there where at least a few......they weren't necessarily truly life changing...but for those few moments life couldn't have been better.
hartford 5-28-77 my first
the first night of cape cod 10-27-79
hartford "earthquake" 1982
Augusta,ME the pair of nights Fall 1984
they are truly a band beyond description.........
*** Englishtown- -September of 1977- -why this event was life changing cant even be put into words
For me it's not so much entire shows that stick out in my mind as life-changing, but moments... you know the kind, the ones that etch their beauty and grace into your soul so deeply, you never really get over it...
...The first time I heard Jerry sing Stella Blue...
...a stellar Morning Dew at The Spectrum the day before Easter (and I feel really stupid but I'm blanking on the year) where, totally straight, my soul literally flew overhead and danced, and my God was there...
...a JGB show at Eel River in CA, where it was so hot people sat and laid down in the river, and I walked right up to the makeshift stage and sat at Jerry's feet all afternoon, and one of the beverage ladies brought me cold lemonade and salt packets so I wouldn't get dehydrated (maybe none of that is uncommon, but on the East Coast it was!) and during the acoustic set Jerry played the "Morning Star" song (not sure if that's the title, sorry) and I cried, and the whole day he kept looking down at me like he couldn't quite figure out why I wanted to be there watching HIM... very humble, and a little bemused. Or maybe the sun was just in his eyes. But either way, it was amazing.
...an Iko Iko when my feet filled with such joy my heart nearly exploded (in a good way)...
...every single time I ever had the privilege of hearing "Peggy-O" from my first show in 1980 until Jerry left us. Something about the way he sings it, something about the lyrics... I don't know. But if I ever had to pick one song... that would be the one.
"Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own."
This was the first time I had seen the band after Jerry's coma recovery.. Hadn't seen them since the June 86 Greek gigs.
A solo show for me... The Black Muddy River bookended by Dancin and Playin... wow... The Dancin> Black Muddy River> Playin trio really got me. Seeing Garcia basically singing his epitath but alive and kickin! Gave me deep insight on just how fragile the band really was and how incredilble it was to have them here and playing... and me there witnessing it... it was beautiful and very moving.
January 28th, 1987. A particularly moving set of Garcia arpeggios from Space into Eyes of the World triggered a perception of the white light of being.
"Study as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow." -- Maria Mitchell
Not the first and maybe not the finest but special in a special way. We decided to take our 8 year old son to the show. We had to take him out of school early that day to drive down to London and were upfront with his teacher..'we want to take our son to a Grateful Dead show'..to which the unexpected reply was 'see you there' !! He was mesmerised from start to finish…well almost…he did fall asleep during a very long and very weird drums/space (if you listen to the show you can actually hear him snoring!). It was such a massive joy to have the Dead back in the UK for the first time since 81,and I can’t really remember those shows much ;-).
As we shuffled happily out the arena we got talking to some US deadheads over for the tour. One of them said ‘Hey I wish my dad had taken me to see the Dead when I was 8’. Those few words lifted us both 10 feet high and we still talk about it today. If you are there and can remember friendly guy here’s a thank you to you
Years later my son and I sat together by the side of a country road in Wales having just heard that JG was gone. Disbelief and joy too at having been a tiny part of it all. Still are I suppose!
The Spectrum in Philadelphia holds a lot of great memories for me. Like, Frank Rizzo's mounted police, a suprise first mini-set where the entire band played percussion and many trips. Strangest among them was walking out of a show (year?) to discover that several inches of snow had fallen. Lots of underdressed freaks trying to figure out which snow covered car was theres. Million laughs.
This was my 2nd Dead show, I was very interested after my 1st show (12/30/77-Winterland) but the hook hadn't been set yet. I was a Freshman at UCSB, and we camped out all night to buy tickets. Pacific Alliance - No Nukes Benefit. We got thirteenth row seats (8 of us). On the glorious day, we prepared ourselves appropriately, piled in the cars and drove to the gig. The interior of the theater was beautiful - faux starlit sky ceiling, spanish courtyard facade sides with balconies. There we were - 13th row on Friday January 13th. Things got interesting after someone sitting in the row in front of us lit up, and a security goon rushed over and began hassling him. No lighting up at a Dead show? Come on. So we waited until the lights went down and imbibed discreatly. The show was incredible - the band was full of energy, and rocked the place! Even though Jerry lost his voice half way through Wharf Rat in the 2nd set , he just stepped back and began jamming like a demon possessed. It was my revelation of how great a guitarist he was - me and my friends were dancing and gyrating wildly to the music. We were totally spent after the encore, and fell limp into our seats. Bill Graham came out and made an apology about the "hassling by event security" that night. He offered to allow anyone with a ticket free admission to the next night's show in Bakersfield. I gladly gave up my ducat stub to a grateful person who was following the band. Needless to say, and some 200 shows later, the hook was definately set deep that night......
I decided during El Paso to see where it would take me. A long strange trip indeed. . .and it continues. . .
Of course everyone has heard the 11/1 show and probably recordings of 11/2, but my GF, my best friend and I drove through horrendous rain and traffic to get to Richmond in time for the first night. Traffic through DC was so bad, we only arrived and parked like 10 minutes before the show was to start. The parking garages were mostly devoid of humans by this point and I was panic-ing.
We knew our seats were pretty good, first level, in front of the stage, Phil side. We got our seats, quickly ingested some shroomies, and sat back. After the Dancin-Cold Rain opener,through to the Jack Straw, by then many bites of fungus later, we were amazed at the energy in the coliseaum. It was so damp from the rain and everyone was chill-focused on the music. Almost New Enland show like, which the band seemed to notice too.
THe 2nd set started with Sampson, definitely NOT one of my faves, I would trade one of these for the lamest of China-Riders or Scar-Fires.....SO I danced whilst grumbling. When they went into High TIme. the entire place erupted and everything went into frenetic slow motion.
From that moment on it was just amazing. Nothing was contrived about it until the frickin Day Job. Comes A Time! Gloria for Christ's sake!
That parking lot energy after the show was amazing. Everyone knew they had just witnessed some real love our way from the boys.
We were all geared up for the next night expecting a nose dive and we were all sober (well a few beers and smoke wisps). At this point I couldnt even count how many times the show or two after a peak show was average and just them playing along. Boy was I shocked when the second night was strong too!
The Candyman in the first set was incredible. The second set From Estimated through Dew was seriously wonderful. Plus that slow motion frenetic thing was still apparent. First night I blamed the shrewmz, the second night I blamed the band!
Anyway, this was life changing for me as from then on I enjoyed every show no matter what they played. It made touring more fun, instead all competitive and road icked annoyed cuz they played Wharf Rat for the 223535232 time or some other whiner crap!
Of course there was that show in Niagra falls in fall 84 when me and this chick had sex under the bleachers during drums - life changing in that "oh my god, I am having sex at a dead show" kinda way - Thank God for Pnchos!