• January 22, 2013
    http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-stories-ever-told/greatest-stories-ever-told-i-need-miracle
    Greatest Stories Ever Told - "I Need A Miracle"

    By David Dodd

    I distinctly remember, when we heard that the Grateful Dead would be the musical guests on Saturday Night Live, back in 1978, discussing with my roommates what we could expect in the way of song selection for the show. Would they do a selection of “greatest hits” (“Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band…”) or would they go for surprises? I predicted they would play their latest attempt at a top-40-friendly song, “I Need a Miracle,” from the just-released “Shakedown Street” LP. And yes, they did play a greatest hit—“Casey Jones,” but they also played “I Need a Miracle.”

    Seemed like a future “greatest hit” to me! It had a big, catchy hook, and a memorable refrain. It had hyperbole. It was rock and roll.

    That album, “Shakedown Street,” produced a few tunes with staying power in the ongoing live repertoire, most notably, of course, the title track, which turned into something really special. But the over-the-top lyrics of “I Need a Miracle,” along with what became a link to an ongoing tradition, has its own long-term appeal. And it, too, stayed in permanent rotation through the duration of their career, with the longest hiatus in performance being a 43-show gap from late summer 1982 to early summer 1983, for a total of 271 performances.

    So: here’s the plan—each week, I will blog about a different song, focusing, usually, on the lyrics, but also on some other aspects of the song, including its overall impact—a truly subjective thing. Therefore, the best part, I would hope, would not be anything in particular that I might have to say, but rather, the conversation that may happen via the comments over the course of time. With Grateful Dead lyrics, there’s always a new and different take on what they bring up for each listener, it seems.

    When I built the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics website, I actually did not even bother to annotate “I Need a Miracle.” It doesn’t have much in the way of the kind of literary or historical references that are the bread and butter of annotations. Really, the lyrics seem to me to be something Barlow might have written to one-up the image of women in other Dead songs, notably in “Sugar Magnolia.” Or it may have been an attempt to get away with the kind of sexism that doomed “Money Money” from the get-go.

    “Miracle” seems light-hearted and self-aware—the character singing the song (and I do think it’s a character singing, not the persona of Weir, or of Barlow…) seems to be making fun of himself. “I need a woman ’bout twice my weight…a ton of fun who packs a gun with all her other freight.” I mean—what? And “It takes dynamite to get me up….too much of everything is just enough.” A nice turn of phrase. The miraculous is synonymous with the excessive, the transcendent with the hyperbolic and overblown.

    “I Need a Miracle” signs by Deadheads.

    But, despite the sense of the lyrics on the face of it, what “Miracle” did was to put something into Grateful Dead culture, just by way of introducing the word: miracle. I wonder who the first Deadhead was who thought of making a sign saying “I need a miracle,” and putting a finger in the air outside a show, asking for a ticket. But it soon became commonplace, and “miracle” became code for a last-minute, sometimes free ticket. I had the pleasure of giving out a miracle ticket a few times, and I have also received them, and it does feel miraculous, from both ends—giving and receiving.

    Beyond that, though, and bigger, is how the word “miracle,” in common use, gave us a way of thinking (and sometimes talking) about what went on onstage. Being open to something miraculous occurring in performance had always been a part of the Dead’s playing. The X Factor, as it was sometimes called, was present when the music was playing the band. The idea of “needing a miracle every day” seems at first borderline ridiculous, but over time, maybe it seems less so, and even something to be expected. Certainly, from my own experience, the Dead delivered a miracle more often than not. And I became more open to finding the miraculous in daily life.

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By David Dodd

I distinctly remember, when we heard that the Grateful Dead would be the musical guests on Saturday Night Live, back in 1978, discussing with my roommates what we could expect in the way of song selection for the show. Would they do a selection of “greatest hits” (“Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band…”) or would they go for surprises? I predicted they would play their latest attempt at a top-40-friendly song, “I Need a Miracle,” from the just-released “Shakedown Street” LP. And yes, they did play a greatest hit—“Casey Jones,” but they also played “I Need a Miracle.”

Seemed like a future “greatest hit” to me! It had a big, catchy hook, and a memorable refrain. It had hyperbole. It was rock and roll.

That album, “Shakedown Street,” produced a few tunes with staying power in the ongoing live repertoire, most notably, of course, the title track, which turned into something really special. But the over-the-top lyrics of “I Need a Miracle,” along with what became a link to an ongoing tradition, has its own long-term appeal. And it, too, stayed in permanent rotation through the duration of their career, with the longest hiatus in performance being a 43-show gap from late summer 1982 to early summer 1983, for a total of 271 performances.

So: here’s the plan—each week, I will blog about a different song, focusing, usually, on the lyrics, but also on some other aspects of the song, including its overall impact—a truly subjective thing. Therefore, the best part, I would hope, would not be anything in particular that I might have to say, but rather, the conversation that may happen via the comments over the course of time. With Grateful Dead lyrics, there’s always a new and different take on what they bring up for each listener, it seems.

When I built the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics website, I actually did not even bother to annotate “I Need a Miracle.” It doesn’t have much in the way of the kind of literary or historical references that are the bread and butter of annotations. Really, the lyrics seem to me to be something Barlow might have written to one-up the image of women in other Dead songs, notably in “Sugar Magnolia.” Or it may have been an attempt to get away with the kind of sexism that doomed “Money Money” from the get-go.

“Miracle” seems light-hearted and self-aware—the character singing the song (and I do think it’s a character singing, not the persona of Weir, or of Barlow…) seems to be making fun of himself. “I need a woman ’bout twice my weight…a ton of fun who packs a gun with all her other freight.” I mean—what? And “It takes dynamite to get me up….too much of everything is just enough.” A nice turn of phrase. The miraculous is synonymous with the excessive, the transcendent with the hyperbolic and overblown.

“I Need a Miracle” signs by Deadheads.

But, despite the sense of the lyrics on the face of it, what “Miracle” did was to put something into Grateful Dead culture, just by way of introducing the word: miracle. I wonder who the first Deadhead was who thought of making a sign saying “I need a miracle,” and putting a finger in the air outside a show, asking for a ticket. But it soon became commonplace, and “miracle” became code for a last-minute, sometimes free ticket. I had the pleasure of giving out a miracle ticket a few times, and I have also received them, and it does feel miraculous, from both ends—giving and receiving.

Beyond that, though, and bigger, is how the word “miracle,” in common use, gave us a way of thinking (and sometimes talking) about what went on onstage. Being open to something miraculous occurring in performance had always been a part of the Dead’s playing. The X Factor, as it was sometimes called, was present when the music was playing the band. The idea of “needing a miracle every day” seems at first borderline ridiculous, but over time, maybe it seems less so, and even something to be expected. Certainly, from my own experience, the Dead delivered a miracle more often than not. And I became more open to finding the miraculous in daily life.

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I distinctly remember, when we heard that the Grateful Dead would be the musical guests on Saturday Night Live, back in 1978, discussing with my roommates what we could expect in the way of song selection for the show. Would they do a selection of “greatest hits” (“Truckin’,” “Uncle John’s Band…”) or would they go for surprises? I predicted they would play their latest attempt at a top-40-friendly song, “I Need a Miracle,” from the just-released “Shakedown Street” LP. And yes, they did play a greatest hit—“Casey Jones,” but they also played “I Need a Miracle.”

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and greetings to deadnet. I was interested in your first blog post and really did not know who you were, so I searched your name and found out you are with the library at santa cruz, did the annotated GD lyrics website and a deadhead too, how cool. Glad to see you here and good luck with this blog, hope you are as successful as Blair was with his. I too have given and received Miracle tickets, it is an awesome feeling. Peace
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is the process by which "I Need A Miracle" transitioned from "I need a ticket to a sold-out gig and I'm willing to pay for it" to "Give me your ticket for free." In my early experience, it seemed to be more the former, but after Alice Kahn (she who coined the term "yuppie"), quoting my friend Paul Hoffman, published an article saying "I Need A Miracle=I Want A Free Ticket," that was pretty much it.
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About 20 years ago, I worked for a guy named Andy Maricle, whose wife was named Annie, and they had two daughters named Amy and Angela. At the time I worked for Andy, Annie was pregnant with their third child. I suggested that if the baby was a girl, they should name her Anita, but they didn't like the sound of Anita Maricle, so they went with Amelia instead.
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I'm with Marye - I would love to know more about that transition. I can only remember 2 shows for which I did not have a ticket where I was unable to score and got shut out - but I was willing to pay face or more. I have on other occasions given my ticket away for nothing or at a greatly reduced price to someone in need. After a while, it seemed there was almost a sense of entitlement among the ticketless for any extras, and that turned me off completely. At one particular show (not the Dead), some guy was actually angry that I wanted face value for my extra seat. I said something along the lines of how could he expect me to want to sit next to him and I went in and ate the ticket. And I felt bad once I got inside, which sucked.
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Nice to be welcomed. I'm not at UC Santa Cruz, but they have kindly hosted my website for many years now, since 1998! Looking forward to hearing everyone's take on the songs.
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Hi Mary--Wow, I didn't know about her article on the topic. Gotta dig that up. And you're right, I think there was a transition, but you have to admit that it is miraculous either way....
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(where she also premiered "yuppie"), around the time of the first BCT run, I think. Pre-Internet, of course. Paul probably has a copy still.
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As a long-time fan of the Annotated Lyrics project, I look forward to reading these blog entries! The transformation of "I Need A Miracle" to "Give Me A Free Ticket" is a sad wonder. I know looking back that I went to a sold-out Deer Creek show in '93 (weren't they *ALL* sold-out shows in those days?) two days after college graduation and I made an "I Just Graduated College And I Need A Miracle Really Badly" sign and didn't get in. In retrospect, I should have made a "Cash For Your Extra" sign because, let's face it, at some point the vernacular shifted and those of us who were still using "Miracle" to mean "Please Sell Me Your Extra And It Will Be A Miracle To Get Into A Sold Out Show" were usurped by those who meant "Free Please"... And now, of course, most shows are not sold out, so fingers in the air only mean one thing: I'd like one for less. (I should note that I often put my finger in the air if I'm selling at a show, typically with the intention of interfacing with someone who might want to trade a ticket for something I'm selling because at $70 / ticket, exorbitant gas and lodging costs, dwindling crowds and less income from vending, it's tough to do a whole tour and go in for full price every night, but I make an effort to avoid offering someone less than what they paid for a ticket. Rather, I say I'll give more than face in trade because my cost of goods is low enough that trades are still a better deal for me than paying out of pocket.) The lyrical sentiment of needing a miracle every day has remained in my heart, though. The Dead always brought with them a sense of wonder and with that, a belief that the magical and miraculous was not only possible but entirely probable. I'll always appreciate that they made an effort to cultivate that.
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Like peeling away at an artichoke. Gettin' down to the heart of it.The majority of the song seems like a vehicle to get to the title. "I need a miracle" seems like the destination. Many applications. Another song comes to mind, but I'll wait for you to call it Dave. Oh, and welcome aboard. Love the theme.
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Really excited that you are picking up right where Mr. Jackson left off. I read you annotated lyric book almost on a daily basis while listening to GD. P.S. I never got an answer back as to why Salt Lake City was not included in the annotated lyric book?
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Thanks, all, for the nice words of welcome. I plan to do my best to elicit our stories as they might relate to the songs. That's something I see as a rich vein to be mined. I know I have some stories...and already I see that the people who will read this blog have stories, too. It's hard to follow in the footsteps of an amazing writer like Blair, who has been a major inspiration for me over the years. He has a way of communicating his love of the music, and of being an enthusiast, rather than a "critic," which I just love. So I will be pretty much in the way of an enthusiast. Some specific responses: mustin321: I will just say, about SLC, that I don't THINK (and I don't have my source material handy...) that the Dead actually ever performed the song as a song--I know they did the instrumental, but did they ever actually sing the lyrics in a GD show? That was kind of a requirement for the Annotated Lyrics. Someone asked me offline if I will take requests for particular songs to be featured. Definitely!!! That would be a big help for me, actually. Right now, I am only planning about one song ahead. Mary E: Remember "Police on a joy ride"? Of course you do. Shady Backflash: What a nice post! Pretty much gets it for me--in terms of having an ongoing sense of wonder. That is core to my way of being in the world, and the Dead get a good portion of the credit. Keep the comments, personal stories, and questions coming!
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I don't think any band rocked harder than the Dead on Miracle, especially early on in '78 and '79. I was a convert. I loved the late '78 tapes, I loved the Miracle > Shakedown from Springfield '79. The tune was just perfect for the times, the tours, the situation. It was clear by the mid 70s that the Dead would pull us along with them when few of their peers would or could. Crazy good times, and it's captured in one handy song.
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Ol' Alice wasn't as snarky about the scene as was fashionable at the time, as I recall. She seemed to be making a good effort to be a nice tourist in our world.
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I would love to hear more of your story as time goes by. For what it's worth, that song became our theme song as cooks when we were jammin on the line and needed a "Bud" brake. Through 33 shows I only got a this song a couple of times. I remember face value for a ticket being the norm till about 86 when the scalpers starting catching on to the scene. Paid 90 bucks for a 3rd night show and swore I would never do that again and so far I have not. I have miracled a couple people bust mostly trade for goods.
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According to Archive, it was played once with lyrics on 2-21-95 in Salt Lake city. I just think its interesting that I can still find songs that GD played maybe once or twice. I just recently got Dicks Picks 35 which has Pigpens "Empty Pages," which is awesome and also in the book. Is it a miracle that those houseboat tapes lasted that long?
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another take on "keep on truckin" resilience in the face of cosmic adversity
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I was a big fan of SNL and never missed a show (well, at least until Belushi and Ackroyd left). I had yet to get into the Dead so I knew very little about them other than the standard radio airplay. When they finished up the song and went to commercial break I was struck by the exhuberance and enthusiasm the studio audience displayed! It was an appreciation above and beyond what you would expect from your average rock n' roll fans and definitely sounded like the folks there were having a real good time, geez it almost sounded like a zoo! Little did I realize.... Only once have I ever 'miracled' anyone and that instance was purely unintentional. Y'see, this one time while heading to the front gate, I was re-arranging the contents of my pockets to make them frisk-worthy and I dropped my ticket. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) So, if any of you folks out there ever found a ticket on the ground in the parking lot at Hershey '85, I just wanna say, 'you're welcome'. :D
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lyrically "i need a miracle" has always been a contradiction to me. a contradiction in that the verses come across as a ridiculous story of "grateful dead (or insert any rock and roll band) excesses and extravagances" of the late 70's, i.e. - "we'll go into the book and break each and every law," "find her in a sideshow, leave her in L.A., ride her like a surfer on a tidal wave," and "it takes dynamite to get me up, too much of everything is just enough," and the chorus is an almost zen-like mantra that can be muttered to oneself in moments of synchronicity, where everything comes together seemingly spontaneously and just the way it needed to for things to work out. i guess over time the mantra of the chorus is what shined through as the important message, and the verses could be glossed over while dancing one's ass of to this rollicking and rocking number. i would recommend to any who haven't heard them to check out the ones played in the fall of '78 - specifically from the "from eqypt with love" shows in oct of '78 at the winterland, and the one from new year's '78 is awesome as well - not coincidentally they both feature Lee Oskar on the harmonica. in a community of people who either actively seek explanations for the moments of synchronicity, or who are just aware enough to recognize them, the chorus to this song is kind of a perfect summation of those moments. that being said, i have no idea when it turned into a polite way to ask for a $20 ticket to a $70 show, or just for a free ticket. as a post jerry head, that element had been there since day 1 for me, and i just accepted it as part of the scene. i understand not being able to get into a show or two and trying, but to never buy a ticket at full price to support the band that you claim to love so that they can afford to put on the shows that i, and many others, go to at every chance we get, doesn't make any sense to me. in fact the ticket-less hordes who wander parking lots in search of a freebie are a drain on the scene to me - i don't like feeling like people are looking at me like i'm a "sucker custie," and not a true head because i'm not driving hours without a ticket to the show. i would recommend checking out the film "festival express" to anyone who hasn't seen it. there's a scene in it where jerry is talking about the frustration of dealing with crowds who think that all these shows should be for free, and for the people, even though it costs the bands and the promoters a lot of money to put the shows on. so the ticket-less hordes existed as far back as 1970. also, one last thing before i go. a cautionary tale of handing out miracles to shows in this modern age. last april on the first night of Furthur's run at the Beacon Theatre, during the setbreak my friend and are chatting with the guy who's sitting next to us. he tells us that he is frustrated because some dude was escorted to the empty seat next to him, he asked the guy where he got the ticket, and he said "some girl sold it to him for $80 outside." turns out the dude my friend and i had been talking to had miracled the ticket to a girl outside, and instead of coming into the show, she went and sold it for cash. the following night, i had an extra ticket and sold it for face value only to see the guys i sold the ticket to re-selling it later for a higher price. no good deed goes unpunished
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now that's just rude, to scalp your miracle ticket! Indeed, even before the In the Dark era, which changed things a good deal, there were quite a few shows that were in such high demand and sold out so quickly (the Greek, the Frost, NYE, and assorted tour venues) that there were hordes of people who would regard the ability to buy a non-counterfeit ticket at full retail as a miracle. Always seemed that way to me, and it was always at such shows that I first saw people parading around with miracle signs. But it changed for sure.
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Kudos to David D for steppin up to the plate for us lonely deadheads here in cyberspace.Thanks again to Blair for the last few years of blogs to allow use deadies to vent and pontificate about the greatest group in history. I Need A Miracle ( or how I was gifted with at ticket at Frost amphitheater at Stanford in Palo Alto, CA in 1983.) Heard that the boys were doin' a show at Stanford, since we were over the hill in Santa Cruz it was a quick trip, we piled in the car and hit a liquor store in Palo Alto then arrived late for the ending of the first set. Milled around, held a boombox for a fencejumper who wimpped out at the last minute, then as the boys return for the second set we are strollin' by the main gate area when my friend and I are accosted by a guy who states "Hey ! Wanna go in to the show ?, Here. Take these tickets. Now you can't sell them or trade them. So just head on in to the show." "Uh. Okay." So the next day I hitch a ride over the hill and arrive about a half hour before the show starts. I wander around checkin' out the scene and as the boys begin to jam, I begin my circuit of the amphitheater. As I return to the main gate area, I notice a guy by the ticket booth, that is in a roped off area, and he comes out of the ropes near me so I ask, "Hey, got any miracles ?", and he's like, all gruff and mean soundin', "What ?" "How Many ?", and I'm, like, "Just one for me, dude", he then proceeds to pull a stack of about 50 tickets from his pocket and gives me one. Some others are near enough to notice and he gives away three more. Then he puts them away and wanders off lookin' like he's lookin' for the miracle" Great show Double Encore and the announcement that the Dead would be playin' in Watsonville in Sept. Many other miracle stories in my travels with the Dead but that was the first.
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I forgot the best part. On the tickets were the words "Complimentary". A true miracle ticket from the band.
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Our family has been going to the Strawberry Music Festival for many years. Last year, my 19-year-old son had a friend who needed a ticket, and we were unable to get one for him, but he made it to the festival anyway - my son said that someone "miracled" him a ticket. I said, "Do you know where that term comes from?" He didn't, so I got to educate him a little. I do a similar thing with my gay friends who think that "We are everywhere" started with the gay community. And you know those bumper stickers that say "Hugs not Drugs?" Yep, we started that too, but our Deadhead message was worded a bit less judgmentally: "Hugs are better than drugs."
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Stop me if you've heard this one already.... :D The first year at Deer Creek proved to be a very tough ticket to get, at least in my circles, as it had sold out quickly. We went there anyway because some of our crew had tix, and we were all going on to Alpine after that. When we got there I think they were even denying access to the parking lot for the ticketless if I remember right, so we were forced to park alongside a cornfield outside the venue along with a bunch of other unlucky individuals and started our search. I don't think we had been there more than half an hour when some guy, who appeared to be attached with the venue, shows up with a handful of tickets and says, "I'll sell you all tickets as long as you move your cars". The only other time I ever showed up to a venue ticketless was the second night in New Haven '83, but that's another story....
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The only time i ever did not have tickets was in Worcester Ma. April 87. For what ever reason the box office did not have those few that they save back and thats when I paid $80 for a ticket from a scalper. I saw him and they were $60 bucks and thought I could do better and next time I saw him (15 mins later) I balked and he said "I'm going around that corner and they will $100. Paid than man and then told him I hope he gets robbed" Never would I go to a show without tickets unless it was in my back yard and I would go hang out but never would I go driving miles
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I associated the whole miracle thing as much or more with Garcia's cover of Bruce Cockburn's "Waiting for a Miracle."
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I hate to be a complainer but I think this should be known to everyone out there thinking about buying something from Dead.net. On October 29th, 2012, I ordered 3 road trips from the website. ( Road Trips 1.1, 1.4, & 2.4) and my order was cancelled today and I was given no reason at all. It might be a different situation if these were sold out but you can still go on the website (right now) and "purchase" any of these three road trips. I understand supply and demand and all of that but how can they get away with this? 3 months?!?!? I know it wont happen but I wish we could go on strike and not order anything from this website at all, whether it be stickers, CD's, buttons, shirts, anything! They shouldn't be able to get away with this. I would maybe understand if it was a week later but 3 months and then all of a sudden...oh...by the way...your order is cancelled...have a nice day. Well, fuck that. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing and, unfortunately, Im worried this is only the beginning. SEND ME MY ORDERS OR DONT POST THAT THEY ARE IN STOCK AND WILL SHIP WITHIN 2-3 DAYS!!!
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I was glad to see the other comments here about the shift from paying for that miracle ticket to expecting a freebie. It always bothered me that some people felt entitled to a handout. I attended one show in DC back in the early '80s and actually had an extra ticket due to a friend not being able to make it. A guy with his finger in the air (but no sign) was asking everyone that passed if they had an extra ticket. I stopped, said yes, for face value. He then gave me the "Duuuude, I don't have any money" line. I said "So you're looking for a handout rather than a miracle?" Got a few laughs from the people around us as he walked away. As I got closer to the entrance I passed another person with finger in air and miracle sign. I noticed he also had some homemade tie-dye shirts with him. Again I mentioned having one and wanting to sell it for face value. The guy was ecstatic, started pulling out bills, some change, and was asking if I'd take a shirt or two towards the amount. I took a $5 bill and a shirt and said "A beer and a cool shirt will work for me, enjoy the show" and handed him the ticket. What a great feel-good vibe for both of us as we walked in.
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The best Miracle tix I ever gave out were for the Grateful Dead's final show, in Chicago. I had 20th row seats for both Saturday and Sunday and, having seen how poorly Jerry was playing, and just having gotten back from vacation, I went to their hotel in the hopes of an autograph from Jerry. He left the hotel alone, later than the rest of the band. We shared an elevator ride to the ground floor and talked about art, the Art Institute and our favorite paintings and artists. The elevator opened and I asked him to sign my "Bear's Choice" album previously signed by Bobby and Phil. He did, after asking whether I was "a pro." When I assured him I was not, he signed it, I said "have a good show" and he went off to do his final concert ever. With that, I went to Soldier Field and found a couple that I thought would enjoy a couple Miracle tickets. I don't know who they were, but I'm glad they got them. A great, and sad, day all around.
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Drove to D.C with two friends, we all had tix for the first night. One friend did not have one for the 26th.After coming up empty I decided to sell my official mail order ticket and hang out with my friend on the lawn outside. A young hippie girl was waving her finger so I told her there was a ticket available. I showed her the ticket and she said "what the heck is this". I said it doesn't get any more official than that, at which point she thought it was for free. Face value I said. She reluctantly coughed up the dough, and without as much as a thank you, walked away. Had a great time slurping jello shots and smoking the mean green and listening to the show from the lawn just outside the venue. The sound was very clear. A couple of feet to the left or right made all the difference. Had a blast the first night taking photos right between Bobby and Jerry. The photo of Jerry that you see under my name is from that show. Actually Jerry on stage with Sting. While I'm at it, did anyone out there get accosted by that beast in August '94 at the Meadowlands who was trying to scrape up bail money for her "friend". Downright vicious, I thought she was gonna kick my ass when I said "Sorry I can't spare anything today". Called me an f-ing liar among other colorful accusations. Sad occasion.
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Back in November 1990, the band's last date on the European tour, and, as it turned out, their last ever European gig, I was wandering around the yard outside Wembley Arena before the gig looking at the make-shift merchandise stalls, and people kept coming up to me asking if I had tickets for sale. I was puzzled, then it struck me -- because I don't look like the average Dead-head they assumed that I was a ticket-tout. I only had my own ticket, and I wasn't going to sell that.
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As a wharf rat and recovering addict, this song hits home to me in that I Need a Miracle everyday to stay clean. I am only offered a daily reprieve from my addiction and view my recovery as a miracle. So far 28 years clean and was part of the evolution of the Wharf Rats when I started a newsletter in 1985 called Grateful We're Not Dead.
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We'd love to hear more about your newsletter and the history of the Wharf Rats over in the Wharf Rats thread, if you're so inclined...
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Welcome, David! I thoroughly enjoy my copy of the annotated lyrics and look forward to reading your blog. I don't have a lot of experience with Miracles--never gave one out and never needed one. But I did always enjoy people walking around looking for tickets and offering interesting trades. My favorite two examples: I think it was at my first show in the summer of '90 outside of Chicago when I saw an unkempt head walking around with a full, huge, wheel of cheese balancing on his head exclaiming, "cheese for your ticket!" Must have been from Wisconsin. The second would be walking through the lot with my dad (his only show) in Richfield, OH. Must have been '93. A guy walked by muttering "hash oil for your ticket," and my dad, who is straight but pretty cool, asked, "did he just say what I think he just said?" Ah, father/son bonding. If you need a ticket and don't have much scratch, you could at least come up with a creative offer, know what I mean? I would have traded an extra ticket for that cheese, if I had one.
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JGAB was a reunion of the old Mountain Boys group that Jerry had with David Nelson and Sandy Rothman in '63 or so.After Bill Graham heard them play the first time he got EXCITED and told them, I gotta take this somewhere. Someone joked, "Hey, Bill, Take it to Broadway." And that's just what he did, 15 nights at the Lunt-Fontaine in NYC, ending on Halloween '87. (Great Pure Jerry Release of these shows) Since Jerry is a Bay Area Boy he did not forget us out here on the West Coast and there were two shows scheduled for the Warfield for 11/27 and 28 then they added the 29th (my birthday). I fly up from LA on the 27th and meet my friends who gift me with a front row seat for the first night, Ripple for the closing number of the acoustic set. I took the seat I had and gave it to a seekin' soul out on the street. The next night, my friend had a friend come into town and we took her to the show to get an extra ticket( for money) The first guy says" Yeah, one ticket for 30, I told him these tickets cost 20 and no deal. Some other guy comes up and asks if we need tickets, the first guy gets all agro and tells the new guy that he saw us first and to get lost, and told the guy, You blew it with the 30 dollar deal already, So I follow through the crowd and find the second seller, who says, Yeah, 20. I say can we ask the door if this ticket is good. Yeah, so we ask the door and yes a good ticket, give the guy the 20, go inside and I take the friend to the usher and the usher takes the ticket and proceeds to lead us to the front row on the Jerry side. What a night. I also loaded the friend my "hat" and she told me Jerry kept givin' her the strangest looks since I was wearing the hat the night before on the opposite side of the theater.
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Hey, this is working out just the way I had hoped! Lots of great stories to be told, and I am really enjoying the various takes on "miracle tickets." I especially liked the fact that the term has made it out of the Dead scene into the world at large--as in the story about the (free?) ticket at the Strawberry festival. Free vs. unexpected, but paid for. Paid for--face value vs. scalper rates. I myself never asked more than face or paid more than face, but I sure did appreciate the few times I was given tickets! I I'm working on the next blog--and would welcome suggestions for what songs you all think might bring out the best stories from everyone. Onward!
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I was at a party in Bobby's room before the Richmond, Va, 85 shows and didn't have a ticket for the next night..... asked Bob if he could put me on his GL and he said sure. To make a really long story short, I was at will call and they didn't have my name on the list, so I went outside, the show had just started i was really bumbed as it was the 1st show I had ever been locked out of and someone walking past me inside in the hallway saw me and ran to the door and passed me a ticket between the crack of the door. I said thank you soooooo much and ran around and went in for this..... Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, VA (11/1/85) Dancin' in the Streets Cold Rain and Snow Little Red Rooster Stagger Lee Me and My Uncle Big River Brown Eyed Women Jack Straw Don't Ease Me In Samson and Delilah High Time He's Gone Spoonful Comes a Time Lost Sailor drums Saint of Circumstance Gimme Some Lovin' She Belongs to Me Gloria Day Job does anyone remember how we changed the lyrics to Day Job? Quit your day job, just give it away....... lol
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Even though the song is written in 1977, there may have been miracle people hanging around Winterland before that, don't have memory of that. But it does seem to pre-date 1987 MTV/VIRAL/SPINOUT, maybe just by a year or so... '85 the earliest.
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My friend and I had an extra ticket for a solo aucustic Jerry show in Boston, Robert Hunter was opening up. We gave the tic to the first person we saw and the freak literally started dancing up the street. The show was terrible cops were in the Orpheum and Garcia's ashtra started smoldering frm his smokes plus there was zero energy. It was nice to give the tic to someone who was tha excited to go to the show. Flashforward to Foxboro 90'. Again there was a potential extra ticket, a friend wasn't sur if they would be able to make it on time. We made it clear to the person that this ticket might be taken but if you mke it back by such and such a time the tic is yours. The person kept coming by and asking our friend had made it, it was bordering on obnoxious. When our fiend did show the miricle person had a huffy in tha he wasted time. Time was all ths person had on his hands and in his pocket. This was my last show as people like the miricle and the crowds became to much.
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Since I went on a rant about how I upset I was with the customer service, I feel I ought to send another message explaining how they made it right. When an order I placed 3 months ago was recently cancelled, I emailed customer service to find out why. After that they sent me the same order with no charge and no shipping fees! How awesome is that? I actually think that almost too generous. Anyways, one of those items was RT 2.4 Cal Expo. Which is great! I am still a newbie on the later stuff but I like what Vince plays more when Bruce is not there.
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glad it worked out, mustin!
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A bunch of us were at the MSG run in 94. We had tickets for the first night, but that was it. I can remember spending all day and night on Friday looking for tickets for the next show. Had never been shut out, and was certainly thinking this was going to be the first. During the day, there was someone with a video camera walking around and spent some time with us as we were looking for tickets. As it came closer to show time, we all split up, really pushing for tickets. As show time came and went I was still empty handed. As it became clear it was not going to happen, I went to the McDonalds to make some calls, and in front of me I overheard a conversation where the guy was calling his buddy to see if he was going to show. Could this be it? As soon as he got off, I asked if he might have an extra. He was reluctant, but as the show had already started, he agreed to make a quick deal. Ecstatic, I ran into the arena and found a great spot to spend the show, completely unaware as to whether any of my friends made it in. The first set was mediocre, and short, even though I came in late. The second set started off with a blistering Scarlet>Fire. The 22 minute Fire On The Mountain was a definite highlight of the tour, if not the year. As the set continued, and I made friends with those in my area, we were having a great time as Drums>Space wrapped up, and the boys jumped into I Need A Miracle. Really feeling the luck of being in the show, and while not a free miracle, getting a miracle ticket, I was dancing with my eyes closed when I felt a bunch of pats on the back and tugs and pulls. I looked up and all my friends and I were up on the screens with our fingers up in the air and huge smiles on our faces. I couldn't believe it, and only wished that everyone had made it in, and was enjoying this show, and this moment, as much as I was. There were not too many other highlights of the show to speak of, but I was definitely pumped overall, and from not being shut out. As I made my way out of MSG and back to our meeting spot, I was greeted with hooting and hollering from all my friends. We had all made it in, and rejoiced about being up on the screens. I will always remember that day and night when I hear I Need A Miracle. I actually emailed David Lemieux several years ago to see if that video still exists, and unfortunately, the answer was that video was rarely saved from the indoor shows. Maybe there will be another miracle, and it will turn up some day, somehow. Stranger things have happened...
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Foxboro '86, I drove a group from Albany...long drive. None of us had tickets. No one had an extra. Our group split up into individual attempts to get in. I met a young woman who was also looking for a ticket. We circled the entire stadium, came to the employee parking lot in the back...it was open and we slipped into the lot. Even though we were the only ones in tie dye, we were able to walk into the employee entrance in the back. We found ourselves backstage, where there were a thousand balloons and a big helium tank. A security guard came up to us and asked what we were doing back there. i responded, "We're here to blow up the balloons." He actually accepted that statement and walked away. We ran across the stage and jumped into the audience. I saw that young woman dancing at a later point in the show, then never again. Great show. i was the only one of our group who made it in that day.
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At the Grateful Dead symposium, Unbroken Chain, at U Mass Amherst in 2007, many of the students had no idea what the Grateful Dead scene was all about. On the first night, a young journalism student was miracled the cash to buy a DSO ticket. I hope she spent the money wisely, it was a fantastic show. I like the connections being drawn between Miracles and synchronicity. There was a fair bit of it about on that weekend at Amherst.
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I now know the Dead were playing show after scorching show during the Summer of '74 - 6/18 comes to mind - and, unfortunately, I wasn't in attendance at a one. There was, however, an act that was going down I did see: Eric Clapton. I'd been a passionate fan for some years and would have traded my eye-teeth to have seen him. So along comes 461 Ocean Blvd. and it's all different from what he'd been doing. It was way up in the middle of the air that he was coming to our fair town and, of course, I/we had to be there. I can remember as if it were yesterday milling about outside the venue and scoring for next-to-nothing fourth row-ish seats for a song. The band just cooked - Jamie Oldaker, Carl Radle and Dick Sims comprised the rhythmn section. EC and fellow Strat player Mr. Terry tore it up! They played one of those long Blues Power into a ssscreeching halt Have You Ever Loved A Women that I shall not soon forget. The Blues can really move you if you're of the right mind. I wasn't to see the Dead for the first time for another four years - to have seen one of the '74 shows would have made it a perfect Summer!!! Happy Ground Hog Day!!!
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Robin--what a great weekend that was! I loved that particular DSO show.
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March ‘81 after seeing the Mon, Tues, Thus shows at MSG & the Gaarden shows, that Friday night I drove by myself to Utica after working all day at a ski area in Vermont. Really didn’t think about tickets when I was at the previous three shows and just assumed I would find one. I went to the Utica show in ’79 and remember not being impressed by the city or the area the Auditorium was in, but it was only a 160 mile drive, (very close for a Vermont DeadHead), I didn’t get there until after dark, maybe an hour before the show was to start. I still had enough time to get a ticket, just cashed my reduced pay check and was willing to buy whatever I could find. The Utica Memorial Auditorium was one of the smallest East Coast venue’s right at 5,700, which is less than a third that MSG holds; it also was a Friday night so there were a lot of “Miracle” seekers. That never meant to any of us at this time on tour to be a free ticket, that meaning probably started “In The Dark” era. So after a few rounds through the parking lots, no luck, I staked a spot at the bottom of an off-ramp, at a traffic light. You get to the people with tickets before they get to the show was always my way of landing a ticket to a tight show. As more and more people streamed in without tickets, I would ask, “Any Extras” and then “Do you Have Tickets Yourselves” and it was mostly a “No” answer to both questions. So this was going to be a very difficult night to get in. I don’t think I even saw someone score a ticket, no extras at all, some time you are just a fraction late or have something better to offer, but not tonight and not a scalper in sight. Many times these scalper guys that didn’t go to the shows, but where just sent there to make $ were vilified, well some nights your wished they were there. You could hear the roar when the lights when down and after one more lap to check out the lines to get in, realizing that the lines weren’t moving anymore, everyone who had tickets was in and there was a shit load of people shut out. The Utica Memorial Auditorium’s floor is below grade and it has a 1 level concourse that surrounds the entire bowl with the outside walls having large floor to ceiling windows with transoms that were opened to help ventilate the concourse. I ended up standing on a small ledge about a foot off the ground and I could look down an entry portal and see the stage and hear the music!!. I was straight behind the soundboard and probably no farther away from the stage than the back of the floor at MSG, (Utica was a very small venue), and the sound was not worse than some of the audience tapes I had collected to-date. So at this point I was content, just hang back and listen to the show. I had been outside at one other show, 10/25 Radio City, when I didn’t really try to get a ticket, I had spend my cash on the 3 shows I was going to see later in the week and just wanted to check out the scene. As expected, what tickets were available were very pricy, $100 so I just milled about for awhile until I saw someone open one of the side doors, thought I would give it a shot, but was nabbed a few steps inside, shown the door and I rapidly exited, no sense getting beat-up. Back to Utica, it was at least a few songs in, I heard the opening roar of “Shakedown” while I was still walking around the building and I think they were into the first slow song of the night, “They Love Each Other” and the crowd had died down and you could really hear the band. It is totally dark by now, the people left out of the show was in excess of 2,000, some getting rowdy, starting fires in trash cans while others seem content, drinking beer and getting stoned on the lawn near where I stood. I was thinking that I might just stay until the break, head home early cause I needed to work @ 8:00 AM at the ski shop, and there was another show Saturday night in Hartford, when out of the corner of my I saw 4 or 5 guys running towards the large plate glass window next to me with a full size couch over the heads. First thing I thought “Where the hell did they get a couch?” and the next was “O-shit, they’re going to bust in”. Sure enough they threw it will enough force to break the window, they was a stunned moment, they all looked at each other, the music was now blaring through the opening and like in a Western movie, with everyone poised on a hilltop reading to charge, they all ran the opening at one. Well as they were running towards the opening, an equal number of cops / security guards were running down the concourse towards the broken window and now there must have been a hundred people also streaming towards the opening and I’m still standing on the ledge about 3 feet from the clash that is about to occur. Never thought of dashing into the building, but in the cops eyes I was guilty by association and the liberally sprayed the entire area with mace. Choking and with burning eyes I ran away from the mayhem. I found some water / ice in an abandoned styrofoam cooler and tried to flush out my eyes. You could barely hear the music now and patrol cars were swarming to the lawn near the broken window. Seeing that this had the potential to be a full scale riot, I booked it to the outer parking lots, found by Mom’s Citation and headed home. This would not be the only night I was shut out, didn’t get in the next night in Hartford as well. Much shorter story; didn’t get off work until about 6:00 and knew I wasn’t going make it before the show started. Talked to one friend who was going early and would leave me a ticket at the local bar we went to after previous Hartford shows, but when I got there right around the break I found a note taped to the window at the main entry, “Sorry Smitty, no tickets”. That would be the last show I was shut out for and I ended up being to go to person if someone or someone’s friends needed a “Miracle” ticket.
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I guess I started giving away tickets in 1972 when I was waiting in line at Winterland to buy a ticket for a Neil Young concert. A person came up to me and asked if I wanted a free ticket. Being very suspicious I started question the guy and he just handed it to me and said, "Don't worry it's real, go in!" And I did.The next time I was going to a concert and had an extra ticket I just walked up to someone who was obviously wanting to get in to a sold out show and handed it to him and said, "don't worry, it's real, go in!" It felt good! Move on to 1980 and the last night of the 15 night run at The Warfield and I had an extra third row ticket for the show and decided I was going to scalp it (bad boy, Steven!) I got to the show a little late and the side walk was clear except for one guy with a backpack and guitar walking away from the box office, obviously bummed out. I asked if he wanted a ticket and he said yes, but he didn't have much money, so I told him not to worry and we walked up to the door, but they wouldn't let him in with his back pack and guitar. I had been a BGP Blue Coat for a few years until late 1979 and knew the head Blue Coat that night and asked him if my friend could leave his stuff with the Blue Coat's backpacks, etc. and he very kindly said, yes. So we went in and got to our seats just as the house lights went down and the band came out. The guy pulled out a baggie of some strange vegetation and asked if I wanted some shrooms...I had never done shrooms and he said they were like a light Acid trip (I had only done Acid twice before and never at a show.) So I took what he gave me and ate some rank tasting crap...30 or so minutes later I started really enjoying the concert, and never saw that guy again! The funny thing about that show was that I always saw a lot of people I knew at all concerts I went to especially Grateful Dead concerts, but that night I didn't see one single person I knew! Over the next few weeks people would call me and ask what was wrong with me at the show. They told me that they came up to me and that I just looked at them and walked away... Move on to 1983 when I started working for the Grateful Dead and managing Grateful Dead Ticket Sales. After a few years I would get handed a few tickets to give out to people and I did. This grew and grew until I started going to GD shows outside of California and checking for counterfeit tickets outside in the parking lots. A friend gave me a T-Shirt that read "No, I Don't Have An Extra Ticket!" When ever I wore that shirt I usually had a few dozen tickets in my pocket and would give them to people who had the guts to ask. Sometimes I would walk up behind someone with their finger up and slip a ticket in their hand and literally vanish into the crowd so they couldn't see me, but I could see them... That was fun! Some years after the Grateful Dead were a distant memory (at least live concerts) I sat down and tried to figure out approximately how many free tickets I gave away to GD shows over the 13 years I worked for them...my best guess was around 15,000...(yes, 15 thousand!) I never did scalp any tickets...
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Hey, I think we have found the SOURCE of the miracle ticket mystique here. Thanks for that post, Steve. Amazing.
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Unlike the show at UCLA on 30Dec78 when I purchased a ticket in advance, I drove to UCLA from Ventura on a chilly November evening looking to buy a ticket - I knew the unwritten rule with fellow Deadheads - NEVER sell an extra ticket over cover.And yes, the general admission open floor ticket was sold to me for UNDER face value and the show was such a barn burner and I was soooooo slightly (?!) out of it after the Johnny B. Goode encore that when I walked out of Pauley Pavilion into the very cold night air......I realized I forgot where my car was parked. I had to retrace my steps from where I drove onto campus from Sunset Blvd. all the way to where I thought my car was parked. Thank Gawd!!!
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After not being able to get tickets for the MSG show in OCT, we took off headed to PA for Peach. Peach music fest was my girlfriend Kate's first taste of the family and atmosphere and we were grateful to be able to afford Saturday only GA lawn tickets. While dancing in the lawn to Willie Nelson a kind man named Bill (not that Bill) came up to us with a smile and a miracle to perform. He asked "Why are you at Peach" to which I responded "For what's about to happen next" in anticipation for Bob & Bill; furthermore, I mentioned it was her first experience and I wanted to show her what it is and all about. He handed us VIP passes, wrist bands, and stubs. Proceeded with a smile and asked if we'd come join him and his friends in VIP for Billy and the kids w/ Weir. We went down and had a blast. It was the gift that keeps on giving. We know someday we'll perform a miracle for somebody and share the experience. I told my girlfriend not to ever expect that next time, but I guarantee the experience has made her a life long fan. I wish I could find this guy(Bill) and give him a big ol' hug.
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  • 5_cents
    3 years 2 months ago
    Miracle at Peach Fest for Bob w/ Billy and the kids
    After not being able to get tickets for the MSG show in OCT, we took off headed to PA for Peach. Peach music fest was my girlfriend Kate's first taste of the family and atmosphere and we were grateful to be able to afford Saturday only GA lawn tickets. While dancing in the lawn to Willie Nelson a kind man named Bill (not that Bill) came up to us with a smile and a miracle to perform. He asked "Why are you at Peach" to which I responded "For what's about to happen next" in anticipation for Bob & Bill; furthermore, I mentioned it was her first experience and I wanted to show her what it is and all about. He handed us VIP passes, wrist bands, and stubs. Proceeded with a smile and asked if we'd come join him and his friends in VIP for Billy and the kids w/ Weir. We went down and had a blast. It was the gift that keeps on giving. We know someday we'll perform a miracle for somebody and share the experience. I told my girlfriend not to ever expect that next time, but I guarantee the experience has made her a life long fan. I wish I could find this guy(Bill) and give him a big ol' hug.
  • peetstr50
    5 years 4 months ago
    Re: I Need A Miracle...Yesssss! 25Nov79 UCLA
    Unlike the show at UCLA on 30Dec78 when I purchased a ticket in advance, I drove to UCLA from Ventura on a chilly November evening looking to buy a ticket - I knew the unwritten rule with fellow Deadheads - NEVER sell an extra ticket over cover.And yes, the general admission open floor ticket was sold to me for UNDER face value and the show was such a barn burner and I was soooooo slightly (?!) out of it after the Johnny B. Goode encore that when I walked out of Pauley Pavilion into the very cold night air......I realized I forgot where my car was parked. I had to retrace my steps from where I drove onto campus from Sunset Blvd. all the way to where I thought my car was parked. Thank Gawd!!!
  • ddodd
    5 years 7 months ago
    Wow, Steve!
    Hey, I think we have found the SOURCE of the miracle ticket mystique here. Thanks for that post, Steve. Amazing.
  • smarcus
    5 years 8 months ago
    A Sh*t Load of Miracles!
    I guess I started giving away tickets in 1972 when I was waiting in line at Winterland to buy a ticket for a Neil Young concert. A person came up to me and asked if I wanted a free ticket. Being very suspicious I started question the guy and he just handed it to me and said, "Don't worry it's real, go in!" And I did.The next time I was going to a concert and had an extra ticket I just walked up to someone who was obviously wanting to get in to a sold out show and handed it to him and said, "don't worry, it's real, go in!" It felt good! Move on to 1980 and the last night of the 15 night run at The Warfield and I had an extra third row ticket for the show and decided I was going to scalp it (bad boy, Steven!) I got to the show a little late and the side walk was clear except for one guy with a backpack and guitar walking away from the box office, obviously bummed out. I asked if he wanted a ticket and he said yes, but he didn't have much money, so I told him not to worry and we walked up to the door, but they wouldn't let him in with his back pack and guitar. I had been a BGP Blue Coat for a few years until late 1979 and knew the head Blue Coat that night and asked him if my friend could leave his stuff with the Blue Coat's backpacks, etc. and he very kindly said, yes. So we went in and got to our seats just as the house lights went down and the band came out. The guy pulled out a baggie of some strange vegetation and asked if I wanted some shrooms...I had never done shrooms and he said they were like a light Acid trip (I had only done Acid twice before and never at a show.) So I took what he gave me and ate some rank tasting crap...30 or so minutes later I started really enjoying the concert, and never saw that guy again! The funny thing about that show was that I always saw a lot of people I knew at all concerts I went to especially Grateful Dead concerts, but that night I didn't see one single person I knew! Over the next few weeks people would call me and ask what was wrong with me at the show. They told me that they came up to me and that I just looked at them and walked away... Move on to 1983 when I started working for the Grateful Dead and managing Grateful Dead Ticket Sales. After a few years I would get handed a few tickets to give out to people and I did. This grew and grew until I started going to GD shows outside of California and checking for counterfeit tickets outside in the parking lots. A friend gave me a T-Shirt that read "No, I Don't Have An Extra Ticket!" When ever I wore that shirt I usually had a few dozen tickets in my pocket and would give them to people who had the guts to ask. Sometimes I would walk up behind someone with their finger up and slip a ticket in their hand and literally vanish into the crowd so they couldn't see me, but I could see them... That was fun! Some years after the Grateful Dead were a distant memory (at least live concerts) I sat down and tried to figure out approximately how many free tickets I gave away to GD shows over the 13 years I worked for them...my best guess was around 15,000...(yes, 15 thousand!) I never did scalp any tickets...
  • klaussmith
    5 years 8 months ago
    No Miracle Tonight
    March ‘81 after seeing the Mon, Tues, Thus shows at MSG & the Gaarden shows, that Friday night I drove by myself to Utica after working all day at a ski area in Vermont. Really didn’t think about tickets when I was at the previous three shows and just assumed I would find one. I went to the Utica show in ’79 and remember not being impressed by the city or the area the Auditorium was in, but it was only a 160 mile drive, (very close for a Vermont DeadHead), I didn’t get there until after dark, maybe an hour before the show was to start. I still had enough time to get a ticket, just cashed my reduced pay check and was willing to buy whatever I could find. The Utica Memorial Auditorium was one of the smallest East Coast venue’s right at 5,700, which is less than a third that MSG holds; it also was a Friday night so there were a lot of “Miracle” seekers. That never meant to any of us at this time on tour to be a free ticket, that meaning probably started “In The Dark” era. So after a few rounds through the parking lots, no luck, I staked a spot at the bottom of an off-ramp, at a traffic light. You get to the people with tickets before they get to the show was always my way of landing a ticket to a tight show. As more and more people streamed in without tickets, I would ask, “Any Extras” and then “Do you Have Tickets Yourselves” and it was mostly a “No” answer to both questions. So this was going to be a very difficult night to get in. I don’t think I even saw someone score a ticket, no extras at all, some time you are just a fraction late or have something better to offer, but not tonight and not a scalper in sight. Many times these scalper guys that didn’t go to the shows, but where just sent there to make $ were vilified, well some nights your wished they were there. You could hear the roar when the lights when down and after one more lap to check out the lines to get in, realizing that the lines weren’t moving anymore, everyone who had tickets was in and there was a shit load of people shut out. The Utica Memorial Auditorium’s floor is below grade and it has a 1 level concourse that surrounds the entire bowl with the outside walls having large floor to ceiling windows with transoms that were opened to help ventilate the concourse. I ended up standing on a small ledge about a foot off the ground and I could look down an entry portal and see the stage and hear the music!!. I was straight behind the soundboard and probably no farther away from the stage than the back of the floor at MSG, (Utica was a very small venue), and the sound was not worse than some of the audience tapes I had collected to-date. So at this point I was content, just hang back and listen to the show. I had been outside at one other show, 10/25 Radio City, when I didn’t really try to get a ticket, I had spend my cash on the 3 shows I was going to see later in the week and just wanted to check out the scene. As expected, what tickets were available were very pricy, $100 so I just milled about for awhile until I saw someone open one of the side doors, thought I would give it a shot, but was nabbed a few steps inside, shown the door and I rapidly exited, no sense getting beat-up. Back to Utica, it was at least a few songs in, I heard the opening roar of “Shakedown” while I was still walking around the building and I think they were into the first slow song of the night, “They Love Each Other” and the crowd had died down and you could really hear the band. It is totally dark by now, the people left out of the show was in excess of 2,000, some getting rowdy, starting fires in trash cans while others seem content, drinking beer and getting stoned on the lawn near where I stood. I was thinking that I might just stay until the break, head home early cause I needed to work @ 8:00 AM at the ski shop, and there was another show Saturday night in Hartford, when out of the corner of my I saw 4 or 5 guys running towards the large plate glass window next to me with a full size couch over the heads. First thing I thought “Where the hell did they get a couch?” and the next was “O-shit, they’re going to bust in”. Sure enough they threw it will enough force to break the window, they was a stunned moment, they all looked at each other, the music was now blaring through the opening and like in a Western movie, with everyone poised on a hilltop reading to charge, they all ran the opening at one. Well as they were running towards the opening, an equal number of cops / security guards were running down the concourse towards the broken window and now there must have been a hundred people also streaming towards the opening and I’m still standing on the ledge about 3 feet from the clash that is about to occur. Never thought of dashing into the building, but in the cops eyes I was guilty by association and the liberally sprayed the entire area with mace. Choking and with burning eyes I ran away from the mayhem. I found some water / ice in an abandoned styrofoam cooler and tried to flush out my eyes. You could barely hear the music now and patrol cars were swarming to the lawn near the broken window. Seeing that this had the potential to be a full scale riot, I booked it to the outer parking lots, found by Mom’s Citation and headed home. This would not be the only night I was shut out, didn’t get in the next night in Hartford as well. Much shorter story; didn’t get off work until about 6:00 and knew I wasn’t going make it before the show started. Talked to one friend who was going early and would leave me a ticket at the local bar we went to after previous Hartford shows, but when I got there right around the break I found a note taped to the window at the main entry, “Sorry Smitty, no tickets”. That would be the last show I was shut out for and I ended up being to go to person if someone or someone’s friends needed a “Miracle” ticket.