LIVINGSTON, Mont. — It was a truly special night at the Pine Creek Lodge in Livingston, and a “historic night” for fans of the Grateful Dead, claimed Park County Community Foundation Director Gavin Clark.
Park County resident John Mayer organized three benefit shows, Rise For the River at Livingston’s Pine Creek Lodge to help raise money for people whose lives have been affected by earlier this summer’s historic Yellowstone flood event, and the economies of the area, known as the gateway to Yellowstone.
Following an opening set by local Bozeman band the Kitchen Dwellers, Mayer greeted the crowd.
“It means the world to me to that y’all came out. It means the world to me to that I’m able to play a small part in helping this community out. This community that’s been so great to me. This community that’s shown me so much humanity and given me so much humanity,” said Mayer.
He then introduced his great friend, bandmate, and co-founding member of the Grateful Dead, who “jumped at my request to come help out, I’ll never forget it” Bob Weir.
Mayer who finished up a Dead and Co. tour with Weir just a few weeks ago, jumped right in a Grateful Dead fan favorite “Friend of the Devil”. The two acoustically ran through a series of Dead classics, trading verses of the iconic songs written over 50 years ago, as attendees sung along, and grinned ear to ear.
“You can’t beat this!” one fan said after the duo delivered the timeless lyrics of the Grateful Dead’s Loser.
As the duo picked through a set of Dead classics, like the timeless “Brown Eyed Women”, and a high energy “Jack Straw” Mayer claimed “this event may be easy to attend, but impossible for it to go on without people like Gavin Clarke, and the local neighbors among many others.” About $1.5 million has already been raised for the SW Montana Flood Relief Fund, from 1,400 doners, with another $500,000 expected to come in from Mayer’s shows by the end of the month. All the proceeds from tickets, merchandise, beer and wine, the live stream, and even an auctioned-off guitar are going back to the Flood Relief Fund.
Mayer, like many people who come to Park County and Paradise Valley, came years ago, became awe-struck by its beauty and community, and couldn’t leave. Of course, hosting these shows Mayer wanted to raise money for the community, but he really wanted to bring people out and let them know “that Park County is open for business, and there is still plenty of tourism here,” said Clark.
Mayer who’s carried the torch the Grateful Dead, and a remarkable musician in his own right, had the crowd singing along to “Not Fade Away” for the final number of the night, but also reminded us he’s a man of the people and community as he said goodnight to the crowd and “pick up your trash and I’ll see you at the grocery store.”
The Rise For The River flood relief benefit will continue on Sunday, Aug. 14 with a show featuring Dave Chappelle and John Mayer, followed by a Mayer solo show with support from The Last Revel on following Sunday. All shows are sold out.