By Amanda Soine:
It has been almost two decades since The Grateful Dead performed their last concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field in 1995, but that does not mean their music and legacy can’t still live on. Not Quite Dead, a Minneapolis-based Grateful Dead cover band, is making sure the new generation of “deadheads,” can still experience the music of the legendary folk rock band. The band performed between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Sat., Feb. 1 at the Waterfront Bar & Grill to a packed house.
The band is composed of Brian Johnson on guitar and vocals, David Cartwright on bass, Gary Fields on guitar and vocals, G.R. Sevendal on keyboard and vocals and Kristen Schuldt and Ron Elwood on drums. Not Quite Dead came together in 2007 as Fields, Johnson and Elwood left their other musical pursuits to collectively celebrate their love for the Grateful Dead. After they were joined by Schuldt, Sevendal and Cartwright in 2009, they truly became a full-fleshed cover band.
When asked why they started this project, Fields expressed their love for music and their wanting to keep the legacy of the Grateful Dead alive.
“This is the music that inspired us and brought us great joy,” Fields said. “It’s a thrill to now be able to bring that joy to our friends and members of the tribe.”
Not Quite Dead performs at bars all throughout the Midwest and even preformed at the Grateful Garcia Gathering in 2012, a festival in Wisconsin aimed at commemorating the deceased Grateful Dead front man, Jerry Garcia.
At the Waterfront, Not Quite Dead put on an energetic show, proving that the Grateful Dead’s music can stand the test of time and still be relatable to future generations. Looking out into the audience, you could tell the original “deadheads” from the new ones, but they were all brought together by their love for the same music.
Johnson gave a warm welcome to the audience and thanked them for coming. Before the band started, he asked the audience, “Are you all ready to move your feet?” Then the band broke into their first cover of the night, “Bertha.” They went on to play a wide variety of Grateful Dead hits from “Ramble on Rose” to “Bird Song.”
The Waterfront Bar & Grill has proven to be a unique live music venue in the past, hosting both regional and national acts. The venue has a few noteworthy shows coming up in the near future including Leftwing Bourbon on Feb. 8, Kinetix on Feb. 25 and Charlie Parr on March 8.