Ask and you shall receive. "Uncle John's Band" came next, sweetly plucking its way into the audience's hearts like a lullaby. Everyone knew the words.
Accentuating the set were pictures of hand-drawn envelopes to GDTS, the Dead's in-house mail order system, as well as psychedelic video images of tie-dyes and Dead symbols and a pan to Bill Walton, the former NBA-er and lifelong Dead fan.
Anastasio's harmonies were on point along with his intricate guitar playing -- so uniquely Trey without him even trying. Hornsby also shined when taking a lead on the keys -- he's certainly had plenty of practice, having toured with the Dead extensively in the late 1980s into the 1990s.
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Anastasio too has been rehearsing -- as many as 10 hours a day, according to sources -- and the effort clearly paid off, as demonstrated by "Cumberland Blues." The fan favorite was a return to the song's rockabilly roots and allowed Anastasio's versatility to take charge, which it did as well in "Cream Puff War."
The set ended with a 17-minute "Viola Lee Blues" that segued into a deep jam accentuated by a glorious rainbow encircling the venue in the sky. Said one longtime head: "This is the band that jams with God." Whether it was Mother Nature stepping in became an instant debate, intensified by Billboard's own report citing an insider who claims the production sprang for the effect, at a cost of $50,000.
No matter, the sentiment prompted massive cheers which led to an hour-long intermission.
Check back to Billboard.com's Grateful Dead hub for a full report later in the night.
[Update: this article has been updated to include the continuing debate over the appearance of the rainbow, which upon further investigation appears to have been real. Turns out this band really does jam with God.]