Our guest this week is David Dodd. Author of The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics and frequent contributor to dead.net, David picked this moving story about Robert Hunter to share today.
"My most memorable "Terrapin" is one I’ve never heard, only read about. The performer had no audience, as a matter of fact, outside of the cosmos itself, which is likely exactly what he intended. I’m talking about a “Terrapin” performance described by the performer himself, who found himself in New York City immediately after September 11, 2001. His online journal entry dated September 24 includes this paragraph:
"After dark fell, I sat alone on the roof, fifteen stories high, of a building in Soho commanding a panoramic and unobstructed view of the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan and the lights of the bridges. I had my guitar in hand and felt moved to sing "Terrapin Station" to the City. While I sang, rain began falling – I stood and edged around to the other side of the roof, still singing, to the corner of the roof facing the World Trade Center, some fifteen blocks away, where the sky is bright with floodlight illuminating the work of the excavation crew. A great plume of smoke continues to rise from the site of the devastation. As I sang, a powerful wind blew up very suddenly – wind so strong it threatened to rip my guitar out of my hands – reminding me of the storm in which I first composed the words I now sang. I wondered if I was involved in some kind of sacrilege, singing like this in the face of all that had gone down – the wind roaring increasingly louder and stronger, as though filled with spirits, as though trying to blow me over, make me stop. I kept singing until the end, repeating the "hold away despair," expressing all the sorrow I felt for the lost loved ones and for the healing of this magnificent and resilient City. I hope it helped. Helped me, anyway."
Thanks, Robert Hunter, for the song, and for this version of the song, whose performance, alone on a rooftop in the wind and the rain, exemplifies what art is for."
Read More On "Terrapin": http://bit.ly/1ETM0Zm
Buy The Book: http://amzn.to/1BJ17EV