Rainbow Full of Sound Grateful Dead Tribute Begins Tour September 28
For Rainbow Full of Sound – and the rest of the live music world – the past year and a half has certainly been a long, strange journey.
The homage to the Grateful Dead, under the command of keyboardist and singer Waynard Scheller, had planned to celebrate the legendary European tour of the Dead in 1972 with a series of dates in the spring of 2020. But halfway through, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened.
“This was our first tour, and we were closed halfway,” said Scheller, a Neptune native who lives in the Highlands. where I was ready to tour on my own, and this was my first official tour. What are the odds at the moment of this? “
When and where
Scheller and Rainbow Full of Sound have come together and bring the spirit of Europe ’72 to the public this fall for a 21-date tour that kicked off Tuesday, September 28 at Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright, followed by engagements in the region, including October 1 at the Biergarten at the German American Society in Trenton; October 15 at Sera Phi in Philadelphia; and October 16 at the Hard Rock Cafe at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
“Music heals a lot of people,” said Scheller, “and at this point in history it is as important to us as basic needs because it brings so much joy and community. This current period is returning for the Deadheads … is to allow people to bounce back and rise from their ashes. “
Much like music fans in 2021, the Grateful Dead of 1972 found themselves searching for a new normal.
Unlike most of their careers, they only had one drummer at the time, Bill Kreutzmann – drummer Mickey Hart had taken his temporary leave from the band the year before. There were also two keyboardists, new enlisted Keith Godchaux, who brought elements of classical, jazz and ragtime, and blues-rock force founder Ron “Pigpen” McKernan.
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The Western European shows in April and May 1972 were captured on “Europe ’72”, a three-LP live disc released this fall (and ultimately documented on a 73-CD box set spanning over 70 hours).
This original triple album is, unsurprisingly, essential for Scheller.
“It’s my favorite live album, and for different reasons. One … is because it included both Pigpen and Keith Godchaux, and when you combine the Hammond organ (from Pigpen) with the piano that Keith played, these two sounds together make it the most unique era, in my opinion, that the dead have ever had.
But the rarity of the piano and organ tandem before McKernan’s death in March 1973 is only one of the many notable factors that set the “Europe ’72” era apart.
There was also the five-person vocal work of guitarists Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, bassist Phil Lesh, McKernan and singer Donna Jean Godchaux. And beyond that, well, the hits just kept coming.
“Bob Weir’s rhythm guitar playing, for example, in the early 1970s was just amazing,” Scheller said. “And Donna Jean adding these harmonies and the energy of Jerry, all of those things make this my favorite live album.”
“Europe ’72” is the sound of a group that reinvents itself and traces its own future. Few other musical eras could serve as a more fitting soundtrack for the here and now, especially as the Deadheads and members of the Grateful Dead musical family tree lead the charge for the return of live music.
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“Why are the Deadheads so resilient? Said Scheller. “(It) may have something to do with how it is a deep cultural experience and lifestyle that includes trips to different places combined with the music of Jerry Garcia and the Dead, being the brilliant visionaries that they are / were, mixed with the art and community we all love. “
For tickets and a full list of tour dates, visit waynardmusic.com/on-tour.
Alex Biese has been writing about local and national art, entertainment, culture and current affairs for over 15 years.