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Green River & Flat Top Mountain 

Heavenly View from John Perry Barlow´s Bar Cross Ranch, Wyoming

Estimated Prophet

Uncle John sits down with John Perry Barlow

on his ranch in Wyoming & he talks about the song

ESTIMATED PROPHET

 

 

Terrapin Narration

How sweet the sound

with delicious food

& festive smiles in friendship gatherings

Terrapin Crossroads

-1-

May 2012

The darkness of the hour brings us to the moment of the dawn of Terrapin. On Sunday there is a “ring of fire”, a solar eclipse of a new moon blocking the sun. Phil Lesh & friends gather together at Terrapin Crossroads for a night of free music. On Tuesday, there is a rare blackout in northern San Rafael, that is a Godsend to me and others to attend this night of free music. Patrons listen, artists draw, and workers are in sync, while the musicians, Phil Lesh, John Kadlecik and Jon Graboff are lifting the spirit of everyone in this great atmosphere. The night begins with a wine tasting. Around 9pm Phil & Company are playing in the bar and singing together on tunes we all find familiar. How sweet it is!
They decide to play another night for free. I am driving through San Rafael listening to “Dark Star” and as soon as I reach the parking lot all the lights go out. It is an area-wide power blackout. I go inside as more candles are being lit. People wait patiently, and the crowd, as usual, is talkative. Someone mentions the crescent moon and bright star and I head out back to see. It’s a brilliant sky and there is a crescent moon in the northwest and a bright planet surrounded by the dim stars of dusk. To my left are glass windows looking into the Terrapin Crossroads dining room where there is a grand assortment of candlelit lights and to my right is the canal below the Yacht Club where the water is rippling. There is the din of the crowd inside but Terrapin Station the song comes to mind and I sing here quietly,

“Inspiration move me brightly
Light the song with sense and color
Hold away despair
More than this I will not ask
Faced with mysteries dark and vast
Statements just seem vain at last
Some rise some fall some climb to get to Terrapin
Counting stars by candlelight
All are dim but one is bright
The spiral light of Venus
Rising first and shining best
From the northwest corner
Of a brand new crescent moon
Crickets and cicadas sing
A rare and differ’nt tune
Terrapin Station
In the shadow of the moon
Terrapin station
And I know we’ll be there soon
Terrapin – I can’t figure out
Terrapin – if it’s an end or the beginning
Terrapin – but the train’s got its brakes on
and the whistle is screaming – Terrapin”


Standing in the reflection of the candlelight’s glow, Jill Lesh passes by me outdoors while I’m still eyeing the moon and listening to the ripple in the water. What a place this is!
The power outage continues and the electric instruments and microphones are replaced with stools and acoustic guitars and a whole lot of big candles. As Venus sets in the sky the musicians take the stage. They are facing the unique challenge of singing in a garrulous crowd with the hope to be heard. People respond from their hearts and someone exclaims “Just when we thought it couldn’t get better, we get a candlelit acoustic performance.” How blessed we are. As Phil tunes up, the crowd quiets down and he encourages them to keep up their banter. “I haven’t started yet” he shouts.  When they do begin there’s clarity in the darkness.
Picking their acoustic guitars and using their voices as instruments they give us a very special night. It is a quiet audience loving every minute here, and often joining in the chorus sing-along. The culmination of this seventy minute set is an incredible acoustic version of Bob Dylan’s “Visions of Johanna” a song he wrote the night of the great Northeastern blackout in November of 1965, that I remember. Dylan, at the Chelsea Hotel with his pregnant wife, describes the events of that night he calls “the great freeze-out” in his gifted poetic way. Jill sits on the stairway listening to Phil play, Jon hum and John sing “Visions of Johanna” with conviction in the passion of what’s happening now.


“Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it……”
The crowd reacts when he sings:
“The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place.”


John K. is like a genius who sparks, the way he plays his guitar mirroring the candlelight’s reflections, his angelic voice and sure-fire sound. JG plays great Johnny Cash and I love that we love the same songs. Phil is healthy, intuitive, full of the unexpected, without anticipation,  filling the void of spaces and empty nests with a timely prepared spontaneous tune lighting our hearts in the darkness with the sunshine of his love.

 


 

 

 

by Howard F. Weiner

TERRAPIN CROSSROADS

MUSIC FAMILY  FUN

 

Terrapin Crossroads Backyard Sunday afternoons

PHIL LESH reading the kids stories before the show

 

TERRAPIN TV