Most Cosmic Venue EVER
Let's face it, some venues had a lot more charisma than others -- and still do. Red Rocks probably tops a lot of lists when it comes to personal Grateful Dead power spots -- but what amazing places haven't we heard enough about?
Formerly the Astoria, this theatre was built in the 1930s with an insane magical fantasy Arabian Oasis theme. The whole interior was a trip in itself. With facades of adobe houses, palm trees and a blue ceiling pierced with the lights of a starry sky. Before shows and during intervals it was great just to look around the place.
Host to 100's of extraordinary shows over the years from everyone who was anyone. I remember Little Feat, a whole series of heavy heavy roots reggae shows and of course the Dead. They were supposed to play there on their way home from Egypt (it would have been so appropriate given the decor), but pulled out very late on, apparently to complete work on Shakedown Street (bad deal all round, I'd say). Anyway they paid us back with a series of shows in March '81 (including my first show and on my birthday too) and another series in October too. Oh to revisit those crazy nights in that trippy theatre (or was it the other way round!)
The Rainbow is now a church of some kind! But the owners have apparently lovingly restored the interior. Take a look inside
Deercreek '89-'93 was climbing the venue charts the last few years they toured. Can't forget about Alpine Valley- always a pleasure, especially in '02 for the GD Family Reunion shows- great energy! Of course, anywhere in the Bay Area was always a treat too- Oakland Coliseum, etc.