July 30, 1983
Set List:China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
It's All Over Now
Brown Eyed Women
My Brother Esau
Big Railroad Blues
Music Never Stopped
Playin' in the Band
Attendees of this show
I know some people are not big on these shows but the Ventura County Fairgrounds were a great scene. The stage in one direction, the Pacific Ocean right behind you.
My take? Great show! We were right up front. China Cat>Rider was a great way to start the show. All Over Now, Brown Eyed Woman, Big RR Blues, Sugaree, Playin and Sugar Mag were great.
After my first set of shows (5/13,14,15/83) I was excited to learn that some pals of mine were heading south to see the boys on the beach at Ventura. They had extra tickets for both days and were driving down in a VW microbus.
On the way through Santa Barbara, the two brothers we were traveling with said they knew a guy who lived in Santa Barbara (who they had meet while in school in Europe), turned out to be the dude's birthday and after hooking up at the gas station he worked at, he invited us to his parents' place for some free food and drink (also he needed to pick up the keg for the party later)
What a place, high up above Santa Barbara with a great patio/pool area and parents who were cool with the Dead/Hippie-types their son had invited home.
Mom even made us take extra food as we looked starved.
After the feast we headed down to the gas station where a bunch of the dudes local pals were waiting for the keg,
many happy moments occured and were augmented by the sweet smells of the dead-show.
However, partying in a gas station with a bunch of under-age drinker in Santa Barbara in 1983 was not the brightest idea.
Of Course the Highway Patrol happened by and quickly put the cork back in the keg, but were unable to locate any other illegal items(stashed quickly in the camper pop top of the bus) and made us promise to cap the keg and go home.
One of the brothers and I spent the night in the dude's VW bus with the keg and the other two spent the night in the bus we were traveling in to the show.
The next morning we left the bus and keg at the station and proceeded down Hwy 101 to Ventura County Fairgrounds.
Very little shakedown street action at this time in the parking lot but we still hung around waiting for show time( I believe it was scheduled to start at 2pm) so we got in line about 1:50pm and of course this is the day the Dead actually started on time and as we approached the gate we were greeted by the opening strains of China Cat.
Hooked up with some cool heads down near the Phil side of the stage and danced the afternoon away.
Spent the night up in the hills at a campground and the next day went to celebrate Jerry's B-day(a day early) very cool experience for my fourth and fifth shows(second run).
On the way back to Santa Cruz, the bus broke down on the hill outside Santa Barbara, and having a class the next day I decided to bail on the boys and hitch my way back,
another great adventure (man if I had known about Black-Throated Wind that would have been my soundtrack),
after three rides I ended up stranded on 101 just north of Paso Robles and waited there for 6 hours(the sun rose and the fog dissappated (weridess thing was that the army was doing helicoter runs up the valley around there and the noise was freaking me out until the fog broke and I saw the 'coters in packs of ten doing runs up and down the valley)).
Finally a dude and his sister moving back to Santa Cruz from Florida stopped and drove me to my place (Dropped me at the front door).
A truly great adventure.
(And that was only the beginning)
The Sky Was Yellow And The Sun Was Blue
People Stopping Strangers Just To Shake Their Hand.
Both comedy and drama in this year's offering at Ventura.
We checked into the upstairs room at the Holiday Inn, and I left the door ajar in the spirit of party and come what may. Garcia once said that when you open a door, you have to be prepared for what comes through it. In walked a young black man in a suit introducing himself as a businessman named Oscar from nearby Oxnard. So we handed him a beer and chatted like old friends out on the balcony. Oxnard's only a few minutes away, so we deduced that he was probably not a conferencee, but the house detective, but decided to play the situation for laughs. Eventually, Oscar asks if we have any funny smokes and pal Steve offers him his Marlboro's. Oscar says, "No, you know, the one's without filters", so Steve grabs back his Marlboro, breaks off the filter and hands it to Oscar. He wandered off but we noticed that Oscar was immune to long waits in the hotel elevator when we went downstairs, so we'd call out to him for more partying, and eventually served notice that he should find some real criminals.
The previous week had been a particularly harrowing one. I was friend to a family, both parents and kids, and was at their home just after work when a phone call came that one of the kids had been shot. Actually, the daughter's jealous ex-boyfriend had ambushed the son and daughter outside the San Gabriel Mission, murdered the son, shot the daughter point blank through arm and head (she survived), then killed himself. Remarkably, I still went to the shows that weekend, but was slack-jawed when Jerry sang "A pistol shot, at five o'clock, the bells of heaven ring..".
Had just completed my service to the USN and was traveling cross country on motorcycle from Corpus Christi to LA via Salt Lake and Vegas. Hooked up with a bud from the Navy living in LA who had tickets for both shows.
We arrived in plenty of time to soak in the parking lot vibe before heading into the first show. Man was it great to be back in touch with my people.
My most vivid memory is looking out over the crowd to see the roof of every port-o-pot occupied by a dancing Dead Head! Got my first taste of Touch of Grey on day 2. I think Jerry played it in honor of his pending birthday.
After the first show everyone headed downtown to find food and drink. The town was awash in tie-dye. What a beautiful sight.
All those smilin' faces.......};~)
One of the most memorable days at a deadshow. Arrived with about 15 people and lots of fungus. My face was melting by the China /Rider. Loved going back to the beer garden in the rear just to chill. I remember dancing in the dirt...the more we danced, the more dirt got kicked up in the old rodeo grounds. I remember needing sunglasses because I was staring into the sun to see the stage, Total baking. Great scene along the boardwalk in Ventura after the show...the Holiday Inn was rockin! Went up into the hills to the Sespe Creek to camp for the night with the whole crew. We were dosed, built a campfire, skinny-dipped in the creek and laughed all night. Came back Sunday for the next show. Wow.
Hey Now! This was my very first show! Wow. I can remember it like it just happened. But before I tell you about my good time, I have to say that an incredible guy and amazing friend of mine, RIP Moon Otter, tried for years and years to get me to a Dead Show. I never went. I was pretty far out there with my musical taste, having already danced through the LA/IE punk scene and grown into listening to pretty much weird and strange music -- sounds that would make the average person think they were being subjected to torture. He would play the Dead for me when we would hang out, but the sound never piqued my interest enough to get me to a show. But then, that springtime, my love was away studying in Europe and I was hanging out a lot with my good friend Gordon, a rainbow brother who's older brother had a weekly radio show that I listened to, The Industrial Report, on 88.3 KUCR, midnight on Saturday nights. Man, I listened to that show for years. Gordon is a Deadhead, so it was only natural in the string of events, that he would take me to a show. We were young, free spirited and ready to love the world! We drove up from the IE to Ventura with sex, drugs and rock-n-roll on our minds! First it was amazing to see that we could do it, uh umm... I mean camp in his VW van right near the beach. There were a bunch of heads coming to the show that both of us knew , so it was fun right from the start. Hell, this party started even before the show!! And then, while watching the Dead play, I clearly remember tripping, right about the time of Rider and It's All Over Now, feeling like a circle was forming with me and the band -- The Grateful Dead were playing my music. Music from my upbringing. My mama was Cherokee, a country girl from the coal mining hills of Kentucky, and music was played constantly in our home. The band was covering stuff I was brought up on; it was all so familiar. By the time they played Truckin', I was totally feeling like a part of the WALSTIB circle. Then US Blues was quite the topper! A song I had grown up hearing on the radio, but never connected to any band, and certainly not The Dead! Turns out, it was a least favorite song of Moon. haha After the show, the party moved back into the lot on the beach, where bands, using gas generators played until the sun was coming up. Walking around the beach high, with beautiful people all around, girls in bikinis, definitely made an impression, and this venue became one of my all time favorites. Over the years, I got to know the owner of the Shakey's Pizza joint in town (Hi Dave!) who once played for the Miami Dolphins, and loved the Dead. He would let us camp out at his place when the Dead would come to town, and always had them playing over the PA system in his pizza eatery! Well, it Has Been A Long Strange Trip, and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way! Glad to be along for the ride brothers and sisters!
Chinacat I know you Rider,when driving across country for this one we were joking trying to call the opener. At one point we claimed they will open with Chincat. Also getting the China Doll is nice although they for sure played it alot in these days.Not one to bitch about it because i love the emotion Jery puts into them. This one here is a little rushed though. The Playin jam to follow was nice.
On a side note jerry wore a flannel for these shows. There was much speculation as to why?????? Its what we did everyday they played ir seemed.MUst be sick . Myust be cold from other things. I now think back and Do not care he was there and they played unlike in 86 when we got the bad news. Love these guys everyday every minute.