Grateful Dead

What Got You on the Bus?

An excellent suggestion from Hal R., picking up on a thread in another topic: how did you get on the bus? What was that moment that left no room for doubt?

Probably no two stories are the same, but they're all probably pretty interesting, so tell all here!


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101874winterland's picture
Joined: Feb 15 2011
Wake of the Flood

Winterland 10-18-1974 my 1st Dead show. So I am looking forword to the movie showing.
I started listening to the Dead when I was 12 years old. My friend had a sister who wasn't around much,but when you saw her she was walking and you could tell she was hearing music in the wind. This was around 1969. She turned us on to the Dead with Anthem of the Sun and then Wake of the Flood. That was it. Wake with Sunshine was so cool. We would go to the stereo shop and in the speaker room put on Skelaton (Bertha) and play GDTR and NFA very loud. The stereo guy liked it to so we tried all kinds of speakers. It was a blast.
I grew up in the Bay Area so I went to the shows before there hiatus.10-18-74 was my 1st and the rest of the weekend I will never forget. Friday nights Sugeree just blew me away. I remember passing out waiting to buy a donut and Coke in line at Winterland. It was so hot inside there. I was taken to the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic that was there in Winterland for the shows. They gave me some glucose and I was on my way back to the front!
By the way I had put my dollar for the donut and Coke but never remember anything after that!
Only $1.00 for a donut and Coke. The show was $5.50
The Sounds of the City on Tuesday nights that next summer of 75 at Winterland were fantastic $2.00 and I saw some great bands Sons Of Champlin among others and the Dead played and it was billed as Jerry Garcia and Friends. I just have the fondest memories of tripping all day at the beach and closing out the night with Grateful Dead concerts. Those were the days.

Stardancer's picture
Joined: Feb 20 2011
Opps it was the fifth not the ninth.

It was a great concert but I had the date wrong. I also heard a friends albums going home and heard even more music then. Sorry for the error.

Stardancer's picture
Joined: Feb 20 2011
I got on the bus paid for by a dear friend.

When I was growing up, I got my first stereo, joined record clubs that introduced me to groups like Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Steppenwolf etc they were great but no emotional connection. My neighboor Victor used to play amazing music and our mom's were good friends, his sister and I hung out and we used to hang out our windows sharing what music we found at the monent. One day I was ordered by my mom to clean my room or the wrath of God was coming down at me very quickly. As I cleaned I heard the wonderful sounds coming from Victor's window. Going over I heard Franklyn's Tower. I stopped in my tracks and was just blown away. I asked him to make me a copy,which he did. Next morning it was in the plastic tape case in my mail box. I played it so much that the reel to reel tape did not last two weeks. When I got my allowance I bought the LP. The album was the best thing I ever heard or enjoyed. The Album was Blues for Allah. I finally got to go to a live show and see them live. It was more than anything I expected. January 9th 1979 I finally came home and saw the dead. It was like my eyes and sould did it before and it was natural. Danced my butt off that night and enjoyed everyminute. Then I heard what is still my favorite Gratefull Dead song Box of Rain. When I got home I shared with Victor and his sister Joanne everyminute of the fantasic night and how special it was. Victor got my message at once. I still think of Victor everytime I hear Franklyn's Tower.
He died in 1901,he was one of the pliots who was killed, his plane was the second one tht hit the towers. I still talk to Joanne when I see her and we still listen to the Dead. Somewhere he is dancing on the stars and still listening to music in his sould. RIP Victor.

marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007
and I've gotta say

he's getting some great stories!

Hal R's picture
Joined: Jun 13 2007
moving this one up

Since it fits in so well with the topic Blair just posted. Enjoy.

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
William Blake

dude53's picture
Joined: Jan 23 2011
Noonie... thanks and I have a correction

appreciate your kind feedback. I must make a correction though. Sat afternoon session began with Promised Land (not Morning Dew which was Sunday night's opener). The effect was same/same though. Wish i could have hung in on that swing a little longer. They ended up in Watkins Glen with ABB's and The Band. Caught em again on the southern swing in Williamsburg, Cameron Indoor, Chapel Hill and Charlotte. Great memories when and if they decide to bubble up to the surface.

The dude abides.

Joined: May 28 2010
1995 at age 17

In the spring of 1995 I was 17 years old and in my senior year of high school. I had met a group of musicians in my hometown about 5-10 years older than myself ( I play guitar.) Our bass player had a roomate who was a huge Head. We'd be hanging out at his apartment and the roomate would bomb in the door from work, grab a shower, crack a beer, pop in a tape and turn it up to 11, air guitaring all the while. And I HATED it. I used to say "Put on some Hendrix." or "Got any Zeppelin?" I didn't GET it. Few weeks later I hear 'Scarlet Begonias' on the radio. LOVED it. OK, one song cool. Didn't get the live stuff. Then I'm at my bassists house again. He's jammin' some Europe 72, and I think "I've GOTTA HAVE this." And that was it. I was off and running. Got Workingman's and American Beauty soon after followed by Skullfuck and Without A Net. My first foray into 'unsweetened' live stuff was One From The Vault. I haven't looked back. By far my favorite band, the only band I really 'go on a bender' with (Zappa sometimes, but much rarer.) Thanks to the fellas (and lady) for making this great music and having the foresight and diligence to document it. It is our collective gain.

noonie's picture
Joined: Jul 31 2007

great read i couldn't have explained my first show (it was in 89) any better...during set break i was talking to people and told them it was my first show..they asked what i thought i said i am going on tour in the summer and did..dude53 if you are looking for a certain show drop me a line... hugs to all

dude53's picture
Joined: Jan 23 2011
RFK June 1973 got me a bus ride

Have you ever heard a sound so powerful that you literally felt it deep within your chest? Each note resonates your inner core. Your natural reaction is to leap your feet and meet the sound on its own terms. Your body just flows with the music. You become lost in the sound. The very fiber of your being reacts to the notes. They cascade over your ears and penetrate your brain. By the way this was achieved without the aid of any mind altering substance. Listening is the only requirement for the music to transport you.

My first experience with this feeling came on a warm, sun splashed Satrurday in early June , 1973 in Washington, DC. The precise location was about the 40 yard line in the middle of the football field in RFK Stadium. The smells of BO, incense and marijuana alternatingly nauseating, pungent and intoxicating teased my senses. I sat cross legged on the turf surrounded by 70,000 of my closest friends. We had travelled approximately 6 hours the day before and stayed 6 to a room in a Holiday Inn in the wrong part of town. We came to see the Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers play a 2 day concert with the Dead opening on Saturday and the Allmans on Sunday.

Saturday afternoon the first few notes of Morning Dew sounded like a volcano erupting. I felt as if I had been struck by lightning. I was entranced by Jerry’s hypnotic guitar runs. I felt energized by Bobby’s strong downbeat rythym chords. Phil made my hair stand on end with his thunderous bass bombs. I felt that thump in my chest and it is there to this day. Licks traded by Garcia and Dicky Betts reverberated in my head for nearly 35 years. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a soundboard recording from this concert that I was able to satisfy my yearning to hear it again and again. Even the recording gave me that good ol’ thump in the chest. It was then and is now the best concert I have ever seen or heard. OK, Traffic in Chapel Hill might have come close but that’s another story.

I saw the Dead (and Jerry) 6 more times over the next 2 years and they always came through. As time blew by it was either the job, family, or just too busy that kept me from seeing them again. Perhaps I had grown up. I was almost embarassed to admit being a deadhead. However finding that soundboard re-ignited the flame. These days I catch an occasional Ratdog or Phil and Friends concert. I am often accompanied by my 24 and 22 year old sons who have come to appreciate the Dead as well. Their Mom is a different story. She has seen them twice, first in Charlotte in the late 80’s and then in 2009. Her perception of the Dead... “It’s just the same songs over and over again.” She doesn’t buy into the “snowflake theorem” that each concert represents a different version of the song and no two are exactly alike. She describes the extended jams... “They’re lost again and they have no clue what they’re doing.” No possibility they are exploring the outer limits of their instruments and equipment and tonal improvisation. No doubt appreciation for the Dead is an acquired taste but once it’s in your head you will never get it out of there.

I still explore the annals of the internet for audience recordings (I gave up on soundboards). I look for concerts on those nights when the boys had the X - factor working. You know, Jerry’s bouncing on his toes and grinnin’ from ear to ear. Bob’s singing with his head over top of the mike. Phil’s bobbing his head and pacing in time to the beat. Meanwhile, Billy and Mickey explode beads of sweat as they pound those heads. It’s those X-factor nights that keep me searching. It reminds me of looking for shark’s teeth on the beach. You don’t find one very often but when you actually see one and grab it you’re so excited you can’t stop looking. The Dead aren’t necessarily unique in the channeling of this X-factor feeling.. In bluegrass music it’s known as “the high lonesome sound.” I have felt it from Widespread Panic and Traffic as well as the Allmans. It is just more intense and deeper with the Dead.

The Dead live on, or at least some do. Even after suffering the tragic losses of members over the years, the guys that are still here push on. They seem to be hurtling at lightspeed toward the impending apocalypse with axes in hand. I’ll close with the simple truth of all truths:

There is nothing like a Grateful Dead concert.

The dude abides.

Joined: Dec 20 2010
jerry looked at me - saw my darkness - told me it was OK.

sorry this is so long, I won't do it again.
BTW, I am functionally illiterate. thats OK though right? eventually I do get to jerry.

I don't know if my story will be welcome here. It is not something I usually share. if you read this you will probably see why.
I don't know what is going on, what this "on the bus" thing is all about. I feel I have been contacted and jerrys involved somehow. perhaps it is uncool for me to try to speak so literally about it. it seems when I try no matter what, it comes out wrong. the story is just what it seemed like at the time, I don't really know what is going on, maybe I am insane. Oh, well. I hope I don't offend anyone.

I see a psychiatrist for this condition which involves hearing voices in my head and in the past have taken some very hardcore antipsychotics. jerry looking at me and singing to me personally in a huge crowd is part of my delusional state, or is it? although after years of treatment I just finnally mentioned Jerry, I think the doctor thinks I'm kidding. I did tell him about hendrix long ago.

(((((((before my first jerry show)))))))

I have a darkness in me, I am told you can see it in my eyes (like in "hell in a bucket"). I am agoraphobic, I have heard voices since I was 18 (1980).
like I said I see a doctor now for my condition and have taken antipsychotics in the past.

I am a guitar player, since I was 7 yrs old. I was a hard rocker and liked bands like led zeppelin, black sabbath and Hendrix. I didn't really like the grateful dead, to me they sounded dated, hokey, and very uncool, with bad vocals.
Like I said I am agoraphobic and have made a art out of avoiding human contact. when I was 18, before I started hearing voices I thought my Hendrix records were talking to me personally, I didn't ever think Jimi Hendrix was talking to me, I knew he was dead. I didn't know what it was, all I really knew was that it had something to do with Jimi's music and there was something very different about Hendrix. Shortly there after the auditory voices came.

The voices I heard were clear and yet hard to understand or pin down. They voices never gave a name, though I did ask. whatever it was/is seemed all-knowing, like it was a conscious part of a bigger plan, friendly but stern, it seemed to have a implied sence of morality yet somehow still responsible for the darkness, whatever it was that was contacting me seemed playful, (it would play tricks on me, verbally and in the real world) interestingly enough it seemed to have the exact same sense of humor I would experience later as "some presence?"" at the "jerry show" during the time that jerry was communicating with me by looking at me and singing. (very similar to how the Hendrix records lyrics were meant for me right then.)

I set out trying to make a deal with the devil (give me a break, I was young and alone) all I could figure is these voices (maybe just one voice at this point, I have no idea, it's just strange.) were something to do with what the rolling stones or jimmy page were talking about. not the devil as in the bringer of floods but more the cigar smoking man of wealth and taste from the stones "sypathy for the devil", at least that what I thought it must be.
I practiced and studies ritual magick, in private. trying to figure out what was going on. I stood at the croossroads at midnight alone in the woods playing blues licks. (I think I was naked for some reason) I took an magical oath in front of an alter with a hendrix record on it (ie a bootleg with johnny wonter and morrison titled "woke up and found myself dead".
what I getting at is so strong was this feeling of being contacted that I searched high and low and low and low.
I was torn between two wolrds, the world of love and hendrix and my hippy friends, and the world of commersial heavy metal and my criminal friends.
the heavy metal, aphetimines and the ego won out and I spent most of my life as a bad person and a criminal, I (me and my bands) have complelty destroyed many peoples private property, several houses, a whole apartment complex, I am not bragging I am ashamed and sorry. I/we inflicted violence, miss-treated women. children and family members. all to act like big men and cold-harted rockers. I not only went along with the others but am guilty myself.

I could go on forever, LETS GET TO JERRY.
I have had this freind since 1980, his name is jim and he owned the dog in the touch of gray video (other dark storys about the dog (jed) happened at my house, made the national news if I remember right).

as long as I talking about dogs, what in the hell is the deal with the dogs, how do they fit into this whole picture? the voices told me I could measure in dogs. measure what? my life? a carreer?, anyway the voice said I get three dogs. I was sure I was on my last dog but now I've lost count.
a year ago I thought I was putting my last dog to sleep and what do you know,
I didn't die!, I did however become paralized from the waist down the next day. I need another dog. I can't really love people, maybe someday. my dogs and all dogs are not my pets or property they are my friends and I try to treat them as such.

anyway----- this guy jim, is not like other people I have known. for instance I never ever remember him lying in any way at all, not even white. when he was around I always felt dirty, although he never tried to make you feel that way. if he saw a hitchiker going the other way he would turn around, he would stop at nothing to help others, it may be the ONLY thing he did. it was absolutly irritating!

if I was to make a joke it would be that the grateful dead have been following me since I was 18 though this pure soul named jim, we somehow get toghther again and again in different states though what apears to be fate, I guess. blow my mind. it's like he's following me somehow. I meen it doesn't seem possible.

anyway he drags me kicking and screaming to this jerry show, I don't want to see this hokey lame ass folk shit (remmember I am a metalhead) besides we had no money, gas, loggings, tickets or anything. I did not want to get in a car and drive to the bay area. but I did. the whole way there I felt the world around me knew what was happining to me. I didn't know but it seemed something was happing. don't ask me how but we got all we needed, jim allways got all he needed, the world colapsed around him (he brought very bad luck also) and he just kept on going with a great big shit eating grin and created more luck as needed, but what in the hell am I talking about. this is a dream not real life.

anyway I went into the jerry show on church street and the band started.
jerry sang many song lines looking directly at me, they were messages to me.
I remeber he was telling me I was OK, not in so many words. he was saying the darkness in me was OK and he loved me. and I knew in my heart if could just get up and dance, this apparantly egoless hippy dance, if I could just do that then I would strat to heal or heal a little I don't know.
one line I remember was the beatles song, "dear prudence" "'s beutiful and so are you so are you, dear prudence, won't you come out to play." was sung directly to me from across the hall full of people. I was going to stand up and dance, I summoned all my courage and jumped up spilling a full "big gulp" soda on the couple in frount of me. they got soaked, I'd know that sence of humor anywhere! that the same voice thats been talking to me all along, I guess it wasn't evil.

I was so moved by the show I was fanatic I think I may of said god was there or something stupid like that, I told everyone, they were so moved by my passion
at least 10 of us got into a van (fathers, mothers brothers, friends all who did not like the dead) and went to eugene oregon to see dylan and the dead, I told everyone what was going to happen. nothing happened, nothing at all.
it was hot, the sound was bad. i wanted to leave.

about a decade ago I had a mental collapse and completely withdrew, quit playing guitar, saw no one and started seeing a doctor. the voices went away
with the anti-psycotic drugs. but I was nothing, not a man, just a shell. a cage without a bird. my dog dies and I became paralized from the waist down.
it's been a year, I can walk, it's hard though. my old heavymetal frtiends keep calling I never even answer, yet they keep calling wanting me to come play.
they just called to tell me my arch enemy just died, the one who swayed to band to the dark side. I didn't answer of course but I did do a little dance.

I'm hearing voices again, they are, as usuall telling me what to play , when to play, turn off the wa wa they say. they want me to keep going, keep trying, why I have no idea, I can hardly stand up. it seems pointless. I am working with dark modes now, darker than used in popular music. I am trying to know and understand them. what each interval meens, what emotion it invokes.
I plan to start writting a peice that will hook into the darkness inside people,
make them like what I am playing for bad reasons and then drag them into the
brighter tonalitys ideas. why I have no idea, why try, I can't even go outside.
I don't want to play in a band or be around people. what other choice do I have.
I guess I better get another dog to love it seems I'm being called to some kind of service again. but why i did nothing except bad deeds last time
I feel the rapture coming, am I being called? I am not even a good man, what does it want? I think in my heart I know exactly what it wants. my ego is not dead
but it is definatly dying.

I am sorry if I have offended anyone, I am a recluse and rarely communicate with people. I really have no idea how to act. around others.



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What Got You on the Bus?