"After four months of heartfelt consideration, the remaining members of the band met yesterday, and came to the conclusion that the 'long strange trip' of the uniquely wonderful beast known as the Grateful Dead is over. Although individually and in various combinations, they will undoubtedly continue to make music, whatever the future holds will be something different in name and structure."
- official announcement just released to the press by the Dead office
If the concept of there being no more Grateful Dead is bizarre, the fact that there ever was one is even weirder. When the show was right, when the crowd was respective, when the town and heads co-operated, there was a sense that anything was possible. In the world of the Grateful Dead, New York state legistators had to take detours because main roads were blocked for hippies. Madison Square Garden put a banner celebrating their shows. Noblesville Indiana became a haven for freaks in 1993. Perhaps the sheer longitivity of the Dead is what made such things possible. All I know is that I could wake up in a rest stop, surrounded by friends, go on a road trip and then see amazing music, and I could do this night after night.
The Dead displayed what was right with the United States. While they would occasionally tour Europe or Canada, only in a country that celebrates individualism as much as this one could something like the Dead exist. While the going was rough at times, as long as they existed, America proved that it could be tolerant.
As of December 8th 1995, 30 years and 4 days after they took on the name that made them famous, the Grateful Dead are no more. Never again will someone look out of an office window at a sea of colour and wonder. Never again will the chaos of Space resolve itself into the Other One. Never again will a crowd of 40,000 chant, "You know our love will not fade away," and at that moment truly mean it. The tribes will not gather again; this Seattle winter has just become more cold and grey.