I never got to see them live, and really never came to know about them until I was17. I wish that I could have though. The Dead is about all that I listen to.
My Life Changing Show was Las Vagas 1993
His mother Donya reportedly was the one who introduced Jerry to Mountain Girl in High School, and they were backstage all the time. I went to his house, and we all went down to the show together
mountain girl was from poughkeepsie, ny and got on the bus w/kesey out there. jerry was well out of high school when the pranksters were wheeling around SF at the time the WARLOCKs/GD became their party band. i think there is an error there somewhere
nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile
I graduated on a Saturday from The Ohio State University in '93 with degrees in Economics and English. To celebrate, I invited The Grateful Dead, Sting, and 100,000 of my closest friends to Buckeye Lake. Can I throw a party or what?
At graduation, in Ohio Stadium, I had the Bear's 13 point lightning bolt logo on the top of my mortar board. Great day, gorgeous weather, lunch with the fam at the world famous (and now defunct) Kahiki, then off to the show, armed with two bottles of Moet that my mom laid on me.
While the show was rockin', it wasn't particularly the show itself that makes this one. That day was life changing for so many reasons on so many levels, and that's the one that comes to the fore.
"If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking... But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer." --Kesey
It was October, 1988. I had just started my senior year in high school, and just got my first job working concessions at the Houston Summit arena, where the Rockets play. I had worked a few concerts at this point and was going thru a major classic rock phase thanks to PBS showing lots of documentaries on the 60's, my so far 2 year subscription that a year earlier had celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Summer of Love. Pink Floyd was my passion at this point, but I had not heard the Dead yet other than "Touch of Grey". I was open to hearing them. As we were preparing for the show, I noticed a couple of hippies walking along the grass between the arena and the rush hour traffic of the freeway. "Wow, check it out! Cool! I didn't know anyone dressed like that anymore!" Most kids in my high school were punks, new wavers, heavy metalers, stoners, rap fans, etc. The hippie look was just starting to come back in the late 80's. I found it really cool, a nice change from the preps and suburban outcast looks. About five minutes later, there was an ocean of people who looked exactly the same completely covering the courtyard outside. I knew this night would be different from the other concerts I had worked.
An older heavy metal guy working with me told me that I would love The Dead if I liked Pink Floyd. Since I thought of the Dead as a San Fran band from the 60's, I was expecting something like Piper at the Gates of Dawn type stuff...really loud strange freak out acid rock of the old school. We didn't get to hear a soundcheck like most shows, so I was cool with hearing the music at the concert in full swing. When the doors opened, the crowd poured in, and I had my first glimpse into a new world. ALL ages. When we opened the concession booth, I got to meet everyone first hand. I had NEVER met a more friendly crowd of people. After 10 minutes of conversations, I wanted to join them. I had met people who told me to get in touch with them.
The music started kicking in, and it sounded kind of like country...I was a little confused. But I kept listening, and meeting people. I eventually asked if I could be let off early so that I could go watch the show, and my manager smiled and said sure. I took off my work shirt, went out in my Public Image Ltd. tshirt, and stood in the aisles at the top of the lower prom and watched the insanity. Here is the setlist:
Cold Rain and Snow
New Minglewood Blues
Me and My Uncle
West L.A. Fadeaway
Queen Jane Approximately
Music Never Stopped
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
Playin' in the Band
Built to Last (first time ever played)
I Need a Miracle
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Hey Jude Reprise
Turn on Your Love Light
Black Muddy River
I asked an old timer (classic bearded hippie with california country-hippie accent) what was going on, and he responded "Drums and Space, maaaan!" I nodded and loved the red lights flooding Mickey and Bill as they pounded away.
One thing I didn't like was the way the cops were treating the heads. Not as bad as the rap concert crowd where they roughed up the crowd for no reason, but they were disrespectful and let it be known they didn't like them being there. One security guard who recognized me told me he couldn't wait for the crowd to leave. I couldn't understand why. I really enjoyed the show and the crowd. I was told later it wasnt one of their best shows for lots of different reasons. So many rumors: someone stole Jerry's guitar, the band got ripped off, the cops were too harsh, Jerry was sick, etc etc etc.
I never met anyone again who went to that show, not even locally. I started buying their music, starting with Live Dead after hearing "Dark Star" it on another documentary about the sixties. I went to Hightailers shows, a local band who covered the Dead and did their own jam band thing with a cajun flavor. I waited for the Dead to come back, seeing as how big they had become. I bought cds, got taped shows from Heads in Austin and Houston, read all news and interviews I could to familiarize myself so that I could know their music when seeing them. Years went by, and while in college, I planned to follow them with some friends, but school and work made it difficult. We talked about what an adventure it would be to follow them, since the closest they ever came to Texas was Atlanta or New Mexico. We finally settled on Fall 1995.
As I was packing for a trip to Dallas to go to Lollapalooza August 1995, I turned on MTV and saw them playing "Touch of Grey". Wow, I haven't seen them play this video in years! Then I got worrried...I hoped everything was ok. As soon as the first couple of letters started to crawl from the right side of the tv screen, I knew what had happened. I couldn't believe it. At Lollapalooza, Cypress Hill dedicated their set: "This one goes out to Jerry Garciaaaaaa!" B-Real yelled out in his nasally voice. Even Sonic Youth gave their condolences as they closed the festival. I read later they hung out with TC when the tour hit Cali.
I was hurt that they never came back to Texas. The closest since then was the Willie Nelson Picnic in Austin back in 2004. It was too painful to listen to them off and on. But I would talk with those who did get to see them. I hope to see one of their incarnations, solo or a new Dead tour someday. I'll never forget that last Houston show. It opened my mind to what concerts should be like in terms of the audience.
Hi Y'all! I am sharing this in hopes that others will share how the Dead connected them to the Cosmos...... Gawd people! These stories are making me cry!! I have a story too. Here it goes:
I grew up in San Francisco. My Dad is a violinist, and he played with all the greats of the time (Dead, Boz Skaggs, Linda Ronstadt. Merle Saunders, NRPS, CSNY, Van Morrison, etc...) He was a studio rat at the old Wally Heiders studio. My mom went to the first Dead show (Mine troupe Benefit 1965), so you could say I was born right into the heart of the scene. Jerry played at my parents X-mas eve party in 1975. Anyway, I was one of the little kids running around in the mid- '70's. I went to school with Anabelle. Funny thing was, I never understood the magnitude of what I was part of until I was 12.Although my first show was Speedway Meadows, 1975, it wasn't until 1983 that I really understood what this was all about. Here is the story:
My best friend in Kindergarten was named Ben Hitz (If anybody knows him, PM me). We were inseperable.This was 1976 or so. In 1983, we reunited in 6th grade when we both went to Hoover Middle School in SF. Again, we were inseperable. We lived three doors from eachother in Noe Valley, SF. In late October 1983, Ben came to me and asked me if I wanted to go the the Boys on Halloween (The last St. Stephen). I said yes, for sure! Unfortunately I got the flu and could not go. It wasn't until many moons later that I realized that that show was legendary. Anyway, he promised me that the next show there was, I could go. So, 12/27/83 was my first show.
His mother Donya reportedly was the one who introduced Jerry to Mountain Girl in High School, and they were backstage all the time. I went to his house, and we all went down to the show together. I remember getting to the SF Civic Auditorium and seeing total mayhem! Heads were everywhere, most with their fingers sticking up asking for a "Miracle". I didn't get it then, but I do now! I was given my backstage pass, and told to stay close to the group. We were escorted inside, and I found myself backstage at a Grateful Dead show! I was 12 years old. I remember alot of adults in funny tie dyes running around, and then there was the kids area. Ben took me there, and we started playing the hottest video game of the day, Tempest. We didn't even have to put quarters in! It was just on! I was totally blown away by this! Can you imagine? All you can play Tempest for free? I was in Nirvana! There was a closed circuit TV next to us with a live feed from the stage. I remember the lights going down, and hearing the crowd go wild. I turned to Ben and said "Hey, the show is starting, lets go watch!". He was playing Tempest, and said "I see these guys all the time. No biggie. Why dont you go and check it out! I am playing Tempest!" I was hesitant at first, but as soon as Jerry hit the first note of Cold Rain, my soul was awakened. it was an undeniable eruption of cosmic consciousness. I could not control myself. I literally ran out of the cozy confines of backstage and blended into the abyss of my bretheren. it was an instant connection. It was just before I hit puberty, but the soul orgasm I felt that night remains unparalleled in my life.
I found my way up to the upper deck of the Civic, and was befriended by a group of heads who saw my backstage pass. They were asking me all these questions about who I was, etc... I then said "Who are you? Where are you from?" They said that they were all from Boston. I said "You mean you came all the way here to see them?" They yelled "Yeah bro! The Dead are the shit!" It was that moment that my small minded San Francisco world crashed with the rest of the globe! For the first time, I realized that this small band that my Dad played with and whose leader played at my house X-mas eve 1975, was revered by the rest of the world. It was greater than any A**d trip. I really UNDERSTOOD the magnitude of the energy that I was a part of, and that it was a serious entity- an orgy of cosmic energy that connected me with Great Spirit. All of a sudden,it didnt matter to me how old I was. I was a hippie. I was shaking my bones with my community. At 12 yeard old! I cried the whole time! I finally understood that I WAS PART OF SOMETHING GREATER THAN MYSELF!!! THAT THIS BAND WAS A CONNECTION TO GREAT SPIRIT!!!!!
During Sugar Mag, I remember just dancing my ass off! During the encore, one of my friends from Boston turned to me and said "If you go backstage right now, you might meet Jerry!" I bolted for backstage, and I found myself in a long white hallway. At the other end of the hallway, I saw Bobby and Jerry walking towards me. I tried to get to Jerry, but he took a quick right out of the Civic and into his red pickup truck. I ran up to Bobby, and said "That was great Bobby!" He ruffled my hair and said "Thanks kid!" It was like that Coke commercial with Mean Joe Green. Remember that? It was as if I was annointed by Bobby!
On our way home, we were recalling all the songs they played. "Remember that song, sunshine Daydream? Yeah! Sugar Magnolia!" It was second hat to my friend Ben, but deep inside me, I held the great secret. That my soul was awakened that night, and it was on fire. I had so much global revelation. The world was bigger than my own small surroundings! I began to dream about the limits (Its dizzying, the possibilities!) the world had to offer, and there were none. I kept this special secret close to my heart.
It wasnt until 1985, when I was 14, that I started to do tour. And for the next ten years, the Boys dictated were and when I went anywhere in the world. I am so glad that this post prompted me to share. It feels so good! That is why GOTV is so close to my heart. I felt really connected to that first night in Dead land while I was there. We are a true tribe, and I am proud to be a part of the collective consciousness that remains (only the strange remain!!).
IF YOU WERE AT THAT SHOW, OR IF YOU WERE THERE FROM BOSTON, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!! I would really love to reconnect with those people from Boston. So, if you were there from Boston and remember a 12 yeart old with a backstage pass, PM me. Aw hell, PM me anyway!! Go tribe!!! Thanks for listening! Remember, WHAT WE HAVE IS REAL!!!!
Midnight on a carousel ride, reaching for that gold ring down inside. Never could reach it. It just slips away. BUT I TRY!
I got on the Bus from my first show 3/06/81, and that was quite life changing for me. I think the most life changing though was going to Madison Square Gardens all by myself, the Oct. 94, run in New York city. I'm from a fairly small town and to go there all by myself was huge for me. My hotel ended up right across the street. No way I could get lost, so I was able to have a ball and felt safe. First day there ran into a close friend of mine whom I knew would be there somewhere, but he had no idea I would be there, that was cool! Out of 41 shows, I'm pretty sure I saw my first and last Scarlet Fire!! That was real cool!! Would never live there, but had a great time sight seeing!!!
buckeye 94 was a ggod one. but st louis 95 changed me for obvious reasons i was under the roof collapse at the farm
It was my fourth show, but only my second "threesome". In other words, I went to see other big bands live between my first set of shows and these at the Centrum. It was then that I really recognized "that sound", and how good they really were. I think that at the first show, or weekend of shows, there is a lot to digest, but when you see them the second time, it really hits home how incredible they are. Not to mention the Scarlet/Fire performed that night was; to me... even to this day... the best piece of music the band ever played.
Had to be my 1st show in Rochester on 11/5/77. Eyes at this show is still one of my favorites and when they closed with Sugar Mag and Sat nite encore the whole place was jumping.I remember thinking this is so cool and I've been hooked ever since.