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Dead Are Alive

July 25, 1987

Robert Hilburn's review ("Icons of the '60s Paired on Tour," July 13) showcases his ignorance of the Grateful Dead's music and fans once again. First of all, he implies that because the Deadheads sang along with every song during the band's opening set, the Dead must have been playing their "greatest hits." What bunk! If the fans sing along on every song, maybe it's because they know every song. I'm sure this must not seem possible to Hilburn, who obviously views Deadheads as one huge acid casualty.

Secondly, I'm not sure what Hilburn means when he says the Dead "believe in helping their audience deal with the present by drawing upon the comforts of the past and the support of the community." All the Grateful Dead do is get up on stage and play--they don't tell the crowd anything, except maybe hello and goodby. And their lyrics are hardly packed with the "rosy idealism" of the '60s, which Hilburn seems to think the Dead represent.

If playing long concerts that stress musicianship and group improvisation makes the Grateful Dead a "vehicle for time travel," then I'm ready to turn back my clock. Maybe Hilburn should try listening to the Dead's music for a change, instead of judging it by his misguided perception of Deadheads.

P.S.: I've never owned a tie-dyed T-shirt.

JAY GUMMERMAN

Irvine

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