Grateful Dead – “Bertha” Live
The Million-Dollar Question: Who Is Bertha?
“Bertha” is another Hunter-Garcia collaboration. They first performed this live on February 18, 1971 in Port Chester, NY specifically at the Capitol Theatre. They opened their first set with this track and it has become a part of their repertoire. Because of the title, many suspected that Bertha might be a fan but according to Hunter himself, that wasn’t true.
“Bertha, I think, is probably some vaguer connotation of birth, death and reincarnation. Cycle of existences, some kind of such nonsense like that. I wouldn’t be surprised, but then again, it might not be. I don’t remember.” — Robert Hunter
Like their other songs, this has been interpreted and second-guessed in many ways — some would even resort to weird theories. The ending, by the way, is just as amusing because the number of times Jerry Garcia sings the word “anymore” is varied. That’s right! It’s like you’re waiting for something new each time!
That is exactly what I love about this stuff — it all seems true and possible and correct, depending on your own state of mind or background at the moment you are listening to or singing the song.
Grateful Dead offers us a wonderful treat with their songs. They keep you thinking while you listen to the words. What a gift!