Dead heat

The Dead, Buffalo Creek Sleep Train, Sun., June 27.

Chico’s own Buffalo Creek was to play Sleep Train’s side stage but upon arrival found out the stage had been double-booked. What this meant was S.F.'s Transcendental Hayride noodled its way through almost two hours of music, while Buffalo Creek was left to play on the grass, inside the VIP tent.

The short but sweet set the Creek pulled out atop the uneven surface of terra firma was, in some ways, a farewell performance, as the members now plan to go their separate ways.

I’ve seen Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead about 500 times, but this new configuration eluded me. “The Dead” played what looks like, on paper, one of the most interesting set lists in the history of the band: old, obscure songs, a Led Zeppelin cover and two of their most popular tunes: “Shakedown Street” and “Sugar Magnolia.” And the group’s new guitarist, Warren Haynes (of the Allman Brothers and Government Mule), added a few numbers as well.

But not even the Vegas-like review of material could save what was a less than intriguing night. Perhaps it was because even though guitarist Jimmy Herrings could noodle three million notes per song, he couldn’t tap into the soul of the music. Maybe the new keyboardist was outclassed. Or it could’ve just been an off night.

Whatever reason, it was the first time the Dead were more messed up than I was.