While I certainly don't hate Furthur (at all; I've seen them twice and if they lower their ticket prices from 70 fucking dollars -- ridiculous -- then I'd definitely see them again), I do wish they'd gone an entirely new direction instead of finding guys who weren't
Jerry players and expecting them to fill the Jerry role. At least they're consistent now with wanting a Jerry player and actually having
But Jimmy Herring and Kimock... I mean, those guys are beastly. I guess my opinion, and it's as meaningless and arbitrary and unintentionally influenced by my own perspective as everyone else's is, is just that if Phil and Bob had been more willing to step outside of the material, sound, format, and performance experience they'd grown comfortable with, there could have been a much more interesting, if less Dead-like, direction for the groups to have gone in. Probably wouldn't have sold as many tickets, but it would also be new, it would have an individual life from musical voices that belonged solely to the musicians playing in the band. And there's something about that you can't really fake.
I'd rather listen to stuff that isn't based on the Dead's format or
just listen to the Dead themselves. Good as many of the other groups are, when it comes down to it I'd rather listen to Jerry and the original exploration of the music. He's still the best. And if I want something that isn't Dead music for a change... Maybe some different music
! Like putting on some Julian Breams or some Animal Collective or some Sigur Ros or something that's just different
. I just don't see the point of Jerry without Jerry when there's so much totally different
great music out there. Clinging! It's boring. If you're going for the Dead show experience, that's a wholly different thing. But for the music? I just can't see it. I'd just as soon put on a Jerry recording.
There are modern groups doing weird, interesting, psychedelic stuff that's not at all like the Dead. Just like the Dead weren't really like anything that had come before them. There seems something very anti-Dead in spirit in the whole clinging to comfortable patterns about how shows should sound, how freeform jams should fit into a show. The whole point in the times when the Dead were doing it was that it was OK for there to be a lot of times where it wasn't
comfortable, where it was new and un
familiar, unexplored. Newness isn't everything, but... you know... a balance of all things.
So treading across the same ground is a fucking blast when it's such fertile ground. But when I see people calling Kadlecik "the second coming of Garcia", it's just like... c'mon, man. There's a lot of great music out there. And I might as well listen to Jerry if I'm going to listen to Furthur. Going to a concert is a different story, but that still doesn't elevate Furthur beyond being essentially the best Dead cover band ever -- Jerry's musical voice can't evolve anymore! Ever! And I listen to the Dead for Jerry primarily, as great as the rest are. Does anyone not? Anyone listen primarily for the other band members? Seriously? If you do, I respect your opinion as being as important and meaningful as anyone else's -- which is to say, not at all (
). I just don't know if anyone out there actually could take or leave Jerry as opposed to, say, Bob, given the choice.
Also, blaming Vince for the musical lethargy of a band whose core members were all totally fucked up and burnt out seems entirely unfair and unrealistic. By the time Vince got there, Jerry had no interest anymore. He said it himself. Vince never got a fair chance like any of the band members before him, and he got way too much blame for two-and-a-half decades' worth of seriously painful shit happening to one group of people.
But whatever. Furthur's about love, the way I see it. Love of the music. Band loves the crowd, crowd loves the band. Everyone wants to support each other. That part's damn beautiful. But I seriously just don't enjoy it. I don't think the band is as good as the Dead with Jerry. It still feels out of balance to me when I listen to it. So much so that I can't enjoy it, even though I want to (really). But, then again, what the fuck do I know? Not much, that's what. But I've got a lot to say about it!