In the past month or so, both Dead & Company guitarists – namely John Mayer and Bob Weir – have joined the acclaimed tribute act Joe Russo’s Almost Dead for extended sit-ins. Unlike most tribute bands, drummer Joe Russo has actually spent time performing with members of the band he tributes, during his tenure with Furthur. This sets Almost Dead on a unique trajectory, performing the music of the Grateful Dead with a background in, well, performing the music of the Grateful Dead.The first of these high-profile sit-ins came when John Mayer made his way to the Brooklyn Bowl back in October. Mayer has found himself in the center of the Dead universe after his full transformation into Deadheadism, catapulted to prominence by his fame and, more importantly, his talent. The guitarist is a faithful bearer of the proverbial torch, steeped in blues rock traditions.When he made his way to the Brooklyn Bowl, John Mayer didn’t just join in for a song or two – he played an entire set with Almost Dead. A set with this band is no easy feat, as Joe Russo & co truly take liberties with the Grateful Dead catalog like few before them. Fortunately, Mayer is a pro, and he handled the band’s style with a passionate energy. You can hear that in full force on “The Other One,” streaming below.While Mayer adapted to the Joe Russo’s Almost Dead style, it seems that the band “almost” adapted to Bob Weir’s style when the Grateful guitarist joined them last weekend. Weir met up with his former Furthur bandmate, Russo, his future “Los Muertos Con Queso” bandmate, Tom Hamilton, and the whole Almost Dead crew for an intimate moment at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Unlike Mayer sitting in for a whole set of Almost Dead music, the band stripped down and welcomed out Weir for a five song acoustic set.This wasn’t the first time that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead went acoustic; they actually did that at the afore-mentioned Brooklyn Bowl run in October. However, when you consider Weir’s recently completed acoustic “Campfire Tour”, it’s evident that Almost Dead adapted to Weir for the set. Not that that’s a bad thing! Bob Weir is a legend, after all. The set itself featured a mix of Bob Dylan and Grateful Dead classics, not too far off from the “Campfire Tour” setlists.Watch Joe Russo’s Almost Dead perform “Cassidy” (with “Let It Grow” teases), courtesy of MarkoVision Films, below.As Bob Weir was a founding member of the Grateful Dead. it would make sense that Joe Russo’s Almost Dead would cater to his desired performance style. Meanwhile, John Mayer, as revered as he is as a musician, is still a newcomer to the Grateful Dead world. He seems naturally elated just to play the Grateful Dead’s music, and what better way to do so than with a band who are equally as elated to play the catalog. It seems that John Mayer is almost on a level playing field as the Joe Russo’s Almost Dead crew, a member of the next generation of Grateful disciples, while Weir is O.G. Dead.All in all, these collaborations detail an underlying devotion to the Grateful Dead. The music never stopped!
Plans to hold mass prayers follow calls from Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb to pray on May 14 to ask God for salvation from the disease. I would like to remind you that on 14 May, believers of every religion are invited to unite themselves spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus #pandemic. #HumanFraternity #PrayTogether— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) May 11, 2020For many Indonesians, prayers may be the only way of hanging onto hope amid the outbreak that had infected more than 4.4 million people around the globe as of Thursday morning.In Indonesia, the virus had claimed 1,028 lives and infected 15,438 people as of Wednesday.United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted his support for prayer on May 3, calling the global event a “moment for reflection, hope and faith”.“As the virus wreaks havoc and disruption on a scale not seen in generations, we see a dawning awareness that the differences that so often divide us pale in significance,” Guterres said during a high-level video conference on Tuesday.In difficult times, we must stand together for peace, humanity & solidarity.I join His Holiness Pope Francis (@Pontifex) and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb in their support for the Prayer for Humanity this 14 May – a moment for reflection, hope, and faith.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 3, 2020Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy chairman Muhyiddin Junaidi told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the institution would also be taking part in the global movement alongside the Religious Affairs Ministry and Nahdlatul Ulama, with hopes of bidding good riddance to the COVID-19 pandemic.“We hope Indonesians can pray together solemnly and sincerely. There is wisdom that can be learned from this pandemic,”said Muhyiddin.He added, however, that it took a combination of scientific and spiritual approaches to be able to effectively tackle the virus.Indonesian Hindu Religious Council (PHDI) general secretary I Ketut Parwata said the group would also be joining the mass prayer, noting that the “power of prayer” was equally important to existing efforts to rid Indonesia of the disease.Echoing the sentiments of the religious institutions, Wahid Foundation executive director Mujtaba Hamdi said the nationwide prayers could foster hope by promoting social cohesion and serve as a reminder that everything is part of God’s plan, possibly alleviating any lingering psychological tensions.However, Mujtaba also expressed disappointment that the government did not make use of the occasion to include native beliefs, despite growing acknowledgement of them following a 2017 Constitutional Court ruling that allowed people to list a native faith in the religion column of their identity cards.“It gives the impression that the government only recognizes the official religions while apparently not taking non-official beliefs into consideration,” he said. “It’s a missed opportunity.”However, despite the online buzz surrounding the global prayers, not everyone seems to be aware of the plan to hold mass prayers.Arthur James Michiels, 51, who helps oversee the local church in Kampung Tugu, North Jakarta, said on Tuesday that he had not received any information on the mass prayers.“I go to the church almost every day but no one talks about [the Pope holding global prayers] on May 14,” he said.Topics : “Let’s face this trial calmly and patiently. Panic is half of the disease, calmness is half of the serum and patience is the starting point for healing.”Six religious led the prayers: Kyai Haji Quraish Shihab for Muslims, cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo for Catholics, reverend Ronny Mandang for Protestants, Ida Pedanda Nabe Gede Bang Buruan Manuaba for the Hindu community, Banthe Sri Pannavaro Mahathera for Buddhists and Budi S. Tanuwibowo for Confucians.Vice President Ma’ruf Amin, House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani and Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan were also present during the event.The Religious Affairs Ministry also raised money for donations at the end of the prayer to help citizens affected by COVID-19. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo called on all people of faith to pray for humanity as part of efforts to ease the struggle against COVID-19 and join a global spiritual movement.Jokowi urged Indonesians during a speech for nationwide interfaith prayers on Thursday to stay optimistic and “pray endlessly”, on top of other efforts to overcome the disease.“Let’s bow our heads together and humble ourselves as we ask the Almighty and the Most Merciful God to give us the patience to gracefully accept this disaster and be given strength so that we can all survive and pass [God’s] trials,” Jokowi said.