The first show in Paris 1990. In college at the time, I ran into friends from high school I had not seen in years (I am from Huntington beach, california). Met Parisians who were into the Dead and wanted to know more about America and how popular the Dead were. Enjoyed some really strong goodies and wondered the streets of Paris afterwards in a glow. Had an epiphany during Saint of Circumstance- details not important, I just remember I had an epiphany.
Something about that show and experience made me embrace my love of the Dead more than any other.
Most life changing thing was my first show in Chicago.
My mom and dad took me to it..
They werent dead heads but i wanted to go.
We sat in the upper deck and it was amazing..
After the show my mom goes to me and said " you will never go to one of these again"
Too bad for her... i went for the next 5-6 years..
And listen to them today..
Wow what a good time in my life
you don't ever know. Wonder whose album it was!
I'll start out by confessing that I blew off what SHOULD have been my first Grateful Dead show - Syracuse, 10/27/71. I was a freshman at Colgate, and a whole bunch of guys from my dorm, including my roommate, were going. Damned if I know why I didn't ...l I thought it was for a World Series game, but the Baseball Almanac tells me that the '71 series ended on 10/17, soooo ...
So if I wimped out on that, how did I catch the bug? Sophomore year at Colgate, I was living at a frat house. I was assigned to clean the house living room on the Saturday morning after the first big Friday night party. I found a copy of Europe '72 - musta been damn near brand new at the time (9/72). I took it back to my room, wrote up a bunch of 3x5 cards describing the album, where I found it & where to contact me, & posted them on the bulletin boards at frat houses, dorms & the student union (1972 ... NO INTERNET!!). Nobody ever got in touch, or asked anyone else at the house about it.
Still, I was oddly reluctant to listen to it - at the time I was into Beatles, Stones, Who, CSNY, & other stuff that they call "Classic Rock" today, but was sorta new back then. Liked the Airplane, but they didn't play any Grateful Dead on WABC or WMCA-AM, y'know? But after Thanksgiving break, I began to feeling that I now owned this album, & figured it was high time I listened to it.
The initial feeling, listening to that mad Cumberland, was "where has this stuff BEEN all my life??!!", and so began a beautiful lifelong obsession.
The simple fact that the "new right" has consistently been wrong does not mean that wrong is the new right.
I saw two shows at the Uptown in Chicago (11-16-78 and 8-19-80) before I caught up with the boys on a crazy Saturday night in Paris, 10-17-81. If there's such a thing as a deadhead, that's the night I became one, meaning it all came together for me there: psychedelics, music, dance, and community. I had just turned 21 then and I'm 50 now; the journey just keeps getting longer, stranger and trippier.
I've never seen the Grateful Dead with Jerry, on account of only being 19. But I literally just got back from Furthur at the UCF Arena and it was amazing. "Strawberry Fields" > "When You Wish Upon A Star", "Truckin'", "The Wheel", and so many others. Now the old expression is cemented in my brain, "There is nothing like a Dead concert." I loved the people (they were polite and awesome for the most part) and the music was incredible. I'm going to go to every Furthur and Dark Star Orchestra concert I can from now on.
I never got to see the band with Jerry as I was still a kid... But I saw them at the Forum in 09 and that was ORGASMIC!
I was 20 yrs old and it was 1985. Dead were playing Hampton-3rd night. I was listening to the studio albums and--- "Dead Set" during my teenage years--enjoying it immensely but still not "getting it." I was into the concert very much but then at some point I was close to the stage on the left side of Jerry looking directly at him right as they kicked into "Terrrapin". I'll never forget that feeling of hearing that beautiful song rendered so soulfully by Jerry himself. Right then and there I was a Deadhead for life. A few months later and I was on summer tour for the Dylan/ Tom Petty/ Dead stadium shows and Jerry's subsequent diabetic coma.
my brothers got nabbed the night before - poker showed me and johnny hospitality by a campfire with tequila and friendship and sympathy - next day the show and it really made me want to get back into playing piano seeing bruce hornsby tink away with vinnie (never forgot how well bruce and vinnie handled the chair together, it was bittersweet to see vinnie alone later on, but I appreciated him nonetheless on his own and loved way to go) - jack straw opener felt like a crowd of people had just staked a claim and called this place home for however long - amazing how generations of people were present... grandparents, parents, little children - jerry's guitar was playing my arms - bobby played the clown during estimated - felt a part of the band and the music - people were sweet, inviting and oh so strange... but then it was mostly me ;) it was the only concert in my life that felt like a dream. waking up was a bummer. what now? what now? yeah, right now. ;) keep searching like a dummy for years after that or so it seemed. took me years to appreciate - but that's just the story. gratitude explains the feeling of my first show.... and we got around to playing the piano again and mixing old training with song after song from the dead songbook through the coming years. got a taste for playing grand pianos in college, in the dark, hearing the band in my head as fingers blindly moved over the keys. actually got a chance a few nights to jam with stu allen here in our hometown when we were both teenagers... always loved playing a terrapin though never saw one. every little thing can change a story, you're only as young as the last time you changed your mind --- first show brought me back to the piano and told me stories that would echo as all the years combined and melted into the dream. cheers.
For me, attending the Winterland show 6/17/75, billed as "Jerry Garcia & Friends" was a big one. The one & only show where I saw & heard the Dead on their home turf...I'd hitchhiked across country from Washington, DC in 1974, staying with a friend at 23rd & Church Streets for almost a year. Bob Weir & his band, Keith & Donna's band opened the show, so I was blown away by the Grateful Dead coming on stage, especially hearing "Franklin's Tower" for the first time. By then I was a confirmed Deadhead, but hearing them play in S.F. put the seal on the diploma! It didn't hurt that I got to dance with a cute lady there...serindipity in the moment.