Ascending the throne
You can’t separate the foreground from the background. The Dead played at a time when Jim Crow laws were reversed, when the nation stood up against the government and demanded to stop the war, when women burned their bras and people made love in the street. Can you remove the Dead and ask if these same things would have happened? Nope. Ask anyone who was there, and they say that the music was a major part of the whole gestalt. But what gestalt are today’s jam bands a part of?
I believe it’s the age-old quest we are immersed in, the desire to ascertain where we come from, where we are now and where we are going. I believe that the Dead did what no other jam band has been able to do: focus the journey inward to the place where many of the mystics say the answers lounge. I don’t think it’s any of the fans’ fault; now more than ever, people are ready to immerse into the trance dance and let the genetic material fall where it may, but the bands have not been up to the challenge.
This is not to say that I do not enjoy many, many of the jam bands that I have seen this summer. I do, but the crowning moment has not yet arrived, the coronation has not yet occurred, the jubilee is still on the horizon.