The other day in the Dead & Company thread on Facebook, some guy was complaining about getting a hard time from older Heads because he never saw Jerry and so would never get the real experience, yadda yadda... He thought this was especially unfair because he wasn't even born till 1997.
Whenever we each got on the bus, we've all heard something similar, with people pontificating that we can't possibly be Dead Heads because we never saw a)Jerry b)Pigpen c)Keith and Donna ....
We were all new once. So welcome, new Heads AND old ones. Tell your tales here.
Great to see you back in these parts! Don't be a stranger! Bring your neighbors!
Hello marye, it's been a long time. Hard to believe I been a member here for ten yrs. I just turned 50 this year, been a deadhead since the early 80's been to a lot of shows seen a lot , it's been a awesome ride. I recently had new neighbors move in, they are all in their 20's and into the dead, it fascinates me to see young people into the dead and the culture . I have no kids but now I have someone to share my life's collection with. So welcome to all younger heads and hello to all who may remember me from here .
Al's words are wise. Welcome to the extended family!
Well said BigAlNYC...
congratulations on your first show! I am glad to hear you overcome preconceptions about John, he is a saving grace for the band and possibly the future of it. I often see him saying and acting humbly and that is important, he knows the Dead are bigger than he is and Ego is the first thing to go when you drop .. out.
You cover a lot of questions but i can answer a few IMHO. i am sorry you ran in to "that guy" at the vendor stand. Just ignore him, people like that tend to be insecure and he was simply trying to make himself seem more of a deadhead then he is. Sounds like he misses one of the fundamental ideals of the Grateful Dead - we are a Family. Including him the weird uncle floating around..
As for the dancing - that is a very personal thing particularly at a show. Sometimes people are just tripping too hard to dance like a banshee, and i also think age has a lot to do with that. you answered your own questions with that one, Don't worry about what others are doing, just listen to the music play. Dance as you like and enjoy yourself. Often times especially if people are trying to talk to me or something; i close my eyes and just spin my head and arms around and focus on the sound. These shows are extremely personal events. So much the better if you can share with loved ones but you can do alone.
- you are NOT missing anything most people who are still alive and healthy enough to make the trip are going to these shows, they are Amazing! I always notice that A LOT of people at these shows are trippin, i would say something like 60- 70% maybe more. It seems like the entire place
- The people who pay for the upfront tickets are either lucky to get them in lottery or they have money to burn. Either way it doesn't make you more or less of a fan.- in short your seat assignment has nothing to do with your love. In old MSG the hard core family would often be in the hallways just spinning around. eyes closed, not in visual range (but great speaker / audio).
If you want to find where all the good people are you will have to go a little early and start shaking strangers hands. Go meet people, say hello and introduce yourself. be honest, kind and welcoming (non judgmental) and you will find people to hang out with. Which will bring your show to the next level.Going with your mom and siter is family love, nothing stronger. Perhaps mom will get Ricky Ricky Rekt on shrooms? Its possible your mother shielded you somewhat from the heavy heads? - there is a dark side to the scene as well, hard drugs like Heroin are a problem for some unfortunate souls. stay AWAY! For Realz
Last night was my first Dead and Co show and It was a mixed experience for me. I actually came here and made an account just for this post so I could process my thoughts some, hopefully with a bit of feedback.
Im twenty years old, I've been listening to the Dead probably since I was 14. Wasnt until I was 17 probably when I had a few Dicks Picks albums that I was listening to consistently that the Dead started to really stand out for me as a band, and as a cultural phenomenon.
Around this time too I was really getting into smaller contemporary electronic/funk/rock/jam fusion type bands. Papadosio, Tea Leaf Green, etc.. Papadosio was my favorite band probably safe to say that it was because of the seen. I loved the people. I felt like they were a real loving family away from my own biological one. I was elated just to be standing in the venue with the crowd. We took care of eachother and made friends in the show. We danced hard, transcending just simply listening to the band. It wasnt just a concert. It was a curated experience where we could gather with the same values, the same intentions and celebrate.
I recognized that The Grateful Dead were the trailblazers for this experience, that they started it all back in the acid tests. But they were like the Beatles to me, legends in the past to maybe read about. When the had their 50 reunion tour I thought it was cool and was a bit sad I didnt get to go, but felt eh it probably wouldnt be worth it. When Dead and Co started a few years later with john mayer I felt they sold out some and thought "why would they choose someone with a fuckboy voice to play jerrys part" (I've since taken a complete 180 on my stance, but mention it simply for authenticity and context.
Since the resurgence of the hippie and new age fashion over the past couple years I've been kind of turned off to a lot of the music I listened to because folks I knew were getting into it for the fashion statement of it, which I think makes it a lot harder to really engage in the music, experience, and community. I know its no real reason to not listen to music, but its how I felt about it, you know I'm out here still learning. But anyway, I was turned off to my contemporary music for a little and took the time to experiment with the Grateful Dead. On archive.org I found neat shows, contextualized with reviews of people who were there, I started to piece together what the grateful dead really were.
I did a big paper and project on the grateful dead in an ethnomusicology class and it sent me down a rabbit hole of Grateful Dead. For nearly that whole year all I listend to was the Grateful Dead.
I took mushrooms a few times and simply sat outside and listend to shows for the entirety of the experience. I found nuances in songs that touched me deeper than I ever would have thought. The Dead is one of the only bands that can bring me to tears.
So - A few months ago my mom (went to a few 80's - 90's shows), got tickets for my little sister, her, and I to see Dead and Co. I was excited. I knew it was going to be a beautiful experience, although probably pretty distant from the old Grateful Dead. I didnt have my usual show drink, a tripple vodka redbull, just two joint but I figured that was cool. I was anticipating being there mostly to appreciate (nearly from a historical perspective) Weir, Hart, Kreutzmann, and basque in their legendary sounds.
This was the 2018 show in Cincinnati last night. So my mom and sister and I were out in the lawn, had a blanket, it was nice. The music played and people crowded a little tighter but that was fine we were all standing. I lit a joint but no one around seemed interested so I kept it between my self my mom and my sister and tried to not make a scene of it. We swayed a bit for the first couple songs. Then they played "They love eachother" and my whole perspective on Dead and Co changed. John Mayer was playing his heart out. Bob was playing his heart out. The drums were killing it. This is one of my favorite songs right now, simply for the drums. So when they played.. wow I was happy. I realized what I bigot I was ripping on JM. It's not his fault the way he sounds - It was me projecting my ugly preconceptions on to him that made me uninterested and not like his voice. I took a second to think positive, and be compassionate to my self for being a bigot, and be mindful of my appreciation for JM and the hard work he puts into the band. In my mind I offered an apology and made peace with JM and Dead and Co. JM and Bobby singing they love eachother had me feeling the love. Bob and JM love eachother. The band loves eachother. I love them and they love me in one way or another im sure.
I was dancing good and hard, the first set was slow and steady as usual. So there was ebbs and flows to my energy for sure but I thought it was beautiful. There was a group of people a little older than me maybe 25 or so and they were dancing and having fun. I was next to a mom whos teenage son seemed to be being a brat and didnt want to be there but she seemed like a sweetheart so I danced extra hard for her. She had a beautiful smile on her face and I know she was in the same place as me. It was nice.
Then the first set was over and I went to buy a tshirt. The guy in line behind me and my mother asked how it was going, I was excited and told him it was my first show and I thought it was beautiful and I like john meyer now and told him about how I felt during They love eachother. The man responded with that They love each other is his least favorite song. Then went on to talk about how the band sucks and its not what it used to be and I dont know and I'll never know. I went along with it but was a little hurt that he was invalidating all the passion I had and all the time and experiences id spent listening to the band. I turned around and left him to my mom so they chatted for a second and then he left the line without even buying a shirt. I'm a sensitive guy and was really high and a little paranoid and this guy had me shaken so I rushed my shirt and got one that was a bit small but it was okay because my sister wanted it and I got another in the lot after the show.
Anyway, second set started and it was very lively and I was dancing very hard again. It was here maybe that I noticed that folks werent really dancing as hard as me anywhere that I could see. Up on the rail of the lawn they were just swaying, on the far right and left folks were kinda just moving and sipping there beers. It was only during their special hit songs when people really danced but I didnt really see anyone who looked to be dancing freely and uninhibited as I was and how I'd experienced at smaller shows. The rest of the night was great, musically it was great, but the crowd was kinda lacking and had me curious for the whole show. I remember thinking at a point that I was going to come to this forum after the show and try to understand what was happening. I would have expected there to be a section of the audience that was dancing more than the rest but I could find them. So it felt like I was having my own party with this mom to my left the whole show, bless her heart.
My mom has a bad back so she couldn't really rage, she was just swaying, but appreciated the music. I dont know where all the dancing people were. Or all the dead heads. I saw a lot of hipsters and country folk. Which is great you know, I hope they had a great time and I'd love to dance with them again, but they just weren't very engaged. Beyond the hipsters and country folk, there were a lot of teenagers wearing really loud bright tie dyed shirts and clothes with marijuana symbolism. There was a few people wearing khakis, button up type shit and they weren't really dancing that hard. The people who seemed most engaged were the 50-65 year old mom looking women and the teenagers. They still weren't dancing very hard. I guess the point of this post is am I missing something? Do people who really enjoy and engage in the Grateful Dead music not go anymore? Everyone seemed like just a casual fan. Do the people who are passionate buy the more expensive up close seats? Is there a defined place they are all hiding? Can I get in on it?
I really thought the band was great. The music was incredible and I'd like to see them again maybe catch them later on the tour, but if I do I hope my experience with the crowd with be more fulfilling. If not then I'll be happy to dance with the Moms again.
Another final thought, on the old heads and purists who whine about Dead and Co. I think getting caught up on the changing sound and then bringing that frustration to the music is sad and missing the point of the Grateful Dead. Take it back to the acid tests, if JM was there they would have jammed and it would have been wonderful im sure. I think its certain that it is a value of the grateful dead to accept change and to groove with it. Just be Kind. Yeah it doesnt sound like when they had Jerry in the 90's but the band sounded drastically different ten years before that too. I dont think people should give up on Dead and Co. The music is great. To me, all that was missing was the fans.
The young folks I think are the ones carrying on the music and the party that the grateful dead started. I dont know why I couldnt find it at Dead and Co.
Nobody ever had enough Grateful Dead shows, so counting is a drag anyway. My first show was great and my last show was great and the ones on between were great, too. Dead and Company last night in Cleveland, also great. Somebody wants to tell me about a show I didn't see, also great. It's not a contest, folks. It's just the wonder of the experience.
I'm with dwlemen:
"It would be sad to think that the scene is predestined to die as those who were there to see Jerry live ultimately pass"
There is a whole second generation of my extended family getting WAY into this; if this really IS anything, it is about something that goes on (and on).
Have a beautiful, groovy time and may the four winds blow you safely home
I'm sure you will have the time of your life!!! Do report back and let us all know how your experience went!
Stay Grateful My Friend,