• June 29, 2012
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blair-s-golden-road-blog-who-can-weather-command
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog — Who Can the Weather Command?

    I must admit, when the lineup for this year’s Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut July 19-22 was first announced, it got me seriously salivating. Actually, I have the same reaction pretty much every year, but this one really got me going, with scheduled appearances by Phil Lesh & Friends (lineup TBD), the trio of Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis, the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers (Papa Mali’s health permitting) and a slew of non-Dead-connected bands, from the Avett Brothers to Yonder Mountain String Band to Zappa Plays Zappa. Sounds like a great time, all right.

    But I keep thinking about the reports from last year’s GOTV, when it was over 100 degrees each day and not much better at night. Growing up on the East Coast and having suffered in the summer heat there a few times in the past 10 years, I can vividly recall what the suffocating heat and humidity feels like, even at 11 o’clock at night. I do not like it. Not at all. The question I had to ask myself before considering spending the big coin to go to a festival like that in late July was: Do I feel lucky? The answer came back: No! I’ve become a bit of a weather weenie in my old age. I’ll only suffer so much to see bands I like at this point. If Jerry comes back, I’ll reconsider.

    In general, I loved seeing the Grateful Dead outdoors in the daytime or at night. Part of it was the cool places I saw them. At the Greek in Berkeley, we had the best of both worlds—the Friday-Saturday-Sunday shows would start at 7 p.m., 5 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively, so concerts began in the daylight and subtly inched towards darkness, Candace Brightman’s trippy lights becoming more and more important as the show went on. You had to bring layers of clothing to the Greek, because in the daytime, the concrete bowl radiated heat and we’d all get sunburned during the two hours before showtime, but in the late afternoon or early evening it was common for the Bay Area’s notorious fog to come rushing through the Golden Gate and smother the Greek in cool breezes and misty vapors.

    A sunny afternoon at Frost in ’87. Photo: Regan McMahon ©2012

    Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford University campus across the bay sure was beautiful—a natural grass bowl surrounded by all sorts of trees, from live oak to eucalyptus. But the fog never came in there during the band’s midafternoon shows, and it was usually hot, hot, hot. During the set break, people would flee to the sides and back to grab some shade. I recall one Sunday when it was rotisserie-hot and nearly East Coast humid, and the crowd just wilted in the heat. Jerry looked as if he were broiling before our eyes, as uncomfortable as we all were; not a pretty sight. By the time he got around to playing a glacial “Black Peter” toward the end of the second set, it seemed there were almost as many people sitting and lying around as dancing.

    If you’ve ever been to Red Rocks—to see the Dead, or since—chances are you got rained on at some point. In fact, the place was famous for its night storms, some brief in duration, others more sustained. The first year we went, in September 1985, the band scheduled day shows for the first time, in part to escape the ubiquitous evening showers. And it worked. Yes, the opening afternoon felt like being in a microwave (high heat + thin air = crematorium conditions), but it didn’t rain! The spectacular Sunday show (9/7/85) had some of the most interesting weather of any Dead show I attended—super high winds and billowing gray clouds (“Close Encounters” clouds we called them, after the Spielberg movie) that threatened rain but didn’t deliver. During the set break, the P.A. stacks were covered to protect them from an imminent deluge, and the tarps flapped furiously as the band opened the second half with a speedy “Shakedown Street.” In fact, most of what they played in that set was faster than usual, as if the band was trying to stay one step ahead of the rain. What excitement! (And the rain did come, a couple of hours after the show). Two years later, at what turned out to be the Dead’s final shows at the Rocks, the concerts were at night again, and sure enough, we got rained on plenty. Nothing a poncho couldn’t handle, though.

    Our gang at Red Rocks in ’87: Jon (R.I.P.), Regan, Michael, Deb and BJ.

    A chilly rain doused us at the end of the first set the first day at the Santa Fe Downs in ’83 (resulting in the fastest “China Cat” on record!), but it cleared quickly and we got a magnificent rainbow right before “drums,” and a rare “Cold Rain & Snow” encore for our troubles. We fried at Grass Valley in September ’83, and that same summer it was blazing with a chance of wasps (from a nest under the stage) at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. It was in the mid-80s in Autzen Stadium in Eugene when we saw Dylan and the Dead there in ’87, but over 100 degrees down on the field, which was covered in a horrible rubber tarp. I felt like I was melting, until refreshing breezes finally kicked up during “Frankie Lee & Judas Priest.”

    But these are just some minor complaints from many years of mostly fantastic weather at outdoor shows up and down California (Laguna Seca, Irvine, Sacramento, Ventura, etc.) and in Colorado. More fondly, I recall puffy white cloud formations dancing along with me to the music, a few glorious sunsets with skies streaking red and purple, soothing winds providing a balm from midday heat, golden sunshine popping out from the silvery edge of high clouds, reflecting in thousands of sunglasses, forcing as many smiles—you could almost hear the collective “Ahhhhhhhhh!” Ever see “Let It Grow” under fast-shifting skies? “Terrapin” under a “brand-new crescent moon”? “Deal” and Loser” and “Me & My Uncle” in a gorgeous Western setting? Cheered the “ran into a rainstorm” line in “Bertha” during a rainstorm? There’s no question that weather often added to the cosmic dynamic at Grateful Dead shows.

    Although I saw a few Grateful Dead stadium shows in my time—at the Yale Bowl in New Haven in ’71, Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City in ’72 and ’73, five at Oakland Stadium (’74, two in ’76, ’87 and ’89) and one in Eugene (’87), I never experienced one of those giant East Coast or Midwest concerts with the stultifying heat and humidity—the kind where they break out the fire hoses and spray the crowd (if you’re lucky!). Neither have I been in a true deluge during a show (or a lightning storm like on famous nights at Giants Stadium or at RFK in D.C.). I haven’t experienced a torrential rain on the back slope of some amphitheater, where the lawn turns into an enormous Slip’N Slide, and the parking lot a swamp. And, alas, I wasn’t in the squall at Bickershaw in ’72, either.

    But some of you folks were! Let’s hear your weather-related Dead and post-GD stories.

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I must admit, when the lineup for this year’s Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut July 19-22 was first announced, it got me seriously salivating. Actually, I have the same reaction pretty much every year, but this one really got me going, with scheduled appearances by Phil Lesh & Friends (lineup TBD), the trio of Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis, the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers (Papa Mali’s health permitting) and a slew of non-Dead-connected bands, from the Avett Brothers to Yonder Mountain String Band to Zappa Plays Zappa. Sounds like a great time, all right.

But I keep thinking about the reports from last year’s GOTV, when it was over 100 degrees each day and not much better at night. Growing up on the East Coast and having suffered in the summer heat there a few times in the past 10 years, I can vividly recall what the suffocating heat and humidity feels like, even at 11 o’clock at night. I do not like it. Not at all. The question I had to ask myself before considering spending the big coin to go to a festival like that in late July was: Do I feel lucky? The answer came back: No! I’ve become a bit of a weather weenie in my old age. I’ll only suffer so much to see bands I like at this point. If Jerry comes back, I’ll reconsider.

In general, I loved seeing the Grateful Dead outdoors in the daytime or at night. Part of it was the cool places I saw them. At the Greek in Berkeley, we had the best of both worlds—the Friday-Saturday-Sunday shows would start at 7 p.m., 5 p.m. and 3 p.m. respectively, so concerts began in the daylight and subtly inched towards darkness, Candace Brightman’s trippy lights becoming more and more important as the show went on. You had to bring layers of clothing to the Greek, because in the daytime, the concrete bowl radiated heat and we’d all get sunburned during the two hours before showtime, but in the late afternoon or early evening it was common for the Bay Area’s notorious fog to come rushing through the Golden Gate and smother the Greek in cool breezes and misty vapors.

A sunny afternoon at Frost in ’87. Photo: Regan McMahon ©2012

Frost Amphitheatre on the Stanford University campus across the bay sure was beautiful—a natural grass bowl surrounded by all sorts of trees, from live oak to eucalyptus. But the fog never came in there during the band’s midafternoon shows, and it was usually hot, hot, hot. During the set break, people would flee to the sides and back to grab some shade. I recall one Sunday when it was rotisserie-hot and nearly East Coast humid, and the crowd just wilted in the heat. Jerry looked as if he were broiling before our eyes, as uncomfortable as we all were; not a pretty sight. By the time he got around to playing a glacial “Black Peter” toward the end of the second set, it seemed there were almost as many people sitting and lying around as dancing.

If you’ve ever been to Red Rocks—to see the Dead, or since—chances are you got rained on at some point. In fact, the place was famous for its night storms, some brief in duration, others more sustained. The first year we went, in September 1985, the band scheduled day shows for the first time, in part to escape the ubiquitous evening showers. And it worked. Yes, the opening afternoon felt like being in a microwave (high heat + thin air = crematorium conditions), but it didn’t rain! The spectacular Sunday show (9/7/85) had some of the most interesting weather of any Dead show I attended—super high winds and billowing gray clouds (“Close Encounters” clouds we called them, after the Spielberg movie) that threatened rain but didn’t deliver. During the set break, the P.A. stacks were covered to protect them from an imminent deluge, and the tarps flapped furiously as the band opened the second half with a speedy “Shakedown Street.” In fact, most of what they played in that set was faster than usual, as if the band was trying to stay one step ahead of the rain. What excitement! (And the rain did come, a couple of hours after the show). Two years later, at what turned out to be the Dead’s final shows at the Rocks, the concerts were at night again, and sure enough, we got rained on plenty. Nothing a poncho couldn’t handle, though.

Our gang at Red Rocks in ’87: Jon (R.I.P.), Regan, Michael, Deb and BJ.

A chilly rain doused us at the end of the first set the first day at the Santa Fe Downs in ’83 (resulting in the fastest “China Cat” on record!), but it cleared quickly and we got a magnificent rainbow right before “drums,” and a rare “Cold Rain & Snow” encore for our troubles. We fried at Grass Valley in September ’83, and that same summer it was blazing with a chance of wasps (from a nest under the stage) at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. It was in the mid-80s in Autzen Stadium in Eugene when we saw Dylan and the Dead there in ’87, but over 100 degrees down on the field, which was covered in a horrible rubber tarp. I felt like I was melting, until refreshing breezes finally kicked up during “Frankie Lee & Judas Priest.”

But these are just some minor complaints from many years of mostly fantastic weather at outdoor shows up and down California (Laguna Seca, Irvine, Sacramento, Ventura, etc.) and in Colorado. More fondly, I recall puffy white cloud formations dancing along with me to the music, a few glorious sunsets with skies streaking red and purple, soothing winds providing a balm from midday heat, golden sunshine popping out from the silvery edge of high clouds, reflecting in thousands of sunglasses, forcing as many smiles—you could almost hear the collective “Ahhhhhhhhh!” Ever see “Let It Grow” under fast-shifting skies? “Terrapin” under a “brand-new crescent moon”? “Deal” and Loser” and “Me & My Uncle” in a gorgeous Western setting? Cheered the “ran into a rainstorm” line in “Bertha” during a rainstorm? There’s no question that weather often added to the cosmic dynamic at Grateful Dead shows.

Although I saw a few Grateful Dead stadium shows in my time—at the Yale Bowl in New Haven in ’71, Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City in ’72 and ’73, five at Oakland Stadium (’74, two in ’76, ’87 and ’89) and one in Eugene (’87), I never experienced one of those giant East Coast or Midwest concerts with the stultifying heat and humidity—the kind where they break out the fire hoses and spray the crowd (if you’re lucky!). Neither have I been in a true deluge during a show (or a lightning storm like on famous nights at Giants Stadium or at RFK in D.C.). I haven’t experienced a torrential rain on the back slope of some amphitheater, where the lawn turns into an enormous Slip’N Slide, and the parking lot a swamp. And, alas, I wasn’t in the squall at Bickershaw in ’72, either.

But some of you folks were! Let’s hear your weather-related Dead and post-GD stories.

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I must admit, when the lineup for this year’s Gathering of the Vibes in Connecticut July 19-22 was first announced, it got me seriously salivating. Actually, I have the same reaction pretty much every year, but this one really got me going, with scheduled appearances by Phil Lesh & Friends (lineup TBD), the trio of Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis, the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers (Papa Mali’s health permitting) and a slew of non-Dead-connected bands, from the Avett Brothers to Yonder Mountain String Band to Zappa Plays Zappa. Sound like a great time, all right.

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Yes it was once again raining at Red Rocks but if you were in the right state of mind those drops falling through the sky as the dead opened the second set with playing in the band > terrapin > playing jam seemed to intensify the space around you. One of the great terrapins for me... Oh yeah... it had rained like a week straight and like fools myself and some buds went tubing in the river and all came out with severe injuries. My knee crashed into a huge rock as I was tossed about in the rapids... no worries... took my medicine and danced the night away.
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Way too hot and humid - and a great show to boot. I got a bad case of sunburn that day. Also the heat was tiny minor footnote in the closing of the stadium, in my humble opinion.
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7/01/78 Arrowhead Stadium It was tough. 1st show and wanted to experience joy, but instead, no doubt, some form of heatstroke caused by severe dehydration and the dreaded Estimated Prophet. But who pays attention to those kinds of things when he's 18. 8/16/80 SIU Edwardsville Best show I saw - didn't see but a handful - and had the best time at an outdoor venue. Eleventh anni of Woodstock and the weather was trying its darndest to duplicate the nightmare-like conditions that struck so much fear into the heart of our fearless leader (along w/ the chemicals, of course). Had tremendous seats a few rows back and was lucky, too, to be with very cool people. I remember much, much more of this show and scored sweet tapes that I listened to for a number of years until I loaned them to an 1980's fanatic friend - I know they found a good home. Nope. Wasn't Bickershaw, but there probably weren't too many of those, eh? Paz.
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It was the same show ( see last weeks post ) at Cal-Expo. We had Friday and Sunday tickets but no tickets for Saturday. We had bought (unknown to us); counterfit tickets and were denied entry at the turnstile. So we thought we would sneak around the side and listen to the show. We had to dodge mounted police several times, cops on horses! Then there were the mosquitos and bramble thorns. And the water in the lowlands. It was warm and humid. We lasted through the first set and by then the mosquitos drove us away.
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i, too, like the line-up this year at the vibes but wouldn't go because of my experience the first year they came back to bridgeport. too freakin' hot! actually, that year it was cold and poured on friday night and then we roasted our asses the next two days. unless you have a motor home and show up on monday to get a place by the beach on thursday that dog don't hunt. but, you can do pretty much anything with sun screen, water and beans & rice when you're young. us older folks need the comforts of home. best heat show? hmmm -- dylan & the dead @ sullivan in 87? Veneta was pretty hot in 82. I heard the the rubber bowl in Akron cooked in 86 but I wasn't there...
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Phil and Friends at Starlight in 2001 was over 100. Heinekens were warm before you could take a sip. Grateful Dead at Sandstone was brutal in 1990 and less so again in 1991. Buckeye Lake in 1988 was a cooker ( see comment above about Heinekens). At Starlight, 1982, it was over 100.Redrocks rain in 1979 moved the shows into McNichols, but we didn't get soaked, as we stayed indoors. At Watkins Glen in 1973, I developed hypothermia when the cool rain dropped the temperature drastically from 90+. I didn't prepare for that fiasco at all, missing quite a bit of the show curled up in my VW van trying to warm up. Cold shows? February '73 in Champaign, February '78 (below 0) in Madison, and the "Ain't No Time to Hate" shows at McNichols in December '92. I met David Gans here.
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1. Giants Stadium 1989. Being crushed up against the stage wall in a lightning storm is something I will never forget. Bob mentioned that the audience would eventually float up to eye level. 2. Alpine 1989. The second and third nights were wet and cold. The good news is that the music was hot. 3. Richfield 1994. The first show was cancelled due to a monster snow storm. The second night was cold and snowing. The introduction of "I Fought the Law" made things warmer. 4. Alpine 1988. Heat and drought. Had to leave after the second show to cool down and get a shower.
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I only saw the Dead three times, but the first and last, both at Three Rivers Stadium, had definite weather factors. The first, in 1990, was a scorcher. I was a wide-eyed newbie cruising the parking lot and thoroughly digging the scene without a care about the beating sun. Inside there were soak zones set up to cool down the Heads, but I was too busy boogieing at the back of the stadium floor to care. The next day I woke up with pretty severe sunburn blisters on my face. Let that be a lesson to you kids out there about using sunscreen and wearing a hat. The weather was a bit milder in 1995, as rain was threatening during the first set. When the boys came out after setbreak, they noodled around a bit as the first drops started to fall. Then, just as they launched into the opening chorus of the Beatles' "Rain", the heavens opened with a downpour. It really was cosmic, no fooling. If it wasn't the Dead, I wouldn't have believed it. And the crowd went nuts. They ran through a few more rain-themed songs as the kids danced and shook their bones. Ah, memories!
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I didn't put myself through the gauntlet of fire too often but the Boreal Ridge show in '85 was somewhat warm and miserable for a plethora of reasons. I was praised for getting us out of there before the end of the show. The University of Nevada in Reno '74 was windy and miserable. Must be something about that neck of the woods. I totally concur with opting out. I get anxious just thinking about 80 degrees anymore.
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Wow, Blair. Your ability to describe these places and scenes paints a vivid picture in my mind and whips my imagination into a frenzy. I wasn't there. I never saw Jerry play. Your ability to confirm my dreams of the shows is apreciated! Sick photos, too.
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Short and sweet: eight twenty-seven seventy-two. Seven twelve ninety. I recall driving back from one show at the Oakland Coliseum Arena.. a holiday show. We exited into a drenching rain, and it was a first rain, so the wheels of my car were slipping on the road as I crossed the upper deck of the Bay Bridge on my way home. Shoreline could get hot. Arizona? Forget about it!
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Well, nothing will ever beat Merriweather 6/20/83 as a "weather show" for me. I think it was, musically, the very best show I ever saw but I can't prove it. The recordings I've heard all sound "weird" and don't do it justice. The stories of apocalyptic rainstorm are not exaggerated, I assure you. Lighting strikes on the amphitheater, power outtage and recovery on Wharf Rat. Mud covered people slip-sliding all over the lawn. I read many people on the lawn tried to find cover next to the amphitheater- not us! It was just lovely. Like seeing an epic Dead show in a cosmic outdoor, warm shower. Afterwards, the bridge to the parking lot was flooded and they had to lead the post-concert herd through an alternate higher ground route. I always remember when we saw the flooded bridge some guy cried out "How do they expect us to get to our cars, man!" Classic! Then I witnessed for the first time of many, the phenomenon of a post-concert herd of Heads moving through a corridor, everyone making "moo, moo" sounds! This was a special case though, since we really were being "herded"! Next days show felt beautifully mellow, maybe not as special musically, but lots of nice sunshine drying everything out. Great memories.
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7/2/89 great show on a fire-hose day in Massachusetts. My sister-in-law was visiting us from Laos and got her chance to see the Grateful Dead-no translation needed.
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Someone asked about the Rubber Bowl in Akron in '86 w/Dylan. I don't remember it being especially hot. The show I do remember being hot was not even an outdoor show -- it was Binghamton in '79 (Broome County Arena). There was such a crush of people -- this was general admission -- that on the way in my feet didn't touch the ground for the last 100 or so yards. Then, I wormed my way to the front of the stage, but is was so hot and the pressure from everyone behind me so intense, that I had to eventually bail. I remember thinking that if they would let me leave the show from the front row, I would do it. But that of course was impossible, and I was able to eventually work my way back. Then they opened the second set with China>Rider, and all was forgiven!
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August 24th and 25th. What a setting to see JGB and Garcia Grisman up above Lake Tahoe, taking the chairlift up, and then running down the mountain at the end of the shows each evening. And there were a bunch of great bands there, los lobos and bela fleck and others! But the wind it was a howlin', and kicking up the dust, and in that goldcoast concert bowl, it was a swirling particulate fishbowl. My brother got something in his eyes and, despite the great scene and accompanying tunes, we had to bail early on day two.
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Seems every summer in the '80s, I was at some epic weather show: -Merriweather '83. As the previous poster detailed, this was by far the most epic weather Dead show ever. We were on the lawn for the entire show, and it literally poured rain the entire second set. But the rain was nothing compared to the lightning strikes throughout the set. Truckin' and Wharf Rat both experienced well timed power outages. Just weird, wacky. We spent the next day in the lots trying to dry out. In fact, they sent helicopters to attempt to "dry" the lawn (mud pit) before the second night show. And I remember the bridge to the venue being follded out, and the row of motorcycles underwater. Simply amazing. -Alpine Valley '88. Extremely hot and humid. We spent a lot of time on the path in the woods between the lots to try to get some shade. -RFK '86. The shows that "put Jerry in a coma". I vividly remember the fire hoses spraying the poor souls on the field (we opted for the upper decks), and it still being hot at night post drums. Incredibly hot and humid. -Buckeye Lake '88. Another scorcher. I believe the afternoon temps were 102. -Hershey Park, '85. At the other extreme: cool and rainy. Jerry wore a blue blazer! -Alpine Valley '89. Day 1 was warm and normal. Then that night, the front came in and it was cold and rainy the next two shows. My car got stuck in the mud in the lot when leaving after Day 3. Then there were the great weather (great temps, nice days/nights) outdoor shows: Alpine Valley '87, RFK '91, Merriweather '84 ('85 was decent, but overcast mostly if I recall) Of course, through all of this, I was much younger and could handle them. Nowadays, i don't think I could handle the scorchers.
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Well the weather outside was frightful. But the show was so delightful.
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Reading this sentence brought back a recurring dream that I just had again last night. In the dream Jerry returns to the band after disclosing that he faked his own death to get out of the spotlight for a while. Any interpretations out there other than the obvious wishful thinking?
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Great topic and conversation starter, Blair! Ugh, the hot East Coast Summers. I remember Summer of '86 seeing shows. Brutally hot. In particular the last show at RFK before Jery's coma. The temp was 100 degress and the humidity was 100% in gimey DC. The sky was cloudy and there was lightning in the distance. The whole thing felt totally ominous and the performance had to be the worst Grateful Dead show I ever saw. Something was wrong, you could feel it in the air....literally. It was hard to distinguish between the objective reality of the oppressive weather and the intuitive feeling that something was amiss. The sky looked green to me...was it just me? In Toronto '87 the sky was INCREDIBLE!!! The clouds and sky were definitely a different color (it was not just me this time). During Scarlet when Jerry sang "the sky was yellow and the sun was blue" I remember everyone looking around at each other and smiling in a moment of recognition...sky was not actually yellow, but close enough. Greek shows always had cool weather-ness. From the vantage of high on the hill watching the clouds float overhead towards SF. I seem to remember at least one crescent moon during Terrapin there.
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.....RFK stadium--73?? ,,,,,Wet Willie;Doug Sahm & band; Allman Bros.--first shows after Berry Oakly passed & the Dead--2 days of D.C. heat--mind blazin & all that---they hosed down the crowd at one point---nite came to for more boogie & cool things off---but the music was HOT!
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I realize this isn't about the Dead, but it's worth sharing. I saw the Allmans at Tinley Park in 1997, and the rain and lightning were incredibly powerful. It seemed as if the lightning strikes were timed with each of the crescendos in Jessica. The lightning looked as if it was striking right at the top of the lawn. I even remember someone from the band calling for all of us on the lawn to venture down into the pavillion. In this case, the storm, although completetly saturating me, added to the overall strength of a great show.
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Picked-up our tickets at a Ticketron outlet in Ridgewood, NJ a few weeks before the concert. The show was billed as the 'Summer's End Concert'. On the schedule with the Dead were the New Riders and Marshall Tucker. I was 16 and drove down to the site the night before the gig with 4 friends. Traffic to the site was thick and we parked on some guy's front lawn for $5 (a lot of coin in those days...). We walked to the site which was surrounded by double-stacked cargo shipping containers. When the gates opened - the wave of people to get in actually lifted our feet off the ground; and we just had to go with it and ride the wave into the concert site. It was probably around 4 in the morning. We staked out an area by the first set of towers closest to the stage. We bedded down to try to get a few winks. The day dawned with a bright sun. And it was a hot and humid New Jersey summer day. It was going to be a long haul... And by the end of the day we would all be roasted by the sun feeling gritty and grimy... But, it sure turned-out to be totally worth it. The New Riders were the first on - my recollection is that it was about 1:00 in the afternoon. I don't remember much about the Riders' set except that we were happy that the show was finally rolling. Next up Marshall Tucker - maybe 3 o'clock... They played their FM hits. They were well received, but we were all there for one reason. And, we were getting closer. Tensions and anticipation in the crowd were beginning to rise - the combined result of being confined to a small space in the midst of 125,000 people, a blazing hot humid day, and everyone chomping at the bit to see the Dead. The Dead finally came on about 5 or 6 o'clock. A sea of people sun-scorched and tired had new-found energy when John Scher introduced the band and they broke into Promised Land. During the first set as the sun began to drop below the trees during Friend of the Devil - the crowd really began to settle in - getting its second wind as the temperature cooled and the night air and psychedelics began to kick in. The first set highlights were an unbelievable Half-Step, Peggy-O and rocking Music Never Stopped to end the first set. Temperatures cooled and the crowd was rejuvenated. The second set began with Bertha-Good Lovin and the sea of people became one moving dancing wave. The energy that was zapped during the day had been fully restored. The second set closed with He's Gone > Not Fade Away > Truckin'. The playing during this jam was just amazing. And then a Terrapin encore. After the show - we wandered aimlessly for awhile in search of our wheels. We finally found it - don't ask how as we were all zonked. We ended up at a diner at 3 or 4 in the morning reliving what we had just experienced. What an adventure! The playing that September day is legendary - the band finally nailed the 'big-one'. And, I'm sure any dead Head worth his or her salt has experienced this show on tape and later CD as it was an FM broadcast and a Dick's Pick release... Pretty widely listened to; and pretty famous show in the band's annals.
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because i'm melting over here. well timed blog blair, as i write this response from long island, ny, whose summer swelter has begun in earnest this week. i don't camp, but i try to do one day each year at the vibes, usually the dead related day - so it looks like it's friday this year, and, not to be captain obvious, but the weather is always a factor. in fact, i haven't camped at the vibes in over a decade because of a weekend i had at one back in 2000, maybe 2001. It was not held Bridgeport, but on a farm in central new york, and was complicated from the get go. During july in central new york you really don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows, because it doesn't blow at all. it remains stagnant and hot all day until thunderstorms blow in any time between 3 and 5 o'clock. anything that breaks the heat was welcome when i was in my apartment in albany that summer, but when you're in the middle of a field and your only shelter is a thin fabric tent, vicious, unpredictable thunderstorms are not always a welcome respite to the heat. in fact i remember it being kind of scary, and though my tent was in a good spot and shape (kind of), there were plenty of tents that were basically submerged in water by the end of the storm, and this was on Friday while the festival ran until Sunday. Anyway, what killed the whole weekend is that most of the music got cancelled, only a few bands went on, and because of a curfew there were no late night performances. The whole weekend felt like a pressure cooker because there was no release to be had through the music; it was just way too many people that were too high stuck in a tough spot and expected to hold it together and not crack. Any other crowd and it would’ve turned into a Woodstock ’99 scene – furthur evidence that deadheads and hippies are good people. About three years ago, my friend and I were driving up to the vibes in seaside park when a storm of apocalyptic proportions rolled through. The clouds were angry and had lightning dancing in them; traffic came to a standstill as we were inundated by this deluge. It lasted maybe twenty minutes, but it was one of the worst I can remember driving though. Upon arrival we waited in line in ankle deep water for our tickets/bracelet. The rest of the day was perfect weather wise and in all other aspects. I talked to a camper who told me that he and his entire group held onto a tarp that morning for dear life that covered all their stuff while, and he swore it was going to tear (he was a roofer, he’d seen it happen before) or get blown out of their hands taking a few fingers with it. He was a cool dude, he had his baby in her carriage and a flask full of crown royal that hit the spot during phil’s set. I digress… Also, I think I missed an entire phil and friends show down here at jones beach once because I was sitting up high in the nosebleeds and the wind was blowing strong. If there’s ever an east coast venue where bad weather can ruin a show it’s jones beach. On a good day it’s a great place to be, on a rainy or windy day, the sound is affected negatively to say the least. p.s. – on a related note, though different band – beg pardon folks - phish just played their annual deer creek run, now called the klipsch music center, and on Friday the band issued a statement over facebook, twitter, etc. of a weather advisory saying that temperatures were expected to hit 110 degrees, the hottest day in Indiana since the 1930’s
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11 years 2 months
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Does anyone know what happened to him? Obviously in some sort of health crisis....
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6 years 11 months
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This was a recently logged field for a parking lot and absolutely no shade in most spots. One memory I have is sitting comfortably on the ground at the wall being one of the first in the show that day and Little Feet came out early to sound check and the crowd of course thought the show was starting and crushed the stage so we spent almost an hour and a half like packed Sardines. I watched many people go over the wall the day from dehydrations and other. We were lucky because the stage put us in the shade but 20 feet back was an oven. Someone got wise in security and they started bringing cases of water and tossing them out and someone got a hose and that was heaven.
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8 years 9 months
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I attended only 6/25 (not extremely memorable...obviously, missed 6/26). I DO remember the heat. On the drive out to the show, the radio report said it was 115 degrees at the airport. It was hot. Very, very hot. It was hot. Really hot.
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which I remember being a pretty darn hot day, but the location was such that you could always go in the trees to get away from it too. Oregon Country Fairgrounds, little piece of heaven... But what I especially remember was walking out in the dark through the trees with the crowd after the show, in the light of a colossal moon. Just gorgeous.
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9 years 10 months
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It poured and poured for a lot of the 5 night run. I'd do anything for those rains to hit Colorado now!! What a brutal summer it's been already. Hotter and drier than hell (literally). It's a miracle that the Mishawaka is still standing. God bless all the fire fighters and my hearts go out to the folks who lost their homes. ((((((Cool Colorado Rain))))))
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8 years 7 months
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From the 7 Walkers website:"Due to unfortunate circumstances, 7 Walkers is forced to postpone their upcoming shows this weekend at Mishawaka and State Bridge, and the show next week at Pink Garter Theatre. Band member Papa Mali is recovering from a routine procedure which has limited his ability to perform. His full recovery is expected and the band looks forward to seeing you later this Summer!"
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10 years 10 months
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I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the Rain-Song show at Cal Expo in 91. Despite living in Sacramento at the time, I was comically unprepared for any kind of precipitation. I remember having a sweatshirt at one point before the show. In any case, the band proved that they were actually aware of the environment beyond backstage by opening the second set with five consecutive rain songs: beginning with the Cal Expo staple Cold Rain and Snow and ending with Estimated Prophet if you count "I'll call down thunder..." as rain-related, and I do. And there may have been more, who knows? Studies have shown that 62% of GD songs mention rain, wind, or both.
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11 years 5 months
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considering that one EXPECTED to bake in the sun at Cal Expo, it's funny that we got rain there more than once; I seem to remember rain there in '94, too.
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Weather was certainly a big factor in how I remember a lot of my out of town and travel experiences with the Dead, I love the posts about Merriwether '83 (though I was inside and safe), Englishtown, and others. At The Greek, I loved seeing sun and fog and dust and beautiful skies. On every trip West to see the Dead though, I was reminded that westerners cherish their space. I did not like that floor space at the Greek, for example, could be reserved for those whose friends got in line early, in order to cover the floor with their 6'x6' blankets and reserve space. Could I not stand behind the blanket people? between or on rear section of blankets? I got on line pretty early, but East coast guys -- we had no blankets, just a bad rap as floor crashers or people who didn't respect personal space, I guess. In Vegas, mellowed out locals complained vehemently to clear the aisle of a concrete stadium, under pretense of fire hazard. Source of great fun and laughter for us, but a pain in the ass, vibe would not improve for us or them until we moved on.
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10 years 9 months
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Four shows in five days at Alpine with temps hovering near 100. Went to lake Geneva to cool off on the off day. Then back near my home town of Columbus for Buckeye Lake. I was so spent physically and mentally by then I barely made it through the day and actually considered skipping the show the next night in Pittsburgh but went and was glad. Air conditioning never felt as good inside the old Igloo that night.
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There were always temptations to NOT go to a show because of weather or fatigue or whatever. But somehow we always dragged our sorry asses to the show and usually managed to dance like crazy. I don't think I ever regretted going to a show after the fact. Was always glad I went. Boreal was close, but we had such a great time AFTER the show, sitting by Donner Lake there in the mountains late into the night, telling stories about the Donner Party eating each other, watching distant trains cross the mountains... It let us forget the show, the obnoxious drunk crowd, the heat, the whole unpleasant thing...
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This show was toasty! The weather and the music. So toasty that as the cars slowly drove through the main drive getting into the place I could hear the tires peeling themselves off of the blacktop also while looking in any direction Id see that wave of vapor warp on the horizon. The entire band was clad in shorts. It was about 113' degrees and extremely humid. There were water hoses in use for people to "chill out". Very good show with a Cold Rain opener as well as a nice 1/2 Step and Loose Lucy in set 1. Set 2 featured Victim>Foolish>Little Light and a very long meandering Scarlet>Fire. The set ended with a great version of Stella Blue>Sugar Magnolia. Weather was in the air and everywhere, including the setlist, boys ended with U.S. Blues(4th of July tradition). This one would make a good release unless the tapes just melted in that sauna!
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11 years 2 months
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Blair, that is a funny image of recounting the Donner party's exploits after the show. There is in fact a Donner Party memorial picnic site over there somewhere. I saw it on a little Donner tour I did back in 1995. Whoever named a picnic site after the Donner party sure had a wonderful sense of humor.
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11 years 4 months
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"Pocket" poncho (which is to say, garbage bag with a hood) accompanied me to outdoor events for close to a decade. "Lucky" because, whatever the forecast, however likely a deluge seemed to be, I never once had to peel the sucker out of its pouch to keep me dry. Some major mojo there, folks, as it saw me through scores of concerts, ballgames, fairs and parades. Ain't nobody rainin' on this guy's good times! And I guess it was a good thing that I never had to use it. One day while caught in my car during a downpour, I fished it out of my glove box figuring that if there was ever a time of need, this was it. I opened the bag, pulled out the poncho and began to unfold it, only to have it disintegrate into little bits of plastic. Sure was fun while it lasted...
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At the Saratoga 6/13/83 show it threatened rain. During intermission the sky lit up with intense heat lightning with no rain or thunder. The Dead came out for set 2 and with the sky on fire broke into one of the most electric Scarlet Fires ever heard. The lightning was adding an incredible amount of intensity to the crowd and the band. After drums they broke into The Wheel, "If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will". The place went nuts. Morning Dew was one for the ages. Phil was more than making up for the lack of thunder and Jerry was as electric as you'll ever see him. Alot of electricity that night.
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for that time at the Henry J when it was freezing cold and pouring rain, and Bill Graham decided to take pity on us and open the doors a little early. If I recall correctly, half of us hadn't gotten over the NYE flu yet as it was...
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6 years 8 months
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113 degrees in the shade at the Sam Boyd in Las Vegas takes the top spot as THE heat show. What were they thinking when they scheduled that? Did everybody really survive? I can't even imagine being out in that kind of sun for any length of time, never mind partying. Think I would have been drinking gatorade with shots of EmergenC every now and again (electrolytes & vitamins) all day. Bonner Springs may have been second (or actually won based on the combined heat index) . Neither of these have been checked against the historical record for the days in question but when people come up with specific numbers you tend to believe them. I guess with those kinds of extremes I never went to a show that was more than a tad toasty...
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...you know what the desert apologists say: "But its a DRY heat." Scorching heat plus humidity is worse IMO--it's like somebody is standing on your lungs AND holding a lighter on your skin.
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6 years 11 months
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Don't remember if it was 84 or 85 but there was something like 7in of rain in 4 hours. It felt like the louder we cheered, the harder it rained. One memory was the mud slide that turned up on the side of the hill. As I was trying to find a ride back to NH I here this loud discussion with someone saying "you are not getting in my car, I don't care, you can walk" Turned out there were two who had decided to partake in the mud slide without thinking about the effects of the mud. Almost had to hitchhike home when someone spotted me and asked who I was riding with. I took a ride to the show and found out half way through Vermont that he was not going back to NH
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Never saw a show in the snow . . . I'd imagine that'd be a bit hard for the boys, but I'd still be completely game for it! Rochester June, 1988 Silver stadium -- minor league baseball park -- sunshower at opening coming in off of Lake Ontario -- Box of Rain ("Sun and shower, wind and rain . . ." > Cold Rain & Snow (Jerry in gray blazer . . . which he shed for the 2nd set . . . back to the ole tried and true black T). Green Onions> China/Rider. Pretty cool. Also, only time I saw "Believe it or not" which I really dug! (believe it or not . . . ;-)
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10 years 9 months
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Heading to Pawsox stadium-McCoy Stadium in RI to see Furthur. gonna be another hot day on the eastcoast. New memories to be made and future stories to be told.
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7 years 7 months
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What a place.......the infield would get like a swamp after any rain fall...the bathrooms could get at least 2 inches of ???? after a rain storm...I remember a Yes concert there after such a down pour .....A young miss dressed to the hilts in white halter and pants made her way through the stands towards the infield .......her comment to me and my friends was " I'm going to meet the band " the way she was dressed , well lets just say it wouldn't be a problem......We told her that it might be tough going through the field in those heels.....She was determined .....she climbed the railing and lost her balance..she fell....into a mud puddle ......got up and continued towards the stage..... I suppose to complete her quest......I guess you just had to be there....I had a lot fun times there seeing Pink Floyd , Eagles, Faces and of course the Dead......its a shame the place no longer exists........
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...definitely had a certain grimy grandeur. The GD sure played well there. The 7/18/72 and 8/1/73 shows I went to there both stand out among the best early shows I saw. (I only saw two shows each in '72 and '73). Always felt slightly in fear for my life there, though...Bad neighborhood, chaotic line scene. I saw Pink Floyd there in June '73, too. My memory has just conjured up a large model plane on a wire crashing into the stage during some PF song, but it's possible I'm confusing that with some other PF show--or some other band in another place for that matter. Can't think of why it would have been at a PF show offhand...
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7 years 7 months
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Yes indeed it was Pink Floyd with the airplane ......I believe it was to start the Dark Side of the Moon part.....Us and Them...Time....maybe???......The cops would not let people hang out after shows......they weren't forceful but they made sure you got the message to "Be on your way!!!!".....
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11 years 4 months
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A couple of friends and I are going to the Furthur show in Philly on 7/7. It's supposed to be 100 on Saturday with the threat of severe thunder showers. Our seats are UNcovered. It'll be visions of our younger days at Giants & RFK Stadiums in July for sure!Joey P
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11 years 5 months
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...how your buddy vaporized when hit by lightning...how Bob slipped onstage and fell on his ass...how John k. had to kayak onto the stage for set two!
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  • marye
    6 years 4 months ago
    I've gotta say
    I'm looking forward to the recordings I hope will exist of Weir/Hornsby/Marsalis, since I will definitely be on the wrong coast regardless.
  • darkstartheoth…
    6 years 4 months ago
    Thanks Blair.
    Glad to hear it as I like reading them and just wanted to make sure that I hadn't missed something.
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    blairj
    6 years 4 months ago
    No blog...
    ...just took the week off for a short summer break...If John Stewart can do it, so can I!
  • gratefaldean
    6 years 4 months ago
    Cary, Byerly
    I've got pit tix too, had planned on hanging there for the first set and maybe wandering out a bit for the second. We'll see! The heat has broken in these parts, but the weather doesn't look great with thunderstorms in the forecast and, of course, no cover (aside from trees) at the venue. I also got a couple of messages saying no vending in the lot, not surprising at the Koka Booth. Showtime at 6:30? Is that for real?
  • darkstartheoth…
    6 years 4 months ago
    New blog?
    I was wondering why no new blog this week?