Dick's Picks - Volume 18
Dick's Picks Volume 18. Madison, WI 2/3 & Cedar Falls, IA 2/5/1978
I believe It's All Over Now and Duprees are from 2/4/78 at the Milwaukee Arena
but I am sure you are right about the All over Now and Dupree's Dimond Blues as they are not on the tape I made that night in Madison. The Dead were on a roll in 1978 and that was a killer show. Phil's bass bombs in that indoor arena were nothing short of thunderous. From that opening (and appropriate) Cold Rain & Snow to the end of the first set with that joyous and thick Music Never Stopped. The highlight was the Estimated> Eyes> Playin> Wheel> Playin with some space mixed up in there that was transportive!
A bout a month prior to that show, I had attended the New Year's run of shows in Winterland and did not think that "it" could happen again. But "it" sure did (get the DP!) Anyway at that Winterland NYE show, I had delivered a "Oroboros" (dragon consuming its tail) that I had sculpted of clay and fired. It was about 1 1/2 feet in diameter and it ended up on the stage at the NYE show after I had told a 'roadie' to give it to Garcia.
The next morning (2-4-78) before I left the hotel in Madison Wisc., I got a wild hair and called the front desk and asked "Could I have Jerry Garcia's room please?" and the phone rang and Jerry answered! I said "Hey, I'm the guy that brought the dragon to the New Year's show" and Garcia said "Meet you in the coffee shop in 20 minutes". I couldn't believe what was happening but stumbled into the coffee shop at the appointed time and looked around and saw Jerry Garcia seated at a table with a ravishingly beautiful raven-haired gypsy woman.
I walked over and introduced myself, and 'shook the hand, that shook the hand, of PT Barnum and Charlie Chan'. Jerry beamed that smile and gestured and said "sit down, man". He asked me "How did you fire that dragon so that it didn't expode in the kiln?" and I explained how I had cut it in half and hollowed it and joined it back together. I told him that I had used a guitar string to 'halve it" and we locked eyes at that moment and he burst into laughter and I said "Ironic, huh?" and Jerry quiped "No, man that makes perfect sense." And then we laughed some more.
Then the gypsy/beauty said "where are you from?" and I replied Nebraska. And she shot Garcia a glance and stated "he came all the way up here from Nebraska to see the band!" To which Jerry shrugged his shoulders and retorted "we didn't ask him to come" and looked at me and we both howled with laughter again. No deadhead was she.
We talked more about art and the dragon and I didn't know at that time of Garcia's interest and practice in art (this kind of art anyway). He was completely engaged in the topic of art, but quick witted with 'turn on a dime' twists, turns, and little commentaries on a variety of topics. Jerry was also focused on listening, not acting like he was the important one, giving me time and locked in on our discussion and talking about our shared intersets. The gypsy woman frowned in disbelief as she asked me "You went out to San Francisco for New Years and then came to Wisconson?"
And I said yes and then I turned to Garcia and asked him "Why don't you come back to Lincoln, Nebraska?" He said "You mean to Perishing Auditorium?" and I corrected him "No, it is Pershing Auditorium, after the army general" and he quickly retorted "No man, it was perishing really!" And we burst out laughing again. At that Lincoln, Ne. Dead show on 2-26-73, there were a bunch of drunk frat boys yelling 'boogie, boogie" at the top of their lungs, (but that show is topnotch! Another DP, really great show) Anyway, I asked Garcia "could you bring the Dead back to Nebraska" and Jerry grinned that chesire cat grin and said "who knows?"
I took my leave (their breakfast arrived) and drove on home. Then that summer the Jerry did bring his circus back to Omaha, Nebraska (on 7-5-78) and then I followed them to my/their FIRST Red Rocks shows. What a long strange trip!
helluva story, Oro.....what it's all about
LOVE that story.
Beautiful piece of writing and a glimpse of back when things were still pretty chill around Dead shows. Thanks for sharing, Oro. Reminded me of all the great times seeing them in the '70s!
Great narrative, Oroboros: I too was there on that snowy frigid night. All my possessions were in an International TravelAll, along with my trusty retriever, Ace. I was moving from Boulder CO to Reserve, LA and Madison just happened to be on the way! Glad to have the music preserved on Dick's Pick 18. Years later, when I left Louisiana for Kansas City, I met my late friend Bart Biechele. He told me a wild tale of seeing Jerry at the motel restaurant in Cedar Falls, where a few folks scavenged the silverware from Jerry's table after he finished eating and left!