Dead Planning Spring Tour, Obama Benefit
by Richard B. Simon
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Sources confirm that the surviving members of the Grateful Dead --
guitarist Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, and drummers Mickey Hart and
Bill Kreutzmann -- are planning to tour in April and May of 2009.
There's no word yet on the band's configuration -- previous
configurations of "The Dead" and The Other Ones have included
singer-guitar hero Warren Haynes, guitar ace Jimmy Herring,
singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi, singer Joan Osborne, keyboardists
Bruce Hornsby, Jeff Chimenti and Rob Baracco, saxophonist Dave Ellis,
drummer John Molo and bassist Alphonso Johnson, as well as guitarists
Mark Karan and Steve Kimock.
Also in the works, likely for October 13, is a second Deadheads For
Obama concert, planned for the swing state of Pennsylvania.
The first Deadheads for Obama concert took place at the Warfield in
San Francisco -- with Weir, Hart, Lesh, drummer Molo, keyboardist
Steve Molitz, pedal steel player Barry Sless, singer-guitarist Jackie
Greene, and Karan -- on the eve of the California Democratic primary.
The Dead allied with Obama after Lesh's son began volunteering for
"This is the real deal," Lesh said of Obama then.
Grateful Dead Back Together for Obama
Also: Obama's Celeb Ranks: A-List at the Invesco
Friday, August 29, 2008
By Roger Friedman
Barack Obama's run for the presidency has launched many different
grassroots campaigns. The most interesting may be the revival of the
I am told that on Oct. 13, possibly either in Philadelphia or
Pittsburgh, the Dead will get back together for at least one show to
raise money for and awareness about Obama.
All four living original members will play together Bob Weir,
Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann. The band's leader, Jerry
Garcia, died in 1995 from a heart attack.
Substituting for Garcia will be Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule master
musician Warren Haynes.
If all goes well, my sources say, the band will then set out on a
major tour in summer 2009.
The Dead, you know, were always ahead of their time. Long before
Napster or iTunes or Limewire, the Dead let their fans tape shows for
free and trade them back and forth.
Early in the game, the group decided its money would come from live
shows and not record sales. They were probably the least disappointed
of many modern acts when the bottom dropped out of CD sales because
Barack Obama's wildly successful rock concert-slash-nominating
celebration was unprecedented, hip and a signal of a new generation.
You didn't have to be a Democrat to enjoy the performances by
Jennifer Hudson, Sheryl Crow, Michael McDonald or the new song by
Stevie Wonder and Take 6.
Sitting right up front in the audience: Jessica Alba, Fergie and
Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, Matthew Modine, Kerry Washington
and Lawrence O'Donnell, Wilder Valderrama. That wasn't all, since
most of the A-list names were scattered about the Invesco stadium, a
cavernous building that seats 75,000. Every seat was taken.
The pull on celebs was so strong that Emmy-winner Dana Delany stayed
an extra day rather than shoot "Desperate Housewives."
Backstage, Will.i.am visited Stevie Wonder, who was fretting over a
sore throat from a viral infection. Originally he told me he was only
going to play his new song, written for Obama. But when he got on
stage, Stevie couldn't stop himself from playing "Signed, Sealed,
Delivered I'm Yours."
The selection was perfect, and in stark contrast to Kanye West's
dedication the other night of "Gold Digger" to Obama with guest star
Jamie Foxx at the RIAA/One Campaign party. People are still trying to
figure that one out!
As for Jamie Foxx, he made the rounds Thursday night post-convention,
holding hands with Ashley Judd and happily announcing plans to make a
second CD soul album with his former talented executive producer
Breyon Prescott. Maybe Foxx will get back to keyboards and good
vocals and stop "hoarsing" around.
Meantime, up in the luxury suites, Oprah hosted Forest Whitaker,
Angela Bassett and a few other A-list actors to help celebrate
Obama's big night.
Over at restaurant Tamayo, Hill Harper, Obama's college-era pal from
Harvard days and "CSI" actor, hosted yet another private dinner for
the candidate and friends.
Stevie Wonder stayed down on the stadium floor after his own
performance, hanging with wife Kai and assorted other relatives out
in the open. This could have caused a commotion among the loitering
paparazzi, but Stevie would not pose for pictures while Obama was speaking.
This, friends, is called integrity. And restraint.
But where was Bruce Springsteen in all this? After a couple of weeks
of speculation that the Boss was coming and performing solo, the
answer was finally made clear. He simply was not part of the show,
whether it was his decision or the campaign's.
However, Springsteen must have agreed to let Obama use his 1984
anthem "Born in the USA" instead. It was just about the theme song
for the night. This is a far cry from the years when Springsteen
wouldn't let anyone claim that song for political purposes.
Other sightings: Daniel Dae Kim, from "Lost," turned up at the DNC
after-party at Invesco Field. Daniel is Jin, one half of the sexy
couple on the show with Yunjin Kim (who plays his wife, Sun).
Daniel is bound and gagged not to reveal anything about what happens
to his character on "Lost," but I inferred from our conversation that
Jin may not be as dead as his headstone made it seem.
"You know that on 'Lost' nothing is what it appears to be," Daniel advised me.
A little like politics.