Welcome back to Test of the Boomerang. Happy Spring Equinox!

The folks over at Lostpedia offered up an interesting tidbit about the recent Lost episode “La Fleur.” Could the names of the three Dharma-ites at the beginning of the episode — Jerry, Phil and Rosie — be a reference to Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and “Rosie”?

Phil and Jerry, brownie eating 1970s hippies, seem to be references to Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead. Rosie may be a reference to the reoccurring symbol of roses in Grateful Dead songs and art…

In keeping up with the show’s increasing use of ancient Egyptian symbols and motifs, they also offer up that infamous quote from the Egyptian Book of the Dead:

“We now return our souls to the creator, as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness. Let our chant fill the void in order that others may know. In the land of the night the ship of the sun is drawn by the grateful dead.”

Even the most casual viewer of Lost can see that the show is rife with symbiology and archetypes found in myth and folklore, like the Grateful Dead’s music and lyrics — song-poems culled from the shadows of the American campfire as well as the cosmic realms beyond. A familiar tale of survivors waiting to be rescued turns into something far more complex. A jugband from Palo Alto decide to go electric and it becomes one of the longest and strangest tales of them all.

The Dead have just been named as one of the headlining acts at this year’s Rothbury along with Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and a one-shot reunion of the String Cheese Incident. The rest of the lineup is crazy impressive, with a lot of other faves — Damien Marley, Matisyahu, Railroad Earth, Government Mule, Son Volt (!) as well as the usual summer festie suspects: Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, and a lot more bands, DJs, PA sets (by STS9 and personal favorites Shpongle), and more and more and more.

Rothbury is said to be the only summer date for the ’09 Dead revival, yet Bobby will be at the All Good Festival with Rat Dog, and since Phil Lesh and Friends have been a fixture at All Good in the past, let’s just keep fingers crossed. BoomBox, featuring Keith and Donna’s son Zion Rock Godchaux, are also on the lineup for All Good and if they add Donna and the Tricksters to the bill, we’ll have a full on cross-generational, Dead family tree thing going on.

Speaking of The Disco Biscuits, the pre-sale for their headlining Red Rocks debut “Bisco Inferno” on May 30th (with Lotus, The New Deal and others) sold out in under five minutes last week. Ticketbastard will be selling remaining tickets this Friday, March 28th at 10 a.m. The pre-Rocks show at the Fox Theater on May 29th has been moved to the Ogden Theater to accommodate all the Bisco devotees who bought a 2 day pass through the band’s ticketing website.

Now that Phish’s Hampton MP3 freebie has ended, go check out the killer, dank-ass audience recordings of the whole run. The “vibe” is even richer than the soundboards, if you know what I mean. It takes a crispy AUD for me to regress into ridiculous stoner jargon, but these are so heady and phat, I just can’t explain it any other way.

Also making its appearance (finally!) on Etree is the Dead’s performance at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball on January 20th this year. Wyclef Jean’s performance is also bundled in. The audio comes direct from the camera/soundboard feed. It’s great stuff. Joe Biden makes a little speech in the middle — at set break, I guess.

Remember that great Valentines Day treat I shared with you all? The legendary 2/14/68 Grateful Dead concert is now an official release! Road Trips Volume 2, Number 2 drops this week. It’s the first full-concert in the oft-criticized Road Trips series, and it’s definitely being lauded as the best one yet! Of course, the double=disc set includes a bonus disc for those who act fast and is packed with all kinds of primal early ’68 goodies. So much from early 1968 is only circulating in fragmented chunks, and this is the perfect kind of repository for them. It’s an exciting and magical year at the dawn of the band’s career. They even recycled the classic poster art for the cover.

The first installment of Road Trips Volume 2 highlighted the last three nights of a six night stand at Madison Square Garden in September of 1990. Rhino releasing a downright legendary show from 1968 alongside a show from the Bruce (Hornsby) and Vince (Welnick) days is a very cool and downright ballsy move. In my opinion, 1990 and 1991 were extremely spirited and well-played. I know a lot of Heads out there write off anything after 1977 (and I even know one cat who doesn’t dig anything after Pig Pen left). But for the 1977 fans, Rhino just released To Terrapin: Hartford ’77 — the complete show at Hartford Civic Center, May 28, 1977. Spring 1977 is fundamental Grateful Dead and this show is definitely a great example of that energy and precision. A very different vibe from Buffalo or Cornell at the beginning of the month. Back home in San Francisco a couple nights later on June 9th, the band played a doozy of a show at Winterland, and that would have been my pick for an official 1977 release (along with 2/26, 5/9, 5/12 please!?, 6/9, and 10/9).

A Jerry Garcia and John Kahn show from the Marin Veterans Hall on 2/28/86 has just seen an official release in the “Pure Jerry” series. Say what you will about John Kahn, he and Jerry played a lot of really cool shows together. They’re definitely worth seeking out. Their infamous show at Oregon State Prison on May 5th, 1982 pops up on a lot of people’s tape lists and it’s well worth the blanks — or blank, rather, since it fits on one cassette or disc.

Charlie Miller is a guy that I owe a great amount of thanks to. He’s been the force behind countless show remasters and upgrades. He has just been tapped to be Steve Kimock’s sound guru — so every show Kimock plays, Charlie will be taping it. Here’s a recent interview where he talks about taping, the Dead, why Steve Kimock can do things that most bands can’t. Go check it out!

I spent some time out in California recently, and it was great to see friends and family. I tried to bring some of that Springtime in California vibe back with me to the East Coast, but it got confiscated at the airport. So I leave you today with Jerry Garcia and John Kahn at the Marin Veterans Hall on November 14th 1986. Take care, everyone, and I’ll see you out and about!

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About the Author

Ben Wiser

Test of the Boomerang is an in-depth exploration of some of the best material found on the Live Music Archive.

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