Today marks what would have been Jerry Garcias sixty-third birthday. But, Friday, several members of Garcias extended family paid tribute to another Summer of Love visionary, Chet Helms. Held at San Franciscos Great American Music Hall, ChetFest featured an impressive roster of Bay Area veterans including Big Brother & the Holding Company, the group Helms managed. During a performance by the David Nelson Band, Bob Weir emerged for version of The Wheel and Ripple. Later, Weir joined RatDog guitarist Mark Karan and bassist Robin Sylvester, along with former RatDog/Kignfish associate Matt Kelly, for a brief acoustic set consisting of K.C. Moan, Ashes and Glass and Friend of the Devil. Mickey Hart also added vocals and percussion to Iko Iko, before the event unfolded into a Weir-led jam session. The Grateful Dead guitarist conducted an all-star band consisting of Kelly, Karan, T. Bone Burnett (bass), Pete Sears (keyboardist), Barry Sless (guitar), Jimmy Sanchez (drums), Roger McNamee (guitar), Bert Keely (guitar), and Ann McNamee (vocals), in addition to Hart on the Garcia-tribute Down the Road. Jumping to various corners of the Dead-family catalogue, the jam session also included such numbers as She Belongs to Me, I Know You Rider and Deal.
For more on the Grateful Deads continued legacy be sure to check out interviews and reflections from Weir, Hart, Nelson and many more in the new issue of Relix .