Barack Obama wants to bring America together, and he has started with the Grateful Dead. The feuding members of the fabled Sixties psychedelic rock group dissolved their business operations several years ago. But last night at the Warfield Theater before a sold out election eve crowd, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and Mickey Hart were singing “Come Together” on behalf of the Obama campaign in San Francisco.
Before the show, the three living Dead faced the press in a curtained-off nook of the Warfield basement; they had just finished a ninety-minute afternoon soundcheck that would serve as the show;s sole rehearsal. “I think that we all knew Obama was the guy for us, but we hadn’t talked about it because we’d all been doing our own thing,” said bassist Phil Lesh. Mickey Hart admitted that band members hadn’t seen each other in “years and years.” But “we knew instinctively, intuitively that we were all together on this,” said Bob Weir. “We came together and we’re doing it.”
Lesh was behind the sold out “Deadheads For Obama ’08” rally at the Warfield Theater. His eighteen-year-old son Brian has been working as an Obama volunteer and Lesh described seeing Obama speak at a rally last fall in Brooklyn as “one of the most electrifying experiences in my life.” The Obama campaign contacted him about putting together a get-out-the-vote concert. “The first thing I thought of was to talk to these two guys and say ‘Hey, are you with me on this?’ ” said Lesh. “Not only am I with you on this,” said Hart, “I was just about to call you up for the very same reason.” Obama, who has never attended a Dead concert but is said to have Dead music on his iPod, filmed a special video message for the Deadheads at last night’s concert.