By Rob Brunner
Updated March 30, 2009 at 08:28 PM EDT

The Grateful Dead have certainly done some odd TV appearances (check out this 1969 clip with Hugh Hefner on Playboy After Dark), but this morning’s drop-by on The View had the makings of a particularly bizarre encounter. Would Elizabeth Hasselbeck hurl anti-drug invective at the famously substance-friendly troupe? Would today’s main guest, Bill O’Reilly, get all red and furious about those dirty hippies and their destruction of society’s moral fabric over the past 40-plus years? Well…no. Things started off a little strange when, after a supremely cheesy voice over intro (“You’re not having a flashback, man…”), Whoopi unexpectedly proclaimed that “I love me some Dead!” But otherwise this seemed like a pretty typical music-guest affair. The band (now officially known as the Dead) didn’t interact with O’Reilly or Hasselbeck at all, instead answering a few standard questions from Whoopi and Joy Behar, then launching into a muted version of “Friend of the Devil” (below) with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Warren Haynes trading verses in place of Jerry Garcia. The somewhat uneven vocal performance (which has always been part of the band’s charm) probably wasn’t the greatest super-mainstream showcase of the band’s still-vital onstage chops, but it’s nice to see them getting some big-time attention even after Garcia’s death has made them a strictly for-the-faithful proposition. Meanwhile, the Dead’s spring tour kicks off April 12 in North Carolina.

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