Dead madness has swept the nation as we all, regradless of age, look back on how the music of The Grateful Dead affected us. That tender age when being labeled a "poser" could cost you major cool points on the playground comes to mind. Questions revloving around your favorite Dead song came up here and there, especially from the older sibling set. "Did you say Casey Jones is your favorite Dead song? You are a pussy."
My aunt (mom's younger sister) was a deadhead, which is funny because my mother was and remains to be utterly clueless about most things music. Add to that, my father is 100% resposible for my musical tastes. Our first concert was Bob Dylan at the old Raleigh Civic Center. I was in the fourth grade. If you ask my older brother, he will tell you about how I launched a nabs cookie at GE Smith who happened to be part of Dylan's touring band during the "Under the Red Sky tour".
My love for the Dead swelled by the time I was in middle school. That sweet time of riding in the car with your parents and making them listen to your tapes was in full swing. I was loaded with cherished Dead and Phish tapes. In the car one afternoon, "The Heart of Me" featuring Donna Jean Godchaux caught my mothers attention.She affectionately inquired about the lovely voice coming from the tape deck, and in my sullen, teenage tone proudlty exclaimed, "this is the Grateful Dead, mom!" She did not believe me. After some serious convincing, she confessed, "I thought they were a skull and crossbones, heavy, death-metal band". She could not believe how pretty it was. This is the same women who once asked me if Pink Floyd "mainrailed" drugs while onstage. Her favorite Phish song is "Fee", and anytime my brother or I attend a Phish concert, with excitement, she asks, "did they play "Fee?!" My step-dad has a Fee t-short, actually.
Upon taking a long, hard listen to the Chicago shows, my attention was on Trey's ability to sink with each and every note pressed by the remaning original members of GD. Trademark "Trey licks" only added fireworks to an already explosive situation. With great admiration and contentment, my heart landed on the fact that this was, in fact, the best way for The Grateful Dead to bid the world goodnight.