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The Dead Successfully Brought To Life
The Other Ones -- a group formed around the surviving core of the Grateful Dead -- conquered the crowds in East Troy, Wis., over the weekend, and look likely to start a new chapter in the Dead's legacThe Other Ones -- a group formed around the surviving core of the Grateful Dead -- conquered the crowds in East Troy, Wis., over the weekend, and look likely to start a new chapter in the Dead's legacy. The group performed two sold-out shows at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre to the delight of thousands of Deadheads, and may launch a tour later this year.
It was the first time the surviving members staged a planned performance together since will founding guitarist Jerry Garcia's 1995 death. In his absence, the Dead's Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, were augmented by guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Herring , pianist Rob Barocco, and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.
After weeks of tense negotiations between Grateful Dead Productions, concert promoter Clear Channel Entertainment, and local authorities over concerns the event would be overrun by ticketless fans, 35,000 Deadheads steadily descended into East Troy with little problem.
Clear Channel and the band issued newspaper appeals warning fans that anyone without a ticket would be turned away. Sheriff David Graves said about 100 cars were turned away because at least one person in the car came without a ticket. "That was very easy," he said. "They didn't argue."
There was much ado about security on the grounds, but droves of concertgoers streamed in and out of the venue with little trouble, weary but tolerant of the heavy-handed measures to which they were rarely subjected in decades past. Graves called it a "very successful concert event," noting only 11 arrests and 60 citations, mainly for drugs. Extra deputies were assigned to work throughout the weekend, but Graves said some were sent home early as it became clear the all-ages mass came mostly to smile and do the wiggle dance.
Two hours before show time on Saturday, drummer and original member Mickey Hart was relaxed and predicting big things based on weeks of rehearsals. "Only a few people have heard it, and from what they've told us, it's back," Hart said. "The creature lives. If we play that way tonight, you'll hear the Grateful Dead. We won't call it the Grateful Dead, but it will be better than where we left off, I'll tell you that."
Although the show began with apparent equipment problems that waylaid the opening notes, once the sounds were righted, the Other Ones easily pleased a crowd flush with flailing limbs and thousand-watt smiles. In a nod to Garcia, the band played the heavy opening of "He's Gone," but before a verse could be sung, slipped into "The Other Ones," the song from which the group took its name. The rest of the show -- which included staples such as "I Know You Rider," and even the rarely performed "Born Cross-eyed" in the midst of "Dark Star" -- went smoothly.
With guitars blazing through favorites such as "Eyes of the World," "Saint of Circumstance," "Mountains of the Moon," and "Fire on the Mountain," yesterday's (Aug. 4) show went similarly well, and the weekend's success bodes well for a tentatively planned fall tour.
Over the weekend, Hart spoke casually of a future with the band writing new material, but the plan for now is to have no plan. However, their apparent new appreciation for rehearsing -- a practice the Dead despised -- might just hatch a batch of new songs to freshen up their sets and keep them on the road for many years to come.
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