A Jerry Garcia Tribute drew musicians and former Grateful Dead bandmates to remember the life and influence of a man who helped create the jam band genre.
The Jerry Garcia Tribute celebrated what would have been the band leader’s 70th birthday. The celebration was organized by Bob Weir, the former guitarist for the Grateful Dead, and took place at Weir’s TRI Studios in San Rafael, Calif., UltimateClassicRock.com reported. It was broadcast live over the internet for fans around the world to watch.
Called “Move Me Brightly,” The Jerry Garcia Tribute featured Weir along with another former Grateful Dead member, Donna Jean Godchaux. It also drew members of jam band Phish, the Hold Steady and Vampire Weekend.
“You find Jerry in the songs,” Weir said to Rolling Stone. “And he’s amply there. The beauty of it is how Jerry manifests himself, how he reveals himself, to the individuals.”
Between performances the Jerry Garcia Tribute showed a documentary about his life, which had interviews with family members conducted by Luke Wilson.
“I’ve been a fan [of the Grateful Dead] since I was a kid and I got to see them a couple of times and just loved the music, first and foremost,” Wilson said to Rolling Stone. “And they also just sounded like a cool organization, not just a rock band. I always kind of liked the idea of them.
The Jerry Garcia Tribute was also a way for modern musicians to connect with one another. Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson said he was looking forward to meeting one of his heroes, Phish’s Mike Gordon.
“I was 11 when Jerry died, so I wasn’t really able to see them as ‘the Grateful Dead,'” Tomson told Rolling Stone. Instead, his love for Phish led him to trace the history backwards and discover the Dead’s legacy.
Gordon acknowledged the comparisons Phish have had to the Grateful Dead, and said he appreciated the influence Jerry Garcia had on their music. He compared Garcia’s impact to driving a car–first you fantasize about it, then get your license and drive around in amazement, but then eventually it becomes ordinary and even monotonous.
“So, for me, what Jerry and the Grateful Dead brought is that childlike sense of wonder where you first learn to drive, where you appreciate every note and every chord going by with happiness and wonder,” says Gordon. “And then to take that and refine it with years of mixing traditions and innovations galore, for decades of refining, into a much more ‘adult’ sort of package. But always keeping that excitement. . . as you get older. I think that’s what they did. And I think that’s the most inspiring aspect of it all.”
The Jerry Garcia Tribute was shown live in high definition from the TRI Studios, where the Grateful Dead used to rehearse.