Grateful Dead

How Do You Explain a Dead Show?

By suggestion from phatmoye: "A lot of my friends and co-workers have never been to a fest or Grateful Dead show. I've tried to explain it to them but I'm at a loss of words. All I can do is smile, smile, smile and tell them that it's nothing but kindness. i'd love to get some feedback from some heads on explaining what to tell them."

The question seemed to strike a nerve in the tour topic, so we're giving it a home of its own!


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trailbird's picture
Joined: Jan 8 2011
like a desert spring

The approach to a spring or running brook was the occasion for life and activity. ... Nor can you, who have never stood by a bubbling spring, in a strange, wild land, with the thought that it may be miles and miles to another drinking place, comprehend the satisfaction afforded by the full-mouthed swallows from its cooling wealth. George B. Currey, 1853, Oregon Trail

Joined: Nov 29 2010
One of my first Dead Memories...

When I was eight or so... in the late 80's... I was allowed to go out in the open arena. Dancing and running about, because there were such great people. I was out dancing and having fun then, the music ended, I was still playing/dancing as people were putting down their blankets. I moved to the other side of the stage to find my dad. A couple who had set up their blankets on the floor got very upset at me. Telling me I was being rude for stepping on their just laid down blankets. Because I had no idea what was going on they felt the need to scare me... As I stood there being berated by these jerks. I was slowly surrounded by a group of AMAZING people.. they explained that the need of a child to find their parent was much larger then the need to keep a 5*5 square of seating area. I felt so protected. So undeniably safe. I still remember that feeling of being hugged after feeling so scared. One woman came over and held my hand asking if I knew where my parents were. I said I did, and pulled her with me. I took her back stage, and introduced her to everyone I knew. I talked her up as the coolest woman of all time. I don't know what happened to her. I do know that I cannot explain how much I appreciate knowing how amazing it is to feel loved, supported, and protected as a small child. That is what I got from dead shows, a knowledge of a very large hug.

Joined: Aug 17 2010
i have absolutly

no explanation at all its simply magical

johnman's picture
Joined: Dec 26 2007

The circus is in town....sort of...and we are the exhibits!!

Joined: Apr 17 2008
Not like anything you have been to before!!

Either you Love em!Or Hate them!
Or just there for the party:(
Just my View.
Smiley D

Do For Other's You Will Feel Better.

Joined: Nov 8 2010
All these stories and

All these stories and descriptions make me wish even more I could have seen it.

Joined: Mar 26 2009
I wouldnt explain it..

I would have them watch one.. They are actually playing one on MSG this Friday at 9PM.. tell them to watch it.. theres a preview of it here:

jdwilgus's picture
Joined: Jun 8 2007
I took 3 newbies to a show this year....

They were used to going to heavy metal shows, and told me they were used to most of the attendee's at shows to stay within their own circle of friends. They said they were used to seeing fights break out , and everyone wearing black clothes.
We carpooled to the show and arrived 3 hours early.
They were shocked at how warm the feelings were amongst the entire crowd. They were also completely surprised to find so many people who travelled across the country for the show they were about to see.
So if I were to explain it to a newbie, I'd just tell them that it's not just the music you're there to see. They should expect the unexpected, and be ready to see a flea market with clothing-jewelry-smoking needs-bumper stickers-posters-etc.etc.etc.
Lotsa love, and no hate!!

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007

at Jerry shows at the Keystone I used to just leave my camera and ask the perfect stranger next to me to watch my stuff for a minute. Sometimes a completely different stranger would be there when I got back, but I don't think it entered anyone's head to rip me off. Ripping someone off at a Jerry show would just be an off-the-chart bad thing to do, or so we all seem to have thought.

Joined: Mar 12 2008
Love, Peace, & Harmony

The worst thing I ever saw at a Dead show was at W. Palm Beach in '82. I was sitting in the 5th row before the show and people were still filing in when some "friend of the Devil" threw an empty half-pint bottle out of the stands and it hit a pretty young woman in the head. She was really freaking out and had blood streaming down her face. Her boyfriend did a good job of trying to calm her and getting her out of there to seek help. Besides that I'd never even seen so much as a fist-fight. There were easily over a million people at the 71 Grateful Dead shows I saw and for the most part it was a million acts of kindness that I remember.


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How Do You Explain a Dead Show?