A Long Strange Trip

I took a long walk recently, partly for the exercise and partly as a good excuse to take photos. In downtown San Rafael I noticed that the Sorcsese-produced documentary about the Grateful Dead—Long Strange Trip— was on the marquee. I took a few photos of it and kept walking.

Photo of theater marquee with Long Strange Trip featured.

Click to enlarge

My intention was to post the photo on this blog, but for some reason the time wasn’t right. And so it sat in my files until today.

When the time is right, the time is right. Am I right?


A bit of background is in order. This film is an Amazon Original production and will be available for streaming on their Prime Video platform on the 22nd of this month. The film is 4 hours long and, as I understand it, will be broken into several episodes much like their other Original Programs.

The Grateful Dead started performing together back in 1965 and I must admit that I didn’t hear about them until 1970 when I read a magazine article by Hunter S. Thompson. I bought the Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty albums and that is where my interest in The Dead came to an end.

You know that the music industry is drawing an older crowd when there is a ten dollar co-pay for drugs in the parking lot at a Grateful Dead concert.

Fast-forward to 1981 and we found ourselves in the San Francisco Bay Area in search of jobs and a better life. We landed in Marin County—home of the Grateful Dead—and settled in quite nicely, thank you very much.

Over the course of 36 years I have become acquainted with the concept of the Deadheads, the avid/rabid followers of the band. I know people who planned their time-off around where The Dead were performing. Some people followed entire touring schedules along with the band. I even worked with someone who made a living for awhile touring, recording concerts, and then selling the bootleg cassettes to pay his bills.

A long strange trip, indeed.

One thing that draws my interest is someone who is good at what they do. I don’t care if it is busting concrete sidewalks, painting portraits, or playing an instrument. The ability to adapt to change and overcome it gives me hope.

In the years following the death of lead-guitarist, Jerry Garcia, and the breakup of the band, a couple of the members have branched out into some interesting ventures. Bob Weir formed TRI Studios (The Tamalpais Research Institute), and Phil Lesh opened TRX (Terrapin Crossroads). [Note: Links provided below]

According to their website, “Tamalpais Research Institute (TRI Studios) is a state of the art, world-class audio, video, streaming venue, and recording facility…”. Mr. Weir has taken the concept of musical performance to another level with this endeavor. Pay-for-view HD live streaming events is just one facet of what TRI offers.

In association with Meyer Sound’s advanced technology (Meyer Sound Constellation System), TRI’s Studio One allows artists to “…emulate the acoustic properties of any performance spaces ranging from small nightclubs to a Roman cathedral, Wembley Stadium to Madison Square Garden, or anything in between.”

Phil Lesh has chosen to follow a bit of a different path by opening a restaurant, Terrapin Crossroads (TRX). Originally the site of Dominic’s restaurant, TRX has a waterfront patio along San Rafael Creek, and public and private dining areas inside.

The TRX website states, “Terrapin was built on a foundation of music. It is ingrained in everything that we do. We offer live music every day of the week, some days as many as three different musical experiences in three different areas of our establishment. You never know what you will hear, see or do at Terrapin.”

If the only constant in Life is change, we can choose to either let go or be dragged. I am impressed by the ability of the members of The Grateful Dead to change with the times and stay ahead of the curve of technology and society. Not too bad for the Greatest Jam Band in the World.

Related links:


  2 comments for “A Long Strange Trip

  1. alstacer
    June 6, 2017 at 12:23 AM

    Looks like you and Bob Weir found the Promised Land… you right, brother, you right. Photo and videos are right on. I thoroughly enjoyed them. Although I’m very much on the periphery of Deadheadism, I do like the music and the vibe. I believe I will take in the “Long Strange Trip” in manageable chunks – 4 hours is a bit much. There’s a funny story about one of my programmer/analyst colleagues who was a dedicated deadhead and also maintained the intricate sales commissioning software for our very conservative company, that I’ll have to tease out some day. Thanks for sharing, Al.

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 6, 2017 at 1:56 PM

      I look forward to hearing that story, Al. Thanks for checking in.


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