Grateful Dead

Jerry - tuning up backstage, Music Hall, Cincinnati, before 10/26/72 show

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Jerry.jpg

My buddies John & Mike & I had driven down from Oxford to Cincinnati early that Thursday afternoon, tickets in hand, in eager anticipation of that nights' show. We got there, hung out in the Music Hall parking lot for a bit, then, not knowing what else to do, wandered around the building for a while, ending up at the stage door at the back of the building. We chatted up the guy that was hanging out there providing 'security' - but not a brownie cop or anything, but a longhaired guy, like us, probably with the band. After quite a bit of begging he finally decided to let us come in - provided we promise to follow the 'rules'. See, I had my camera with me & we had to promise - NO PICTURES. We of course agreed, and he led us over to a set of like bleachers behind the stage, the kind that a choir might use for a show. We climbed up & over to the center of about the fourth row, and again had to promise to just sit there, be quiet, not get in the way, and again: no pictures. So there we were - in heaven. Just absolutely awesome. Watching all the activity - roadies scurrying all about, the sound system being tested, the light show rigging going up - everything you can imagine. And just when it CAN'T get any better - it does. Ambling across the backstage area, guitar case in hand, is none other than, yes, Jerry. And he comes over and sits down in the first row of these bleachers, right in front of us!! It was incredible! He was like, you know, right there! He was wearing a longsleeve denim shirt with a big red/orange/yellow flamelike embroidary on the back, and gets out his guitar and starts tuning it, right there! So of course we tried to be cool, keep our cool, you know, act like we've been there before - even though it certainly wasn't easy. And pretty soon we're whispering amongst ourselves & here it comes: "Rudy, you've GOT to get a picture" - "But we CAN'T, remember, we promised" - "Naw come on, we have to - this is a once in a lifetime" - "NO, we can't" - "Ah, come on man, don't worry - we'll block it so no one can see it", etc. etc. So finally I relented. I put the camera down between my knees, took off the lens cover, guessed at the settings, heart pounding like crazy. They were both to the left of me, and on que they leaned forward to block the view as much as possible - I lifted the camera to my eye - and CLICK. We got it! We got it! And then what do we see, within seconds, from clear across the backstage, none other than Parish stomping straight our way, mad as hell, coming full speed, and giving us the thumb, like an umpire, bellowing "You're OUT of here!!". Busted! It was horrible. We went from cloud nine to being kicked out in an instant. In, well, a click of a camera. And there was no talking our way out it either, so we got up, grousing to ourselves & shuffled over & then down from our seats. And as we were - and I'll never forget this - Jerry turned his head, looking over his left shoulder, and gave us a little shrug & that beautiful, wry smile of his - sort of a 'sorry guys, nothing I can do' kind of a look. Absolutely magical. So we were ushered out that same back door, and, well - NOW what are we gonna do. We had gone from ON the bus, to OFF the bus. But instead of just leaving, we kind of hung out there for a while, talking to the guy that had let us in, trying to decide what to do next. When lighting struck twice. One of the roadies came up to that door, leans out, and says, "Do you guys have a car?" Well yeah, we sure do, why? " Do you guys know your way around Cincinnati?" Yes, we lied. As it turns out, they were having trouble with a hydraulic valve used to lift the whole lighting system up, had located one at a Grainger's clear across town, and wondered if we could give him a ride to go get it! ... Absolutely! So, this guy got some directions on how to get there, and he & I took off - and they let John & Mike back in! Talk about a turn of fortune. So we went and got the part, and when we got back the regular parking lot was filling up - but, no problem, we just pulled into the VIP parking backstage, where the band parks - 'cause, we were WITH THE BAND! It was great. So my new buddy & I walked right in (no camera this time), they thanked me, and that was that. We were in. I found my friends, and we basically had the run of the place. When it got close to showtime & they started letting people in, we hooked up with the rest of our friends that came down - and boy, did we have a story to tell. Needless to say, the show was fantastic. A good time was had by all. Sorry this was so long-winded, but I'll never get a chance to tell it again in a forum like this, so I didn't wan't to leave anything out. And to this day I still have that un-torn ticket as a reminder of that incredible day. As well as this one magical photograph.

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pomo1's picture
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Joined: Jun 5 2007
AWESOME

"The sky was yellow and the sun was blue."

marye's picture
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Joined: May 26 2007
okay

that's a great story!

Gr8fulTed's picture
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Joined: Jul 9 2007
One More Saturday Night encore

What a long strange trip it was! I, too, drove down from O-town, I think with Scott Rose and Steve Travers (RIP, sure do miss this guy). I was ticket-less and was unable to get in from the front of Music Hall. I walked down the alley to the right and finally got in with help from an older gent, opening a side door, in time to hear the end of the 2nd set. Sure wish I had found Mike and John, earlier, at the back door!! I did have a ticket for the Cleveland show 2 days later...

Meeko's picture
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Joined: Jun 5 2007
Great photo, great story!

Thanks for sharing.

Michael

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Jerry - tuning up backstage, Music Hall, Cincinnati, before 10/26/72 show