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.
Now by the age of 15, I was already a seasoned concert goer. I was fortunant enough to have grown up in the suburbs of Chicago. Was also lucky to be the youngest in my family,my brother and sister being 5 and 11 years older then I. Lucky enough to have experience my adolecense during the 1970's when music in all respects and forms was readily available for me to be discovered and influenced by. I've been to probably around 500 or so concerts in my life.This musical journey began in 1968, when when I was 6yrs old. My sister and her best friend brought me along to see my first concert at Chicago's version of the Fillmore, a venue called The Electric Theater, where I was treated to my first of many to come awe inspiring musical milestones which began with sets by, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Grass Roots, and The Kinks. My Mom also made sure us kids got to see the Chicago Symphony once or twice a year along with the likes of Count Basey, Duke Elington, Artie
Shaw, and Sarah Vauhn. My best friend's Dad was a radio announcer for WGN Radio, and from the summer of '74 on through the next 5 summer's, was treated to just about every band that came through Chicago. By May of 1977, having been spoiled and probably even a little jaded by my rapidly growing milestone notches in my concert going experiences (Led Zepplin having been just a month before). Was utterly and completely caught off guard by the
the one band that up until that point had somehow eluded my friend Kyle Leonard and I.
The Venue was a familiar one but oddly intreging because of its shall we say stature of being
the home of the Chicago Symphony. The Chicago Auditorium Theater is a beautiful and elegant room where I had been accostomed to wearing my sunday best and hearing Chikolfsky, Moetsart and Betoven. The Chicago Auditorium has perfect accoustics with five balconies, red velvet seats rising perfectly from a low stage and not a bad seat in the house. However had never been priveledged enough till then to find myself seated in the 7th row on the main left 6 seats in from the main isle. Before the band came on stage, Was approched by a woman with long brown hair wearing a leopardskin leotard holding a silver tray with fresh strawberries and very discriminately passing them out randomly to those who's eye she caught, and both Kyle and I were transfixed by her deeply penetrating gaze as she approached and stood before us and offered us each the best strawberry I had ever had before or since. This was going to be a very special evening I thought, and the excitement and anticipation I felt inside was like nothing I had encountered before, and really had no clue as to why. but it was that feeling of "Toto. we're not in Kansas anymore" I had never had the chance to experience LSD yet. And knew when the Leopard Lady chose me, that I was finally going to know. When the house lights dimmed for the last time(They always quickly dimmed the lights three times at the Chicago Auditorium to let everyone know to take their seats), and the stage lite up and the Grateful Dead walked out on stage, the whole room thundered with the anticipation of what was to come. And Kyle and I had absolutely no idea this band was in the middle of what was already being come to be known by deadheads as the Grateful Dead's finest tour and run of magical shows in their already lengthy and mythical history. Kyle and I really knew nothing about this band(I maybe heard Truckin' or Sugar Magnolia on the radio once or twice). And suddenly there we were, in one of the finest acoustic and beautiful auditoriums in the world, 7th row, beggining to feel the delightfully exciting impessions of my first psycodelic experience and realizing as the band began warming up all playing their instruments not in song but as an orchestra might before the conductors raise of the baton reaching that final creshendo, that sudden moment of silence
and with Phil's slide down the neck of his base the band seagued into The Music Never Stopped, Ramble on Rose followed by Cassidy, Brown Eyed Women, New Minglewood Blues, Friend of the Devil, El Paso, Jack-A-Roe(the 1st performance of), Looks Like Rain, and ending the set with Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain(Still the best Scarlet>Fire I ever heard them play). And I (and Kyle both) were astonished and truely transformed by the end of that first set. I think it happened to me during the jam in Cassidy when bobby's break of "flight of the seabirds" to bring the song to its beautiful end. I was thought provoked all through Brown Eyed Women(the LSD was really growing inside my head) but was engaged by Jerry's sensitivity and his way of being able to convey imagery with his lyric was like that of no other I had ever seen or heard before. I could rattle off a list of legendary bands and concerts I had been to up to this point. And had experienced some really incredible performances by the Eagles , Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, Traffic and even Bob Dylan. But, That was the moment I truely realized something more then just a concert was happening before me. It was the first time in my life I realized that I wasn't just listening and watching a musician play a song. But instead, had personally been transported and consciously brought into experience the song by the musician. And I felt deeply and personally moved and priviledged for being taken there. It happened again, only this time with Bobby's invitation into Looks Like Rain, where I found both the music's depth and lyric's vulerability and the dynamics of the interaction between all the musicians had me holding back tears as if I were the one who sang those love songs written in the letters of your name... I learned how to truely dance with joy for the first time in my life during the sets closing Scarlet>Fire. In which I for the first time became aquainted with everyone else in the room, that I wasn't just me with my ticket, my seat, my experience, my coat, my ride home. I was home... That was when I became a DeadHead. Was during that 22 minutes, that I was embraced not just by the band by the audience that wasn't just an audience, that this was tribe, not just friends, but acceptence not unlike family( like I had finally been introduced to all tha cousins I'd never met yet), A happy and loving family reunion without drama, and narrow pigheaded indifferences or petty unforgivings. True unconditional acceptance to just be embaced back. That is the story of the second set. In which Where the Grateful Dead had graced and had given the collective of the university's gym at Cornell University just five days prior. Those of us in the Chicago Auditorium Theater that night were given and graced( in my opinion and in retrospect) with what I feel to be maybe the band's most beautiul and quite possibly most moving and awe inspiring journey into that rhelm of what lies beyond us and just out of reach in our conscious lives. It started out fun and tight and just that feeling of cathartic release of collective yahoo. Beginnig with Sampson and Delilah, Bertha and then deliberately, but gentley being brought into the rhelm of having to focus attentively and retrospectively by the band to deliver Chicago's first reading of Estimated Prophet which we all listened to finding that it demanded a sort of feeling of reverance, like we were in church. Bobby Weir the firey minister with a sermon both filled with fear of the unknown and reassurance of it's being alright "Don't worry about it" this led to Billy and Micky transporting us all and delivering us into the place where none of us (including the band) had ever been or experienced before. This became one of those very rare indeed moments(one of only maybe three I experienced in over the 274 shows I attended over the next 17yrs). The accoustics of the venue became itself an instrument of the band's to play with. But, everyone knew that this was a moment where the music was actually playing the band. It was like a portal opened up and for the next 17minutes, Jerry, Bobby, Keith, and Phil and everyone for five balconies above us were given a glimpse of Mana. Jerry, Phil and Bobby, on stage, Then suddenly just Jerry left alone with Bobby and Phil at the side of the stage watching and intently gazing at Jerry as he played an enthrallingly beautiful and "other worldly" solo for the next five minutes by himself on stage. The rest of us standing there in disbelief, silent open mouthed some with their hands covering their mouths and shaking their heads in complete and total amazement as Jerry almost seemed like he was literally physically phase in and out of physical reality caught somewhere between here and there...Then demanding Boby's presence then Keith's , Phil and then Micky and Billy. Seaging into the Other One with the thunder of a Saturn Rocket breaking gravity, but for only one verse. This complicated array of time signatures and dinamically tonal textures broke down into its simple and construct components and opened the door and inviting us into the living room of Stella Blue.Possibly to this day the most moving compelling and vulnerably heart breaking reading of it I've ever seen played. There wasn't a dry eye in the house and with mouths once again covered eyes wide open, and even with tears in Jerry's eyes and on his cheeks we mourned for Stella Blue, as if he was able to seen a glimpse of the future and somehow knew this was where he would last ever see her again some 18 years later.. you could hear a pin drop. This WAS now indeed Church. Just then Phil had the ability to pull us all back into ourselves and we were Goin' Down the Road. And Bobby happily reminded us that this was indeed Saturday Night(Not sunday morning). U.S. Blues made for a feeling of the evening having just been nothing at all except for maybe a little ironic. All I know is that you only need ask anybody that attended this show on May 13th 1977, was transformed... Even seasoned Deadheads were reborn that evening and none of us walked out as we had come in... If you have the opportunity to listen to this show you will experience something special indeed happened.
Moment for moment, this show to me was "THE" show of that wonderful spring '77 tour
It changed my life forever leading me down roads I never would have traveled and known to be the experiences of my life. THANKS GUYS! THANK YOU KYLE LEONARD, I miss you!
frisko-mobb shop tattoo aurora,co 16868 E. Iliff 3033695446 snack sunday kezar stadium someone passed me a carton of o.j. and jerry n friends came out ripping thru blues 4 allah album allinstramental iwas 13 yrs old at the time and blown away. definetly been stuck ever since now i am 46 and listen every day all dead all day if inhad it my way. just found a picture of me in 76 wearing a blues 4 allah shirt i got at mervins with my moms
there are two: 7/18/82 and 7/13/84.
Willie Nelson"s Fourth of July Picnic 2003. Sat in traffic from Austin for a few hours longer than expected. I was prepared for everything. Food, gas, beer, sleeping bag, etc. Met my best buds and in we go. Much celebration!! Walking down the hill, beers in hand, I notice a rainbow in the sky as the band plays "leavin Texas, fourth day of July." An indescribable feeling grabbed at my soul, and never let go. Like lightning hitting me. I felt like all the problems in the universe just VANISHED!! Many noodle dances later it was time for my friends to leave and me to return to my Jeep to eat, sleep, hangout,etc. Wait...I've lost my keys! Can't find 'em, don't have 'em, lost 'em. Now what? There they are, on the ground, RIGHT NEXT, to my jeep. I turned around to all the people and just said "THANKS!!" I opened up the jeep and shared. Couldn't sleep there though, Had to drive a few miles to a rest stop, where i saw a VW van with a tie-dyed sheet over the back window. Something told me, this was the place. Woke up the next morning and headed back to the festival for day two with my friends and Niel Young. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!! While Jerry was only there in spirit, the joy I got seeing " the DEAD" will live with me forever.
"Without love in the dream it'll never come true"