smoke. And not your Humboldt style smoke, at that. From Denali north, our trip up to Fairbanks was a matter of cutting a path through thick, acrid smoke. About the only thing we could find to cut through it all was all the energy at the Howling Dog, which bills itself as the northernmost rock club in the world, and who’s to argue? Great crowd, great time: We’re looking forward to hearing these tapes!
The humpy, or Alaska pink salmon, is not a pretty fish, but it has great character, as does its namesake in Anchorage. The popularity of this downtown restaurant and bar became clear to us when they set us up before the show in a corner of their sister bar, SubZero, around the corner: no tables to spare at Humpy’s! And that made for a grand show, replete with a number of familiar faces from earlier shows on the tour.
There is something “just right” about the Alaska State Fair in Palmer: not too big, not too small, great farm animals, enormous vegetables and a lady who gets shot out of a cannon. Just about right. This year, we got a shot at the Fair’s Main stage between appearances by Styx and Smashmouth.
A free event from KFOG!!! To those of us who value the role of independent radio stations in preserving a balanced musical ecology on the air, San Francisco’s KFOG is a beacon of hope: they know their audience and their market, maintain a high level of creative production, and make money into the bargain. We love ‘em! So we were tripping all over ourselves when the call came to do this Rock the Vote show at Slim’s. Kulica, KFOG discoveries from up Humboldt way, opened the show.
w/ Steve Kimock Band, David Grisman Quintet and the David Nelson Band
It’s a long drive to Hayfork, tucked away in a high valley in the Trinity Alps, but the Tribal stomp is well worth it. This is one of those festivals that has a kind of intimate character, and always seems to feel right. This year, they had some great bands, including the Steve Kimock Band and the David Nelson Band (and us, of course ), and a great vibe. And they had rotated the stage, so that no-one found themselves staring into the afternoon sun. Oh yeah, and great food: the festival sponsors include a very creative chef from Weaverville.
The FOBs and O.A.R. backed Mickey Hart and Bob Weir. They tell us Pat Leahy’s a Deadhead – which may explain how he managed to outlast Phish on the Vermont scene. So when Mickey Hart’s office called to ask if were interested in another jaunt to DC, this time in support of Leahy’s current campaign, we said “By all means!” Mickey had prevailed upon Bob Weir to joint the party, and O.A.R., an up-and-coming band with D.C.-area roots, were also on the bill. We arrived on Sunday night to rehearse, and got our first surprise of the trip – this one most pleasant: Jeff Chimenti, keyboardist for both The Dead and Ratdog, would be part of the process as well. When rehearsals resumed the next afternoon we got our second surprise, far less welcome: Roger and Ann had encountered travel problems related to Hurricane Ivan, and wouldn’t be able to make the gig. We scrambled a bit to cover the vocal parts, but the show went on. Our M.C. for the evening was Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry Ice Cream fame, who gave us the inside scoop on his new “spanking Dubya” mobile campaign sculpture. Look for it in a city near you!
O.A.R. were on call first, doing a fine job with a fair chunk of the Dead canon they’d never played before. Then it was our turn, and for the finale we all of our mongrel hordes on stage. We were all working hard at staying off of each other’s musical toes, and the word is we did a pretty good job, despite the presence of 5 guitars, tenor sax, two keyboards, two basses . . . The Ritz-Carlton had a seismic experience that night, for sure!
FOBs with Weir and Hart:
Playin’ in the Band > Uncle John’s Band > Playin’ in the Band > Jack Straw
w/ Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings, Maria Muldaur, New Riders of the Purple S
A beautiful day, a beautiful setting, and a lot of good music: that’s the recipe for a successful something -- and that’s what we had on our hands on this glorious Saturday afternoon at Stafford Lake park in Novato. It was a sweet day all round, ending with a pretty strong combination: Maria Muldaur. Followed by the FOBs, followed by Roy Rogers and the Delta Rhythm Kings. Also playing were It's a Beautiful Day and Quicksilver Gold. Last year on the same stage, we’d been hampered by equipment problems, but this year the set went like clockwork. Good crowd, as well, which bodes well for the Novato schools, which benefited from the proceedings. We closed our set with a rendition of “Get Together,” beautifully sung by Joli Valenti of Quicksilver Gold, whose dad Dino wrote this Aquarian classic.
It’s almost over: at this point, the polls mean no more than the fact that the Redskins lost. But we were up for one last shot at getting voters energized, seeing the franchise exercised. We set up outside the Stanford bookstore, under the aegis of the Student Democrats’ organization; Ira Ruskin, who’s been running hard in a tight race for a seat in the State Assembly, showed up to remind the passing lunchtime crowds that they could make a difference. It was an unusual FOB set, since both Bert and Barry were out of pocket: there was a bit more space in the sound overall, Pete carried most of the solos, and carried them well. Remember to vote -- and don't forget your conscience!
This celebration of the life and work of the master architect Piero Patri benefits the ALS Association, the Bayview Opera House, Earth Train, and Operation USA. Tickets to this worthy event are $225, and include a gourmet dinner prepared by Anzus Executive Chef Philippe Stiefler.