It is rare for the members of the Grateful Dead to come out publicly in support of a politician. Its four surviving members, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, have done so — not surprisingly, for Democrat Barack Obama. The foursome played for a crowd of about 15,000 yesterday at Penn State University.
It was the quartet’s first show together since a 2004 reunion tour. Hart, Weir and Lesh had already jammed together in support of Obama in February in California.
… “I believe him enough to be able to get up in front of my constituency, these people out there,” [drummer Mickey] Hart said, pointing out the door to his dressing room, “and tell them I believe. That’s really important. The Grateful Dead does not take this lightly. We’ve never really done something quite like this.”
… After Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band opened the show, Obama supporters including Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno and cornerback Lydell Sargeant took to the stage to endorse him. A taped video message from Obama himself also was projected on a scoreboard.
… The Dead officially dropped “Grateful” from its name to honor the memory of its lead singer, Jerry Garcia, who died in 1995. Mead said the Dead approached the campaign earlier this year offering help in a battleground state with a large fan base.
Brian Cohen, 32, of Wolcott, VT, drove 10 hours to catch the show. Cohen said he supports Obama but would have attended regardless.
“Obama is really trying to be a good person, which is what Deadheads try to do,” said Wolcott, coining the phrase used to describe the Dead’s legion of fans. “We try to change the world and be good people, change the world by being good people.”
via Huffington Post: Grateful Dead’s Surviving Members Rock Out For Obama