The Dead to Perform at Obama Inauguration


The surviving members of the Grateful Dead will perform in Washington, DC this coming Tuesday as part of Barack Obama’s Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball. Also on the bill is DJ Cassidy. The President-Elect’s staff has already lined up an impressive mix of musicians for the high-profile series of events, ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Beyonce to John Mellencamp to Usher to Stevie Wonder and Bono.

The announcement should come as no surprise to Deadheads. Last February, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Heart put aside their differences to play a joint Obama benefit at San Francisco’s Warfield Theatre and, this past October, the reformed Dead played its first show since 2004 at an Obama benefit held in State College, PA. Likewise, Weir, Hart, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Dead guitarist Warren Haynes, onetime Grateful Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and Phish bassist Mike Gordon performed at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s inauguration party in 2007.

Weir cited RatDog’s election-night performance in Washington, DC as his 2008 favorite performance in the answers to his Relix “Year in Review” questionnaire. “Not because it was us, but because of the night,” he said after some thought.

When asked about the Grateful Dead community by Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools in the February/March issue of Relix, Lesh remarked, “It’s not just the music. I mean, look what Obama did. It’s a seed of a community of various types.” He also used a question pertaining to Obama’s belief in a “team of rivals” to riff on the current state of American politics. “[The idea of a consensus has] been lost, it really has, with all this ideological culture war bullshit,” Lesh says. “And that’s why I always say there’s nothing more American than The Grateful Dead.”

The Dead will kick off its first tour since 2004 at Greensboro, NC’s Greensboro Coliseum on April 12. The group appears on the cover of the February/March issue of Relix .

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