Furthur Red Rocks Runs in Review

Furthur in Concert at Red Rocks on September 24, 2010 in Morrison Colorado, Photo Soren McCarty | Mountain Weekly News

MORRISON, CO – The band Furthur was originally scheduled for two nights of music at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, however when tickets went on sale they sold out immediately prompting local concert promoter AEG Live to add a third night of music much to the delight of the “deadheads”. The crowd was electric for the three night run of concerts, people had even flown in from as far away as Hawaii for the Red Rocks shows. The Mountain Weekly News was on hand to experience night one of Furthur at Red Rocks.

Furthur the latest re-incarnation of the Grateful Dead consist of original members Phil Lesh (bass guitar) and Bob Weir (lead guitar) along with John Kadlecik (guitar and lead vocals), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), Joe Russo (drums), Sunshine Becker (backing vocals) and Jeff Pherson on (backing vocals) The Band plays Grateful Dead songs and although some die hard “deadheads” walk in with a little skepticism about someone trying to sing and play the part of Jerry Garcia, they walk out with a smile on their face. John Kadlecik sounds, and plays eerily similar to Jerry Garcia, as one fan told me “if you close you eyes it sounds like Jerry is on stage”. Furthur sounded great and you could tell they were happy to be playing Red Rocks on a beautiful fall evening to a packed crowd.

Over the course of the weekend Furthur played a number of Grateful Dead fan favorites. The interesting thing about a Grateful Dead or a Furthur concert is you have fans that span multi-generations, grandparents bringing their children and even grandchildren to the shows. That is what you call staying power for a band that doesn’t have any mainstream radio presence to speak of. Although many of the jam bands today have a huge following and have a great business model they wouldn’t be were they are without the Grateful Dead paving the way.

MORRISON, CO – Furthur closed out Red Rocks 2011 summer concert season. The band played three nights at Colorado’s most famous concert venue. People traveled across the country to see, Phil Lesh ,Bob Weir and the rest of the band. It was interesting to see the amount of younger fans who had never seen Jerry Garcia in concert, but were huge Furthur fans. It is amazing the age range between fans, old and new , it shows that the Dead and their music stand the test of time. All three shows were sold out and a great way to close out an epic year of music on the rocks. Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes joined the band on night one, he sang Hard to Handle.

Each night Phil Lesh came out right before the encore to speak to the audience about the importance of Organ Donations, he received a liver years ago, and he is grateful to have a second chance , he urged people to help others in need and make sure to inform their families if anything is happen that they should donate their organs. The weather was about as perfect as you could hope of late September, early October. In Colorado it could be snowing or 80 degrees at this time of year. Luckily the latter was the weather, their was some wind in the air, and a magic lighting storm off in the distance.

Furthur was on point musically playing songs from the last 40 years, some of the hits included : The Wheel, Aiko Aiko , I Know You Rider, One More Saturday Night , Playing in the Band, Trucking , Franklin’s Tower , Shakedown Street and the list goes on. It is amazing how John Kadlecik sounds like Jerry and brings a new energy to classic Dead songs. Joe Russo is a talented drummer and has Colorado roots playing with his first band Fat Mama, which was made up of University of Colorado jazz students. Jeff Chimenti has some wicked keyboard chops and offers some great rhythm to the classic songs. If you haven’t seen the Dead in concert Furthur is a worthwhile show to see. It gives you a glimpse into the history of America’s most loved musical acts. Not only did the Grateful Dead have a huge following, their fans traveled across the country creating their own culture , and selling everything you could imagine in the parking lots before the concerts. Jam bands today have followings , but even the biggest bands today, pale in comparison to the Dead and Dead Head culture.

Bob Weir Falls on Stage

Bob Weir lead guitar player and backup vocalist for the band Furthur and formally of the Grateful Dead looked to be in bad shape during his concert on April 25th 2013. During the song Unbroken Chain, Weir can be seen swaying from side to side before a roadie brought a chair out forcing Bobby to sit mid song. The two argued for a while before Weir finally sat down and finished the song.

According to first hand accounts Bobby “threw the chair away, then the roadie came out and removed it. He went for it at the end of Wheel and you knew he wasn’t going to last long. A few minutes later, Bob was basically sideways trying to stay on his feet, stumbled a bit and then dropped. Then they brought the chair back out and argued with him for a couple minutes before he finally agreed to sit in the chair (all the while, the gang kept jamming). Bobby finished Unbroken Chain playing while sleeping”.
Happier Furthur moments from Red Rocks in Colorado.

This all very sad considering Booby’s former band lead Jerry Garcia overdosed almost 20 years ago. Hopefully everything is ok with Bobby. Another source from the show mentioned “Finally, Phil had the band stop to take a break, but sleeping Bobby actually kept playing until they took his guitar out of his hands. Then Phil came out and apologized (telling that story about a strained shoulder) and they finished the set without Mr. Weir.”

The band is just starting off a major North America tour. Tickets for Furthur shows are selling out fast, will this be the last tour??

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About the Author

Soren McCarty
Has worked as a professional photographer for the last 25 years, he was the staff photographer at Red Rocks for over a decade. He grew up in Colorado and has always enjoyed the Mountains, he was worked in the Ski and Bike Industry, throughout the state from Denver to the Vail Valley.

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