Newbie here, registered just to respond to this thread.
Respectfully, I've been reading online discussions and talking to fellow Deadheads about The Dead since the tour was announced and can't believe all the nitpicking I'm hearing.
A sample of quotes: "No one can ever fill Jerry's shoes." "They might be playing Grateful Dead music, but they are NOT the Grateful Dead." "Bobby's singing everything different from how he used to." "Warren's great in Govt Mule and Allman Brothers Band, but his style is not suited for the Dead."
I thought of the last one immediately when I read this thread, and it was the last straw.
The vast majority of criticisms I've heard had to do with Warren and his style not being suited for the Dead, and I have to admit that having listened to recordings of his previous work with the Dead, I never felt like he had really integrated with the band, and I felt that he was simply playing his own style, possibly even aggressively insisting that he not be forced to simply be a Garcia tribute act. It never was a deal breaker for me though, I was able to appreciate his raw, brilliant musicianship, and thrilled to be able to listen to and go to Dead shows period.
In some ways, I can't blame Warren, since a player of his caliber is NOT going to be interested in being a copycat.BUT
from the first videos on Dead.net, posted around the time the tour was announced, and then on the early audience tapes, it was clear to me that Warren had made his peace with his role in the band, that he was more inclined this time to emulate Jerry more and to play within the Dead idiom, not as a copycat, but in honor of the heart and soul of the music. And when I saw this video on Dead.net
, it gave me chills.
Jerry was back, not for real, but in spirit, and Warren was letting him back in. I know, it sounds corny, but I for one am damned grateful and I was enjoying the HELL out of the audience recordings posted throughout the tour at Archive.org, and the excitement mounted and mounted as the one and only show I was going to be able to attend, the Gorge show, grew closer and closer. I'm listening to the Bird Song from the 5/10 Shoreline show as I type this and it's sublime.
Warren's use of the envelope filter?!! People, how many Deadheads even know what the hell an envelope filter is? Do you really think that Jerry would care one bit? How many times did Jerry change his gear and how he used it? (I'll answer that one: From 1965 or so until the bitter end, all the frickin' time!)
The show at the Gorge only had one song from my wish list, Eyes of the World, but I'm a longtime Deadhead, going back to 1972, and I love it all!