Written by / 8/01/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

GRATEFUL DEAD SUNSHINE DAYDREAM SCREENING REVIEW

FATHOM EVENTS PRESENTS THE GRATEFUL DEAD SUNSHINE DAYDREAM
To describe the anticipated euphoria of seeing a Grateful Dead concert on the big screen could be summed up in one word... a word that's already been mentioned. But let’s say the euphoria wore off once the thing started... Or rather, once something else  started that was supposed to be the anticipated jam session promoted by Fathom Events...

Backing up a bit… Your faithful and usually uptight reviewer had lost his headphones a week earlier and, wanting to hang around the outdoor mall listening to music before the movie began, a headphone purchase was in order – and the pair bought at Barnes and Noble made music sound like tin cans in a blender, which didn’t matter because once inside the theater,The Dead’s jingly-jangly BERTHA was playing with psychedelic colors weaving around on the screen.

The pre-show was live Dead music and headphones weren’t needed… a futile detour like when Michael J. Fox went through all that trouble to score a keg in TEEN WOLF when there were a million kegs waiting at the party. But soon enough the lights went out and it was time for the concert, and feeling just right  there came the first of several bringdowns.
Jerry Garcia and Fender Stratocaster
Instead of the show they ran a fifteen minute “informmerical” consisting of pointless interviews with really old hippies talking about a bankrupt “Creamery” in Oregon, the reason this benefit concert was being held in the first place, and the annoying documentary, something you'd skip if it were a DVD extra, dragged on with countless talking heads discussing the past and, adding insult to injury, The Dead could be heard jamming only to be constantly interrupted.

Well like all nightmares this one ended, and the movie, SUNSHINE DAYDREAM, shot in a neat grainy filmstock, thus began. There were a lotta naked people walking around and a “sideplot” about the little outdoor farm/venue (the stage built on the spot) running out of water was, while better than the crap just shown, kinda distracting. But The Dead finally hit the stage with Chuck Berry's PROMISED LAND...
Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir jamming
The highlight was seeing Jerry’s lightning-fast fingers on CHINACAT SUNFLOWER as Bob painted pictures with the intricate rhythm. Leading to the spacey trek of the show, DARK STAR. Jerry and Bob came together perfectly on JACK STRAW, a road-weary anthem reminsicent of a Kerouac adventure and SING ME BACK HOME, the token ballad, was highlighted by a soulful Garcia solo. Also included was a nice Phil Lesh bass solo and providing "peak" moments were Monty Python style cutout animation clips.

The concert itself was incredible. Too bad most of the audience, or rather, the theater crowd at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach Landmark, Southern California, were talking so damn much you could hear loud whispers and chattering over the music that supposedly never stopped, stopping way too quick for the other punctuating agonies that made this a somewhat unpleasant experience, at least until the DVD comes out and the distractions will be gone...
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