This past weekend’s culmination of the final Dead & Company tour in San Francisco has all walks of Deadhead life reflecting on the unfading love and magic of the Grateful Dead. During a Morning Hour session of the United States House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. on Monday, hours after this latest iteration of the Grateful legacy took its final bow, North Carolina congressman Wiley Nickel used his time at the podium to tip his hat to the lasting impact of the Dead on American culture.
“I rise today to celebrate and pay tribute to the Grateful Dead,” Rep. Nickel began. “Last night, the Dead & Company closed out their final act in San Francisco, and while this marks the end of an era it also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the immense impact they’ve had on generations of fans. [Late Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist] Jerry Garcia said it best when he said, ‘Maybe we’re just one of the last adventures in America,’ and for those of us who are fans who followed the Dead they were truly an amazing American adventure.
“For over five decades,” he continued, “their unique blend of rock, folk, and improvisation transcended boundaries, inspiring countless artists and enchanting millions of dedicated fans. In a world often divided, the Grateful Dead reminds us that music has the power to bridge divides and bring people together. Their music served as a beacon of hope, an escape, and a testament to the power of artistic expression. Through their music the Grateful Dead taught us the value of community, compassion, and the beauty of living in the moment.
“As we celebrate the Grateful Dead,” added Representative Wiley, “we also pay tribute to the late Jerry Garcia and all the band members who graced the stage with their exceptional talents. Let’s also acknowledge the unwavering dedication of the Deadheads, the devoted fans who traveled far and wide to be part of the Grateful Dead experience. Their unwavering support and enthusiasm nurtured a unique bond between the band and its audience, making each concert totally unique—there was never a concert that was the same as the last.
“As we celebrate Dead & Company’s last concert last night, let’s remember that their music and spirit continue to live on in the hearts of all those that they touched,” Wiley continued. “Their journey may have reached its final destination but their melodies resonate across time, reminding us of the enduring power of music to inspire, uplift, and to bring us together.
“I like people who like the Grateful Dead,” he went on, echoing his previous Dead-related Congressional remarks, “and whether in the halls of Congress or back home in North Carolina, I’ll always be thankful for the memories they gave us, the music they shared, and the profound impact they had on the lives of everyone in this country.”
Watch a full video of the Congressional tribute to the Grateful Dead by Representative Wiley Nickel below via C-SPAN or view the full Morning Hour session here. Revisit Live For Live Music‘s coverage of the final night of Dead & Company’s The Final Tour here.
Rep. Wiley Nickel (D-NC) Grateful Dead Speech – 7/17/23