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I was at the US festival Labor Day weekend 1982 to see the Police and Fleetwood Mac. I didnt even know untill I got there that the Dead were on the bill. Seems Uncle Bobo fit them in at the last minute. So that was the "1st one" It was'nt life changing at the time, but I would come to thank my stars I got to see what "it" was about.
I "got it" in 1987 when I went to see Dylan in Anahiem and of course he was doing the "Dylan & Dead" thing that summer.Walking through the parking lot and being altered I understood our community. I listened to the 87 NYE show on KLOS in LA and knew that I needed to be a part of that sceene. Life happened and it would be a year untill another show for me.
My friends and I got tix for the Long Beach shows in 12/88 and Ive been on the bus since.
Most of the 12/88 shows I can only remember parts of. I have put that on the shows threads here.
The worst experience (yes we've been here) was at Starlake (Burgettstown, PA) 92. I got some bad shrooms and went to rock med to find out I was in bad shape. I made the call to leave in the 2nd set and as the ambulance pulled out, I could hear Vince sing..."Its a long,long,long,long way to go home"... Realizing this was my wakeup call to be done with all that, I got on the next flight (after the night in the hospital) and made the Chicago shows. When the time came to get that dropper again, I thought twice, smiled, and let my neighbor smile more...
Was never into saving stubs, nor do I remember the exact dates of all of the shows I saw-was more just into the whole experience than the fine details, BUT two highlights were Brent's last show, where my friend and I were thanking our lucky stars that we caught that one (same year as Stevie Ray Vaughn's helicopter crashed into the hill at Alpine Valley. Was at HIS last show too with the same friend as at Brent's last show, any my show buddy and I almost decided that we should stop seeing concerts before more artists died), and one fine evening in Alpine Valley (I think) in the mid/late 80's when it started to pour. Crowd was sort of bummed, but kept on dancing. Then the summer evening shower was over as suddenly as it began, and the sun came out. Band switched immediately into Sunshine Daydream, and the world was great!
It was my first show and I was hooked.
"Beer is Living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Santana was opening for the Dead. Two concerts in the middle of the blazing hot Las Vegas summer, held at the UNLV football stadium, during which time a wind storm blew dust all over everyone - making the lives of those who wore contact lenses a living hell!
We were up near the front towards the left of center - right where both Carlos Santana and Jerry played - we were close enough to watch their fingers working the strings. Towards the end of the first set a young lady next to me passed out and collapsed on the ground. She wasn't breathing. Her boyfriend was horribly scared. Fortunately there was a dude standing right there who was a veterinarian, he turned her on her side and hit her back and got her to breathe. But she was still unconscious and her face was a bright blue - totally freaky! I pulled my poncho vest off and held it above her to give her shade while several people crouched down around her to swathe her face in t-shirts dipped in cold water. The vet ran to get help.
As we were waiting for the medics to show up, Garcia came to the front of the stage and announced that their old friend Carlos Santana was going to come onstage and play with them. And so he did. They started playing "Bird Song". Jerry came over and looked down on us - we were very visible to him. He played his guitar and sang into the mic and looked right directly at the unconscious girl's boyfriend and me holding my poncho above her. He sang:
"Don't Cry Now, don't you cry, don't you cry any more...
"Sleep in the stars, don't you cry, dry your eyes on the wind...
"La la la laaaaaaa...."
And man, that is exactly what I started to do! I started to just cry my frikkin eyes out! Jerry was being soooo compassionate and soooo concerned about what was happening there to us. I could feel the warmth coming from him as he sang to us to be cool, relax, wait, and it'll all be okay...
A few minutes later the medics showed up, pushing their way through the crowd with a stretcher. They got the girl on it and she and her boyfriend disappeared forever from my life (I never knew their names or who they were). At that point the song ended, and so did the first set. I sat down and looked at the little puddle of white puke, and I told my friends that I had to go spend some alone-time by myself. I arranged to meet up with them later.
I ended up waaaayyyy up in the bleachers of the stadium - where it wasn't so crowded. I came across a group of about a dozen girls all dressed in hippie clothing and sitting in a circle chanting a beautiful chant together. I knew this was where I needed to be. So I sat near them, tucked my head into my knees and let it all come out. I cried very hard for about 3 or 4 minutes, just letting go of all that tension.
Then the Dead came back out for the second set, and started tuning up their instruments. The girls quit chanting. I wiped off my face and stood up. And then, one by one, those chanting girls came over to me and each one gave me a huuuuuge and beautiful hug - no words - no trips. They each just hugged me and gave me good sweet beautiful juice energy. And then went back to dance for the second set.
And I said to myself: "This is why I come to these shows..."
Each and every show attended had memories Some good some bad The ones that really stick out were 7/2 and 7/4 87 Drove during the night on 7/1 to Rochester and got there early morning had to wait till 9:00am to check into the hotel had a good show met some friends from tour and other townies The fun began on the ride back to Wally world We had stopped off at a rest areas near the CT border on the Pike Saw several other heads hanging out etc They were on the way to Foxboro for the Dead /Dylan show I told them I lived in the next town and only few minutes away soon I had twenty vehicles following me down the pike to the front gate of the stadium I said my goodbyes and told them I would hopefully see them the next day The next day I had my local friends people from PA, NJ , NH, NY, and CA staying at my parents house in total 70 people that lived as a community. We had tents floor space microbuses cars and trucks and a trailer those out of state friends were treated to my towns display of fireworks the night before the show and they stated they never seen nothing like it in their towns but the thing was not only were my parents astonished but so were the neighbors and a relative who just happened to be there for the good old fourth of July Two of my friends played acoustic guitars and my neighbor joined them playing some CSNY tunes for the folks that I had gathered I was stoked my dead head community was stoked it was by far one of the best dead times I had in my life and one that I will never forget Peace to my brothers in sisters; for those I still hang with, those who we have lost along the way, and those I meet along the path of the never ending journey. At least I am still enjoying the ride The CAT
JGB...Great Woods, Mansfield, MA...September ??, 1989.
That was the one I still think about the most. There was one moment when someone blocked my view for a few seconds, and my entire world came crashing down. But he moved away, and everything was alright again. That was a close one.
(in hindsight, I think I was bothered more by the change in accoustics, rather than the view).
Warlock show in Hampton 1989. I had seen a couple of shows but the Dark Star was another Dead epiphany. I saw then just how much impact a song can have and the collective good feeling when the band and fans are on the same page.
Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right
CMG my first show (83) i had no idea who the gratefuldead were... grateful dead, molly hatchet, deaf leopard, (all bands i had never listened to) sounds all the same to me... well, i didn't know who that fat man was; i had no idea what it was to be DEADICATED, but that night i had to confront the decision of weather or not i believed in 'god' and weather i would never listen to this band again or weather i would keep coming with the desire to be a key to help this thing go the 'right' way! this truly changed my life and i did become DEADICATED! December 16 1986 also blew me to a new level of spiritual growth that spiked at the chinese new year show of '87 at san francisco civic. boy , that show was the most intense experience of my life! i couldn't even talk about it for 2 years! witout my whole body going into the shakes! then there was another flow of transformation i experienced at the Frost in april30?, 1987, which peaked at the laguna raceway the day the band made the 'Touch of grey' video. that show was personally incredibly transforming...i still wonder what was in the bag 'they' left by me as i was meditating! i came across'that bag' at several other shows after monterey... most noticably at angel's camp in august '87, which stands out again in my list of most transformative shows. i pretty much stopped going after '89
This was my third show. The second set from this night was so friggin' amazing...a steamy night, good smoke and a young mind ready to be shown something new combined with Lost Sailor > Saint Of Circumstance > Drums and completely turned my universe upside down.
Standing at the top of the hill during Dear Mister Fantasy, I found myself standing next to the biggest, bad-ass biker dude I've ever seen. I was 17, tall and skinny, and felt very out of sorts. He scowled directly into my eyes, Then grinned from ear to ear and gave me the biggest bear hug in my life. I'll never forget it.
This show most definitely changed my life. I've passed on the soundboard recodings of this night, as the mix on the soundboard has Jerry low in the mix, and no crowd noise whatsoever. The crowd energy, as with every show from the Summer of 1985, is an essential ingredient in the presentation. God, has it REALLY been twenty two years since the magical Summer '85 tour? "Woah-oh, what I want to know...where does the time go?"
I had a lot of memorable shows . . .by the time i started getting into the groove of feeling like the calendar evolved around the familiar seasons of the boys playing around the bay area i would always have this feeling at the end of the 3rd show in a series of three that any type of angst or stress i was having the week previous always seemed to be worked out i was renewed recharged grounded and ready to handle "normal" life again . . .
One of my first really memorable shows was at Cal Expo 5/4/91. The first set closed with a smoking music never stopped - i was with a bunch of my good friends down in the dirt in front of the stage - everyone was grooving HARD so hard that the whole place was thick and dusty from all the foot stompin' - i was utterly amazed at all of the energies coming through us at that moment . . .
5/19/95 - i decided i would take a solo mission to the front of the stage for second set opener - i had my camera case w/camera, a fat j and a $5 bill in my possession . . .i was very considerate and conscious not to bust in on anyone's space as it was a bizillion degrees and i knew all those peeps were there early to get their spots . . .the boys busted out Here Come Sunshine - everyone started dancing it was eloquent i knew i was right where i was supposed to be - i did not communicate a single word to the 10 or so people in my immediate radius, no words were necessary - kind eyes about - the j appeared and was shared amongst my new like minders and even tho i already knew i was family this moment was one of many confirmations for me . . ..
I can remember an amazing jerry/bruce space solo at shoreline in june of 92 maybe - my soul was so high from those sweet sounds it was incredible . . .
I took a good friend of mine, Helene, to her first show at Oakland prob. 93 december - she had tied glow sticks to her belt loops - which was great cause i could visually keep track of her when she wandered off during space - when she came back she told me the coliseum had turned into the spaceship enterprise and SHE WAS THE PILOT . . . when we hit the lot after the show the first thing we saw was a girl dressed up in star trek clothes selling spaceship enterprise pipes . . . holy shit . . . :)