Phil Lesh: Grateful Dead ‘Never Quite The Same’ After 1975

By Scott Bernstein Aug 15, 2016 3:02 pm PDT

From October 16 – 20, 1974 the Grateful Dead played a series of five shows at Winterland in San Francisco that marked the end of the era. The band took a break from touring after the Winterland run and only played a handful of shows in 1975 before returning to their hard-touring ways in June of 1976. According to bassist Phil Lesh, “something was missing” after the band came back.

Phil is featured on the last page of the latest issue of Rolling Stone’s print magazine. Within Lesh’s The Last Word chat with David Fricke, the bassist was asked “what was the best part of the Grateful Dead’s success for you?” The bassist had a surprising response, “It was wildly successful for me until we took the break from touring [in 1975]. When we came back, it was never quite the same. Even though it was great and we played fantastic music, something was missing.”

Fricke pressed Lesh on just what was missing and Phil responded, “It’s hard to pin down – a certain spirit. It would come back now and then, on some awesome evening, some particularly great performance. But that was even more frustrating, because it would disappear again for X number of shows, just disappear.” The time frame the bassist mentioned includes such fabled years as 1977, 1985, 1989 and 1991. After returning to the road in 1976, the Grateful Dead toured hard for most of the period through Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.

Phil Lesh and Friends will celebrate 1992 Grateful Dead tomorrow night at Phil’s Terrapin Crossroads venue in San Rafael, California.

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