My DUI accident pretty much changed me. By the fate of God, I I survived. Needles to say, I dont drink anymore.
As for my first show, it was 1991-06-09, I was new to the scene and had only heard Truckin before. I was so impressed with the parking lot and thought to myself, "Is this for real?, could there really be this many people together in one spot getting along in perfect harmony?"
I NEVER WANTED TO LEAVE!!!
Been collecting shows since!!!
LONG LIVE THE DEAD!!!!!!!
I think it was 81 - Morning Dew, Dark Star...
I died there.
The first night of this three night run may not have been the best show that I ever attended but for some reason halfway through the first set, I was overcome by a profound sense of enlightened bliss and an elevated group consiousness. I began to hug everyone I came across. I gave away my Jerry side rail seat stub to someone looking for a seat. Spent the better part of the second set carrying water to dancing sweaty heads (until the concessionaires quit giving me cups). I even struck up conversations with a couple of cops and security folks. I felt so lucky to have been born at a time that I could be a part of this community. I remember carrying that bliss through my daily life for several months thereafter.
Englishtown NJ 9-77 w Dead, Marshal Tucker, NRPS.
My folks took me to freshman orientation at Rutgers, droped my stuff off at the dorm, and then droped me off on route 1 so I can hitch to Englishtown. I was still 17 and thought my folks were strict. Different times. Made it there, great show all way around (A Dick Pick's Picks). Hitched back having no idea where I was and forgot where my room was. But everyone along the way was so cool. Even the NJ State Troopers that day. WOW
My kids would have tough time if they didnt have enough bottled water and a ride to and from the show.
I can't think of a show that wasn't life changing.
I have spent my life seeking all thats still unsung.
Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see.
When there was no strings to play, you played to me.
Most life changing had to be my first - The Spectrum, Philly - Easter Weekend 1984 - I will never forget walking in and hearing Jerry's voice, which was really gruff, and he said "hi ya, hi ya, hi kids, can you hear me?" and they opened with The Beatles "Glass Onion." I was hooked forever...
So many memorable shows since then - Dead at Soldier Field, Rich Stadium, Foxboro Stadium, MSG, Boston Garden, Oxford Speedway up in Maine on July 4th....
But my fav had to be the Jerry Garcia Band at the Warfield in SF in Aug 1990. I was out on biz staying in the penthouse at the Griffon Hotel. met up with my bud from HS who lives in Marin and college roomate. didnt know abt the show until we read it in the paper, and walked right up to the box office the day of the show and bought tix. one bud had orthoscopic knee surgery on both knees and when we got in the usher asked us if we wanted handcap seats, so we ended up sitting at a table right on the isle in the first row above the floor directly in line with jerry. we ate burgers and induldged and what an amazing show!! After the show we all went up to my friends house in the Presideo and stayed up late making such a long mix tape that we ended up taping over some of it.... haha... The overall experience was just the greatest time...
Peace out y'all...
It wasn't my first show... but it was the most life changing show for me...
Help> Slipknot> Franklin's, Estimated> Dark Star> Drumz> Stella Blue> Lovelight E: Baby Blue
Sometime during "Help> Slipknot>"
The beginning of the Second set felt like the stadium was going to take off.,.. It felt like a giant flying saucer... I had this notion that I needed to get the the lawn.. so that was my mission... I did finally make it... my buddy and I jumped on to the law.. the lady security guard gave me the 'come here' gesture... (my friend melted into the crowd, like i should have) I went.. and she walked me to the rear exit behind the stage.
After getting back into the parking lot.. I wandered around a bit.. walked under the bridge overpass and was watching the bridge breathe.... just then three motorcycles from each direction flew past me... it was such an amazing feeling... A guy walked past me and said "hey look that way," as he pointed towards the bridge's arched legs going across the Anacostia river. It was a long reflective tunnel.. shimmering.. breathing as the traffic passed on the bridge above.
During Franklin's Tower..
Well, I just had to go that way.. so off I trod... into the water. I must preface this by saying...I cant swim... and that people have been pissing in this river ALL day. As I get a bout waist deep.. i find that my shoes were hindering me... off they go.... hey whats this in my pocket.. oh my wallet... its hindering me.. who needs that?.. and the glasses... who needs them? By this point.. I'm in over my head.. treading water... I start to get tired.. had to rest... I had just seen Backdraft.. and remember the scene when Cage was floating in the bottom of the shaft... he just floated with his mouth out of the water.... that's what i did.. after i regained my endurance .. I looked around my immediate area... and found a discarded tire of some sort... a life ring! That tire saved my life that night.
During Estimated Prophet..
So I continue to float in the Anacostia River outside the concert.. a large log comes floating by... being in my condition.. i think its an alligator... so i hop on and take it for a ride! We kept floating... out from under the overpass... and i can hear the concert.. this Estimated was SMOKING! Bobby was on fire that night. Don't worry ... nah nah... nah nah.... NA!! NA NA!!!
I made a very important decision that night, at that moment... I decided to marry my girlfriend who was carrying my child. We have been married 18 years now and have 3 children together.
There's a lot more before AND after that segment of rambling text...
I guess it had to be the Carrier Dome, Syracuse in 1984. The liquid had come in a few weeks before and we all had orange juice cocktails. The energy for the show was building as I hitchiked my way up the NY Thruway with a freak couple from Jersey. It seemed to me there was a big 'Steal Your Face' beacon in the sky beckoning us closer & closer to the venue. Back then you could actually get tickets w/o having your shit together (Thank God!), so I got mine and went into the show.
I guess I peaked during ~Space~ saw evolution from monkies to human beings on the back of my eyelids and I went to the highest place in the Dome for the post-drum sequence of Wheel>Other One>Black Peter>Lovelight, Revolution. You meet the highest people in the highest places! Once in a while you can show'em the light & the strangest of faces, if you look at them right!
If you're a Deadhead, you know Bear was on the mixing board for that tour and doing freaky things with the echo. The Dome had those big ventilation vents that opened and closed with a big Whoooosh! Lordy, lordy, Bear have mercy!
My friends went to Hartford without me and I guess they had some kind of epiphany also with the '7drop juice', they had to stop their car on Rt 6, half between Providence & Harshford, turn on the wipers and wash the bats off the windshield!
This show was a week after I graduated high school and I went up to Saratoga with a bunch of friends. It was an amazing experience which solidified me as a life long dead head. See the show posts for a taste of what this one was all about.
Every show was magic in its own way. Going to shows and hanging with my fellow heads in high school, college and grad school gave us all a special bond which could never be understood by non-heads. It was a sense of peace, love and fun that can never be recaptured.
Even today when I reunite with a head friend from the old days - or meet somebody who unexpectedly turns out to be a heas - the bond is still.
But at the end of the day, it is the music that lives on in my mind and heart. The tunes are the soundtrack of my life - each note bringing back a memory of a place or person that I knew when life was more simple. The lyrics still give me strength when I hear them for the thousandth time, such as "Sometime you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right." You may be feeling low, then you hear Jerry say, "If you get confused, Just listen to the music play" - and life is a little bit sweeter.
I had a great experience at the Gorge in 2004. It was right around the 4th of July and I decided to catch the last show on the west coast. I had seen them two days prior at the local show and I decided I couldn't miss the last one. The Dead came out and played Shakedown St in such a way it put a whole new meaning to the song for me. While this wasn't my first Dead show it was meaningful mostly because before the show we got some caps prior to the show starting. I traveled to the show solo so I met people once I showed up.
Once the show started they had came out fashionably (in true dead fashion) late and Robert Hunter came out and apologized. To hear that first song was like heaven to my ears I didn't even have to get through that first song (Shakedown) to know that made the whole trip worth it. I was with another guy that helped me get a ticket because I didn't have one when I arrived. We were just above the the bottom level on the far left at the Gorge where they have those high sides above the stage. We were movin and groovin for some time and the other guy mentioned that he was really cold so I let him know to just keep moving and you'll be ok. The next thing I knew the guy was on the ground shaking uncontrollably so I thought 'man hes having a bad trip'. I asked him if he was ok and he said he was. I looked for the medic tent but to no avail. I didn't want to have a bad trip as I was just getting started and this guy was there with other people. I never did catch up with him or the people he was with after that. I went back the next day where the car that he came in was at the day before and it was gone so I never did find out if the person was ok or not. It was truly life changing though Im sure I'll never forget that experience. I felt bad about how horribly wrong it went for someone else and in hindsight I should've done more. I guess those caps were alot more potent than we thought.