My mom missed the Grateful Dead’s “farewell tour” already this year because she was dog-sitting Fonzy, the love of my life, while I was gallivanting across the Atlantic. She pleaded with me to see Dead & Company with her at Madison Square Garden on Halloween. I really wanted to make it happen for her and a friend. But she didn’t want to go with a friend - she wanted to go with me. I’d only heard of the negative connotations associated with Dead Heads. I was certain I wouldn’t fit in.
But then she sold me, very easily, “John Mayer is the company, Elizabeth.” She knew she had me.
Next to Fonzy, John Mayer is the next love of my life. He’s been there for me through all of the best and worst times since I met him in 2006, the year Continuum was released. I know him to be a great storyteller and a guitarist who brings me to happy tears and sad tears regularly.
Anyway, I knew John would be amazing on the guitar, like he has every other time I’ve seen him. But I can’t lie, I had doubts. I was skeptical of the greatness he has combined with the greatness of the Grateful Dead. While I’d never seen the Grateful Dead in concert, I listened to them growing up. I could recognize their hypnotic effects. I knew of the hypnotic effect John Mayer has on me…but they seemed to be two different methods of hypnosis.
Three generations of Feinstones spent Halloween in Madison Square Garden. I was nervous and excited. I was nervous because I knew of the misconception that John Mayer caters to pop loving girls and has little guitar talent. I was nervous because the stadium was filled with skepticism. I too was skeptical. There was no way two methods of hypnosis could meld into one.
Thank goodness, we were all mistaken, and in the best ways possible. Different generations became one that night. You could see the old members embracing the new members and the torch being passed, immediately making The Grateful Dead accessible to the youth of America. The young gained respect for the Dead and the old gained respect for John.
In my opinion, the blending of the old and new was the most hypnotic part of the four-hour evening. I was in a trance. My focus never wandered for a second. I’ve always known the effect music has over me, but I’ve never known it to be so powerful. The different vibrations became one, triggering what I can only describe as an alchemical experience. I left the concert a changed person. Maybe even a better person for learning how appreciate life on a whole new level.