Rasing the dead for Grateful fans on April 19 at Greensboro Theaters

by Mark Burger

Back in college, I wasn’t quite a Deadhead, but I came pretty close. A lot of my buddies loved the Grateful Dead (and still do, for that matter), and soon enough I discovered why — because they were fun. The songs were catchy and unpretentious, and their sound seemed purely, indefinably American to me. Believe me, I hardly consider myself a music aficionado, but dug the Dead I did, big-time. (I still wear one of my old Grateful Dead tie-dyed T-shirts, probably in a desperate attempt to seem younger and hipper than I really am.) Alas, I never did get to see the Grateful Dead in concert. The closest I ever came to seeing them perform live was at beautiful Veterans Stadium (ha!) in Philadelphia, but we only got as far as the parking lot. With no tickets in sight and drenched in rain (a “Box of Rain,” you might say), we returned home — but not before picking up a couple of six-packs and some cheesesteaks. Back at the old apartment, we hauled out our albums (on cassette then) and had our own little Dead show. Then one of the guys wigged out and tried to walk home — which was about 40 miles away. Yes, them was fun days! At least what I remember of them. Since Jerry Garcia’s death in on Aug. 9, 1995 — a very sad day for very many people — the daze of the Dead are truly gone. It’s true that Bob Weir & Ratdog and Phil Lesh & Friends have done their best to keep the spirit burning over the years, but it can never quite be the same. However, the memories live on…. On Thursday, April 19, NCM Fathom Events and Rhino Entertainment have joined forces to present Grateful Dead Second Annual Meet-Up At the Movies 2012, a special one-night-only screening being held in over 500 selected theaters nationwide. The Greensboro contingent will be well represented, as both the Brassfield Cinema 10 (2101 New Garden Rd.) and the Greensboro Grande Stadium 16 (3205 Northline Ave., in the Friendly Center) will be presenting the event, which starts at 7 p.m. This never-before-seen concert was recorded at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Elkhorn, Wis. on July 18, 1989. Running two-and-a-half hours, the concert highlights many of the Dead’s most popular tunes, including a rare split of “Sugar Magnolia” (a personal favorite of mine), “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Hey Jude.” No two Dead shows were ever quite alike, as fans of the band can well attest. Founded in San Francisco in the mid-1960s, the Grateful Dead were popular, yet always seemed on the fringe of the mainstream. All that changed in the 1980s, particularly after the release of the top-selling In the Dark album in 1987, and became more popular than ever, continually ranking among the most popular concert tours throughout the decade and into the ’90s. The six-man lineup that night featured Garcia, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman and Brent Mydland, the latter of whom would tragically die in 1990 of a drug overdose. Prior to the start of the concert, audiences will enjoy a slideshow of rare photos of the band taken by Jim Anderson and John Cantamessa, along with a previously unreleased live track recorded in Hartford, Conn. in the summer of 1974. Audiences will also enjoy the top submissions from the recent Dead Covers Project, in which fans uploaded videos of their own covers of Dead songs. As the title implies, this is the second such Grateful Dead concert film event. Last year’s, presented in April, proved an overwhelming success and sold out in many theaters. “During this second annual Deadhead meet-up, fans can re-experience this never-before-released live performance recorded at one of the band’s favorite tour stops,” said Shelly Maxwell, executive vice president of NCM Fathom Events, in an official statement. “This unique concert event in movie theaters will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Grateful Dead fans.” Tickets are $11.50 (at the Grande) and $12.50 (at Brassfield), and can be purchased at the theaters’ respective box-offices or via That website also has information about upcoming Fathom screenings.