The surviving members of the Grateful Dead -- dubbed the Other Ones -- debuted their new lineup at San Francisco's Warfield Thursday night.
The gala event in the band's hometown unveiled their latest incarnation, which will hit the road with the Furthur Festival starting June 25 in Atlanta. In March, the band announced they'd headline Furthur with former Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh, as well as occasional member Bruce Hornsby and session players Stan Franks, Dave Ellis and John Molo.
Soon after, Franks was asked to leave the band because "it didn't work out musically," Dennis McNally, the group's spokesman, told JAMTV on Thursday. Subsequently, the lead guitar spot left open after Jerry Garcia's death in 1995 was filled by two other Bay Area axemen: Zero's Steve Kimock and Mark Karan, who's played with the likes of Huey Lewis, Dave Mason and the Rembrandts.
On Thursday night, the Other Ones played a two-set show comprised mainly of Grateful Dead songs, including "Jack Straw," "Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," "Playing In The Band," "The Eleven," "Lovelight" and the much anticipated "St. Stephen," a song the Dead hadn't played as a group since 1983.
The show was a benefit for the Rainforest Action Network to save the Headwaters Forest of Northern California. This effort is Weir's philanthropic focus, according to McNally. The forest, which is one of the last remaining virgin forests in the United States, is in danger of being torn down.
Six months ago, environmental activist Julia Butterfly climbed up into Luna -- one of the forest's mighty redwoods -- to protest its destruction. She has been there ever since. Before the Other Ones kicked off the night, Weir and Hart called Butterfly via a live phone hookup to her perch on Luna so she could be a part of the show.
Money from the Warfield show will go to help save the forests.
For a complete schedule of Furthur Fest tour dates, head here.