Storytelling: 'The Tribe Around the Fire'
This started with a discussion between Frankly and Warlock, which follows below because it's too good to summarize and sets the tone beautifully... Tell your stories here! -- ME
winds of change
what about a topic which deals with the fact that there is an evident change of DH generations underway.there are rhe seniors who are coming into their 60s(or more) now,than the middle of the road who came on the bus late 70s and the new ones who never had the luck to see the GD because when jerry passed away they were like 5-10yrs. old.wow,its in fact allready the 3rd gen. of DH and the 1st to grow up only on canned music.i am sure that the folks of all these 3 groups might have alot of interesting stuff to tell one another..:-)(-:peace to all
I'm one of those 3rd generations. I was born in 1980, first listened to the GD in 92, got my 1st 2 CD's in 1993 which I think were a pretty popular buy among CD's for Dead fans. In the Dark and Skeletons From the Closet. I already had a musical love from listening to the GD in the short amount of time listening to them when Jerry died. I remember walking down the stairs half way to my mom doing her hair saying Jerry died this morning. She likes country music and only told me because she knew I loved the GD. I said no way, and walked back up to my room and cried.
The breaker is my mom said you can see the Grateful Dead when you turn 15. I was happy. I had a very close cousin who had been the type of guy that not only goes show to show, he lived show to show. Well, anyways me and Jerry share birthdays (Aug. 1st) I turned 15 (in '95) and I was ready to find the next ticket. Seen that they were just in Chicago a few weeks ago at the time that July... Their last Venue. Days later after never finding out the next time they were going to come to the Chicago, Jerry ended up passing away on August 9th 1995 (we all know, but...) I just turned 15!
Anyways at least I've seen the Dead, and to me the closest thing other than them... Dark Star Orchestra. I can count over 200 CD's in my GD collection, but that was all before 2002. I have about 2000 hours of live GD from just the computer and internet. I love the dead, and have come across many dead heads with the same knowledge that I do! I admit tho, I lack the experience! And the experience outweighs the songs, time a lifetime. I could get a copy of every show they ever played, and never get to feel, see, smell, hear, or even fathom what it was actually like to be there. That's why I love you!
I love you all, good night...
A dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago...
...see what i meant!i am sure that even if there are lifetimes between us..we all are DEADHEADS and we ride in the same bus on a long,strange trip from which nobody can tell where it will lead us.....end of an era?we have really just begun and im sure there are tons of stories to be shared on this topic! U could call it the "tribe around the fire" !!!.the futures here an we are it..........Peace To you all out there :-)(-:
I posted an earlier draft of this monologue in the thread for the show where the events that are described took place; Park West Ski Resort on September 4, 1983. It's part of a play that I've written for my Master's thesis that's titled Waiting for the Show, so when I found this thread today, the words "The Tribe Around the Fire" hit me like a ton of synchronicity. Here's why.
(The setting for the play is the sidewalk in front of the Warfield an hour before the doors open the evening of a show; the set-up for the monologue is a sudden shift from a realistic depiction of the scene in front of the Warfield to a fantasy scene where everyone one stage gathers in a semi-circle at center stage; some sit, some stand; at center, a fire is produced; all cast members enter and join the gathering; a large mirrored ball is lowered; it slowly spins illuminated by a pinpoint spotlight; sage is burned in the wings; soap bubbles are released from the wings; cast members improvise on the ritual of the storyteller and the fire; some sit transfixed by the tale, some dance in circles around the gathering, some beat hand drums, some chant, some testify, some speak in tongues; near the end of the storyteller's monolgue, all on stage respond as the crowd that is being described in the tale; when the storyteller speaks the line, “but as soon as we realize this we return,” all exit by slipping into the wings.)
...tonight we were talking about life and what I didn't know about it which was everything I think...nothing I thought...nothing I knew...worked anymore...and to be honest...knowing never really worked in the first place...knowing is not the same as the way...I had to find ways to stop thinking and start doing...I've crashed and burned and resurrected myself so many times...it's an embarrassment of pissed away riches...but then I know now what it was I needed then...and it's so simple...I needed to find a way to be still in motion...like a hummingbird...did you ever see one of those little buggers...I was at a show this one time in Utah...it was at a ski area up in the mountains outside of Salt Lake City...but it was like Labor Day weekend so there wasn't any snow...just green grass and tall pine trees running up to a high rocky ridgeline and a stage set up at the base of the hill by the lodge...I was riding with some kind folks from Montana that I met at the show in Idaho a couple nights before...we hit the parking lot a couple of hours before showtime and I thought I'd use the time to take a hike up the hill...maybe up to that high ridgeline just to see the sights...
...my ride said to stop by their car after the show if I needed a lift to Red Rocks...I said I might...and then pointed myself up that hill above where the crowd was gathering...I had been looking forward to a hike before the show but forgot about the elevation...so what I thought looked like a five or ten minute walk probably took me an hour to get up...by the time I did make it...huffing and puffing...sun scorched...and dripping sweat...to the top of that ridgeline...and turned around to see what I had done...I just about fell on my ass from the view that opened up before me...there was the crowd below...and the stage beyond the crowd...and then mountains and mountains and mountains...too many to count...too much to understand...I caught myself sitting on a rock that was there...I hadn't planned to...to sit I mean...it was just what needed to be done in that moment I guess...and that's when I felt or maybe I heard...the air moving...a fluttering whoooosh...like atmospheric tachycardia...then...right in front of me...hovering there in the air...maybe a foot from my face...a flash of emeralds...and rubies...I was seeing then realizing I was seeing...a hummingbird...and look...she's checking me out too...like time was standing still...but with that realization...it all...shifts...it was time...and off she flew...
...that's when I notice the crowd below looks like they're...turning...I wheel around to look behind me...but there's only rocks and sage...I turn back to the crowd and...they're looking at me...why are they looking at me...I'm sitting on a rock...I have my clothes on...I haven't burst into flames...there's like a couple thousand people down there who were facing west a minute ago and now they're facing east...I turn and trace the line of their gaze...up in the sky...and there's a person up there in the sky...a person with a parachute and purple smoke trailing behind...I think...well that's just crazy...but then...I want to do that...I turn back to the crowd...and they're going nuts...woo hoo...woo hoo...woo hoo...then down there in the middle of the scene...I can see from my vantage point high above...there's a large blanket or a tarp being laid out in the middle of the crowd...a target...no way...no fucking way...I turn back to the guy in the sky...he's got a beard I can see by now...he's coming in fast and maybe fifty feet above me...and he's dancing...he's fifty no wait forty feet off the ground and he's dancing...there's purple smoke trailing behind him and he's waving something in his hand...a ticket...he's waving a ticket in his hand as he passes over me and I make the loudest sound I can...woo hoo...woo hoo...woo hoo...and the guy in the sky answers...woo hoo...woo hoo...woo hoo...I turn back to the crowd at the roar they make...the guy in the sky steers their way...a little bit to the right...a little bit to the left...a little bit more to the left...several thousand people are focused in on this thing...you can see that he's feeling it...like slow motion more or less...there's motion still and sound but it's not the same old tick...it's ours somehow...like we've slipped out of its grip but as soon as we realize this we return...like the guy in the sky has to land...and he hits the target...sticks his landing...I jump up and run all the way down that hill but it feels like I'm flying...the band is hitting the stage as I hit the rail and here we are...the miracle moment of creation...the only time we ever live in...here and now...miraculous...all the time...
Dead for life. What a way to go.
Time was very open and giving then.
it's the knick, it was the knick when you broke it in,
in 1990, it will always be "the knick"
sec 2 row E seats 7,8
Field Report April 15 1977
Got up at 5:30 to go to soccer practice.
Hated it. Only joined the team cause my next door
roomie was the equipment manager, and he got me
a spot. We were second ranked in the country, so
it was a heady time to be on the team. The coach
was a straight up bastard who I hated with a vengeance
since high school. He felt the same about me.
Earlier that week, I had arrived at 6:05 am,
five minutes late, and he had sent me off to the broom closet
to sweep up, and I was not at a loss for a few choice words,
as I left.
Well, this cool Connecticut morning, I arrived
at the gym, went into the locker room, and was directed
to a "cut list" that had every name on it, but mine.
I practiced as usual, cleaned out my locker, and went
back to my dorm room, a little chastened, but mostly relieved,
to be out of that soccer gulag.
I met my high school soccer buddy in my room, as per preordained
plan. We had planned to meet up with our friend Tim,
also, but he had class, and he had two friends up
from his home town who had nothing to do, so they
hung out with us.
He said he had something for us, and [deleted]
We walked down to (hh) room and sat around smoking
and laughing. At one point he put a record on the turntable,
and handed me the cover. It was something called
"Aoxomoxoa" what the hell? a mirror word?
But it was a by a band I liked and had actually seen
by mistake in my previous misspent youth. So I was
interested in what it was about. Along about the
time Rosemary's baby or some such song started,
and I was staring at the album cover, and flipped
it around to the back. Something felt really funn..nn..nn..
y, I couldn't put my finger on it, but it felt I was
losing something, and also gaining something at the same time,
it was quite confusing, and I stared a little closer at this
band of hooligans sitting under a tree, and something just slipped
away, i felt it, and then all of a sudden
I was standing under that tree, talking to those people.
And then I was sitting on the bed again, staring at
an album cover, with my friends, new and old, listening
to this album that was in my hand, and the music
isn't so much music anymore, it is more noise, and noise
with shapes and colors, and meanings. And then they start
playing some bluegrassy sounding song and the strands
of the sounds coming out of the instruments start
weaving in some heretofore unknown visual way, so that
I could see the interplay between the musicians as
strands in a wreath. Whew, I was tired, it must
be almost night by now... No, it has only been 3 1/2 minutes
since I looked up at the clock. Hmm. What was the
name of that album again? Crockolocka? Something?
Who are these people? They are smiling at me, kindly.
Who am I? Oh yeah, that kid, I just got cut from the
team today.. Is that me? I guess not anymore, huh?
Who, then.. Oh we are leaving the room now, and heading
back to my dorm for some unknown reason.
After getting heavier clothes on, we set out from my dorm.
Word had got out about something, and people were in their
door ways smiling at us as we left for some reason.
We crossed the busy road, and climbed the fence into the fields beyond.
It was easy going for awhile, but as we got out into the
pasture, the unmelted spring snow began to bog us down.
Standing kneedeep in snowdrifts, one of us happened to look back
at the dorm up on the hill we had just left, and said,
We turned to see all three floors of windows packed with my
dorm mates, all yelling and waving at us, cheering
us on. Cheering us on for What? I thought to myself,
that is odd beyond what I, well, we got a little wigged out,
and decided to clear the field , and top the hill on the other side.
So, to the cheers of the entire dorm, we topped the far
hill, and halfway down the hill sat down to ponder.
One by one my new companions jumped up, started running down the
snowcovered hill, until the snow drifts tackled them, and
they went rolling laughing down the hill. I was the last
to figure this little joy out, and as I sat there a red pickup appeared
in my field of view. Right in the middle. It hadn't seemed
to come down the road, it just appeared in the middle.
I made a mental note to figure that one out later,
and I jumped up, and started running down the hill,
until the snow tackled me, and I went spinning rolling laughing
down the snow covered hillside.
When I came to a stop, and picked myself up, I saw that (hh)
was balancing on a boulder on a stone wall, and Jerry and Brian
were sitting on said stone wall, looking a little like that picture
of the thinking ape. Well, I simmered myself down, as it appeared
they were deep in thought, but I was wrong, they were just waiting for me,
so we headed off a tractor path into the woods.
We ended up deep in the woods at a fenced enclosure, and when we
approached and peeked through the cracks in the wooden fence, we saw....
...wolves? in Connecticut? Wolves?? in pens?? huh? Well,
we commiserated with these wolves, and as we walked down
the road out to the animal barns, a dark blue Audi
pulled up and stopped, rolled down the window, and a pretty face,
I should say a pretty angry face poked out and said,
"What are you guys doing out here?"
We said something as innocent as possible, and she said,
"You need to stay away from the wolves, and leave them alone."
As we tried to spit out, What are wolves doing..?" she sped off.
Well, we managed to find the animal barns, and went first into the cow
barn. The creatures were all laying and standing all on top
of each other, and when one had to go, they would just
eliminate right on top of one another, And the uuuhhhhhhss
of the cows, just made me make a mental note on that sort
of life. hmmm. Next was the sheep pens, and the sheep
were giving each other a bit more room, and what is that?
Some kind of female sheep in readiness, whew, never saw
that before, what is that? that little black sheep
over there, staring right at me. Little guy, lots of attitude,
only little black sheep with all white sheep, and he looked pissed.
As pissed as me, deep down, at the whole silly world situation.
Just an angry kid, like me. Just like me, I think he knows it
too, he is staring right at me fixedly, and me right back at him, and we
are having a meeting of the minds, "hey dude, what is UP with this
world?" " I know, huh?" Well, you have a good life little black
sheep, let us see how we make our way in this world.
As we turned to leave the barn, a thought hit me, and I turned
to (hh) and said, "hey I just remembered I have a final today"
As I started to continute that idea, he quietly said to me,
"Maybe it's better just not to think about that right now,
we'll deal with it later." That made perfect sense to me at the time,
and honestly this is the first I have thought about it, some 32 years later.
At some point we ended up back at the dorm, in a friends room, packed with
people, I don't know why they all were there. I was only there
because for the life of me, i couldnt figure out any other place to be.
As we sat on the bunks, with that top bunk like a beam through
my thought, I mentioned that I would enjoy hearing some Jimi
Hendrix right then, that that must sound cool at a time like this.
Right then, the radio that was playing started playing
"Crosstown Traffic", and the room all kinda went oooh, and
inside I went ohhhh nooo, because I could tell they all wanted
to think I "knew" something, to have said that, but I didnt
know how to let them in on that I was at present by far the
hugest fool in that room. I put it aside and tried to kind of
melt in the background.
There was a small telescope, and out of boredom I guess, people
started passing it around the room, one to another, around the circle.
As it neared me, some kind of awful anticipation began to set in,
that some how I was expected to do something meaningful,
some thing "knowing" with this telescope, and my skin started
to crawl as it came near to me.
As it was passed to me, i was filled with an utter sense
of not knowing what to do, or how to please these perceived expectations
of my present cohorts. Without thinking, i just reversed
the telescope, and looked through it backwards. Again with the ooohs
from outside, and the ohhh nooos from inside, and just
as the uncomfortableness was peaking, my consciousness
was suddenly and shockingly instantly shot out of the back
of my head to a distance of (conservative estimate)
20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 thousand million light years,
behind my skull enclosure........WTF???????????
I cannot contain this, I thought to myself, and saw myself from the outside,
jumping up, because I could not fix this in place, and I had always
heard if something goes bad, just change your surroundings, so I
jumped up, and found an empty chair, a kind of Victorian affair,
very out of place in this dorm, but it looked inviting and from another
time so I sat in it, and tried to regain some form of a conceptual
bubble field that i had must have been unknowingly living in,
because suuddenly I was OUT OF IT, and I didn't even know the
first thing about this new thing.
The cutest couple ever, thats what I always called them, both with
curly black locks that they must have spent hours a day cultivating,
the cutest couple ever jumped up, and sat down crosslegged in front of me,
opened up their school notebooks, and said "just start talking,
we'll write it down." Now that is NOT what I need to hear, I thought to myself,
and as the disassociation was not getting any better, and there was no one
there who I could consult with, they were either long gone,
or not in possesssion of the facts that I was living under.
So the best I knew to do, was..... bolt.. bolt for the door.
And as I hit the door to the stairwell, I turned to make sure I had
closed the door, to see all 15 people in a big trail, trailing off behind
me, and I shouted NOOOO on the inside, and just made my break.
I headed for the cemetery and the yellow submarine beyond
it. I ended up sitting on the cemetery fence with my four
goodest friends, who had somehow run to the same places, and I pressed my
fingers together, it was funny. The feeling of my pressed
together fingertips was no longer located out "there" where my
hand supposedly was. No this sensation was no longer located there.
That proved it was all true to me. We walked back to my room,
where stumpy 1 withdrew his foot halfway out of his athletic
sock, until it looked like a person, and talked through his sock,
and kept us all laughing until the sun came up, and we all fell asleep.
That would have been awesome! I always loved making a trek up to "Boring Hill" ahem I mean Boreal to ski, and getting stuck on a lift was my specialty.
Sounds like it would have been surreal!
Will you come with me? Once in awhile you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right!
that was you on the ski lift?:-)
Boreal Ridge 8-24-85
Yep, it was technically a very glitchy show. Definitely far from their best. But, it was the highest(!) I was there with 4 other friends and we got there soon enough to park along the highway in a place where we hoped we wouldn't get towed. I spent the first half of the show in the audience proper and then decided it would be far more interesting to wonder off in the woods just to the right of the stage. Of course, the fact that I had to pee had nothing to do with that idea at all...in the end I climbed up to the top of the ski slope and managed to hop on the ski lift down as the boys were rolling into Truckin'. Then, about 2/3rds of the way down the slope the lift just stopped and there I was suspended over the left side of the crowd as the band continued to play. Nothing quite like watching the boys suspended in mid-air like that - way too cool! And then, just as they were wrapping up Day Tripper, the lift took me down to the bottom and dropped me off past the crowd and i hightailed it over to our car and found my friends and we flew out of there down to South shore for a quick dip in the lake - ! What an awesome day even for a glitchy show...must have been something I ate...
"when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door"
I only started seeing the Dead in the late 70s and consider myself fortunate to have seen a few shows with Keith & Donna before they left the band. I know there are Heads out there who remember being at Pigpen shows but that was long ago, many brain cells down the pike. If you ever run into anybody who says "I've been to every show there ever was!" , don't believe them! The only people who have been to every show are Jerry, Bobby, Phil & Bill. Because they were the band and HAD to be there...
Even when I got my Dead "legs" around 82 there was always the feeling that I'd missed the goold old days. The Good Old Days are some magical place where everything is totally groovy and the band can't miss a note or sing off key or forget a word and the sun is shining and there aren't too many people and the show is free and there is plenty of everything and everybody is sharing it. It actually never existed that way but we built it up in our mind that we'd missed some magical space & time and we were only left with the remnants.
I guess what I noticed WAS the passing of the torch to a new generation some time in the late 70s. Group hugs, massage circles, massive amounts of people dancing together shoulder to shoulder in a line on the floor. A lot of public sex going on at shows in the shadows. This all seemed to pass some time around 1980, loosely speaking. Jerry and the boys just got real quiet on stage from that time on. Words were few and far between.
At Kingswood in Maple, Ontario in June of 84 Wavy Gravy was EmCeeing from the stage. The Dead had played a great show, along with The Band and Wavy was kind of summing it up when he said: "These ARE the good old days". It made me think then and looking back now I can see the he was absolutely right. That whole new group of Deadheads was in place and the band was pre massive popularity and perpetually sold out shows after 87 and Touch.
I think what everybody should remember is that nothing was ever perfect. Yes, maybe the new generation will never know Jerry's unique presence and licks but we're the audience and we have a lot to do with the tone of any show. If we're kind and sharing and caring we can create the space we always had and pass that along to another generation. The music will be all the greater for our effort.
If you see me blowing bubbles and blissing out I won't be plugged in or multi-tasking. I'll be just there in the moment, dancing & enjoying the good old days. I hope to see you there also!
I've been trying to keep this on the top of the que....yet I have to work. I bid you goodnight, but don't think that you typing that kick arse story won't stop me from reading it!!
Will you come with me? Once in awhile you can get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right!