May 23Liked by Thomas Bevilacqua

Disclaimer: I'm not a Deadhead; just a musician who has in travels had brushes with the tribal phenomenon that is the Dead's perpetually regenerating fandom.

The thing about "Touch of Grey" is, it's kind of a product of its time; which is to say, a small shiny thing sported by the then-Blob-swelling Nostalgia Industrial Complex who took over rock and roll and began the 30-year process of fencing out the Present and Future from 60-80% of the business infrastructure of the culture. It's a comfy little pillow handed off to the aging-Boomer demographic, that lacked anything that could be said to have made the Dead special in its prime: the improvisation, the dynamic reach and color of their 1970s music, the celebratory air about their culture as a band and fandom. It's a song that has given up, for a demographic that had given up on anything resembling novelty or excitement. It's good they had a hit at so late a date for quotidian human business reasons, yes; but it doesn't measure on any scale as high enough to be in a posited 'Pantheon' of the Dead's works. Not even nearly 35 years of selective hindsight can raise "Touch of Grey" that high; it's a pale diluted trickle that the Business tried to pretend was straight from the river.

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