Slide Ranch, a non-profit teaching farm, just paid tribute to the Grateful Dead for their long time influence and involvement in its programs, and presented Bob Weir with its Silver Trowel Award. Located in a historic dairy in the Marin Headlands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Slide Ranch offers programs to children on the value of healthy foods, environmental awareness and appreciating the sustainable use of natural resources.
The Grateful Dead reunited on October 13th at Penn State University before a crowd of grateful and devoted Deadheads and Barackheads alike. The “Change Rocks” concert was the second time band members played to raise awareness for Senator Obama and the upcoming election, but the concert at the Bryce Jordan Center marks the first time the Dead have been united in four years. In speaking of friendship (to Leah Garchik of the SF Chronicle in September) Mickey Hart has said the Grateful Dead is “build on true love” and should they possibly tour together again they would be “embarking on the next step of our long strange trip for the right reasons.”
To read a transcript of Obama’s videotaped message shown between sets at the Change Rocks concert, which BTW is laced with references to several Dead songs, see: http://www.dead.net/features/news/change-rocks-setlist
Late this summer Eagle Vision released two additional TV programs, originally produced by S.F. Chronicle’s jazz and rock critic Ralph J. Gleason and aired on PBS, on DVD. Go Ride the Music and West Pole closely follows Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog, which came out last year on DVD. The Dead are featured in all three. In A Night at the Family Dog (one hour recorded in 1970 in Chet Helm’s ballroom) Pig Pen is caught singing Hard to Handle and the band goes into China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider. Santana and the Jefferson Airplane also perform.
In the newer (almost 5 hour) two disc set Jerry has a cameo appearance alongside with Quicksilver, David Crosby, and the Jefferson Airplane. On West Pole, the band does New Potato Caboose, and the Sons of Champlin, the Steve Miller Band, and others appear. All three programs are evocative of early 1970s San Francisco. Michael Parrish reviewed Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog in the Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008 issue of Dirty Linen. He found the DVD release to do “an excellent job of conveying the sights and sounds of an era that is often discussed but rarely portrayed as clearly and vividly as it is here.”