In a burst of creative energy, the Grateful Dead recorded two of their best albums in a single year: American Beauty in March 1970 and Workingman’s Dead in August and September 1970. Both feature a blend of folk, rock, bluegrass and country music so innovative it resulted in both being listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
To celebrate the albums’ 35th anniversary, producer David Spelman organized a two-evening tribute he called the American Beauty Project. The show, held at the World Financial Center, reflected much of the spirit of a Grateful Dead performance. The assembled crowd ranged from babies in tie-dyed onesies to elderly couples leaning on walkers. It included both the anticipated core of nostalgic Dead Heads and hippies and an unexpectedly large contingent of the Wall Street denizens who live in the area.
The concert, hosted by legendary DJ John Schaefer, presented a diverse roster of artists who performed their own arrangements of the Grateful Dead’s groundbreaking music. Tonight’s lineup included:
MySpace: American Beauty Project
Grateful Dead News: American Beauty Project Interview
Jam Base: The American Beauty Project
Variety: American Beauty Project
John Schaefer on WNYC
New York Guitar Festival