Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fare You Well, Fare You Well, I Love You More Than Words Can Tell

The Grateful Dead have announced three huge farewell shows in Chicago this July. Chicago is just a four hour drive so this is a must-see.  There is nothing like a Grateful Dead show, except maybe a rocking Baptist service. Really, the two are so much alike. The power in the air and spiritual fusion of thousands leaves a lasting mark.

So, I tried to get in touch with an old friend from college to see if he was going. It's been 20 years since we spoke.  He took me to my first Grateful Dead show which did, indeed, steal my face right off of my head. At least a dozen Dead shows would follow. As much as drugs kill, they do have the power to connect, and I felt a creative connection. He was the spark in a group of friends. A true mystic.I remember how many times I heard "St Stephen" blasting from his dorm room, and the first chords always evoke his memory.  He was a fan of Kerouac, of writing, of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. At his brothers house every year in Ann Arbor we had the so memorable "Zep Fests" where a group would listen to every single Led Zep album from beginning to end. Usually on the same day of Hash Bash.

I wrote him but did not hear back, tried to contact with his family, but was unsuccessful.  

So I googled his name and added obituary and his home state. There it was. 2012. Deceased. 2 years ago. Survived by wife and child. I have no idea how or why, but I was shocked and hurt and saddened because God Damn it He's Gone. I could confirm this not only by the family member names in the obituary, but by the words used to describe him. "He possessed the warmth of an angel, a wealth of knowledge, a romantic dreamer. A brilliant artist, literary genius and sonneteer." 

He and I have both lead some crazy ass lives in our times, and while I have no idea how or why he died, either of us could have died long ago. But in this madness I felt an indescribable connection that words would fail. I'll be a lesser person without him, but there is no doubt his spirit will be alive. In Chicago, in July, he will be there.

Fare you well, Robert. 

You were indeed the Voodoo Child. If I don't meet you anymore in this world, I'll meet you in the next one, and don't be late.

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