Grateful Dead, Cornell '77 Second Set

Phil Lesh's recent autobiogrpahy "Searching For The Sound" is one of the better reads in the ever-expanding Grateful Dead literary canon. Perfectly candid and funny, the tome offers interesting reflective hindsight without apology or overstatement. My one gripe is that two thirds of the book focuses on the first 5 years of the band, while the last 25 years are hurried into the last third. Still, status as the most learned member of the band shines through in excellent prose without the annoying crutch of a ghost writer. A must read for any head.

Here's a light, funny passage, recounting an incident where the entire band was unexpectedly dosed with a large amount of acid from a bottle of apple juice:

What? What set? Mickey was standing next to me with a most compassionate expression, saying, "Phil, come on, we gotta play now." Never had I imagined that I would find myself in a state of being where playing music would be a bring-down -- but there I jolly well was. "Mick," sez I, "I wish you could be where I am right now -- it's so beautiful; but I couldn't possibly play music right now. I don't even know what music is." And drifted back away, back to the glory unfolding inside.

After aeons of time seemed to have passed, I became aware that I was, on some level, still in a room full of people; one of them, whom I recognized as "Mickey," was holding an obscure, elongated device with knobs on both ends and iridescent silver scaly strands holding it together. "Phil," he said, "this is you bass. You play this instrument in our band." Oh yes, I remember now. How does it work? "Just put the strap over your head like this" -- and Mickey took me by the hand and led me to some stairs and then up onto the stage. To this day, I don't really know whether Mick was as high as I was, but his tenderness and compassion toward me that night have never left me, and I've never loved him more than at that moment.

Download Cornell '77 Second Set.

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