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!
26 years ago today, in fact, at this very hour 3 PM, I at 19 arrived in Richmond VA with a general admission ticket to see the Dead at the Richmond Coliseum. This was about the 8th show I had ever seen and it was different because I was brave enough to go the show with quite casual friends, In effect, this was truly my first Dead show basically alone.
The weather was a day very much like today. Fall in the south, crispy bright sunlight, upper 70s, to cool down to upper 50s on the overnight.
These were the days of Dead shows where the floor was all general admission and they were never sold out.
Anyway, I do not remember much of the pre-concert festivities, I do remember that the party materials were awesome.
I remember the inner joy when the lights went down and the band took the stage…..I was on the floor near the sound board in front of the tapers……The band tuned up for what seemed like an eternity….a full 2 minutes of tuning….endless…..then broke into a seriously musically intense Song 1 Feel Like A Stranger…..Jerry’s jam at the end showed he was seriously on tonight and I remember him teasing us with a few Franklin’s Tower licks…..then, another long tuning and I moved closer to the stage….the folks that had crowded up dissipated some……Song 2 Friend of the Devil, a crowd pleaser but not my favorite….slow song that doesn’t match my buzz….The jam was long and mellow…..more people left the floor in front of me so I moved ever closer….by now perhaps half the floor from the stage….Jerry-side…..Song 3 New Minglewood Blues…..body rush, great song, tight band, great smoking version….it was an on music night……I danced my way closer…..from Minglewood…into Song 4 BROWN EYED WOMEN….one of the best songs ever….closer and closer I danced up…..at this point I was 10 or 15 feet from Jerry and mesmerized……..I had plenty of room, owing to the huge barf splat and a naked dude dancing to left of me….no matter, I had the Dead and I was so dancing with glee….and Jerry and I made eye contact….my first direct eye contact….Jerry - such a nice person…..Song 5 Cassidy...yay…Song 6 West LA Fadeaway….Song 7 Hell in a Bucket….at this tour both songs were brand spanking new…..finally Song 8 DEAL….a great version, great first set……
Set 2….after a lot of dithering and tuning….Jerry, obviously playfully annoyed with Bobby, who Jerry wanted to pick the song and Bobby didn’t….breaks into a set opening Day Job….odd but true…..then…..and I say then with incredibly body rushes as I type this…into Playin in the Band – Jam – Crazy Fingers…..this was and remains one of the best 80s dead playing in the band jams…..and crazy fingers…..”something new is waiting to be born”…..drums…space….s smoking Truckin out of space….incredible Spoonful….Wharf Rat….again me, maybe 4 or 5 people deep directly in front of Jerry….mega eye contact….into the continuation of the Bobby play fight…Jerry starts Sugar Magnolia….then Bobby changes it to Good Lovin!.....”you may be weak you may be blind…but even a blind man knows when the sun is shining….cuz he can FEEL IT….”……oooooo got to have lovin!
US Blues encore….and me from this moment on a forever Dead head. This show, this day, changed my life. God Bless the good old Grateful Dead.
Generally, it was hearing their WB albums and seeing The Grateful Dead Movie. Oh yeah, and one of the New Year's concerts in which "Hell in a Bucket" just steadily blew me away. Big time. Unfortunately, I was never able to see the Dead in concert. Came this close sometimes, but something always seemed to happen and the tickets never came through. Did get to see the '94 Floyd tour, though. 11th row on the floor, dead in front of David Gilmour. When the fireballs erupted, I just basked in the heat, since I'd given my flannel shirt to a friend so she could cover up. Gets cold up in Birmingham at night.
I found the dead purely by accident, a punk with multi colored hair until i entered into the military. Came home got a job and boy was that security gaurd cute. took me to a hockey game and played scratchy dead tapes all the way there. I kept thinking what is this crap. By the second date I was hooked. In fact I was so hooked, that I listened to my first show on the radio, back when they used to play the new years shows on the radio. Had no idea what I was in for. I slept over night for the tickets and drove to the lot the night before my first show july 89 and never looked back, I don't know if it was the drum circles or the food or the people or that feeling of belonging or the strawberry pancakes in the morning before the show or just the kindness. I was soooooo into it I drove all the way to Giants stadium non stop just to experience one more time less than 24 hours after my first show. 20 years later I have the same butterflies as I pull out the old stuff that has been boxed up for the last few years and prep for tour. I have never gotten off the bus, time just marches on faster that I can and leaves none for slowing down to listen to the music play
I first heard Truckin when I was in high school and that was the only dead song I knew for a long time and I really liked it. I heard Touch of grey later when they did the (1987) video. I wasn't really hooked until I attended my first Dead show of 92 in Vegas. I knew from that point on I wanted to see them as many times as I could and get my hands on any bootlegs that I could.
Little did I know that I was going to be an adventure like Ive never been on before.
i met my college room mate at freshman orientation & he had a steal your face sewn on the back of his jean jacket.. & had a couple of friends who had just finished their freshman year of college & had started to turn me on, but once my first day of college arrived & i heard birdsong i was on board... 9 months later (june 26, 1988) i saw my first show...
it's here, I think. On the Bickershaw Festival show page.
(Geeky aside: I found it very quickly by searching for "Borstal," a word that just isn't commonly used here and that I remembered being in the post. Brought it up right away...)
the above post is the 2nd part of the tale, but can't find it now?? i got the bus 71/72 on EURO&" tour & it looks as if I still can't see/type/find stuff I post !!JIMI C....:)
anutha jail & he told me about the gig & that they (prisoners) were due to clean up after..i was to meet up & pass a "Parcel"..so I snuck into the festival & got m'self up a tree ,dropped a few tabs :) 7off I went really loved NRPS,& thought the guitarist looks like he's havin fun!!later on the band played on into the night . I came down both from tree/trip & promptly forgot!! till I went to jail m'self!! since then never looked back ,been all over travelling Spain/France?marrocco have been my home(S) for over 25yrs ,came back to uk (Sick0 & my ol lady got a laptop for her Univ; work & i googled theDEAD..hey presto!! here I am.... i was kinda "At the Bus- Stop y could say,it arrived, & I got on..no idea or direction, & what a long strange/wonderful trip it's been. So good to re-connect "electronically" after all this time,feel a fossil with my vinyl lps & record player!! Kindab old & in the way... but ramblin on still !!
Yeah - that immage helped me through some tough times. I would picture that majestic face serene and calm and my troubles would melt away and disintegrate into tie dye swirls.
I really think Jerry was trying to get folks to give stoners a break. Bridging the gap between Yuppies and Deadheads. Yuppies can be pretty trippy - and they love to drink wine!!
We all love to trip out on nature and be creative. It's just that some are more creative than most, that's all.
I miss those. I think I had 2 sheets of them once. I took 4 and got into lotus position at the beach and was peaking watching the waves roll over me as I sat on the wet sand just below the surf. I felt like that dude from, "Stranger in a Strange Land".
Pretty intense. I then played guitar with Liquid Lacy on the boardwalk and soon we had a wall of flesh around us. All the cops saw whenever they rolled up was people's backs.
I was working on my fameous rendition of, "Franklin's Tower" even back then. They rhythm sort of took over as the sky pulsed and the tide started going backwards. Lacy had glowing gold spheres circling around his head and our music made the ground vibrate.