2021 went out with a whimper: COVID spiked, and several members of RTD came down with disease, venues cancelled gigs after their staff got ill, and a really exciting set of December shows instead left us all wanting more. Despite all that, 2021 was a pretty amazing year for your friendly neighborhood Dead tribute. Here are some stats from our year:
18 shows (including duets and gigs with 3 or more members)
8 shows at Otus Supply in Ferndale, most live streamed by TheFunkShop.com
3 shows at the Tangent Gallery & Hastings Street Ballroom
2 big shows in downtown Royal Oak for John Witz & Associates
1 live album released on all streaming services
850+ fans entertained at the Detroit Red Wings Grateful Dead Night
Last year, we asked each band member to pick a favorite show, song, or moment from the year past. With so many great memories to choose from, it’s a hard task, but we’re all about doing the hard work, just for you, dear reader. Here’s our choices for “Best of 2021”
Bill Butler: 12.4.2021
“Little Caesar’s Arena stands out as the highlight of 2021. It may of been one of the shortest sets we’ve played but certainly a monster, from Hell In The Bucket all the way until the end of Shakedown, the more than 850 fans were on their feet and the band was on fire. We said goodbye to our keyboard player and longtime member Max Katz, but overall what a way to end still another year of uncertainty of live entertainment due to COVID. May the Music Never Stop.”
Laurie Lester: 12.4.2021
“Dancin In The Street from the Red Wings gig, for the sole reason that my mom mentioned to me over the holidays that she loved the Mamas And The Papas song we did and that I was really belting it out. LOLZ! It took a few minutes to realize she was talking about Dancin. And…Ya gotta love a Joe drum solo!”
Matthew Cole: 9.25.2021
“The Oddly Specific Gathering in Jerome, MI. Strong soundboard recording. It was very cold on this late September night. Full Cord Bluegrass finished their set and we ate an amazing Michigan farm-to-table dinner. Hitting the grass stage for set 2 late into the night, the vibe was late summer outdoor Grateful Dead, picture Red Rocks 1984. Cold, but energy crackling from an intimate audience digging on every note. Set 2 of our Hunter birthday nod started with a Dark Star > Box of Rain > Dark Star sandwich. The space of Dark Star included some discoesque groovyness funk from which Box emerged. Then we played probably our tightest full Terrapin Suite of the year, followed by a Furthur rarity, Colors of the Rain. The show ended with the lyrics of Brokedown Palace flowing across the late night Jerome horizon.”
Dave Martin: 8.21.2021
“Cadieux Cafe second set is my pick for the best of 2021. During the show, I knew we were creating something special, weaving back and forth through some of the Dead’s most loved song segues, all mixed up and with 4 stops at Terrapin Station, like the bread in a Dagwood sandwich. The cicadas were LOUD that night, and one landed on my leg during Terrapin Station (EXACTLY 1:08:00 on the video), pointed out by a fan during The Eleven (1:16:12). It stayed on my leg the entire rest of the set, only jumping off after we finished the entire Terrapin Suite. In the moment I named it “Hunter” after the Terrapin lyricist and took a photo, which I illustrated for the cover of our album release. I listened to this set more than any other show we’ve ever played while mixing it for release, and I still love it.”
Joseph Waldecker: 7.31.2021
"My favorite moment musically in 2021 is also my favorite moment musically in my career. As a drummer and student of this craft and catalog, debuting the Terrapin Suite for all of our people on Jerry's birthday was a real treat. Seeing everyone's faces light up when we went for the Transit portion was exactly what I was hoping for. It's such an amazing piece of music, and the fact that we can serve an at least palatable version for friends and fellow fans of this music is a true blessing, and an incredible feeling.
I'm not sure how we'll top it, but I look forward to trying."
*The version recorded here is from the next night, 8/1/2021, as we didn't get a SBD recording from 7/31/2021 Set I.
What was YOUR favorite RTD performance of 2021? Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you in 2022 with more surprises, debuts, and big jams from the band beyond description.
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Raising The Dead
Is a band committed to recreating the live experience of a Grateful Dead show. We hope you'll kindly join us.