Which would it have been? Most life-changing, for whatever reason.
Didn’t see the Dead until 1972, so am a newbie. But my life changer was Fare Thee Well. Yeah, hokey, I know. Must have been half a million Deadheads in downtown Chicago. No, Jerry didn’t do the lead work, but they were back. The old and the young laughed and cried together. A five month old baby in headgear to protect his hearing, sat thru his first Dead concert, behind me. I felt in a very timeless place, watching a new birth. Love to all
9/21/82 MSG. It wasn't my first show, which was also awesome (3/9/81),but although I already considered myself a deadhead, it was the first show where I let the music take me totally away. OK, the red gels helped, but I had dosed many times before. It was a magical night, opening with PITB, and the first set ending with an astounding China>Rider. And the second set was great too- I recall a really soulful Black Peter.
Someone mentioned east coast vs west coast deadheads. Growing up in NYC and the environs in the 70s and early 80s, when you saw someone with a GD shirt, there was an instant connection, like we were brothers or sisters. When I moved to California in 85, it was very 'so what'. Strange.
For Me , the life changing show was Jerry Garcia Band and Bobby and the Midniters at New Haven back in 1982. The reason was I was able to see both sides of the coin,as well as have it stand on end! Jerry and His band opened and played extensive sets.Then Bob Weir came out and did the same, then both bands jammed for a tremendous encore set or two! If anybody has the set list for this show please reply to this comment. The reason it was a life changer, was I found out that their music inspired me to appreciate what life is all about!
It wasn't a particular show for me it was the copy of Bear's Choice I got in the cutout section of whatever the record store was at the time. I must have played side 2 a thousand times, Smokestack Lighting and Hard to Handle. Then flipped it over to hear Katie Mae and the rest. That was in 1974 I was 14 and I never looked back. Even today I don't listen to much else besides the Dead, I'm currently on a 74' kick streaming every show for that year, pretty much the best year in their history.
This thread has been Dead for awhile so I'm going to bring it back to life. :)
Had the chance to see my first show in '78 but passed it up. I was familiar with the Dead but wasn't INTO it yet.
First show was The Spectrum in Philly in the spring of '82. We were only a couple hours early so I didn't get to do much of the parking lot scene but what I saw really intrigued me; all the circle jams everywhere you looked. Came home and put a guitar on layaway. It was paid off by mid summer. Spent the fall and winter learning with a chord book and the GD Anthology. Back to Philly in the spring of '83 with my new guitar and looking to jam. I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't very good yet but I knew some songs. I wandered around to the different circles hoping to hear a group playing something I knew. The second group I stopped to listen to asked me to sit down and join them. I mentioned that I had only been playing for about 6 months and wasn't very good. They just blew it off and told me to sit down. They asked what songs I knew and then played them just to make me comfortable. When it came time to pack up and head inside I'd made some new friends and partially learned a few more songs. That was it. I became Deadicated that day. Went on to tour up and down the East coast through the summer of '91. I pretty much learned to play guitar in venue parking lots. So many shows. So many good people. So many memories. I am so Grateful to have been able to be a part of the whole scene. If I could go back in time, I would do it all over again.
you landed in the right place!
it was during the "decline" of the band (or maybe the crowds) as i guess some people have put it, but that beautiful june day in '92 at soldier field changed my view of the dead and my life profoundly and permanently. Up until then i had only been listening to their music when a friend of my ex said to me "you have to see them in concert because there is nothing else in the world like a grateful dead concert". That's all i needed to hear!! i scored tickets from the local ticket disaster outlet and scooted on over to chi-town. I was sitting in traffic on lake shore drive (ironic isn't it?) looking at the parking lot and knew instantly i was home. It wasn't just the psychedelics, i had plenty of experience with them starting in '79 and it wasn't just the music. for me it was 90% the heads themselves. I have never, ever in my life been in such a swirl of colorful, beautiful, caring, fun,accepting and like-minded people in my life and highly doubt i ever will again. The entire experience simply blew me away,left me sobbing in tears of joy, and created a "smoking crater" in my brain that has only been able to be filled by dead heads and the music of the dead. "see how everything lead up to this day!!" harry houdini may have been a great magician in his own right, but what kind of universal cosmic magic did it take from albert hoffman's bike ride all the way until these collections of stardust convened together in the early to mid sixties to form the experience that was presented to me in june of '92???? Cosmic f@&^%ing magic indeed!!!! God i have loved the dead and all those that are orbiting in this brief space of time we are blessed with between birth and death ever since. love to all and take care
cosmicdavid, the only thing I see that's out of place in your post is you don't mention that you were 12 when this happened until the end of your fourth paragraph. That's a key piece of information that a reader needs right away in order to effectively envision the scene you describe. Whether it's inappropriate or not is for others to decide; as a writer, I'm mostly concerned with effectiveness.
It might be inappropriate and if it is, I will take it down and let me know as to never do it again, but I also remember having to drive home with my dad after the show and I was still HIGH AS A KITE. He just sat there sighing, laughing at me, looking over, giggling and then he would sigh some more. We've since talked about it and he has told me he was really disappointed that I had done that to myself but he didn't want to "send me on a bummer." What a guy. Karma will get me back for that one and others I'm sure.
Bob Dylan opening up for Phil and Friends, July 1st 2000 at the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds.
It was my first dead-related show of any kind. I had only gotten into the dead in 99, That story is in my introduction post. But I begged my dad to take me to go and see Phil or Bobby or whoever I could before they passed as well and having seen a show or two in the mid-seventies, he wasn't keen on taking his younger son to a show. So I rope-a-doped him by informing him that Dylan would be opening for Phil at an upcoming show and that was that.
Dylan opened and it was terrible, I do remember that. We were up in the grandstands as my dad was trying to avoid a contact high and he went to go and get a beer between Dylan closing and Phil setting up. As soon as he was out of eyesight, I charged down to the general admissions area and a few dready mama's swooped me up. I remember smoking a roach and watching in amazement as the event staff that flanked the audience pulled out altoid cans just before Phil took the stage and started passing them inwards. It wasn't that they wanted all of us stinky hippies to have fresh breath, they were actively dosing us. I met up with a friend years later who actually worked as "event staff" for the fairgrounds that summer, he is six years older than me, and he confirmed that a few of the heads had been plotting that move for weaks. I don't know if any of you remember the liquid going around in the late 90's and early 2000's but those were some of the most colorful years of my young life.
Anyway They opened with a strong Dancin and there were some amazing highlights throughout the night. The older dready mama's really did take care of my young crazed ass, one got upset that i had indulged in the altoids and another kept trying to take all roaches out of my fingers as they passed. It was an incredibly sweet notion and I remember being overwhelmed with gratitude for them at the time. Although I was mildly upset that they were "taking away my fun" they were looking after my stupid 12 year old ass. They probably had kids my age. As a father now I would damn sure do the same!
All that aside, the terrapin station, tennessee jed and fat man in a bathtub still stick out in my head. I've been sold ever since. So 13 years of shows under my belt. Laughable to most of you older heads. But as a younger cat, Thank you so much for always being welcoming, encouraging and supportive to all of us younger heads. You might not know it, but the welcome alone makes a world of difference!
I was one of 4 deadheads I knew and grew up with until I was 18 and it was only at shows that I didn't feel like a "hippie" or another stoned freak. Anyone else would consider it completely retarded that I dosed when i took my SATs. I got a 1410 so I would like to think I wasn't a complete moron but, hey, what can you do?
thanks again for the wonderful camaraderie!